Friday, February 23, 2007

WTF Friday

WTF to USA Triathlon for their ranking system. I flip flop more than Sen. Liberman on this topic, but for some reason today it is bothering. I have had conversations with the Deputy Director of USA Triathlon in length about this topic in the past. I have also discussed it with numerous people who have helped transform Tri Fed to the behemoth that is USA Triathlon today. Part of me thinks the whole ranking system is bunk. Who cares what you are ranked? It is an individual sport and it is a lifestyle. Most participants of triathlon are competing against themselves. They are not there to be faster than the next guy, rather they are out to accomplishing their goals. That being said, they have this system in place so you may as well look and see how USA Triathlon ranks you.

I first checked out my Triathlon ranking. I expected my ranking to be low and it was. I am ranked 949. No surprise and I really don't care. Then I headed over to the Duathlon rankings. To my surprise, I was not ranked. WTF? I finished 12th at National Championships and was a member of Team USA this year. I finished, while low, 6th at Gear West Du which is one of the most competitive duathlons in the country. I also finished 6th I think at the Coulee Region Du which is a very competitive regional duathlon. How does this happen? Given the sole fact of being a member of Team USA shouldn't that be enough to have a ranking? Certainly it should, and should be weighted heavily. Shouldn't National Championships hold more valuable than most others with less competition? Why would they not weight the event itself into the equation?

Because I chose to only do one USA Triathlon Sanctioned duathlon, I was not ranked (minimum 2 required). Given the fact that USA Triathlon continues to ignore the sport of duathlon, they need to change this. There are not that many sanctioned duathlons. The organization is doing little to promote the sport and to ensure there are more sanctioned events.
The issue is not that there are not enough duathlons as there are plenty, rather it is that there is no reason for Race Directors to have their races sanctioned--but that is a whole other topic/post.
So lets pretend that I do care about my ranking. In order to become ranked I have to race more for it. There are many top athletes who train all year to peak for nationals. During the year they race in TT's, bike races (mountain and road), and road/trail (running) races to hone their speed and race tactics. Then there are lesser caliber athletes who just travel to a bunch of sanctioned races and are ranked higher than a better athlete. That makes a lot of sense. WTF?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Face it Duathlon is DEAD!! The coulee Du a major race????? So Funny!!! This is a tune up race for the triathlon season. Get with the times buddy. Let's face it if you had hair you would still be sporting that mullet.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Happy Mutant said...

USAT sanctioned duathlons may be dying, but duathlon itself is not dead. Triathlons are easier to participate/race in, are overly glamorized, are less competitive than are duathlons. These reasons make triathlon more appealing to the masses, thus making more triathlon events available than duatlon because RD's can make more money off them.

I did not say that the Coulee Du is a major race. What I did say was "very competitive regional duathlon" which it is. Just look at the results. A "tune up race" for triathlons would not have faster run splits than that of the local triathlon. The fastest second run split of the Coulee Du had a better minute/mile pace than the fastest one, and only run, of the Got Energy triathlon. Also there were more people under 6:00/mile pace for the second run than the triathlon had.

Additonaly, if people are using the Coulee Duathlon as a tune up race for the triathlon season, they need to look at their calendar a bit closer and rethink their periodization schedule. This race is in April, what triathlon are people tuning up for? Gulf Coast? Floriday 70.3? I Doubt it. If it is a tune up race, it is for duathlon, specifically The Apple Duathlon.

"Get with the times" Anytime you want to have a conversation about the current state of triathlon, equipment, training philosophies, or races just let me know. I am fairly confident that I am more "with the times" than most are.

Get with the times? I have been with the times

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy! Did I strike a nerve.Ha Ha

Let's face it Duathlon was and still is a stepping stone for triathlon. It may have had its day in the 80's, but the day is done. Do Du's ever sell out? Oh yea, there was that one in 86 when that long haird boy that could not swim was son popular. Mr Kenny "the Mullett" Souza.

People start with a duathlon and then work there way UP to a triathlon.

As far as duathlons being a tune up, why, oh why are most of them in the spring? Tune up race buddy. LOL

Anyone in the industry would surely know that "Duathlon=DEAD" So, get with the times. LOL

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't worry duathlon you'll come back. just look at me.


70's haircuts &
hair metal

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do they still have duathlons? I thought they were done with. And just how is it easier to participate in? Isn't a triathlon a duathlon with another event. More is greater than less?????

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The debate between what is harder, triathlon or duathlon, has raged throughout the 25 years of my competitive career. I have seen triathlon rise and fall with the Bud Light series, and Duathlon rise and fall with the Coors light series. Those who compete at the elite level don't need to put down other athletes of any sport and would never disrespect another’s sport. Back when I was young and uninformed I had hear all the arguments and even stirred the pot myself as to which is more difficult. Unless you have raced over the course of the last three decades you haven’t seen the sports evolve to their current status. Therefore, your arguments as to the difficulty loose validity in my eyes. All of this is useless banter on this topic; get out the door and train.

