Now, I can't much get my head around this, although I am a member, one of the original individuals members going back to their formation as Triathlon America in 2010. I've been to all four US Conferences, and partially attended the International conference in London last year during the ITU World Finals, I'm not one of their insiders.
You can read my remarks here, here and here about some of this years sessions, and an interesting series of write-ups I did for the tri247.com website while at the 2nd Triathlon America conference, where WTC CEO Andrew Messick spoke, calling Armstrongs return to triathlon "the elephant in the room".
Once the conference brewhaha over Lance Armstrongs potential appearance and rebuttal of USADA boss Travis Tygart was over, I thought things would die down. Apparently not based on the TBI tweet, and a scathing analysis by the folks over Endurance Films. Endurance Films are a big contributor to the TBI Conference, providing both videos for use at the conference, and filming various aspects of it. Their blog though has only marginally more content than this one, and so the "Armstrong Snubs" blog was both unusual in terms of content, and once I watched the video interview with TBI President Jack Carress, I was left confused. I left a comment on their blog, which they published. Here it is as well.
Totally disappointed to see that Triathlete magazines' January 2014 issue is still carrying these pseudo editorials which are actually advertisements. You have to actually look really hard for the word ADVERTISEMENT.
While I'm sure the product manufacturers will totally claim their products is safe, and I'm sure it is based on the claims they make in the advertisement, it is surely only a short swim, bike and run from legal EPO remedy to illegal ones?
Given the focus on drugs in triathlon, with the recent debates at the Triathlon Business International conference, triathlon must not just talk a clean game, but actually be seen to be clean as well.
Yes, this product may be legal, yes Triathlete, currently owned by Competitor group, is an independent, for profit business. But really, faux editorials, sold as advertisements, authored by Mark "The pressure to win is so enormous that many horsemen resort to whatever it takes to get a piece of the purse or a decent sale… even if it means putting their horses’ lives in mortal danger by doping them with illegal synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) drugs to boost endurance." Hanson, who seems to be just as much an expert on horse EPO as he is on triathlete performance.
There is definitely a debate, and we started to have it at the TBI Conference, about a certification, endorsement, and list of ingredients per supplements, so athletes know precisely what they are putting in their bodies. Interestingly, EPO-BOOST says they've partnered with the Banned Substances Control Group, headed by Don Catlin, a key speaker, advocate and part of the TBI Panel. Don was one of the people that answered my question about making data from tests, both supplement and athlete publicly available for analysis, as problematical.
Given EPO-BOOST is totally legal, it's just another supplement. During the same panel WTC/Ironman CEO Andrew Messick said "supplements are bad news. You don't know what's in 'em, athletes don't know what's in 'em, you don't know how they are manufactured, and they are and have been within the performance world the source of an enormous amount of angst and grief for athletes". Messick later in the panel apologized for a sweeping generalization after being challenged by a representative from Herbalife, who are a race sponsor.
So, while EPO-BOOST may be legal, isn't it about time magazines and organizations in triathlon stop skirting this legal/illegal boundary and take a principled stance. This would be a start to sending a clear, unambiguous message.
The USAT 2013 National rankings are done. In the Texas Men, 55-59, I came 54th. In my defence, I'd just like to point out that Texas is for the most part bigger than Germany, and has over twice the number of people than Great Britain. So, 54th is OK, could do better though. Secondly, I only raced in three qualifying races, Republic of Texas Half, Jack's Generic Sprint, Kerville Sprint.
Three of my local, central Texas rivals, finished ahead of me. Lane Carnes(16th), Reyes Lopez(18th), Gary Osborn(20th), David Sing(24th), Thomas Meade(45th) and Rick Margiotta(50th). I don't recall ever racing against Margiotta, who was formally one of the organizers of the CapTex Triathlon, and I beat Meade in 2013 at Jacks Generic sprint triathlon. Lopez and Sing will be aging up to the 60-64 age group this year, and of course there will likely faster guys coming into my age group.
My focus is on the Texas Tri Series, it will be the first time I've tried to complete the series since the first year it ran, and if I can stay injury free, my plan to go for the win. This should bump me up in the rankings, the [PDF] 2013 Texas Tri series winner was Gary Osborn, so I have my work cut out.
