Longhorn Ironman 70.3 Austin

So it happened, they announced the race, all very professionally done.

cam_ray and a host of local "pros" were there, along with PR, TV and press, and Austin City Sports dept. If you like the logo, click on this link and select save, it's big enough to use as a desktop background.

Stood around and watched for a while, then left to go for a swim. Sadly like the dufus I am, sometimes, I drove over to Barton Springs o nly to remember it's ALWAYS closed on Thursdays for cleaning.
no F-ing way!!! really!! it's too early for April Fool's right??
No, no joke. There is $25,000 prize money, and given the timing will be a good race for new pro's to have a go at, if you think about the timing.

The 2008 70.3 Worlds in 30-days after, and the week before IMH - no pro with a place in the 70.3 or IMH Worlds is likely to risk by racing 70.3 Austin for a place in the 2009 70.3 Worlds, or a share of $25k.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. No places for IMH either.

Edited at 2008-01-11 01:02 pm (UTC)
I'm the RD, and Longhorn will have a stellar pro field....5 weeks out from Clearwater is a good time for pros to race a 70.3. While the Kona studs won't be here, I think you'll see a continued focus for some athletes just on the 70.3 series. Especially after Beijing, alot of those ITU guys, as they age, will become forces in 70.3. Look at Andy Potts.

I think part of the distinction is that Ironman pros use most 70.3's as warmups/tune ups for Ironmans. You'll find athletes who focus on the 70.3's dominating most of the important 70.3s in the future.

FYI, Simon Lessing has already commited to Longhorn:)
Great to hear from you Keith, I hadn't heard from Simon in a while, it will be good to see him in action again. If you have not made a commitment, I'll let him know he can home stay with me.

Darren Treadaway who came 3rd at the 2007 Longhorn stayed with me last year, and I've already offered space for this year to a number...

You are right on the ITU guys, I hadn't considered that! ++Mark.
Contrarian view
I often don't care. I'm operating system agnostic -- whichever one pays the bills -- I'm Chip Inside agnostic, torn between logo-wear and supporting local businesses/ventures, etc. But tell me again what I get from this event being branded? It was a great event (running course aside), well run, close and easy to get to, great volunteers, etc. I can see it might be good for the town's economy, but from where I'm sitting I see 1) we lost the option to do a Sprint or Olympic (it's Half or nothing, right? No, going to Galveston is not equivalent), 2) with twice or thrice the athlete's, that'll make the day more crowded from parking to swim muster to transition to after race vittles stands, 3) my fav. bike shop will be even busier the week leading up to the race (good for them, bad for me).
If I'd wanted a 70.3 I can get to Lubbock (Lubbock now has three new "competition" events for CenTex athletes: Kansas 70.3, Austin 70.3 and New Orleans 70.3 all within it's "catchment" area).
Anyway, why does making what what shaping up to be a great Indie event into a mdot logo'ed event benefit me the athlete?
Re: Contrarian view
It doesn't really make it a better event ... Race Directors are not charities though, they deserve a chance to make a buck, and in the process of making a buck need to invest in races. Theres a good chance that last years Longhorn didn't make money, or didn't make much money.

While its true that most IM/HIM events only run due to the unswerving commitment from volunteers, they only continue to take place if the RD and staff do the ground work. It's more than a fulltime job. If they don't invest in the race, don't make it better, and the race gets a bad name because things like parking and transition are a nightmare, or the conditions are unbearable, the race won't continue.

I don't think 70.3 races are in the same category as full IM races, you can't guarantee to make money from them, they don't all fill to capacity the day registration opens. Yet, unless you can run a full IM race unless you can a demonstrate competancy, and b demand and c financial muscle to live up to the brand expectations.

So, I for one am hoping and wishing 70.3 Austin every success. The only question for me is if I'm going to sign-up for the 70.3 and hope my knees last that long, or just upfront for the Aquabike, which I was delighted to see they are keeping!
Re: Contrarian view
Happy to answer...
I have one other Ironman-affiliated event...Timberman. I tend to tell people that having Clearwater slots is an added "perk" for the athlete. If you want it, great...if not, no big deal.

The race will still be great (actually, will improve, as we have a list of things to fix after the first year), the expo will be downtown at the Sheraton, there will be extra dinners, Sunday evening party, etc.

It's still MY race. The race won't change considerably, other than improvements we've already planned on making.

Do I hope more athletes show up? ABSOLUTELY. Here's the reality. with 2200 combined athletes last year, we LOST money. Austin's an expensive place to put on a race.

Will it ruin the athlete experience? I HIGHLY doubt it. We're not going to overcrowd things. Timberman continues to improve every year, and so will Longhorn. Just had a meeting to work on some new ideas for Longhorn, to make it even more of an experience.

Having the Mdot affiliated with the event is an added perk. We'll also have a great pro field, more media coverage (possible coverage for Versus), dinners with the pros, and more.

As for the Sprint/Oly. I've told others, never say never about it returning. The biggest issue for me was: is it special? the course is already used 3 times for the sprint. I try to ONLY do unique, "special" races.

It was also extremely tough on our crew. I have 3 multi-day events already, and it's taxing as hell on everyone. One of the real reasons we're successful is that we're very passionate about what we do. I was/am concerned about burning out our crew. We've also never done a 70.3 distance race on it's own, with the ability to completely focus the weekend on it. We're usually already exhausted before we even get to the Sunday event.

In some ways, I've been guilty of trying to be everything to everyone. It's not easy to do.

In some ways, it's an experiment for us. I'd agree, moving the sprint/oly to Galveston isn't the same thing. But the Moody Gardens venue for a sprint/oly IS special IMO....

In the end, our goal is to make each of the events we do the BEST IN THE WORLD. That's truly our goal. We are all committed to that, and it's a great source of pride. It's what makes us tick. How do we do that? We really try to analyze what can be better, what does/doesn't work, and improve it. That's from traffic control, parking, course, spectator support, food, t-shirts, entertainment, peripherals, etc on down. We felt, honestly, for Longhorn to be what we need it to be, to capture the attention of Austin (not just the athletes), the Ironman 70.3 designation was important.

Feel free to fire away with questions. It's all good!