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#42: Take a break
What is summer for anyway?
issue #42: July 5, 2023
This week’s issue is presented by:
As I write this, it is 4th of July here in the United States of America. Which is both an opportunity to celebrate your country by setting off things that blow up and also the peak of summer vacation here. Almost everyone is taking time off, on break, racing is about to hit a semi-hiatus for a few weeks, I’m headed on vacation next weekend. It’s the slow days of summer.
So, in the spirit of all that, we’re going to just run some short bits today. Consider using July to catch your breath before things get really hectic next month. I know I need it.
But first some quick announcements:
On that note, the podcast (which we combined with Feisty Triathlon) will have one more show this week—in which Sarah True is going to tell us all about her win in Frankfurt—and then we’re taking a two-week break.
There are a couple of “Vaguely Inspirational” t-shirts left. That doesn’t have anything to do with summer, just letting you know.
And this past weekend, we announced our next Triathlonish Book Club book: The Race That Changed Running. Lovely beach read, I’m sure, so get page-turning. And paying subscribers can join us for a Q&A with the author on July 28.
Now, the triathlon-ish news.
So many puns on True is true
When I showed my husband the video of Sarah True taking the final red carpet for the tape at Ironman Frankfurt, he joked ‘wait until the Germans find out about the NBA.’
Basically, the point is: The German crowds take their triathlon very very seriously; they treat it like a real sport.
Really, though, this entire section is just to say Sarah True may be the busiest pro on the circuit, but she knows how to win big races. Yes, sure, everyone’s seen the video of what happened to her in 2019, and yes, of course, it’s gotta be better to win than to DNF with a half-mile to go. But also it was just a really good race between her and Skye Moench (and Lauren Brandon and Bec Clarke going to the front in the swim and Agnieszka Jerzyk making it up on the bike for third).
Frankfurt took a bit of a back seat to Challenge Roth this month—which is part of the reason those two companies were working together to sort out the dates—but it was still an Ironman European Championship for the women. (The men’s was in Hamburg a few weeks ago, and well, that went how it went.) And one of the things that’s clear when it’s a women’s only pro race—or a women’s only race, generally—is that it changes the racing. It changes how moves happen and how athletes respond; it changes who’s willing to take a flyer and who tries to go with them and how group dynamics work. It’s sorta like the race, then, is actually the race.
Thanks to UltraSwim 33.3!
A big thank you to UltraSwim 33.3 for sponsoring this whole past month’s newsletters. I’m hoping to make it out to their four-day event in Montenegro at the end of September, mostly because it just sounds like an experience, an adventure, a crazy race—but also because with UltraSwim 33.3 sponsoring the newsletter for the last month (because they wanted reach all of you, who also are interested in interesting new types of triathlon-ish races) it’s given me this whole chance to learn about how much open water swim races are growing in the rest of the world, with more to come. And now I’ve started to make plans to work on my adventure swimming.
PTO tea leaves
It’s official: there is no Collins Cup this year. A letter went out to PTO athletes a week or two ago confirming there will be just three events in 2023 (Euro Open, US Open, Asia Open). They also said they’ll announce the full 2024 season in October—instead of waiting until, like, a few weeks before a race to confirm it’s on. Word is that 2024 should be quite a big schedule and, potentially, a bit of a different commercial format. We’ll see.
I know none of this is new information. But that’s how it goes with the PTO. None of the information in this article was new either—and yet many many people sent it to me.
The problem is we’re all trying to read between the PTO lines, decipher the tea leaves, predict the omens in the clouds—and so we cling to these morsels of details. Which is fine, maybe this is how a sport going mainstream will operate. And maybe this is just the need for a vacation speaking, but: I’m tired of trying to read tea leaves, the facts will be the facts, it doesn’t matter what we predict or think or wish, we just need to have the events and see coverage at this point, it needs to happen or not, and all the talking won’t change that. Just do the thing.
Other results from the weekend
Andorra 70.3: Jan Frodeno broke his first tape in awhile, in his semi-hometown. Sure, it wasn’t a huge event, but it’s still nice to win one. And Ashleigh Gentle took it to Emma Pallant-Browne primarily on the bike descents, in what seems to be an exceptionally hilly course.
