#70: Rev up the gossip season
That's how you know the year is *really* getting started.
issue #70: Jan. 17, 2024
This week’s issue is presented by:
We had a great Book Club conversation yesterday, and an interesting Q&A this past weekend with the president of the Cyclists’ Alliance (the women’s pro union) that went out to paying subscribers and that I’m opening up now for everyone because I think there’s a lot triathlon can learn.
Now, if you’d like to help me out, forward this email to someone who loves triathlon gossip or share the link in one of those places people click on links. And, on to the gossip.
The secret race series
I had 100% planned on starting this section by saying: Now that athletes have finalized & signed PTO Tour race contracts in hand, the details of those races are starting to leak out. (ie. You can’t lock down schedules with 16 women & 16 men + reach out to however many other athletes you’re looking at as wildcards and expect all those athletes to keep all those details completely a secret ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
However, I don’t even need to give that caveat now! It turns out the PTO accidentally posted one of the unannounced races to their own website’s dropdown and the under-employed on the Slowtwitch forum caught it: Vegas in the fall.
It’s almost certain that not all of the forum-speculated details are correct (I doubt the date), but I do know that there really truly absolutely honestly 100% is a 2024 PTO Tour of 6-8 races about to launch. And believe me: No one is more shocked about this than I am.
I believe the first race is in N. America in less than two months. (Yes, you can make an educated guess about that then.) Signed athletes have committed to a certain number of races, as a closed tour/league. They’re being compensated well for it—in addition to prize money and end-of-year series standings. And reading between the lines of what athletes are saying about their season plans: It sounds like most of the best mid/long-course athletes are on board. The PTO Tour is really truly 100% happening.
Announcements, I’m guessing and extrapolating, are coming by the end of the month. Is that late for the season? Is it a bit disorganized? Sure and yes. Will it work? Who knows! But it’ll be exciting to watch.
The only detail, out of all the gossip, I’m absolutely totally positively sure about is what I told my husband over dinner the other night: It’s really a shame I left pro racing like three years too early.
((Chill out, OK: Not because I’d have qualified for a PTO contract, but because there’s so much money getting thrown around some of it would have trickled down to me.))
New USAT memberships
At Endurance Exchange a bit over a week ago, USAT announced that it’d be launching new membership programs/products. (It was in my tidbits from the conference.) And I didn’t think much of it at the time:
Sure, the annual membership price hadn’t gone up in like 9 years & absolutely it probably needed to catch up now that we’re mostly out of a pandemic
Sure, it makes sense to offer different types of memberships for different people
Sure, OK: one-day licenses will be cheaper for sprints & more expensive for long-course, a slight increase to the $60/yr annual membership, a premium $99/yr membership with some benefits, and then a fancy $400/yr membership aimed at Team USA & USAT Foundation athletes. OK, sure.
But, I’ll be honest, they said existing memberships would still be valid & they’d be keeping the heavily discounted youth option, and then I didn’t think about it that hard after that. And now that the info has been announced widely, there’s one big issue some people are understandably not happy about: It sounds like Team USA age-group athletes *have* to buy that fancy Platinum $400/yr membership in order to race as part of Team USA at the AG World Championships.
They can upgrade from their existing membership, get a credit for part of their race entry, and a few other benefits/gifts—but the lack of clarity about what those are is not helping. And, what’s really not helping is that some people who already qualified for next year’s AG World Champs and already put down their deposit have been told they’re going to be required to upgrade their membership. (That’s in addition to having to buy the team kit, etc)
I actually think the overall new membership structure makes sense. But, there’s probably some adjustments that clearly need to made in the benefits and in the transition. Plus, it’s never great to upset your most vocal and involved members, no matter how small a subset that is.
”It is better to be tired and running than to be tired and not running.”
That’s just one of my favorite quotes from our Book Club book. The Q&A chat from yesterday will go out to paying subscribers this Sunday, but you should read the book even if you didn’t join us. Interesting insight into Ethiopian running culture.
I also want to thank Precision Fuel & Hydration for their educational efforts to get people ready to train & race. Check out all of their triathlon case studies to see what others ate & drank—and learn from them. Then get 15% off your order here.
Stuff from around our sports you should know about this week.
First up: Yep, it happened, Super League lost the Malibu permit after the person who sold the race to the company that sold it to Super League took the one available permit from the Malibu town council. And, yep, it seems like the reason was basically: ‘Y’all don’t understand how things work around here.’ Super League will still have the Legacy race in L.A. (in Long Beach) and I suspect some other races coming in their U.S. plans. But the big question, as we discussed on the podcast last week: Which race will the celebrities go to? (Triathlete/Feisty Tri)
It’s too early in the year to be doing regular results and calendar, but the Tauranga Half this weekend appears to have Chelsea Sodaro and Javi Gomez lining up. (Instagram)
It’s not too early for run records. We’ve got a new 10K women’s world record (28:46 by Agnes Ngetich—yes, the first woman to break 29 minutes) and a new half-marathon American record (1:06:25 by Weini Kelati in her first half-marathon ever). (Associated Press/Runner’s World)
There was a lot of fast running at the Houston Marathon & Half-Marathon actually, but the winner of the race goes to this woman who hired a spectator for her husband since she couldn’t be there. According to Alison, over at Fast Women, she reached out and the guy did in fact get the cheers & hit his goal. (Threads/Facebook)
I tried to explain how the U.S. Olympic Marathon qualification will work with the new changes—but the captions and audio are slightly off. In short: The men have until May, after the Trials, to try to earn the U.S. a third spot to the Games. (Instagram)
The women’s pro field for the Boston Marathon has been announced and it has 11 women who have run sub-2:20. (BAA)
The 2025 World Tri Finals will be in Wollogong. (World Tri)
After last week’s discussion about whether races & triathletes are increasing or decreasing, I liked this graph from TriRating on the number of Ironman races in the world over the decades. (Instagram)
The Brownlees have bought Helvellyn Triathlon and launched an AI training platform, called Ask AL. They’re really turning out to be far more interesting than I would have suspected a decade ago. (Tri247)
Your Youtube updates: Taylor Knibb & Gwen Jorgensen are training together (which I suspected), Lionel Sanders is back to Ironman and focused on Kona (shock), and Lucy CB got a new tattoo (a mermaid with the Hawaiian islands). (Youtube)
UTMB is hiring a PR person to help them manage their PR—and the fact that the trail running internet finds this nefarious suggests exactly why they probably needed this person hired awhile ago. (LinkedIn/Twitter)
And what is not the start of a movie: A former Australian spy died during the world’s toughest rowing race. (The Gaurdian)
And. And! A paralyzed man climbed El Capitan with only his arms. (Los Angeles Times)
Speaking of announcements that everyone was waiting to actually be announced: The Outside Festival is officially *on* for the first weekend of June. I was told it’s supposed to be like South x Southwest but for the outdoors—and, for all that I have my issues with Outside Inc, the people putting this on should do an good job. (Outside)
One last thing
This issue was brought to you by Precision Fuel & Hydration. Get 15% off your first order here.