Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just plain tired and why the WTC is sucking the life out of triathlon...

Kind of a long post title today. I'm in that kinda "cranky" mood anyway so screw it. Didn't sleep much last night so I guess I'm gettin' my 2 year old on right now. Training was tough today (from a 'getting up for it' standpoint) and compounded by the fact that I didn't have a car for the day. My old, but faithful Jeep is in the shop with some heat gauge issues. Not sure exactly what it is, but hopefully it can get sorted. You never realize how out of whack things can get when you don't have the convience of a car until you no longer have it. Sure you can get by without it, but it just takes a bit more planning.

Anyway, training was training today and that is it. Nothing special. No big breakthroughs, just got it in and got it done.

On the otherhand, I'm absolutely shocked by what the WTC is doing with this Ironman Access crap. I mean, really? You're not making enough money already? You need to charge people more money just to charge them more money? After having an insider's view of how pros are treated this year, I'm fed up. It's not bad enough that you have a stranglehold on the people who actually make a LIVING off this sport, pimping them like two dollar hookers, but you have to further squeeze the wallets of the people who already pay thousands on a single race? Sure they'll say that race entries are "only" 600 bucks, but when you factor in the travel, hotels, and hundreds spent on overpriced M-dot wear at the expo, your total starts to easily hover around the 4 digit mark. Furthermore, I'm sure the WTC will say that Ironman Access is only an option and not mandatory. Don't let that fool you. You put a brand new carbon fiber bike in front of any age grouper and tell them it's "just an option" and see what happens. Before you know it, you'll have a few thousand bucks in your pocket and they'll be riding off with a hunk of carbon between their legs. My point is that you're telling a bunch of type A, overachievers that they can have an advantage on the next guy (whether it's racing or getting into a race) and they'll bite straight away. The WTC knows this and they have choosen to exploit it.

In a lot of ways the WTC reminds me of the young kids I used to coach. They pushed the limits, looked at how you reacted, and then pushed some more when they realized they could get away with it. I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. To me, the true spirit of triathlon is being threatened by this behavior. Fortunately, series like Challenge and Rev3 will continue to get a strong following when people realize that Ironman isn't the end-all-be-all of long distance triathlon. I just hope that the smaller, more intimate races aren't swalled up by the machine. I haven't been in this sport for long, but from what I can see, the grassroots races are what it's all about. Keep them and you'll have racers for life. Cut them out, give someone a bad experience at a race that seems bigger then life (and more expensive then it as well), and you'll turn off more people than you can imagine before the starting gun sounds.

All of this is probably trivial as I'm sure numbers rule the game. When one person complains, the guy or gal right behind him is just as willing to lay down the cash and take their place in the machine that is WTC and Ironman. All I can say is that all this debate between WTC and the smaller organizations is like trying to be environmentally concious. All you can do is what you think is right and hope that you're making a difference. If enough people think the same way, the boat will lean that way and the course will be determined. Register for races with your heart and not with dollars in mind. An Ironman is made by distance, not by M-dot.

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