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 10, 2019.

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I had a bad day at Oceanside this past Saturday, like empirically, by the numbers, real bad. But so did Sarah True, who was 6th. And, apparently, so did Holly Lawrence, who got second. And, anyway, at least we didn’t get hurricane’d on or DQ’d. All of which is why this week’s theme is: shittiness is relative. The only good part was so many of you yelling at me out on course — like, so many. So, this weekend, say hi to me again if you’re in Lima for Peru 70.3 and come listen to me (and to people who are faster than me) at the pro panel on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Putting the ocean back in Oceanside

This is a photo of Sarah True falling at the very start of the race in Oceanside. (Photo: Talbot Cox) And apparently it didn’t get better for her from there. She was simply racing without the effort matching the expectations. Holly, too, said she was out there putting down training watts and wondering where the hell her legs were. That was my experience too, only slower — biking around Camp Pendleton wondering why my wattage was so much lower than it should be, convincing myself my computer was probably wrong, and then realizing as everyone went by me that my computer’s terrible numbers were right.

Shittiness is relative. I would love to have had Sarah’s day and she would have loved, I’m sure, to have had Holly’s day. And everyone would love to be Daniela, who was still overcoming bronchitis evidently on her way to a course record.

What even is a “bad” day? How do you know it’s a bad day? And what do you do after a bad day? 

We’ll talk about it on the podcast this Friday. But one thing is clear: it’s race season officially here in the Americas, so you gotta move on to the next one.

They put the ocean back in Oceanside this weekend, and we had to run (and get knocked down) in crazy surf, which I’m still hoping for a video of. Daniela Ryf proved she is The One To Beat — and, IMO, is the biggest star in the sport. I did not get lapped by her, though it was close; she did manage to beat about half the pro men and was just 19 minutes behind the men’s winner, Ben Kanute. Which was particularly evident since the men only started two minutes ahead of the pro women and the races got more than a little mixed up.

One note: My mom went to Ironman’s Facebook page to watch a live stream and was asked to put in her credit card number, which she did not because it seemed sketchy af. It appears, though, that someone was trying to promote an alleged live stream in the comments, which was definitely not sanctioned, definitely sketchy af, and by all accounts not even a real live stream. So.

And putting the ocean in Galveston too

At least I didn’t race the Galveston 70.3 though. That would have been worse. (Shittiness is relative.) When a massive storm rolled in about two-thirds of the way through the age group race, the organizers were forced to cancel the event immediately and round up all the people still on course to get them to shelter. Watch this clip and try to argue they made the wrong decision.

But. What happens then when some age group waves — it’s still a wave start there — are finished and some aren’t? How do you award world championship slots and medals? [They cancelled the award ceremony as well, obvs.]

What the race organizers ended up doing was emailing all athletes. In some age groups, the winning times were already done and people had finished. In some age groups, where people didn’t finish and were pulled from the course, organizers used the last available timing mat to determine places and awards slots. They will then be contacting the athletes who earned a world championship spot to give them 48 hours to accept their slot or it will roll down to the next person, who will then be contacted.

Which raises the question: Why can’t we just do slot allocation and rolldown in a reasonable 48-hour response window by email always??

A proposal from Ironman

Ironman also announced this week just the kind of thing that causes Slowtwitch’s servers to explode: There will be extra special slots at Ironman Louisville for AWA (All World Athletes). They revealed some more information about the process in a Twitter video — the most important piece of which was that it is not pronounced AWA, but is pronounced A-wah instead?

Here’s why this is interesting and matters:

  • They’re giving AWA athletes — ie. those athletes who earned AWA status for 2019 — a chance to start at the front and to compete for extra slots, in addition to the regular slots that will be awarded via the regular secret formula. This could be a step towards the elite-amateur wave we’ve all been asking for.
  • If AWA was more performance-based (and not as loyalty-based as it is), it’d be a nice way to reward consistently good athletes omnium-style. As is, it’s also a good way to reward athletes who give Ironman a lot of money consistently.
  • Ironman is clearly testing things out, which could also pave the way for other things. A way to qualify for Kona via the AWA rankings directly, not just with a one-off qualification race??
  • Louisville is the same weekend as Kona. Which is interesting timing.
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    Comments & thoughts

    – On the podcast, we mentioned some of the athletes you all thought I overlooked on my list of stars: Angela Naeth, Anne Haug, Cody Beals, Nicola Spirig. Ryan also thought I was wrong about Daniela and that I put Lionel to far down. Jen, however, thought I nailed it.

    – “Loved this in the newsletter this week,” said Taylor.

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