Challenge Walchsee: Imogen Simmonds appears to be fully coming back to form after a few years of injury, and beat out both Lucy Byram and Lucy Buckingham (which are two different Lucys). Fred Funk took his third Walchsee title.
Leon Chevalier won Les Sables d’Olonne and I would suggest you put your money now on him for Men’s Nice before the bidding gets hot.
And we all learned that apparently the European Games are a thing. Solveig Løvseth won the women’s race and Thorn Vetle Bergsvik won the men’s race (both Norwegian if you couldn’t figure that out) and Norway won the mixed relay—an occurrence that has never happened before and may never again.
Mark your calendars
Yeah, yeah, down the road, we’ve got: WTCS Hamburg & Ironman Vittoria July 15-16, the U.S. Open the first weekend of August, and then Paris Test Event & Asian Open third weekend of August, followed quickly by 70.3 Worlds the following weekend. But right now, not a ton.
If you really need to get your jollies on, U.S. Track & Field National Championships starts on Thursday and runs through the weekend—but most of the coverage will be on the never-before-heard-of usatf.tv (or Peacock).
Things from around our sports this week that you should know about.
Ironman UK is now going to be a 70.3, and the UK is losing Staffordshire 70.3. I’m also still waiting to hear what spring N. American full Ironmans we’re going to have next year, because right now… (If I was reading these tea leaves, it seems like full distance races are becoming scarcer in what used to be big markets.) (220Triathlon)
I have not super been following the Tour de France, other than that I can tell you it is definitely happening and is exciting—and that’s why I appreciate the guys at Escape Collective covering the really important Tour news, the kind of news I care about. (VeloNews/Escape Collective)
Women’s Giro—evidently called Giro Donne—is also happening. And this is the only recap you need. (Instagram)
A 52-year-old woman, Isa Pulver, won the Race Across America overall—called RAAM, dunno what the M is for. (Youtube)
Last month there was a new women’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) around Mont Blanc, and this week there was a new FKT on the Long Trail. I like FKTs—I mean, in theory I like them, I’ve never actually done one and I, personally, would probably be awful at them—and I appreciate that FKTs are first and foremost personal achievements with no financial reward. But people are starting to get worked up about the fact that they’re becoming so big and are still so rogue, with few regulations. (Runner’s World/Running Magazine Canada/Twitter)
Official records: Kiera D’Amato finally made it to Australia and ran an American record half-marathon of 1:06:37, and Neely Gracey set a Guinness world record for a stroller mile of 5:24. (Washington Post/Runner’s World)
Shelby Houlihan ran a world record beer mile (5:43), but did not win the women’s title because she’s still not really eligible to race—given the whole doping ban. (Women’s Running)
Apparently, Joe Skipper also ran a beer mile in Roth, for some reason. (Youtube)
Sam Laidlow tore a muscle in his calf during Roth. (Instagram)
The many lives of Daniela Ryf. (Triathlete)
Do you know Patrick Sang, the coach behind Kipchoge? I’m betting you don’t. Listen to this podcast with him. (Citius Mag)
Why are so many records being broken right now? The focus of this breakdown is on running—but it’s happening in triathlon too, and so I’d suggest it’s a shift overall, not just about shoes & pace lights. (Outside)
For example, when more people do a thing that thing, almost by definition, becomes more competitive because it draws from a wider pool. A semi-controversy (can something be a controversy if it is just a statement of fact?) broke out last week about whether trail running is as diverse and therefore as competitive as it could be. In general, I’d say I find that whenever the population of xx thing doesn’t look like the population of where xx thing exists, then it’s worth asking why—and the answer is almost never ‘because an entire group of people just doesn’t like xx thing.’ Or, as this thread explained: “In my experience, insisting to people that they're wrong about being excluded doesn't make them feel included." Which may be the most unintentionally funny thing I read this week. (Instagram/Twitter)
Did you know women have higher rates of med tenting at Ironmans? (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise)
One last thing
At least someone at the PTO has a sense of humor.
This issue was brought to you by UltraSwim33.3: UltraSwim 33.3 is the ultimate adventure race. Swim 33.3km over four days, in a point-to-point open water ‘off-road’ format in stunning Montenegro. With varied and challenging conditions—combined with an incredible coaching package included in your entry—you'll feel rewarded when you cross the finish line, and be a better swimmer.
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