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 3, 2019.

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Happy day before America Day! (I think. Honestly, time in the Land Down Under is very confusing and I’m not even 100% sure I’m sending this out on the correct day.) If you’re actually reading the newsletter right now and not one of the many people currently on vacation, then I have news for you: I am on vacation. And I’m trying not to do too much work while in Australia. So if we were riding, I’ve got one thought for you and then some race recaps, news, and triathlon-ish stuff.

Where does triathlon take you?

I took this photo during my run along the coast from Bondi Beach. I didn’t actually swim in this famous pool, but only because I’d already done my swim for the day in downtown Sydney.

I’m a big believer in training your way through travel. Running and biking and swimming can take you places regular tourist trips never will. I actually wrote one of my Triathlete Magazine columns about this. And I thought about it again while I did my shakeout jog around the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, along the water next to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, turning the corner as the sun came up over the Opera House. I made my own tour—and it was better than one of those walking ones that involves headphones. And then I went to the pool with the locals on their way to work.

Some of the most interesting places and things I’ve seen while traveling have been during workouts. But some of the weirdest situations I’ve gotten into have happened then too. There’s a fine balance between seeing the sites and getting your workouts in. If you really have to train, then eventually you’ll have to train, not sightsee. You’ll have to do boring laps around the park, just like the locals. (But, then again, people pay lots of money for “authentic” experiences. And I’m not sure there’s anything more authentic than the locker room of the local gym.) And if you don’t have to train and you really have to vacation, then eventually you won’t do any more gym workouts or trainer rides. You’ll have to enjoy whatever kind of casual jog or bike ride you can get in.

Where has training taken you? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or done while working out on vacation?

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  • The biggest race that happens near my house now took place this past weekend and I wasn’t even there. Ugh. Although I’m currently off Twitter and wasn’t able to follow Western States (since the best coverage tends to be on the Twitter), I was still able to get the gist of the crazy race. Jim Walmsley broke his own course record by 20 minutes (!); second place Jared Hazen was under the old course record too and if you wanted to be in the top ten you had to run the 100 miles in under 15:57. After women’s leader Courtney Dauwalter was forced to drop out, she stayed and cheered people on (and prompted a head-to-head battle to replace her). As always, iRunFar has the full race coverage and post-race interviews(Twitter/iRunFar/Facebook)
  • I don’t think there was anyone who wasn’t rooting for Sarah True after her heartfelt breakdown of her IM Cairns DNF. But then IM Frankfurt this weekend didn’t go as planned either. I understand she was basically deliriously overheating and not making sense and everyone who watched the race says she was pretty gone even before she passed out with 1 km to go. She talked about it some on Youtube after, but I don’t know what to say guys. (Youtube/Instagram)
  • That, of course, left the door open for Skye Moench to take her first major win. There’s something to watching someone you’ve been racing against for awhile take it up a level and then make that break-through. Want to know more about your new European champ? Listen to her Ironwoman interview from last week. (Instagram/Soundcloud)
  • The insanely hot race was all around crazy. Seb Kienle ended up in T2 with a piece of glass in his foot but ran a marathon to second place anyway. Sure, Jan still took the win, but Sebi is insane. (Instagram)
  • Speaking of Jan, has anyone checked out his new AI-based training and tracking tool? I’m not 100% sure how he’s making money off of it, but he definitely is. I’m not sure it’s a terrible idea either. Coaching is going to incorporate AI in the future. But I don’t know if this is how it’ll do it. We’ll see. (Facebook)
  • h/t to Fast Women, but at least triathlon doesn’t pick its teams the way the USA Track & Field just picked and then unpicked its PanAm Games team. (At least we mostly don’t.) (Letsrun)
  • Strava wants to be the new Facebook, but not called Facebook. (Outside)
  • What do you actually need to know about that whole ballyhooed study on the new gut bacteria that makes marathoners faster? It’s sorta more complicated(Outside)
  • My other favorite thing from a study recently: Kicking produces no benefit in swimming. At least it only provides a benefit at slow speeds—of 1:30/100m. *hahahahahaha* (SwimSwam)
  • I bet you can guess the answer to this question: Why is it important to photograph women in sports(Wired)
  • Also in weird women sports coverage news: Twitter is promoting women’s sports by awarding a Golden Tweet award. (Front Office Sports)
  • The Giro Rosa starts this weekend. And in the face of a lack of coverage of the women’s tour races, Trek is making an hour-long broadcast of each of the stages available for free. Which isn’t a bad idea and will probably pay off for them too. (Trek)
  • The sponsorship dollars for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are setting records. So my question is: How come CoSport keeps getting the contract to allocate tickets, and keeps doing a shitty job and having technical failures every time, and keeps charging absurd prices?? (Yahoo Sports)
  • And here’s your Women’s World Cup update for the week: The France v. US game was some of the best soccer I’ve seen in forever. And, anyway, if Tobin Heath’s goal got called offsides, then I suppose it’s sort of fair the England goal got called offsides next game. Sorta. It’s been a *good* tournament if you like soccer and I will be getting up at 1 a.m. here to watch the final. Do yourself a favor and watch too.

Comments & thoughts

– A lot of you had sympathy for my inadvertent squirrel drive-by, or similar horror stories of cycling wildlife run-ins. Peter thinks we should all be forced to eat what we accidentally kill. Which is one solution to that problem.

– There’s also a debate going on over whether or not the Ironman World Championships should be moved. But if your response was just that ‘it’ll never happen,’ then I know you didn’t actually listen to the podcast!