The bulk of the Los Angeles Triathlon had swept through Echo Park by 11 am Sunday, but barricades kept traffic away, leaving Sunset Boulevard quiet and empty. It was pleasant enough to sit at a sidewalk table at Masa without inhaling bus fumes or listening to screeching tires. So, here I sat, feeling a bit guilty in between sips of coffee and forkfuls of scrambled eggs, as the last of the sweaty triathlon stragglers cycled to downtown to join the estimated 2,500 others who had gotten to the finish line ahead of them.
Several minutes passed between athletes. There were no spectators to shout encouragement. But there were plenty of police officers riding back and forth, patrolling the non existent crowds. One slow-peddling cyclist appeared to be escorted by an entourage of cops riding bikes and driving squad cars.
“Where is the end of the bike route?,” one officer asked the lonely and apparently loopy cyclist. “Shit if I know.”
My last image of the triathlon as I finished breakfast was not of a tired cyclist or a bored cop. It was of a white medical van racing down Sunset to the finish line.