#68: Who's ready for this year
My 2024 intention is to go big.
issue #68: Jan. 3, 2024
This week’s issue is presented by:
Right now, probably as you read this, I’m on my way to Endurance Exchange in Charlotte. It sounds like there are going to be a few Triathlonish subscribers there. So if you’re one of them, come meet up at the Friday evening welcome reception! (I might even give you a mini ‘all sports, no balls’ bottle opener.)
Now, after a week-long quasi-break of mostly doing nothing except laying on the couch and drinking too much, I’m trying to get back on schedule and back to work. That means your usual Wednesday morning newsletter at the usual time, and the Sunday evening in-depth email for paying subscribers every weekend. But I’m a little behind getting back on track (already!), so let’s get on with it!
What are we looking forward to in 2024?
This past weekend, I started to put together the 2024 Calendar of Big Triathlon Races—which is tough because you have to sort of judge what’s going to be big, guess who will go where, and of course wait for the many announcements still TK. (The calendar will 100% be updated as the year goes on; bookmark that shit.) But, the exercise forced me to look through all the events and plans and schedules and dates. And I don’t know if this will really be the year that triathlon as a mass participation thing truly totally comes back. But I do know there are a lot of big events I’m way too excited about.
An incomplete list of the big dates circled on my calendar:
The Olympics: Men go July 30, women go July 31, mixed relay on Aug. 5; Para follows after the Olympics are over in late August/early September.
I know, I know, I know everyone thinks it’s all about Beth Potter v. Cassandre Beaugrand. And, yes, sure. But if Georgia Taylor-Brown and Flora Duffy are back and healthy, then that completely changes the race. You get a bike breakaway going with them and Taylor Knibb and Maya Kingma. And all of a sudden things look very different.
And don’t even tell me you have any idea (!) what’s going to happen in the men’s race. Yes, sure, Alex Yee, but also the chaotic WTCS Final in Spain.
Tour de France Femmes: Immediately after the Olympics is over on Aug. 11, the women’s Tour starts on Aug. 12. Seven days, eight stages.
Back in the day I used to buy the big men’s Tour de France guide every year and pour over it; I’d read up and then watch every stage—but somewhere along the way I lost interest and sort of wandered off. However, something about last year’s dramatic women’s race brought me back. Also, it helps that I may go to this year’s TDFF, so that’s exciting.
UTMB: The other thing I’m excited to potentially see in person (Aug. 26-Sept.1), which I am aware distorts my opinion. And yeah yeah yeah, UTMB is ruining trail running and eating its young. But if it’s going to ruin something that anyone can do on any trail as fast or slow as they want, then I’d like to see the Kona of it all before it gets ruined. And, anyway, what if it’s not? What if it’s actually amazing to watch 2,500 people run around a mountain? And, don’t tell me you wouldn’t have wanted to see Jim Walmsley & Zach Miller go head-to-head or that Courtenay Dauwalter’s UTMB race this year crowning her triple crown wasn’t **the** performance of the year. Because it was.
Ironman World Championships: Women in Nice (!) on Sept. 22, men back in Kona on Oct. 24 (late this year).
Of course, I’ve made no small secret of the fact that I want to and plan to qualify for and complete Nice—mostly because I just want to be part of the first of a thing. But aren’t you also so damn curious?
And also the PTO Tour, of course, will be great racing whenever the other Open races get announced. And there’s still a whole WTCS calendar outside of the Olympics. And I want to see what Super League does with its new Triathlon Majors. And I might go to Unbound, even though I have almost no interest in doing Unbound. And I think some of the new events happening in trail running are the most exciting thing in our sports right now (yes to the Golden Trail World Series coming to the US!). And and and. But, mostly, I will probably be full-on obsessed with all things Paris 2024, triathlon and not.
It doesn’t take a Psychology student to recognize that part of me being pumped about everything again is that I, personally, am doing triathlon-ish things again and have my own arbitrary made-up goals. And that’s fun.
Outside calls it the “the normie accomplishments” (ie. normal people making up the random totally arbitrary absurd goals people make up for themselves that no one else cares about, like summiting every hill in your neighborhood or walking to all the Taco Bells in the city—something my husband actually did on Saturday). And I appreciated that. A shoutout to the normies.
