#61: Missing: 180 people's bikes
Too late in the year for this kind of drama.
issue #61: Nov. 15, 2023
This week’s issue is presented by:
It was a funny week, right? Here I am still trying to unpack at least a few boxes each day and (even though everyone else is all refreshed and recovered) I have only just started to feel like my mind is coming around. (You can tell my brain is getting refreshed because I start to have a lot of terrible ideas again.)
And, yet, in the midst of off-season (?) this week, there was so much drama for mid-November! Shouldn’t we all be drinking too much and base training and getting ready to get ready again?
First, as I’m building my miles back up and regrouping my motivation, I want to thank Precision Fuel & Hydration for their support. And, second, I want to remind all of you paying subscribers, this Thursday is Book Club—we’ll be joined by the author of ‘Sidelined.’ I know a bunch of you have read it, so come for a fun chat and Q&A.
Now, let’s get reading, get eating, and get mellow’d out on all this drama.
#TBT to when TBT was still solvent
Let’s start by saying: I’ve always found TriBike Transport super useful for domestic races. They’ve been good to the pros, they’ve helped me out more than a few times, and if you wanted to mix a race trip with a vacation then handing your bike off to TriBike was the best way to do it.
So, when I started hearing complaints a few weeks ago, I figured people were just complaining. Then, last week it started circling around age-groupers’ bikes still missing from the World Tri Finals in Spain back in September and possible legal action.
And then, on Friday, a complaint was filed in court in L.A. and everything came to a head.
According to the complaint: TriBike entered into a number of contracts since July with the shipping company, Horizon Cargo, for different overseas races. TriBike still owes that company $319,731.27 for those contracts. Horizon says they haven’t been paid at all, “not one cent,” and they say TriBike is insolvent and never actually intended to pay them. As a result, Horizon has held onto this last shipment of cargo—ie. the 180 bikes from the World Tri Finals in Spain—until they are paid.
And because Horizon filed a lien, there is now 30 days before a debt settlement has to be reached, they have to be paid, or they could potentially sell off the cargo (ie. people’s bikes) to recoup costs. Obviously, this is the part a lot of people are fighting over now. TBT says they tried to negotiate release of the bikes and there’s no legal basis for selling third-party property. Horizon says ‘you didn’t pay us for shipping your cargo, so we took your cargo.’ USAT is certainly involved behind-the-scenes to try and help sort it out, since it was a World Tri/Team USA race (though I’m sure whatever partner contract USAT has with TriBike indemnifies them). And I don’t have any legal insight, but this is the text conversation I had with my lawyer friend:
”Liens are a bitch.”
Ironman has stepped in to ensure the delivery of bikes currently in transit for Ironman Arizona & Cozumel this weekend. There are still people who haven’t gotten bikes back from Kona, but I think that’s likely just a result of chaos, not because they’re being held in a shipping container somewhere. And, no, TriBike will definitely not be servicing the races they sold into for later this year (Indian Wells, for example) and they do not have races on the calendar for next year now.
If I had to guess—and this is just my speculation: What happened here is probably a result of pandemic cash flow backlog. It seems likely TriBike had already paid out a number of contracts for races that were then canceled, and so they got themselves deep in the red. They then hoped/planned/dreamed of recouping that cash as races came back, but people weren’t traveling or racing as much, plus TriBike was probably carrying refund/deferral liabilities. And so it was impossible to get the ship right again as money kept going out to pay debts that already existed without enough coming in to get back to black. If you have to keep promising services to keep cash coming in, which you then have to keep using to pay for past services, then it’s almost impossible to ever catch up. And you just keep hoping the next hand will strike big. It’s not an uncommon problem.
That last part is just my speculation. But I don’t see how this ends well.
Wait, what happened in Chile?
But that wasn’t the only drama this week. The short explanation of the World Cup DQ in Chile:
Katie Zaferes crossed the line first at the last World Cup of the year, in Vina del Mar.
However, there was an appeal and protest from a few athletes.
It turned out the front group of four athletes, which included Katie, had gone straight through the transition/finish line on the first lap of the run instead of taking a left turn to go around the transition area and come out the other side. (You can see it fully in PTN’s explanation.)
The course cutting was probably worth 3-5 seconds. At the line, Gwen was in third, three seconds behind second (who had been in the front group) and six seconds behind Katie, so the difference in time likely would have made a tangible impact on the outcome.
Yes, there was a moto that made the turn, but it wasn’t super clear in the video that the athletes were supposed to follow the moto. Yes, I’m sure it was covered it in the athlete briefing, but those things are long and there is no clear map given. Yes, blah blah, it’s the athletes’ responsibility to know the course, but also yes, the turn should have been more clearly marked with a '1st lap this way, finish this way’ type sign. And, anyway, do you have any idea how often people make a choice in a race and just hope it’s the right choice? EVERY RACE. An example: At the Paris Test Event, most of the field went through the wrong arch on the swim, but since it was basically everyone, it was like ‘oh well, they’re not going to DQ the whole field.’ And if everyone had followed Katie in Chile, then there probably wouldn’t have been DQs there either.
All of that is just to say: Look, they made a mistake, but it was an understandable mistake. And the rules say if you cut the course, it’s a DQ, so there wasn’t much of an option for World Tri either. But it’s all just unfortunate.
Why is it especially unfortunate?