My rule for re-posting blog comments is about 24-hours. Often I find that through neglect, and sometimes because the author doesn't like the comment, comments sit unapproved on trashed, rather than published. Shannon Fleck has a good summary of some of the highlights from the conference, Active Endurance "Top 10 Moments of Triathlon Business International Conference". and I felt some commentary would be useful.
After Travis Tygart of USADA's great keynote on the general state of drugs in sport, and obviously commentary on the whole Lance Armstrong affair. The conference came alight Monday night after the awards, when the "voice of Ironman" and Senior Executive at Active.com, Mike Reilly announced that the conference would be using it's "Hot Topics and General Business" session on Tuesday for a one on one with Lance Armstrong. I like a number of other people had heard Lance was going to make an unscheduled appearance, through either twitter or txt msg.
I'd sat next to Dana Willett, from Boulders' 303Triathlon at dinner and already mentioned the possibility. After Reillys announcement, she wrote it up here, along with what happened next morning.
I'm with Tygart though, and a number of other current and former professional triathletes, who reached out to me overnight, it's not clear what Armstrong could add. There is also a significant body that believes it's time to stop giving Lance the oxygen of publicity as well.
Which leads to the comment I posted in the active endurance blog yesterday which remains "awaiting moderation".
I didn’t understand the flap about Lance appearance. The only things left that we don’t know is who are the race organizers, and sports administrators that either knew and turned a blind eye, or worse, worked with him to conceal and cover-up what was going on.
If there are such people, then would it have been advisable to use the TBI Conference to out them? At what point and what expense to members and to the sport? While it might have added some publicity to the event, I can’t see this would have been a good outcome.
If Lance had such information, then it would behoove him to use this information to improve the sport and help WADA/USADA clean house, and the TBI Conference really wasn’t the vehicle to suddenly out them.
Tygarts session was good, he was a captivating speaker, covered the topic and issues well. If the TBI Conference was going to dedicate time to a follow-up, it would been better to use it to discuss and plan ACTUAL actions the organization and it’s members could take to ensure triathlon was a clean sport.
Keynote speaker day 2
To protect the athletes fundamental right to participate in doing free sport and thus promote health, fitness and fairness
Bicycle Retailer has a great summary of Tygarts speech, written by Lynette Carpiet. You can read it here..
In his slides, Tygart included one of the many threatening emails he received during the Armstrong affair. On January 23rd 2014, the week before the conference, the first of two men charged with making threats was sentenced, with the second scheduled for sentencing on 2/10. The Justice department has a news release here.
I, like many, wanted to believe Lance was clean. It is truly impossible to understand though the arrogance and stupidity of people that would actually make direct threats on the basis of his truth or guilt.
Listening to keynote speaker Alan Abrahamson on the future of sports journalism. Alan started by talkign about the challenges, gave out some great numbers on mobile adoption and usage, especiall, and asked how many of the audience were prepared to pay for content, none apparently.Alan talked about his next big assignment and the challenges of covering the Sochi Winter Olympics, give the expected mobile coverage and usage, his main points were:
- Writing for mobile consumption is different 4-6 paragraphs at most.
- Everybody already knows what, you have to concentrate on why and how
- Way harder to write shorter than longer, way harder
- You have to be able to tell a story between two people. Life is all about relationships
This year I'm focusing on short course racing, speed doesn't come free, and short course requires speed, so I have my work cut out. My knees continue to deteriorate, my right knee constantly aches behind the knee. It's now almost 5-years since I saw Dr Doug Elenz at Austin Sport Medicine, and he said this one was done. The left knee, that Elenz said would be done in 6-months to a year has been getting more a more painful through 2013. I have a burning feeling almost constantly on the outside of the lower left of the knee. Both knees stiffen significantly when sitting for any length of time.
However, I've been doing considerable amounts of stretching since my last triathlon in 2013, as well as working with a foam roller and things are marginally better than they were mid-year. Yesterday I did what I'm going to use for my benchmark run this year. I didn't have a charged Garmin, so working on just time and HR, I was 48:21. and Avg HR of 138. I'll monitor progress on this through out the year, doing at least one tempo run per month.
I've entered my first race of the year, the Paramount Breg-a-leg 5k on Feb 16th. It's part of the Austin Marathon race w/e. This will give me some idea where I am compared to my 5K PR of 24:08 back in 2008. My most recent timed 5k was back in 2010 where my time was 25:44.
