#46: Where is Milwaukee?
And other pressing questions.
issue #46: Aug. 2, 2023
All-sporters, I am writing this from the airport, because I live at the airport now.
I am in the midst of slowly making my way through flight cancellation hell to Milwaukee. (Both me and Jan Frodeno. Samesies.) And at this point, it’ll be faster to make it from San Francisco to Paris in a few weeks. But as long as I eventually get in at 3 a.m. tonight, then we’ll have a live panel & podcast recording on Thursday, Aug. 3 @ 12:15 p.m. at the main stage in the USAT expo. Come!
My only other announcement is:
I have teamed up with Feisty Media to launch a women’s sports newsletter—what you need to know in women’s sports & performance every Tuesday AM. (Yes, I do have an overarching plan. No, Triathlonish will not be going away; this here will stay your place for going deep weeds on all things triathlon-ish. But if you want to talk more about the Women’s World Cup and want to know all the best every week in all women’s sports, then subscribe to The Feist.)
Now, eventually, on to Milwaukee.
A U.S. Open
Let’s start with the most important issue first:
I don’t think the U.S. Open is going to stay in Milwaukee next year. That’s not me breaking any news; it’s just me reading between the lines. So, my international friends, let me suggest the most well-known things to do in America’s 4th-best state on what will likely be your only visit:
Drink beer. There’s a reason the baseball team (that’s the game we play here in the U.S.) is called the Brewers and the fans are called the Brew Crew. It’s because a lot of beer gets made here. FWIW, my parents recommend Lakefront Brewery.
Eat cheese curds. Personally, I don’t love them deep fried, but who am I to argue with the locals.
That’s it, that’s all I got.
(Yeah, yeah, I know, there’s lots of other stuff to do, too—but I am allowed to make fun of Milwaukee. Europeans, you are not.)
The races, themselves, should be good. Obviously, there have been the usual last-minute scratches and additions (more on that in a moment) and the most up-to-date start list is on the PTO’s site. But still, it’s all big names, it’s all big racing, it’s all loops and loops along the lakefront with $100K to the winner.
In the women’s race, it seems likely to come down to the run with the questions being: Can Taylor Knibb hold off Ashleigh Gentle? Is Paula Findlay’s Canadian champion TT-ing good enough to give her enough of a cushion? Will Tamara Jewett’s swim keep her plow-through-world-champs run ability in the mix? Will Holly Lawrence keep it interesting? How is Kat Matthews at this distance?
In the men’s race, I (gut feeling) feel like it’ll be more of a biker’s event, but maybe that’s just because Magnus Ditlev will try everything he can to give himself enough room over Kristian Blummenfelt. Can Jan Frodeno, in his swan song, hang on? Will Sam Long make it to the start line before his newborn arrives? Will the whole host of fast runners (Jason West, Trevor Foley) be able to make it up out of T2? Will Matthew Marquardt make the drive back to Ohio in time to start his charity cancer research fundraising bike ride at 7 a.m. the next morning?
Men’s race - Friday at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT
Women’s race - Saturday at 5:15 p.m. ET/2:15 p.m. PT
Secret or news? You decide
When I was messaging people to book out interviews in Milwaukee this week, a handful of the athletes told me they were pulling out or changing plans (or it became clear that they were).
But I didn’t take to the internet to announce the names publicly because: 1. I dunno, it doesn’t really matter? It’ll be clear who’s starting sooner or later; can’t keep that a secret forever. 2. Even though none of them said it was a secret, I also hadn’t approached them in an ‘on the record’ way, so it would have felt deeply un-chill to tell everyone.
Which brings us to one of the ongoing debates in triathlon: Secret or not a secret?
Triathlon is a small sport, so you end up knowing a lot of things you wouldn’t know if you covered the NBA, for example. Steph Curry is never showing up to your local basketball court with his arm in a cast, which then would become news. And athletes are people, too, so they all have all their own feelings around everyone knowing the details of whether they’re injured or hurt or sick or pregnant or whatever. And navigating whatever you’re going through while everyone on the internet has an opinion about how you’re going through it is not necessarily what they signed up for. I get that.
But I’ve also had some heated arguments with a couple of agents who wanted to know ‘how’ I knew xxx thing. And, it’s sorta like: You can’t be Steph Curry and show up at one of the famous pick-up courts in New York in a cast and not think word will get out.
For those of you who don’t understand that analogy what I mean is this: At some point, if people can see something with their own eyes, it’s not a secret. And if you’re a big enough deal, then it’s not going to stay a secret. It’s also (see: point above) not going to stay a secret for long either way—if you don’t start a race, it’s going to be obvious that you didn’t start the race—and a lot of the feelings around announcing things on your own terms are probably just in your head.
And, anyway, if we ever want to be as big as basketball, then, yeah, these “secrets” are going to eventually be “news.”
Just not quite yet?
READ: The Hardest Race You Haven’t Heard Of
(Opening up this story that went out to paying subscribers this past weekend)
Results of the week
Do you remember when every pro meeting used to end with an argument over the zipper rule? It was always either that or the stagger. And then just when you think we’ve finally moved on to new debates, we’re right back here again.
For those of you have never had the privilege, the zipper debate was an ongoing nitpicky argument over exactly how far down you could unzip your tri suit per the existing rules. The pro briefings used to spend huge amounts of time on just how much sternum was too much sternum, why could women race in a sports bra but men couldn’t (it was determined that men could always pull a Faris al-Sultan if they wanted), why did you even have to wear a top. Then there was a whole ‘just cover the nipples’ period. Before we arrived at the current standard of: It can be unzipped as long as it covers the shoulders and connects at the bottom; if you’re going to pull it off on the run, then you must wear a sports bra (or some other smaller tanktop) underneath and it has to be fully pulled down.