Well. There are still two spots up for grabs for the U.S. Olympic team. The last automatic qualifier for the U.S. will be in the spring (likely it’ll be one of the first WTCS of the year). Due to both coming back after giving birth, Katie and Gwen are still fighting for enough points to get to that spring race. So, the final results and points from this Chile race could ultimately determine who gets to start in the spring. And this DQ could make a difference—though let’s hope it doesn’t ultimately change the outcome of the Olympic team, because that would just be a downer.
The rest of the best
NCAA varsity women’s national championship: Yes, ASU won again (7th straight DI title); yes, Tempe hosts every year (no one else wants to & ASU subsidizes the local RD). But, it *is* getting closer. Denver’s Maira Carreau won the DI race this year. And Queens and USF were right behind ASU. See the full results.
Melbourne 70.3: A primarily New Zealand & Australia field, but everyone is keeping an eye on Hayden Wilde’s long-course future now.
Mark your calendar
A handful of 70.3s and mid-distance whatevers this weekend, but we’re going to call out:
Ironman Cozumel: Has quite a big late-season men’s field—including Sebi Kienle’s final retirement race—and a few big women’s names (my money’s on Ruth Astle).
Javi Gomez is back and will be at Mossel Bay 70.3 & Ali Brownlee was supposedly going to be at Fortaleza 70.3, but he’s not on the start list anymore.
Wtf with flavor fatigue
When I paced the last 23 miles for a friend’s 100-miler a week-and-half ago, I had planned to eat a lot (since I wasn’t starting until 10 p.m.), but not even an hour into my section and I couldn’t bring myself to touch another chew or gel or bar. It was all broth, plain baked potatoes, and the mint-lemon Precision Fuel & Hydration chews (which is not a taste I’m into regularly, but it hits the spot when flavor fatigue comes on).
Of course, we all get sick of sugar at the end of an Ironman, but I hadn’t expected it so quickly as a part-time pacer. So I asked the Precision crew: What’s the deal with flavor fatigue? Turns out, it’s well documented that it’s sensory specific and the receptors in your tongue get blunted to a specific taste; and people usually want salty things later, after the first 60 minutes of exercise. But, the Precision crew also agreed there was probably something to my body telling me to eat more salty foods, too. I simply needed more salt and calories! I certainly didn’t eat or drink enough to be out running until 4:30 a.m.
That’s something I’m going to be working on and plotting out in a planner. You can use the Precision Fuel & Hydration planner too to make your own fueling plan. And if you want 15% off your first order, use this link.
Other interesting things from around our sports this week that you should know about.
I think now that it’s mid-November, it’s safe to say the ‘end of October’ announcement of the 2024 PTO Tour isn’t coming. It seems they’ve opted, instead, for one-off announcements of each event. So far, for next year, we have: The Asia Open & the European Open (which I thought, we already knew, but then the coordinated pro athlete social posting about Ibiza really made sure we knew). One thing we don’t know: Whether or not it counts as the “official” European Championships—a point no one particularly cares about except for the people who really care. (PTO/Instagram/Endurance Sportswire/Tri247)
USAT also announced the 2024 national championship race calendar—and the winter tri in Breckenridge jumped out to me. (USAT)
And. The big race announcement news of the week. The World Trail Majors. It was good timing for them—even if it was in the works for awhile—given all the concern and angst and recent concern and angst about the corporatization and centralization of races under the UTMB umbrella. Now, instead, you have nine independent ultra trail landmarks teaming up for a year-long series. (TrailRunning)
There was also a new 50-mile world set this week: 4:48:21. (iRunFar)
While we’re still on the topic of trail running, these findings on the difference between top trail runners and less good ones were funny to me because science proves I’m right: you should comparatively slow down more on the uphills and speed up more on the downhills, or (in other words) stop powering up the climbs so hard. (Globe and Mail)
And we totally skipped this last week: the signs and stuff from the NY Marathon that made me laugh. (Instagram)
Even pro cyclists put on their running shoes in the winter. (Velo)
Follow the latest crazy tech the Norwegians are testing in Tenerife. (Instagram)
The Orlando Olympic Marathon Trials start time saga keeps going. (Runner’s World)
USATF renewed CEO Max Seigel’s contract for five years. They won’t say for how much, but he last reported $3.8M for 2021. (Sports Business Journal)
Tri Australia is rebranding. (TriZone)
Outside Inc did another restructuring and hired a new exec as a Chief Media Officer, which I guess is above the Chief Content Officer? They also have the pretty cool Gear Lab with University of Colorado up and running. (BRAIN/CU)
Zwift announced the biggest e-cycling competition ever held. Yes, this was after Zwift did not get selected as the platform for the e-cycling world champs. (Zwift)
Is Strava the new dating app? (ELLE)
I have 100% gone down this Hyrox v. Crossfit hole and sorta wish there was a Hyrox near me. (CyclingWeekly)
The LowTideBoyz did a whole explainer on how to qualify for the Otillo World Champs. If you want to do something trendy and niche while it’s still trendy and niche. (Instagram)
And add these two to the list of people who are telling you: On the whole, female triathletes get smaller contracts from sponsors than their equivalent male counterparts (at the same level of talent and support). I don’t know why everyone (dudes) doubt this when we tell them this. They think we don’t know. But the athletes know what they make and they know what their significant others make, they know roughly what training partners make. Brands know what people make, because they know what they pay. Agents and PR people know. I know (enough). Believe us. (Tri247)
To finish off: Others have also discovered the joy of Instagram adventure cats. (Outside)
One last thing
If only we could all bike change & transition like this. (Click on the video.)
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