#19: Partying in the French Riviera
Is it ever as cool as it looks?
issue #19: Jan. 25, 2023
All sporters, it’s been a long week for me. I flew Monday at 6:45 a.m. straight from France to Austin, Texas—from the Global Triathlon Awards to USA Triathlon’s Endurance Exchange. I’m pretty tired, but if any of you are at Endurance Exchange, come say hi @ the Happy Hour tonight and maybe I’ll buy you one of the complimentary free drinks.
In the spirit of checking out Nice this past weekend, I chatted with some of the crew there—and this past Sunday’s email to paid members was a look through the archives on the history of Nice (and why it rose and fell and now could come back again).
Today, in your free Wednesday morning weekly newsletter: Global Tri Awards, the calendar cluster that’s causing a cluster, an update on last week’s PTO stats issue, and a whole bunch of news items.
Glitter and get down
You know how you always wonder if the Instagram post of a thing is as cool as the actual thing. In the middle of it, do people feel as cool as they look? Or are they just getting the shot for the ‘gram, knowing it’ll scroll well later?
I know that’s what a lot of you want to know about the Global Tri Awards this past weekend in Nice, France. I know because you’ve asked me. I don’t know if I really have an answer for you, though.
Yes, a lot of top athletes and industry people ended up attending, after it seemed at first like they wouldn’t. Mostly short-course athletes (or short-course adjacent) or French, mostly because of the ties to Super League and to the PTO. Yes, it was black tie gala-y, and, yes, that added an entertaining fun element. Yes, there are some things that probably need to be smoothed out (category criteria, the show flow). No, no one was actually dancing as much as the social media made it seem; these are still triathletes.
But, the event will probably happen again. It didn’t appear to be a one-and-done. It was enough of a success. So, there’s always next year.
Outstanding Tech Product: Supersapiens
Outstanding Nutrition Product: Maurten Hydrogel
Best Run Product: LEVER System
Best Bike Product: Zwift Hub
Best Swim Product: FORM Goggles
Lifetime Kudos - Pro Triathlete: Nicola Spirig
Lifetime Kudos - Contributor: Bob Babbitt
Outstanding Contributor: Talbot Cox
Rookie of the Year: Chelsea Sodaro
Best Female Athlete: Flora Duffy
Best Male Athlete: Gustav Iden
*For clarification, because I know a lot of you wanted to know: Rookie of the Year was meant to honor someone who was a rookie to the sport or to a new distance or event.
Photos: Courtesy of Global Tri Awards
While I was having many bottomless glasses of white wine in a ball gown from Rent the Runway, my parents were watching the livestream, partially I think because they wanted to see me win (sorry, mom) and partially because they’re retired. Since they both came from theater backgrounds, they also had notes. They texted me some of these notes live throughout the ceremony, so I thought I’d share a few:
You gotta tighten up the first half of the show
You should have voiceover or someone read the nominees before the winner is announced, to build it up and pace it
While the singer was quite good in the room, you probably don’t need her on the live show; we may need to mix up the entertainment to keep the flow moving
You probably want to pick one language and stick with it
Also I enjoyed the jokes, but either lean into them or all the way out
And my note on the thing I am an expert at: If you want a party to really get going, you shouldn’t kick everyone out of a room after the ceremony to rearrange and then try to usher them back in; it doesn’t work, you lose momentum
But anyway, it was fun enough, good to see (and meet) lots of the European and short-course athletes I rarely get to see, interesting to be a part of what could grow into a real legit thing now. And like my dad said: Well, the first Oscars were probably really weird, too.
One of the things that came up a bunch chatting with the top short-course and mid-distance athletes is how they’re all weighing various factors to decide which races they’re going to be able to do this championship season. You simply can NOT do them all; you’ll have to pick. It’s because the calendar is too densely packed—and it’s not even all officially announced yet (!).
Here, look at the major events for August-September:
Let’s say you know there’s going to be a massive PTO Tour $1 million race in the U.S. the first weekend of August
Then, two weeks later, on the same weekend in mid-August: Paris Test Event (Olympic qualifying for a lot of short-course athletes) *AND* the newly announced PTO Tour $1 million Singapore race
Then, a week later: 70.3 Worlds in Lahti, Finland
Two weeks after that: Men’s Ironman World Champs in Nice, France
Two weeks after that: WTCS World Championships (apparently, hallelujah, we’re not calling it the Grand Finale anymore) in Spain
That’s six major championship races in eight weeks. Then, at least, there’s a small break before the Women’s Ironman World Champs in October and (theoretically) the Collins Cup if it moves to November.
But, still. How is anyone supposed to manage that schedule? I can barely manage the flights, forget actually racing.
