Racing with F2C Nutrition and DG Multisports

Racing with F2C Nutrition and DG Multisports
Photo by Craig Thorsen

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My opinion...For what it's worth

My first Half Ironman 70.3 turned into Boise 29.3. I may be the only one to say that I respect the officials' judgment call on this one, because apparently, a few of my triathlete comrades lack sufficient brains themselves. The comments I'm reading on Facebook leave me pretty disturbed. Let me just put this out there: I entered this sport because it looked tough and challenging. It pushes anyone who enters these races to their ultimate limits and requires a demanding amount of time to complete the training necessary to succeed. I entered this sport because of the people. Healthy, smart, fit, inspiring, motivating. I can't think of a single person who has questioned my ability to participate in this sport. I entered this sport because anyone can do it. I passed people younger and older than me, some as old as 74. I watched one woman hobble along the run course, surely just on her first lap. She looked like her knees were going to cave in. Yet she was running.

I did not enter this sport to play stupid. Plenty of people have questioned my choices about training in conditions that would encourage the average person to take cover in the comfort of their homes. Let me be clear: I train in the weather we encountered today in Boise. I was prepared. Perhaps others were not. The fact that others were not apparently have some people berating the officials (from what I've seen on Facebook) about making the bike leg shorter from 56 miles to 15. Did I not just say I entered this sport because of it's inclusiveness, it's invitation to others to choose a healthy lifestyle and give it a go? Here are some of the comments that have me concerned:
  • "If you are not prepared (and a lot of people were not) then don't do it."
    • My take: From what I have heard, Boise presents as a great race for beginners. I value the people in this sport who strive to attract new people to the world of triathlon. To encourage people not to do something just because they aren't as strong as some of the more serious triathletes is damaging. How could we possibly encourage others to participate if we have people making comments like this?
  • "They made the wrong call. The wind is not that bad. Don't triathletes prepare for all conditions? Seriously...it's pathetic."
    • My question: Did you actually drive out to the plateau with the worst wind conditions to see how they were yourself? From what I gathered from people who have raced this course in the past and who actually LIVE here, the weather in one area of Boise is not the same as that in another. For instance, I checked in my bike in the rain last night. Upon heading out to drive the bike course, we had sunshine. Having said this, I did NOT go to the areas the officials claimed had dangerously high winds, so I cannot comment on the validity of the decision made by the officials, and I will not. But seriously? Unless you went out to see for yourself, I don't think you can comment either.
  • "It was the wrong call. Awful officials..."
    • My opinion: While I find myself slightly disappointed that I didn't have the opportunity to put my training to the ultimate test today at my first Half Ironman event, I do not, and WILL not fault the officials for the final decision they made. I watched an older gentleman shiver while sitting on a curb waiting for his swim wave to start. His face was blue. I stood next to athletes young and old absolutely chilled before even entering the water. There wasn't a single person not shivering...no, SHAKING with cold. Quite frankly, I think it's people who make comments like this who are "awful" for the sport of triathlon. We should take pride in the fact that we are a friendly, inviting group. To tell an old man that could have been my grandpa to "pack it" simply because he wasn't strong enough to handle the conditions is pathetic.
(If I may include this, some of these comments were made by someone I passed spectating from the sidelines, NOT competing. It leaves me to wonder what he may have been thinking if HE had tried to clamber into a wetsuit already drenched from the cold rain, already so cold from the wind that he couldn't feel his fingers well enough to actually don the wetsuit, and shivering so violently while waiting for HIS leg to begin, which likely would have been at least 30 minutes after the first gun went off.) 

On a final note, my race report is coming. I just had to get this off my chest. For those of you who disagree, feel free to do so. I have an opinion, too, and I think it's a legitimate one. So by all means, call me what you want: Pansy, Chicken, Girl. Whatever. I'm happy to know plenty of hardened triathletes with warm hearts. Those are the people I'll stick around, continue to train with, and strive to emulate. 

For those who finished today: You are a true competitor. Truly inspiring.
For those who decided to throw in the towel: You made the right decision. Don't doubt yourself about it. As my mom would say, there is no sense in risking your safety for one race when another one will follow.
For those who were disappointed with today's decision: Find another race to prove yourself. DON'T blame the officials for considering the safety of the ENTIRE field of athletes today. YOU are not the only one out there. Respect the fact that the sport of triathlon is compromised of a wide array of competitors: different ages, different backgrounds, different goals. This is just how the sport should be advertised. Don't tarnish this sport with poor sportsmanship and behavior.

On that note, I'm finished blowing steam. I have a body to recover. Good night, and congratulations to everyone! To those who followed me and others competing today, I can't express enough thanks and gratitude for you taking the time to leave thoughtful notes of encouragement and congratulations. It didn't go unnoticed. Thank you!

2 comments:

  1. Hello Meghan,

    You don't know me, but I closely know the person whose comments you quoted. I come from an elite cycling background (I am a 2x national champion and a cat 1 cyclist), and I am just entering the sport of triathlon (today was my 2nd triathlon ever). Was it cold today? Yes. Was it windy? Yes. Is triathlon a sport that deems everyone a winner? Yes. By the way, I think that is a good thing about the sport also.

    But, I also believe that the wrong call was made to alter the bike course today. I was NEVER cold on the bike. I used a rear disc wheel and deep dish front, and I never struggled with the wind. I am 5'4" tall and 125 lb. I have done countless bike races in winds and weather far worse than today, including some races in Boise.

    The conditions were truly not that severe today. Sorry. They just were not. Was it cold for the swim? Yes. Was everyone shivering? Yes, myself included. I understand that the officials were trying to make the best decision for the masses, but they did happen to fail today.

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  2. Hi Allison,

    I do know of you, and I respect your accomplishments as a truly talented cyclist. Congratulations! I also respect your experience in racing in windy, rainy conditions. Truth be told, I have also done the same. Training in and around Spokane and the Pullman area during my undergraduate education has exposed me to a number of these weather conditions, too.

    As to the decision made by the officials, not only were they looking out for the safety of those competitors not as strong as yourself, but they were also looking out for you. I was told by those who live in Boise, and by those who have raced in Boise before, that the conditions in one place are not the same as those in another. To say the "conditions were truly not that severe today" may not be that accurate. The winds and rain on the reservoir may not have been the same as those out on the plateau. In fact, I heard there was snow further out in the course. I don't think it's fair to rate the weather conditions unless the person making these statements actually did go further out to see for themselves.

    Finally, consider those racing who may not be as strong of a rider as yourself. If someone were to crash in front of you as a result of poor handling ability, would you have been able to miss it? Perhaps with your experience, you may have. However, I don't think it was worth the risk. I know I wasn't able to feel my hands coming out of the water, and they didn't begin to warm until the run. I was wearing gloves. I'm not sure handling a bike with cold limbs, against strong winds would have been smart. It's one thing to race a bike through strong winds having not just come out of the water (which is what you've done in the past, is it not?) It's a completely different story when you have already been chilled by standing in 40-degree weather, made worse by 30mph winds, spending 30+ minutes in 57-degree water, and then experiencing the effect of evaporative cooling once out on the bike. I, for one, have future races to race. I, and many others, didn't need to risk injury so early in the season and throw the rest of the year out the door.

    Good luck in your next races! If you plan on racing Lake Stevens, I think you'll kill it :)

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