6x Team USA Duathlon and 3x USA Triahlon team member.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Alegend in his own mind) LOL

2:42 PM  
Blogger Happy Mutant said...

Anonymous #1: Did you strike a nerve? Yes. I can't stand it when people misrepresent and misconstrue my words. I also do not like comments such as yours. Why even comment if you are not going to leave remarks to the questions posed? In this case, the questions were in regards to not having national championships and Team USA membership weighted in the equation to determine national rankings. Rather than supporting your opinion which you did not even state, you chose take a personal stabs. If you don’t agree with the position I take in this post, comment on that rather than displaying your ignorance.

If you are taking the position that duathlon is a stepping stone for triathlon, I guess then we have to say that triathlon is a stepping stone for cycling. Remember that sell out triathlete Lance Armstrong? As for Kenny Souza, he is an amazing athlete and super cool guy. I can say this because I have met and hung out with him. I won’t speak on his behalf, but I would venture to guess that he would not take your side in this argument.

People don’t work their way up to triathlon from duathlon. That maybe the most uninformed comment I have heard. Duathlon is a physically more demanding sport than triathlon. I am not taking anything away from swimming, but it does not stress the body and affect your performance in the subsequent segments of a multisport event as running does. This makes duathlons, in general, more difficult that triathlon. If you wanted to compare triahlon’s premier event, IMHI, and duathlon’s premier event, Zofingen, we could just ask Mark Allen. What a minute he has done this, and he said that the duathlon was the hardest race he has ever done.

Why are most duathlons in the spring? Part of it has to do with the ITU having world championships in the late spring or early summer. The events in the US have to be early enough to put together a team to take to World’s.

Again, duathlon is not dead. Perhaps we are speaking from different perspectives from different industries because from what I can see duathlon is not dead. Additionally, a dead sport would not bring home more hardware to the U.S. from World Duathlon Championships this last year than ever before.

Anonymous #2: Very true. Nice work

Anonymous #3: Another fine example of ignorance and stupidity. Yes they still have duathlons. I addressed your second question in the above comments. By definition, yes a triathlon is a duathlon with another event. And a quadrathlon is a triathlon with another event. You are correct more is greater than less. However, more does not indicate an increased level of difficulty.

Toby: Not much to argue there. I guess I am that young person stirring the pot now.

Anonymous #4: I don’t know who you are, but I would venture to guess your resume doesn’t even come close to his.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be happy to compare athletic accomplishments and resumes at any time you'd like. Or, maybe we should meet on course at some point and see if I'm full of shit or not.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I didn't make a personal attack on anyone in my OP, your response perfectly illustrates my point. Those who have been there and done that at the highest levels don't have to belittle others in an effort to feel good about their own personal athletic endeavors. Those who feel inadequate to their peers often resort to name calling and put-downs. I wish you the best of luck in all that you do.

HM...not that long ago national championship events did carry more weight in the rankings. That was back in the TriFed days. When Budlight and Coors Light were major players in supporting multisport events the TriFed rankings didn't matter as much as your rank in those events did.

A quick look at the national event schedules actually shows that there are not as many duathlons annually as there are tris. However there appear to be roughly the same number of du's out there now (in many of the same venues) than there were more than a decade ago. Especially in your areas. Many more tri's spring up each year which could lead one to think that duathlon is dead.

Multisport has been a rollercoaster for the pro/elite levels as prize money and support funds have been in flux since the start. When Budlight and Coors Light pulled their respective funding all aspects of elite multisport diminished. However, the grassroots opportunities for age-group athletes has continued to grow rapidly. The Ironman Series is a perfect example. Each year races are added to provide us a chance to get to Kona. There was a time when only a few chances to qualify existed world-wide. Now there are a half dozen or so qualifiers here in the US.

I have competed in both du's and tri's on and off-road and found that compared to the other events I have competed in, neither is that difficult. Compared to RAAM, Eco-Challenge, Primal Quest or any adventure race tri's and du's just aren't that tough...but then that is just the opinion of someone who has actually competed in every one of these endurance events.

Keep one foot falling in front of the other and the rubber side down...

3:57 PM  
Blogger Happy Mutant said...

Toby- I wouldn't be surprised if the age group commission pushes to have parts of the old system brought back.

Even after Budlight, at the height of the Powerman series here in the states, it was more desirable to have a higher standing on that series compared to the Tri Fed ranking. Primarily because Powerman was, and still, is an international series and brings out the best athletes.

Then in the late 90's early 00's the Dannon Duathlon series was huge. Again, we cared more about our ranking in this series than we did with USA Triathlon's ranking.

It is only a matter of time until more larger duathlons start to pop up again. It is getting increasingly harder to organize a tri and just as we found at Clearwater this year, most venues are not optimal for the athletes' experience. Duathlons have more options available for locations and are easier to permit in the cities that thrive on the tourism industry.

5:41 PM  

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