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 July 18, 2018.
Photo: ITU Media / Wagner Araujo
Turns out: one way to not stress out about racing an Ironman is to instead race and travel a whole bunch right beforehand, and be too tired and busy to get nervous. #protip. I’m headed to IM Lake Placid tomorrow. And Sara and Ashley are already there, doing live interviews and coverage on the Ironwomen Facebook page. For the pros, it’s a women’s-only race with a nice prize purse, some of the last qualifying points for Kona 2018 before the July cut-off, and a really goddamn competitive field. Good thing I’m not stressed. I am tired, though, so if we were riding this week, my thoughts would be quick and short.
ITU stands for International Triathlon Union
Last week there was a big ITU world championship “festival” in Denmark. There was a duathlon world championships, an aquathlon, an aquabike, the cross worlds (generic name for what we call Xterra), and long course worlds. Apparently, there were almost 3,000 athletes from 48 countries across the events. And everything I heard from friends racing was positive; it was a fun world championship, with a different vibe than the Ironman world champ races.
Helle Frederiksen won the long course worlds and I don’t know why she might have given up on herself, but she was adamant that this is why you don’t give up.
Of course, then, this past weekend was the ITU World Triathlon Series race in Hamburg, which is sort of a bigger deal (sorta? but different?) and makes it feel a little bit like the ITU is competing with itself? Flora Duffy struggled to come back from her foot injury and I felt bad for her. France’s Cassandre Beaugrand had a surprise win — though one win always has to be your first one, right? And Mario Mola won again. And then there was *also* the mixed relay world champs. (Which France won, because France basically can’t lose right now.)
I feel for ITU. I do. They do a good job, and they’re responsible for the highest level of the sport (in most respects), but so often it feels like they get the shaft. Also, Jake Birtwhistle is right: The false start and then horns to restart and then continuing the race anyway was *bizarre.*
Happy Triathlon Week!
USA Triathlon has declared it National Triathlon Week, which means, uh, happy #triweek to you and you and you.
It appears to be a kind of marketing campaign effort to get more people into the sport (which I am for) and to celebrate the sport (I am also for), but it’s still sort of funny. Primarily, it appears to be a social media effort with ways for you to also post and win prizes. And a Facebook Live with USAT CEO Rocky Harris. And there are celebrity ambassadors, like MLB outfielder Eric Byrnes.
Today is Run Day. Tomorrow is Recovery Day. This weekend is Race Weekend.
Please don’t hit LeBron
Before I deleted Facebook off my phone (temporarily, so I don’t end up having to throw it out a window and go get a new one during race week), an acquaintance posted on the social medias asking how fast is too fast for cyclists to ride their bikes in the road. And, sure enough, the first comment underneath was a variation on the standard ‘cyclists are all moralistic assholes, they deserve to get hit, they have a death wish after all, even if they’ve got the right of way, it won’t matter when they’re dead, the worst are those Lance Armstrong wannabes in all their spandex.’
I’ve heard this rant so many times that I really should let them know it needs an update: no one’s trying to be Lance anymore.
The commenters came out again locally in response to this op-ed: Why do we always blame cyclists? Even “well-meaning” concerned citizens have a tendency to argue this specific road isn’t safe, that road isn’t really for bikes, cyclists should just behave better, etc, etc. Maybe, instead, there’s some kind of option where we don’t just hate people and blame them for getting themselves killed. (Ironwomen talked with the cyclist lawyer a few weeks ago; she had a few thoughts.)
On that note. LeBron James is moving to L.A. and he likes to ride his bike to get around. Dear Los Angeles: Please don’t run him over. Maybe LeBron will help us?
That other cycling race…
There’s that one cycling race going on right now. And, then, oh yeah, there’s another one too. STOP IGNORING THE GIRO ROSA. It actually turns out (shock) the premier women’s cycling race has been decently exciting, and odds are there’s less doping, in case you were looking for some pure cycling to get into. Isn’t it nice the UCI confirmed there will be a minimum salary for female riders on international tour starting soon? Except they didn’t say how much it’ll be, and also not everyone will necessarily make the minimum salary. That, plus also the fact that there’s still no women’s Tour de France, is probably why Kathryn Bertine has been hardcore subtweeting the UCI and the Tour and basically everyone involved.
- Tweet of the week: Kona champ (and expert) Mirinda Carfrae’s advice to first-timer Sarah True.
- Ironman announced “a diverse group of athletes” for season two of ‘Quest for Kona.’ It’s certainly an interesting group, including former pro cyclist Andrew Talansky, second at Kona Ben Hoffman, and Sarah True. (Spoiler alert: I think we know how Sarah’s quest to qualify for Kona turns out.)
- Ironman, however, will not be buying the Breck Epic multi-day mountain race we talked about before — despite the race founder passing up on a “giant sack of money.”
- Speaking of: Ironman is hiring an executive producer for its TV shows and digital content, and a manager of athlete development to bring new people into the sport. Just saying.
- A cyclist down in the South Bay here is suing a group ride for crashing him out. Like my husband said, ‘How do you sue a group ride?’
- There were already a whole lot of issues with the rules limiting testosterone in women in track and field (in only some events), but now it turns out the data in the study used to make those rules “was anomalous or inaccurate 17 percent to 33 percent of the time.” There’s basically no way those rules don’t get overturned.
- Youth soccer participation is down in the U.S. (Of course, so is youth football and baseball and, honestly, I’m not sure what the youth *are* doing.) But at least part of what’s hurting American soccer is the lack of access and diversity. You know what team was pretty goddamn diverse, with all the best players from different groups within their country? FRANCE
- I know this story is making the rounds on Facebook, but. Yes, the people who investigate course-cutters can seem a little intense when it comes to outing middle-of-the-packers, but this woman’s response to being DQ’d for cutting the course at a San Diego triathlon is, uh, WAY MORE INTENSE. It’s one thing to accidentally or not accidentally cut a loop of the course. And it’s another to blame it on all of California, to claim this made you understand why someone would be a mass shooter, and to call the person looking into your course cutting a “fucking Polack.” Very bizarre.
- Maybe someone should tell her that positivity can be a performance enhancer.
- There is a really interesting scientific effort to quantify pain and make it easier to diagnose. However, one weird side effect of the standardization of a pain scale over the last decade or two was a massive uptick in the reporting of pain, which led to a large increase in the prescribing of opioids and painkillers, and, well, that didn’t turn out great.
- Something fitness tracker were probably never intended for: tracking your drug binges.
- I admit I sort of love Kilian Jornet and every detail is fantastic in this story about him and his twice-in-one-week climbing of Mt. Everest.
- Apparently, this one guy makes rankings for age group nationals for every age group, which is intense af.
- Olympic gold medal cross-country skier and Ironwomen podcast guest Kikkan Randall has been diagnosed with breast cancer.