Why? I don’t know. But Matt Sharpe—who writes the Tempo newsletter—reminded us all of this super cool fun side of triathlon when he was DQ’d at the finish line of Maine 70.3, after getting third, for having his suit unzipped all the way. (He said his tri kit is the kind that comes disconnected at the bottom.)
Yes, it is a rule that is 100% applied unevenly, depending on who you are. It is also a rule where the understanding has always been they would just ask you to zip up, not DQ you. It is also also a dumb rule. Sorry Matt!
Maine 70.3: On that note, Trevor Foley took the win and a big shoutout to my one-time race homestay roommate, Nicole Falcaro, for her first pro podium (holding off 4th and 5th by less than 40 seconds).
Alpe d’Huez Triathlon: We can all agree this race seems nuts. The ‘long course’ took the men over five hours and the women over six. And, unfortunately, an Irish triathlete went into cardiac arrest during the swim and died.
WTCS Sunderland: The big race of the weekend. The last WTCS before the Paris Test Event. Interestingly, a lot of the women’s names sat out—leaving the French to dominate even more. (Three of the top four in the women’s race and two in the men’s. Plus, the mixed relay. Maybe they’re onto something here about points.)
Of note: Gwen Jorgensen’s Olympic dream is certainly taking a beating (she was 24th in the individual, raced well in the relay, and likely does not have enough points for a state in Paris), but kudos to her for going after it. And, interestingly, Beth Potter did not race the individual but helped GB take second in the relay. How can you not love the mixed relay?
The rest of the weekend’s results are on our Results page. Including the upcoming other races this weekend.
Interesting things from around our sports this week that you should know about.
Ah, that other bit of gossip that turned out to be true: Ironman Mont-Tremblant will be no more (in a “mutually agreed upon” decision). The 70.3 will still happen. No, I have no more word on what is going on with the Ironman N. American schedule; I truly hope, for my own needs, that there are some more fulls being added soon. (Endurance Sports Wire)
Lots of speculation going around about which races will or won’t be happening next year (because some are missing from the calendar that we talked about a few newsletters ago but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re off). The 2024 World Champs slot allocations are out through the end of the year—which doesn’t help if you were looking for a spring 2024 race. (Triathlonish/Ironman)
Arthur Horseau, who missed out on his Nice spot after winning Lanzarote because he was late to the awards ceremony, now says he’s officially qualified. He’s not on the full list on Ironman’s site yet, but I have to assume this means they gave him a wildcard spot (which are apparently still a sorta a thing), just like we all hoped they would. (Instagram/Ironman)
Can everyone stop complaining about how World Championship spots are handed out? Someone being slower than you at a race does not make your race mean less, ffs. I get it, the prestige of an amateur world championships is all a made-up perception thing anyway. And I get it, like, once you buy into that, it’s hard to un-buy-into it. And I get it, it feels weird for spots to be allocated retroactively (though I sorta felt like they could have always been done that way). But could everyone chill with the rhetoric. No one “deserves” their spot less. (Triathlon Magazine Canada)
World Triathlon has released its financial numbers for 2020 and 2021—which I plan to dive into at length some time coming up. (Tri-Stats)
The organizers of Wildflower—the once-famous triathlon—are very not happy about a new entirely different race happening at Lake San Antonio that’s getting billed as a “revival” of Wildflower. (Instagram/Paso Robles Daily)
A kind of interesting new race: Triton, a three-day broken-up triathlon series. (Triton)
Thomas Steger, an Austrian triathlete who podiumed at the Challenge Championship, received a one-year ban for “possession of a prohibited substance.” Which is an interesting violation. He says his home was searched and an expired inhaler of his dad’s was found—but that he didn’t use it and he never failed a test. I’ll say I was not aware you could serve a one-year ban for “possession,” so I have some questions. (NADA Austria/Instagram)
In case you missed it, Paula Findlay & Eric Lagerstrom got engaged. (Instagram)
A nice profile of Ashleigh Gentle—savage by nature. (Triathlete)
Even if the racing goes however it goes, a nice video feature on Chelsea Sodaro and Kristian Blummenfelt. (Youtube)
The Tour de France Femmes is over and the biggest complaint is it was just too interesting. (Canadian Cycling Magazine)
Tour de France Hommes is also over and I can’t get enough of this “beer controversy.” (Outside)
How would you stack up against the best climbers? The New York Times used Strava data to make this cool graphic visualiztion comparing age-groupers and the pros up the best-known climbs in the Tour. Or, get the “real” experience with this IG comedian. (New York Times/Instagram)
Courtney Dauwalter is going to follow-up Western States and Hardrock with UTMB now—which is my new thing I would like to be able to do just one time. (Runner’s World)
The Chicago Marathon start list is out and includes Molly Seidel, Galen Rupp, Siffan Hassan, and Des Linden (and a lot of other people who are very fast too). (Chicago Marathon)
The U.S. Olympic Trials marathon will start at noon in Orlando, which is super fun for everyone. (Citius)
Katie Ledecky now has 16 individual world titles, beating Michael Phelps. And, since it was a hot topic on the podcast: yes, she swam the 1500m in 15:36; yes, that is how long the swim is in an Olympic-distance tri. (USA Today)
A year or so ago, I was asked to do a few interviews (as a kind of general ‘this is what triathlon is’ interview) for a documentary about Siri Lindley. The preview appears to be out now. (Vimeo)
One last thing
I can totally, definitely also do this, just like Lotte Kopecky. Click the video.