For the paid subscribers this past Sunday:
Update on last week’s newsletter: PTO rankings
I added an edit/update to the newsletter last week (and posted it to our new Instagram account), but FYI: When I was looking at the PTO final rankings a week ago, I noticed something that I then shared with you all. I had wanted to use Ali Brownlee’s Swansea race as an example of a steep drop-off, but I was surprised, last Tuesday night, to see new scores instead that weren’t the original scores and to see a “strength of field (SOF)” number newly listed at the top of the events. Given that we all know changes are being made to the PTO ranking system, I assumed this was part of the new adjustments getting rolled out.
However, I have been informed that what I was looking at was actually a back-end pilot test that had accidentally gone live. It was only up for a few hours and has been taken down since. Changes to the PTO points model are not public, finalized, or live yet. Sorry. (Might be fair to assume if the test goes smoothly, however, that the new model will include a strength of field factor.)
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Mark your calendar
Tauranga Half: Yes, Braden Currie and Bec Clarke won the New Zealand season-opener, but the biggest news was the debut of the new Race Ranger technology. I told the team behind the draft-busting tech that we’d chat once we saw how it all went, so that’ll be coming up sometime soon.
No, there are not anymore big(ish) races for a few weeks. This section will get better when the season gets better.
The rest of the news that makes up the “ish” in triathlonish. Things I think you want to know about this week, and also things I just think are interesting in our sports.
A number of places have reported the Ironman statement that was sent around confirming Svenja Thoes has been reinstated as the IM Ireland winner after being DQ’d last August (though they won’t be taking away prize money or spots, so there will just be two winners). I’m less interested, though, in the specifics of one DQ and more interested in what the process is, is there one process for all races, how do complaints get heard out, who is involved—all of which I’m still working on/thinking about. (Triathlon Magazine)
Looks like Gwen Jorgensen’s ready to race the Continental Cups in New Zealand in a few weeks. (Twitter)
Age-Groupers: Here are the World Tri World Championship events you can race if you qualify through your country. (Twitter)
Challenge also announced a new race in Uzbekistan, which is apparently its first race in Central Asia, which means that I just learned that Uzbekistan qualifies as Asia. (Challenge)
I’m not huge on sharing random races you can do, but this 208-mile ultra through a tunnel is weird enough it deserves a mention. (BBC)
It’s cross-country season—well, the end of cross-country season—and this past weekend was the U.S. Cross-Country National Championships. (Runner’s World)
Speaking of XC, Olympic triathlon medalist Hayden Wilde jumped in one of the snowy pro World Cross Cup Tour events in Belgium. (Instagram)
RunSignup released their 2022 trends report yesterday. While there are more running than tri races on the platform and their reports are only specific to their platform, some key things stood out: Race registrations are still down about 10% from 2019 (though up from last year), and late week (race week) registrations make up 25% of entries. Also, women are the majority of registrants (54%), so stop acting like it’s a goddamn niche. (RunSignup)
Pro runners are signing a lot of new deals right now, it’s sponsorship season afterall. But I think this article on all the reasons why it seems so flush for runners will also help explain why triathletes seem very very not flush right now and not signing a huge number of deals. (Outside)
When we talk about mental toughness, what are we actually talking about? (Outside)
Who replaces Mike Reilly? Wrong answers only. (Triathlete)
The only error in this story about wetsuit shaming in San Francisco is no triathlete has ever shamed anyone for a wetsuit. (Wall Street Journal)
And, there’s not a ton to say about the newest clickiest piece on gravel cyclist Mo Wilson’s murder other than you don’t have to know a lot to read it and realize immediately that it was written by a Dude With A Point-of-View. Which is probably a pretty good reason why there should be different kinds of people who get to decide what POV matters, what stories get written, who is framed and how, who gets to explain their mistakes and reasons, and who doesn’t. (Outside)
While traveling over the weekend, I also read Lauren Fleshman’s book, Good for a Girl, and at first there were bits about being a female athlete I couldn’t believe needed to be spelled out because they’re so obvious, but then I remembered people need things spelled out and no woman has ever really bothered to put all these things we all know together into a book and into explaining their story through their own framework, backed by the science, before. So. There’s a reason it jumped onto the NYT Bestseller list. And if you’re looking for a listen out of all the rounds she’s been making (and some tangible answers), I’d recommend the Purplepatch podcast interview she did with Matt Dixon. (Penguin Randomhouse/Purplepatch)
And one last thing I learned: When I interviewed Lesley Patterson, the Xterra World Champ, a little over a year ago and she mentioned she was working on writing the screenplay for and producing a movie version of All Quiet on the Western Front, I thought she meant, like, for self-distribution, like a personal project. Well. It’s now been nominated for nine Oscars. Which officially makes her’s the most successful post-triathlon career I know of. (Triathlete/Hollywood Reporter)
One last thing
Too real. Click play.