Friday, August 13, 2010

You Get What You Pay For (that’s a freakin’ metaphor. I know these things are expensive)

Yesterday in the race briefing the ITU reamed us out for acting like goofballs on the bike in London and not creating enough buzz with the media.

First of all, I think the ITU has come a long way, and is doing an excellent job. I’m glad to see the athletes are really starting to engage themselves with the age group athletes, etc. Now that I got that out of the way, here’s what I’m really going to write about.

You want real trash talk, just put a microphone in the middle of the bike pack…you’ll have to bleep out half the words for TV though…

The ITU and media want exciting races. Big City, Big Crowds. BC. All the WCS races seem like they’re modeling after the final day of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. The first half of the race is all smiles and waves, the last 20Km is all out racing. There’s the beautiful scenery of Paris, but it’s designed for the sprinters. Only a handful of guys have a legit shot at the win. Breakaways rarely succeed that day.

With the courses we’re racing on, it reminds of exactly that. Accept we get yelled at for waving at the camera and crowds. Big City, Big Crowds? It ends up being Boring, Crappy racing. You don’t need incredible background scenery to come up with an epic race. It’s the same thing every time. The same guys in the top 10. If the viewers want to watch something with beautiful background scenery, don’t you think they’d watch the Discovery Channel instead?

Sure, let’s have the races like Hamburg and London, but how about a killer race course like the Escape from Alcatraz? Only the strongest, most well round triathletes will shine. Maybe the same guys who place in the Top 10 will still all be in the top 10. We can only speculate for now.

As of right now the athletes representing the rest of us are also some of the most successful guys in the sport. Not only that, but you guys work your ass off, and I fully commend you on that. Thanks for all your hard work and what you do. They’re badasses, but the guys are sort of like the sprinters racing on the Champs-Élysées. Now, if we race on one or two impossibly hard courses a year, you might have to take a pay cut if you can’t hang and not get your usual top 10 finish, or just skip that one in the series. And no, I don’t feel like running for a committee anytime soon.

Tomorrow we’re racing in the beautiful town of Kitzbuehel…in a valley surrounded by alps and epic climbs. There won’t be any of that in our race though. You’ll see it in the background, but we won’t be there. I’m not suggesting we race on more dangerous courses, but if the racing is going to be more exciting, we’re going to have to race challenging courses.

Ok, tomorrow will be tough, especially if it rains like last year. Cold, wet, windy, rainy….miserable. (Man, that was hard! I didn’t even make the main pack! )What the television viewers really want to see are ocean swims with giant surf, long steep climbs, technical bike courses (quit it with the 180 degree turns already), and hilly runs. Challenging courses that will rip the race to shreds because they’re hard, not because it’s dangerous and guys are crashing.

Oh, not all the athletes will like a hard race? Then stay home you sissy.

Now, back to preparing for tomorrow's race...

5 comments:

soulrider said...

That's so true... I usually FF through most of the race on my DVR when i catch the events on Universal sports. The WCS is entertaining primarily if you are interested in watching fast running. And if I'm correct according to what the announcers were saying, in london, there were 9 speed bumbs on an 8 lap course... that's 72 for the entire bike course... rediculous.

Jack said...

Perfect critique.

Cameron Milne said...

well, i guess you got what you wanted. Great racing today!! Good to see a group of good guys mixing it up and getting good results in the end. I especially like the idea of having tougher races especially on the bike. Im thinking the alcatraz idea would be amazing and iconic. The ITU dont have to choose the biggest cities, these dont necessarily give the best crowds and most entertaining events! Im not saying to not have races in hamburg or london. But adding more diversity to the WCS would end up with a more rounded World Champion. Shouldnt the world champion be the best in all 3 disciplines not just running. Again well done matt!

noncoupable said...

I couldn't agree more. I saw Bevan's fb status message said something about a new bike course plan for next year, perhaps? I totally agree with you about the courses in general. It's the reason why my favorite runs have always been anything put on by Pacific Coast Trail Runs (and now: South Valley Endurance and Coastal Trail Runs). If you ever get a chance to do something these guys sponsor, you won't regret it. Think: 15K, 2,200 feet of climbing, waterfalls, redwood trees, and a super tough crowd of hardcore endurance athletes. Now THAT is fun... for participation or watching.

Also, FYI, my favorite part of the TdF is when they're in those big climbs in the Alps or Pyrenees and you get the pans on castles, mountains, and crazy steep climbs. The Paris stage is a snooze fest. If you consider doing Ironman races you'll get some nice scenery on the bike course in France and Switzerland... I drove the France bike course with Alex the year he did it, and when I decide to IM train it will be one of these two!

-Amanda

Colin said...

Just watched you swing the stick on the bike leg in Kitzbuehel. So rad! I race bikes, and like watching ITU triathlon because of the potential for more strategy. I hate it when everyone races conservatively on the bike and it comes down to a footrace. Way to lay it all out and still pull 4th!!