You want to know what a flow gel is; trust me
There is almost always a push-and-pull in triathlon gear and fueling and training between what works in a lab and what people actually do out on the race course. (Think of, for example, all the super aerodynamic bikes that didn’t factor in how to carry bottles in a full Ironman.) And one of the things I’ve really appreciated about the Precision Fuel & Hydration team is how much they think about how these things are actually used by athletes, and then work to navigate that push-pull.
Which is why, when they showed me the Flow Gel back in Nice in September, I thought it was so damn smart. But then I noticed some people on social not understanding it, thinking it was just a wacky really large regular gel. So I asked the team to help me explain:
We know that when it comes to long-course racing almost all of the pros and many AGers will dump a bunch of gels into a bottle and water it down, or they’ll super overconcentrate a drink mix to get ~1000 calories into one bottle. We all do it because it’s practical. A Flow Gel, though, is built specifically for this. It’s the same carbs, ingredients, and 2:1 glucose to fructose ratio as ten PF&H regular gels. Except, instead of watering down ten gels, they’ve just changed up the manufacturing process (not what’s in it) to keep fewer bonds from forming and keep it flow-y. You then put the whole thing into one of their Flow Gel bottles (or any bottle, but the one that comes with it is designed for this) and there you have it: your long-course nutrition is ready to go.
This is probably not something to casually have on your next ride, but as you gear up for the race season it’s definitely worth testing out. And now you know why. If you want to try it or any other PF&H products, you can get 15% off your first order here.
Things from our sports you should know about this week.
I thought Tri-Stats had some good insight on a few things we’d like to see in the WTCS circuit this year. (Tri-Stats)
And a cute piece about the Iron Angels of Ironman Mont-Tremblant, who I guess are retired now that the race is no more. (Triathlon Magazine Canada)
Turns out it wasn’t just Jan Frodeno who retired from the pro ranks this year. If you can believe it. (Triathlete)
Lots of reflections and intentions and recaps and new sponsor posts right now. I’d call out Georgia TB’s (may she have a better 2024) and Kevin McDowell’s (and also may he; mostly because he’s always the most fun and everyone’s favorite). (Instagram)
I don’t think it’s entirely fair to characterize Sam Long’s latest Youtube as saying that he’s swearing off Ironman (as some people have suggested), but rather that he’ll focus primarily on the PTO 100K distance and on 70.3s. (Youtube)
You’ve also got a Lucy Charles-Barclay off-season bike fitting and testing Youtube. And a Sam Laidlow update. (Youtube)
That Triathlon Life announced their development team for the year. (Instagram)
CREDOTri has some kind of agreement (though the press release really doesn’t say what kind) with Ironman. Which is only slightly confusing to me because I thought TriDot was in partnership with Ironman to be the app/training platform of choice. (Endurance Sportswire)
I have almost zero idea what Plasmaide is, but they’ve got the latest high-profile Santara Tech/Norwegian roll-out. (Instagram)
The PTO is also rolling out their final year-end rankings on their IG (they’re up to #30), but you can always see all the rankings on the rankings website. Now, when do year-end bonus checks come? (Instagram/PTO)
Not gonna lie, I always wonder how I’d stack up in college races these days. Well, this 37-year-old is back at school after taking time off to give birth etc, and she’s a cross-country standpoint. (Runner’s World)
Maria Sanchez never played expensive youth club soccer, and she’s now the NWSL’s top-paid player. Which is 1. awesome and 2. puts another check in the ‘youth elite sports are a bullshit industrial complex’ box. (Wall Street Journal)
The absolutely most terrible news of the week: Olympic Australian cyclist Melissa Hoskins was killed when she was hit by a vehicle driven by her husband, pro cyclist Rohan Dennis, on Sunday night. He’s been charged in her death. (The Daily Beast)
And a performance manifesto with generally good rules for life. (The Growth Equation)
One last thing
From a bit ago, but given the Ironman World Champs show was out this week and I’m only 2/3s of the way through it.