"Doc" as Sutton is known has a new blog/web site including his thoughts on what he has termed "take back the sport". His plan involves getting 10,000 individuals who would pay a $100 fee to join and thus fund major races which would cut entry fees to a third of standard Ironman charge and which would also offer a substantial professional prize purse.
Back a while ago on the TBB web site, Doc first surfaced his ideas as some notion of taking back the sport, which initially seemed to be a proposal to buy Ironman back from the WTC. I'm kicking myself now because I can find those on the web for looking[I think they've been deleted]. Anyway, as a comment, I posited that it would take substantially more money that Sutton thought, offered to provide some upfront funding for accounting/consulting work. Nothing.
Since then, I've been keeping an informal spreadsheet, mostly of guesstimates on where and how the WTC makes money. Since the WTC is now owned by a private VC company there are no public accounts available, and so guesses is often all I have. We know some things, the price of race entries, we can approximate the revenue from these, but we don't know precisely how many foundation slots, Ironman Executive Challenge slots there are, and most commercial contracts the WTC has, are notoriously private.
You can get an interesting insight into a few of the ways the WTC gets money by looking at the local press, especially here in the USA, where the WTC has races. The local press is often the first place to find out what new races are being considered, they report on council meetings, most of which have open records. Todays insight comes azcentral.com in a November 6th report by Dianna M. Náñez on the a Tempe City Council meeting to discuss extending their contract with the WTC for Ironman through 2018.
The write-up reveals the price of this deal. The City of Tempe will pay the WTC " a $100,000 annual cash payment and in-kind services valued annually at $87,837. The city services include Tempe police and fire security, traffic operations and trash pickup."
It's reasonable to deduce from this that other councils pay the same amount or similar amount. I'd at least assumed the WTC would pay at least in most urban/metropolitan areas a fairly hefty bill for Police support.
For the record, the 1st Place prize money for the Male and the Female Pro is just $10,000 at the 2013 Ironman Arizona. Age group entry fee was $675 per person, and $1300 for a Foundation slot. Figure 100 Foundation slots, 2800 Age group entries and we are well on the money trail. It also makes the Pro prize purse look totally pitiful.
[Update 1. Corrected entry fee to $675, 8:26pm 11/7]
Over the past 5-years, I've lead informal group rides on the Austin 70.3, nee Longhorn, bike course and will be doing that again this year, starting tomorrow, Saturday August 17th. The rides are unsupported, that is we don't provide ride leaders, or any kind of breakdown or aid stations during the ride. However, it helps to have someone who knows the way, I will again be riding the course with anyone that wants to ride along. The route is usually marked so you can ride without guides, but since this too is unofficial, we can't say for sure what the state will be this year.
I will be at the front entrance to Walter E Long park for a 7 a.m. wheels down, ride start on the following dates
- August 17th
- August 24th
- August 31st
- October 5th
- October 12th
- October 19th
The ride start time shifts based on the cloud cover and sunrise that day. But if you arrive for a 7a.m. start you'll be in good shape.
As in prior years, the plan is for the first couple of weeks to ride the course more like a group ride. It's expected to take anything from 3-hours 15-mins to 4-hours. August 31st will be a faster pace ride and then for the October rides, there will be a sub 2:45 group at 7a.m. and a 3hr+ group at 10a.m., more typically aimed at first timers.
I'll have some simple maps available at ride start time. Here is the mapmyride route, you can download or print. It will be hot, and there are NO available aid stops; no gas stations; no stores or anything until around mile-42 when you get back to Webberville. So you need to bring water, drinks, fuel as appropriate. You also need to make your own arrangements for breakdown cover and ensure you have basic tools, tubes etc. to handle simple problems.
Park outside the park entrance on the grass. Do not block the road. Remember entrance to the park is free on foot and that there are people living adjacent to the park entrance, please keep the noise down when arriving early. You must obey the prevailing traffic laws when riding the course, that especially means stopping at the stop sign where you turn right onto FM969/Webberville Rd. This is a sharp turn and you must STOP.
If you are doing the Austin Livestrong ride and are looking for a group to do longer rides with, these rides are one way and you could even consider doing both rides on October 5th and 12th.
Finally, if you want to run afterwards, you can. I'd discourage running along Decker Lake road on the tarmac, two cars passing car be problematical. You can run into the park for free, the park has bathrooms but if you take your car in, you have to pay even if there is no one there when you arrive early!