Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ironman -- The Wal-Mart of Iron Distance Triathlon

In 10 days I'll be racing (yes, racing in terms of pushing myself to a new PR) my sixth Ironman. All of these races have been the M-Dot race. When I first got into triathlon, I wasn't even aware that Ironman/M-Dot was a brand. I thought that was what those races were called. And that there weren't other options.

So how is Wal-Mart like Ironman?

1. It's a big and powerful brand -- everyone has heard of it...

2. Ironman and Ironman 70.3 races are everywhere...

3. Ironman participants come in all shapes and sizes, like shoppers...

4. Spending obscene amounts of money to enter a race, and then purchase ridiculously over-priced clothing feels like a deal, but you can't help but feel a little dirty about yourself afterward...

5. All the feel good marketing aside, make no mistake Ironman is about making money. The more, the merrier.

6. Bike courses are clogged like the aisles of a Wally World on a Saturday afternoon.

LOL!!!

I'm also racing Ironman Canada this year, and then perhaps a non M-Dot race later on. Next year, I'm thinking of going completely renegade and race independent Iron Distance races...They cost half or less than half the price of M-Dot races, and have WAY FEWER people.

For me, I really have a problem with the packs of men that draft during Ironman. Last year at Ironman Canada, this one pack of 10-12 guys would break up on the hills -- both uphill and downhill. I would pass many of these guys, only to have them regroup on the flatter portions and roll by me again...and again...and again.

There is nothing more aggravating than hearing the click-click-click of some a$$hole that has stopped pedaling right behind you and sucking on your draft. I wasn't mentally prepared to deal with this - and I know it was emotionally draining. On a day as physically and mentally taxing as Ironman, any emotional instability is a waste of energy.

One solution I've thought of is to train more, get faster, get away from these situations. But, I can't help but wonder how much more wonderful it would be to have only 200 competitors instead of 2600....

Kona isn't my BIG goal. I'd like to qualify (as proof that I am getting faster), but I wouldn't take the slot, because my ultimate goal is to get faster. I'd rather save my money and go to a training camp for a month than do Kona. It just doesn't hold the thrall for me. Although I TOTALLY support my buds and anyone who has that as their goal. It just isn't my goal.

So, removing Kona from the equation liberates me to participate in different races....

12 comments:

Beth said...

Graeme feels the same way. He has no desire for Kona at all. Well except to go there on vacation as its an awesome place. Not everyone has the same goals and that is a good thing! Your race is so soon!

Cath said...

Good for you!!! You'll have a schmokin' race for sure :)))

xxxxx

runningman said...

I hear ya Julie it is very frustrating. A pack of 10 isn't big in a race like IMC, I had a pack of 50-80 roll by me just before Richter both years I did that race. If you're not gunnin for kona why bother doing Mdot races. There are sooooo many good races out there, lots of Iron-distance races that are awesome. Course you'd have to travel for them though. Me since I watched kona as a kid and always dreamed of doing that race that's my goal so I have to deal with all the drafting. Oh but you'll see cda isn't as bad as Canada(I don't think) because of the rolly terrain. That all being said, we can't let it bother us, just race our own race. Just like in Walmart. :P See you soon girl!

Kelly B. said...

HA!! This was a good post! I only learned in the past couple of years that the BRAND Ironman is a FOR PROFIT corp. Its a business. Ran by busniness people. To turn a dollar. That's cool if you want that experience. I have not done an Ironman but think I may tend to gravitate towards one that is NOT under the brand. All the fuss makes my head hurt!!
GOOOOO JULIE!!

Runner Leana said...

How M-Dot is like Walmart....love it! There is nothing like a 24 hour Walmart, particularly one in a border town like Laredo. If you think Wally World is crazy, wait till you go to one on the border. Yikes!

Anyhow, I digress!

I thought IMC would be rolly enough to break up the packs, but I guess not. Mind you, there is a lot of flat up to Richter. Shucks, I hate those wheel suckers!

Best of luck at CDA!!!! And I can't wait to see you at IMC!

Runner Leana said...

Laredo, TX that is...

Keith said...

I've often thought about what to do about pack drafters. About the only thing that comes to mind is to tell the riders that cam volunteers are going to be stationed along the course periodically, taking video. Video that would be reviewed after the race and before the results are posted, and especially before the Kona spots roll down. People caught in a bike pack twice are disqualified. I figure once could happen by accident as you're riding along and get passed by a pack. But then, that would piss off lots of people and they might not come back again. Maybe that might be a good thing. There doesn't seem to be any shortage of people willing to sign up for IM events.

As for the lone drafter, well, I have an idea about that. Stand up, poke your butt out, and relieve your feelings. Apologize profusely afterward, because, OF COURSE nobody would be that close, because they'd be drafting.

Once IMC is done I'll be looking for smaller, more fun races.

Julie said...

Keith --LOL!!!! What a great idea -- Hahahahahahaha!

Lisa G said...

Hey! I recently started reading your blog. I have to say I COMPLETELY agree with you about the Ironman brand/corporation, and the crowded and overjammed race courses in most of their events. I also feel very strongly about drafting. It seems every year IMC (and others) allow more and more people to register (aren't there like 2900 or 3000 competitors in it this year?), so the course inevitably becomes extremely crowded, more dangerous, and drafting ensues. And we know that the M-dot brand is only letting in more and more athletes each year to turn a bigger profit.

I have pretty much been boycotting the IM brand races (in fact I have only done 1 Ironman brand race ever - IMCDA). I would rather support the local, non-brand type races as they are so much fun and a great atmosphere! The only problem is that I really want to do Kona sometime so i am going to HAVE to suck it up and sign up for a 70.3 that has a qualifier!

Anyway, that is my rant! Happy training!

Lisa

Julie said...

Darryl -- a pack of 50-80??? WTF?!?!?!!? Are you serious? That is absolutely brutal!

志名 said...

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Sparfy said...

awesome you are going to be there in canada! as you know it will by my first and would be fun to see someone that i 'kinda' know! :-))