#66: Our most popular stories of the year
A look back.
issue #66: Dec. 20, 2023
All-sporters, I know I told you this already, but: This week’s newsletter is light—a ranking of the top posts from the year—and next week we’ll look forward a bit into 2024. But I’ll be mostly taking the week off. This past weekend, with a friend in town visiting, I didn’t do any work for about 60 hours, didn’t even think about work (except that I always think about triathlon gossip of course), and it was amazing!
Yesterday, for our weekly women’s sports newsletter, The Feist, I put together a list of the top 20 moments in women’s sports for the year. It made me remember: This year was full of so much exciting sports-ing! And, of course, I already rounded up my best tri picks of 2023.
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The top Triathlonish posts of the year
To figure out our most read posts of the year, I went through all the data and stats—and was a bit surprised at which newsletters turned out to be the most popular of the year. (I assumed all the most read pieces would be from later in the year, both because of the huge races in the fall and because the audience grew as I got going after launch. But, nope, you all surprised me!)
Here are the most read newsletters and stories of the year, listed from #1 to #9:
Tragedy in Hamburg (June 7): About the horrific crash and fatality caught on camera at Ironman Hamburg—and what could possibly be done to minimize these kinds of dangerous conditions in the future.
Who is responsible for anti-doping in long-course triathlon? (June 12): While the federations and World Triathlon typically oversee the Olympic pipeline, there’s no overarching agency for the long-course side of the sport. Which leads to gaps.
Let me explain this drama (Oct. 25): You all really wanted a clear explanation of what was going on with Sam Laidlow’s Instagram post and the surrounding controversy.
Race transfers for everyone! (Nov. 29): Some late-season thoughts on what race directors could learn from CIM, especially as mid-sized events continue to struggle.
Everything’s bigger in Texas (April 26): While we ultimately dove into the Collin Chartier doping news, this started with the good news first: amazing performances at Ironman Texas that shouldn’t be overshadowed by the biggest scandal of the year.
A 97.2% finish rate (Oct. 18): The record-setting women’s only Ironman World Champs in Kona.
Good job boys (Sept. 11): And I reported on my impressions from the men’s only race in Nice.
Wanted: The next Ironman CEO (July 12): Long-time Ironman CEO Andrew Messick announced he’d be leaving at the end of this year. Lots of people had a lot of thoughts about him and what comes next—but what does it mean from a business standpoint?
Missing: 180 people’s bikes (Nov. 15): The TriBike Transport saga.
I also wanted to share the most popular Sunday evening newsletters—which only went out to paying subscribers, but are some of the more interesting things I published this year. I’m opening up these top five for everyone (in addition to the in-depth story on long-course doping above).
On falling down and getting up: My personal reflections on living with blacking out episodes. The consequences of which have consumed my life this year.
Vibes from Milwaukee: The on-the-ground report (and recommendations) from the PTO U.S. Open.
Q&A: Triathlon Taren on algorithms, endurance content, Youtube, and what works: Insight from one of the best (really!) in the game.
Our sports’ volunteer problem: From Jan. 1, 2023 (!), a look at the labor challenges the entire industry will have to grapple with.
Q&A: The founder of the Enhanced Games: An Olympics with doping.
A thanks to my partner, Precision Fuel & Hydration, who has pushed me to keep track of my intake and output during workouts. I know, if you’re like me, the whole tracking your sweat rate can seem a little overwhelming. Plus, having done a PF&H sweat test before and having years of training & racing under my belt, I already know I’m not a big sweater or super salty, so I always sorta figured it wasn’t worth the trouble. But there’s some relatively straightforward ways to weigh yourself before and after big workouts, and count up what you’ve consumed, and keep track of it all in a spreadsheet. Even if I still don’t need to take in a huge amount of salt outside of the average American salty diet, I’ve already found that just by going through the tracking and planning process it’s made me more aware that I am not consuming as much as I need to or as I think I am. Let me recommend trying it out (though probably pick and choose the right workouts and locations).
Some stuff in our sports worth knowing about this week.
Strava finally announced a new CEO—and Slowtwitch has the interesting question: How much does this guy ride a bike? It’s actually a fair point that there’s probably too much hiring focus right now on corporate experience and there could probably be a bit more focus on doing our sports experience. (Slowtwitch)
Other people have also noticed, at this point, the distinct lack of a PTO 2024 calendar of races. Which has also led to a distinct influx of press, it seems. The PTO is now saying it’ll be just six races next year—and the wait will be worth it. I’m genuinely not trying to be cynical and I’m sure the races will have great fields, and I’m glad the PTO exists and has pushed the sport forward. I just think one of those people the PTO pays a lot of money to tell them things should tell them about the concept of ‘under-promising and over-delivering.’ (PTO/Tri247)
Ironman also announced a new full returning to Japan, which for some reason is in September along with almost every other full Ironman race in 2024. (Endurance.biz)
Chelsea Sodaro’s chat with Rich Roll is a must-listen for everyone. (Rich Roll)
The BMC squad was announced and, this year, Max Neumann is leaving (likely for a better deal). And there’ll be two women now on the 7-person squad. (Tri247)
Magda Nieuwoudt and Mathis Margirier topped the Challenge family bonus list. (Challenge Family)
Apparently, World Athletics naming six ‘athletes of the year’ last week instead of just one was a surprise to all of them and didn’t really make anyone happy. (Citius Mag/Twitter)
The courses were announced for next year’s World Tri Multisport Championships in Australia. (World Triathlon)
I thought Triathlete’s picks for best pro performances of the year were pretty good—except for “most competitive”—and no, it’s not just because they mostly picked the same things I had picked. (Triathlete/Triathlonish)
After the Western States lottery a couple of weeks ago, which had a record number entries, I saw a lot of theories about how to “fix” it. The problem is the number of people with multiple lottery tickets is only going to go up every year—I mean, it can’t really go down unless they all die—and so the race is going to hit a ceiling. Do you then require everyone to do multiple races before they can even enter the lottery, making it harder? (I’d say, no.) Or do you say no more multiple multiplying lottery tickets for every year you miss out—everyone just gets one entry, the end? (Eh, maybe.) One way or the other, it’ll have to change. (Twitter)
It’s hard to believe this is true but it is: Making 200-milers mainstream. (iRunFar)
I sent out the monthly roundup of training and gear news this past weekend, which included that Today’s Plan is shutting down and an interesting shoe count at UTMB for the last three years. (Triathlonish/Velo/Mile & Stone)
The live cycling events that were on GCN+ have moved over to Max streaming—which, yes, is what HBO Max is calling itself now, but no, won’t come with the baseline Max subscription. (It’ll cost more to add the sports and some rights, like the Tour, won’t be on Max.) Since Warner Bros./Discovery owns both services it’s just moving chairs on the deck around—and, yes, Warner Bros./Discovery is also an investor in the PTO. Speculate as you will. (Velo)
Could anyone be a pro cyclist if they tried hard enough? I mean, no, obviously, but it’s a thought. (Cycling Weekly)
Just ask the runners who are coping with the disappointment of juuuuuust missing out on the OTQ time. (Runner’s World)
A lot of us noticed that the Taylor Swift workout to prep for her Eras Tour was really really hard, like shockingly hard. Fortunately, someone put it to the test. (Outside)
Your Ironman Year ‘Wrapped.’ (Instagram)
One last thing
The annual classic Triathlon Out of Context compilation for the year. Watch the whole video.
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