Text by Kelly O’Mara | Photo by Talbot Cox
‘If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced by Live Feisty Media. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. You can also read past issues. This episode is from April 11th, 2018.
My husband’s Lyft driver last night is also the owner of two World Championship track medals from the 1990s. In case you were wondering if athletes are doing it, turning themselves inside out, for the love or for the money. Just a fun fact. Another fun fact: I’m headed to training camp tonight. Because it’s time for triathlon to get started. And I don’t actually feel great about it. I’ve been having health issues. But I think I’ll feel worse if I don’t try. Isn’t that why we do this?
Run to another level
Above is a photo of Anne Haug winning Oceanside 70.3 this past weekend — generally considered the super-competitive North American start of the season, even though Texas 70.3 also happened on Sunday. The photo’s from Talbot Cox, if you want to see his whole gallery of the races. But the winning was all Haug.
As in: she ran a 1:16:23 half-marathon off the bike.
Yes, she ran a 1:14:11 in Dubai two months ago, but we all thought, ‘Well, maybe it was a fast day.’ And, yes, plenty of women have run sub-1:20s before. But it seems pretty clear at this point Haug’s performance wasn’t a fluke. It also seems like we may be about to see another jump in performances at the women’s 70.3 level. It tends to happen in women’s sports—the field moves forward in jumps as other athletes catch up to Chrissie or Daniela or whoever blazes the trail—and it’s been enough time now, too, since 70.3s became their own unique race, that 70.3-specific athletes have fully come into their own. I’m betting, now, we see another jump forward in the next year or two.
In other news from the races:
– Kona champ Jan Frodeno beat last year’s Oceanside winner Lionel Sanders
– Mirinda Carfrae took second in her first race post-pregnancy at Texas 70.3
– And Matt Russell returned with a 7th in Texas, after that terrible crash at Kona in October
What even is ‘The Commonwealth?’
I am apparently not the only one who thinks the Commonwealth Games may not be relevant anymore. Like, we don’t get invited because we didn’t leave the Empire nice enough? And Canada just gets to be in everything? Some people are even more adamant in their opposition than I am. But Flora Duffy did finally win, becoming the first Bermudan woman to medal. And there was a mixed team relay, as a kind of practice race for the Olympics. So that’s nice.
Boston Boston Boston
In races too many people care about: the Boston Marathon happens on Marathon Monday, which (in case you weren’t keeping track) is this Monday. The American female contingent is pretty intense—Shalane, Molly, Jordan, Desi—and if an American woman doesn’t win for the first time in a long long time, I think people are going to be seriously disappointed.
People have also been all worked up because of the news that transgender women can run at Boston. What I don’t understand about everyone’s fretting is what they thought was happening before? Like always? Did people think marathon organizers (or any race directors) were sex testing thousands of amateur women, like in the middle of the expo, when they check-in? If you register as a woman and your ID says you’re a woman and you go to check-in in the women’s 30-39 category, is it likely the random check-in volunteer was going to administer a complicated hormone test to you? Or just whisk away the women they don’t think look womanly enough to have their boobs measured by some doctor? Really the Boston Marathon is simply saying, women, whatever their history, continue to be allowed to run as women. Let’s not even get into the debate over who decides who’s a woman and who isn’t.
- Pro cyclist Michael Goolaerts died of heart failure during Paris-Roubaix this weekend. It appears he went into cardiac arrest before he crashed.
- On Montana’s Flathead Reservation, playing (and winning) basketball is about more than basketball. It’s about stopping the scourge of suicides on the reservation. (It also reminded me of the old classic heartbreaking Sports Illustrated story about just exactly how far, and no further, basketball can take you on the reservation.)
- A competitor giving Cody Beals his wheel during Texas 70.3 made me feel warm and fuzzy—until it turned out that competitor was only out of the race because he’d gotten pushed (?) and crashed earlier.
- The women’s winner at the Tour of Flanders took home $1,415. The winner of the Zwift CVR World Cup, which we talked about two weeks ago, made $7,800. She’s a professional gardener.
- Which really raises the question of if women’s sports would be more popular if someone, you know, covered them.
- This week’s totally crazy story about how we treat women: A female doctor rushed into a sumo ring to do CPR on a man who had collapsed. She and the other women who were helping were asked to leave the ring because women are unclean. (They ignored that request.)
- “Don’t buy this jacket.” — Patagonia is making a business out of fighting for the environment.
- One thing they weren’t able to stop: References to human activity were removed from the National Park Service’s report on climate change.
- Camping spots in the California park system were supposed to be easier to get after an online system overhaul, but they’ve only become harder to lock down. It might be because of bots.
- Glacier National Park covered everything you want to know about bear hibernation on their Instagram this week, including this gem about fecal plugs.
‘If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced with Live Feisty Media. Subscribe to get it in your email inbox every Wednesday morning. You can read past issues or listen to our podcast of the same name on Fridays. If you like what you read, consider forwarding to a friend or sharing the link. You can also press reply to let me know what you think.