R.I.P. Beach to Battleship

RIP B2B

World Triathlon Corporation today announced, as expected, that they had acquired Setup Events’ Beach to Battleship iron and half-iron distance races.

While some will certainly hail this as a good thing, there are others that will feel a certain amount of sadness.  And rightfully so.

I’ve never raced B2B.  I was planning on doing the full iron race in 2016 with a friend so he could cross off a bucket list item.  We were looking forward to the race for a lot of reasons:  a fast swim, a flat course, good swag, a fantastic vibe and great reputation, a good location (in the state where I grew up and in a town I often visited), and certainly a good value for our dollars.

There are, of course, things that will not change.  The course route isn’t changing.  The swim will still be fast.  The locals and volunteers will be out in force.

But things are changing.

Any time there’s a corporate takeover of a smaller, mom & pop outfit, the smaller changes.  In my opinion, that change is often for the worse.  Less personalized attention.  More generic products.  More crowds.  Less character.

I suspect that those fundamental – and quite unique – aspects of Beach to Battleship will be gone now.  In their place, you’ll likely find a similar experience that you’d get at any other Ironman brand race.

And while that’s cool for lots of people, it makes me sad.

So, rest in peace Beach to Battleship.

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Training for Naught

Over the weekend, WTC canceled their Ironman Lake Tahoe race do to poor air quality resulting from a huge brush fire in the general proximity of the race venue.

I can totally relate to how bad the environment must have been in the Lake Tahoe area.  Living in Florida, brush fires are a reality of my life. Each spring, various fires pop up all over the state, but most notably in the northeast part of the state where I live. The smoke and ash that lingers in the air is heavy, reeks and makes breathing supremely difficult. It’s often as if you’re living in the middle of a campfire.

Smoke from a nearby wildfire in 2011 caused a haze to hang over the Jacksonville area (picture courtesy news4jax.com)

Smoke from a nearby wildfire in 2011 caused a haze to hang over the Jacksonville area (picture courtesy news4jax.com)

 

Canceling the race was the correct thing to do.

Imagine what those athletes likely felt when they heard the news.

They had poured literally hundreds of hours into training.  Many of them had pushed their bodies to the brink and back.  For lots of folks, I’m sure that this was their bucket list event – their chance to become an “Ironman”.   I can empathize with those athletes.  I know how hard folks work for a big event like this.

And then suddenly to not be able to do the event.

Wow.  Heartbreaking.

Of course, I get that not doing a race isn’t the end of the world.  There are far bigger fish to fry.  I feel for those that have lost their house as a result of the fire.  There are so many other social and societal issues that folks face each and every day.  This was just a race.

And yet, I’m sure that the sense of let down was huge for lots of these athletes.  While I suspect that most (if not all) of the athletes impacted can rationalize the decision and realize that canceling the event was the correct thing to do, it’s much more difficult to rationalize emotions.

Surely the thought of having the proverbial rug ripped out from right under your feet had to be disappointing for the athletes, but I cannot fathom what it would be like to race even an hour – let alone up to 17 hours – in conditions like what existed on Sunday.

It would be easy to reflect and rejoice on the fitness gained, the mettle tested, and the experiences gained throughout the time that these athletes trained for their race.  Those would be moral victories.  For lots of athletes, the reality could be that this was their one chance.  Their soon-to-be huge accomplishment.  I feel for them.

Ironman has not yet announced how they will handle those athletes.  I don’t know if they will get a refund, an entry deferral, or simply nothing.  Here’s to hoping that WTC takes care of those athletes and that they have another chance to do their race.

And….here’s to hoping that the lingering effects of not being able to swim, bike, and run this past weekend are able to quickly disseminate like smoke on a windy day.

Triathlon Trainer B-I-N-G-O

#TrainerBingo

So my Team Rev3 mate Jamie Bull has got to be a genius.  No, seriously!  The dude has mad skills in so many things – he’s a social media expert, lives in Boston (so he’s wicked cool already), has an awesome pup, likes good beer, and is one of the funnier guys I’ve come across.

I guess living in the cold northeast does funny things to one’s brain, because Jamie came out with a really funny idea the other day:  #TrainerBingo!

This is much like buzzword bingo – you know, the game you play when you’re in some corporate town hall or at a seminar and hear words/phrases like synergy, out of the box, deckware, win-win, payback, innovation, stakeholder, benchmark, runway, except this game is all about triathlon.  And more specifically, the crazy crap that some of us post on social media while we’re spending hours on the trainer watching Breaking Bad.  Or Barney.  Or whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, Jamie came up with a great grid for #TrainerBingo – check out the card over on his blog.  In fact, do more than just check it out – go over there and DOWNLOAD it!  And the next time you’re toiling away on your trainer, why not play along.  The thing is that filling out your card won’t be all that difficult either!

Here’s the catch – if you play #TrainerBingo, you need to play it up on social media too!  Call it out and hashtag it.  “I just saw someone post a picture of their sweaty calf! #TrainerBingo”.  The goals here are to have some fun, get our training on, and make fun of all of us crazy type A triathletes.  Let’s see if we can’t get #TrainerBingo trending on Twitter!

Have fun, and good luck.  Anyone seen a recent sweaty picture of someone’s face hunched over their aerobars recently?  I’ve got that space open on my #TrainerBingo card!

#TBT: A Dear John Letter to Ironman

Throwback Thursday is an internet phenom right now.  It’s fun to look back at pictures from days gone by.  Seems like a fun concept to apply to blog posts, too.  

Back in November 2011, I wrote the following blog post, and it turned out to be one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written.  It’s been read more than 600 times (from my blog alone), shared on Facebook, Twitter & re-posting on other blogs more than 100 times.  I received more emails and feedback on this post than almost any other post.  So…I guess the sentiment expressed below struck a chord with folks.

Given the popularity of this post, I thought I’d post it up again for you to enjoy…

Dear Ironman,

You and I, we have a history.

I’ve sweated and swam, biked miles upon miles, and ran like Forrest Gump. All in an effort to overcome the races you’ve lain in front of me. Not just once, but several times.

Orlando. Panama City Beach. Louisville. They are familiar territory. A few good memories have come from my pursuits there. More of them have been ho-hum.

Once I was pleased to hear Mike Reilly proclaim that I was an “Ironman”.

But I’m over you.

It’s not you…..it’s all me.

I’m tired of swimming with two thousand friends. I don’t like drafting when I’m supposed to be racing. I don’t like feeling like a customer.

Triathlon isn’t about those things. At least for me, it’s not. Triathlon is about the challenge. Feeling like you belong at a race – regardless of whether you’re the first finisher or the last. I like spectacle and boisterous finish lines as much as the next guy, and while you’re good at that, others are equally good – if not better – at it than you are. I want to feel valued as an athlete. Part of the family. Cared about. Loved.

And you, well, you don’t do that anymore for me.

I’m just a tick mark on your headboard. Another zero on the balance sheet. Another person to sell logo’d merchandise to for too high a price.

We’re done. I know you’ll find others. People will constantly clamor for the “notoriety” that comes from doing one of your races. Good for them.

I’m in this for something more now. Good riddance.

I’ve got a new sweetheart. She may be a little younger than you, but she’s better in oh so many ways. Her name even sounds cooler……Revolution3. Change. New. She’s all that.

So we’re breaking up. Have a nice life.