my two pence worth….

June 27th, 2009 by

triathlon politics motivational poster

So there has been 3 very interesting races so far in the newly formed ITU World Championships Series. The most recent just having been in Washington D.C. I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe triathlon and therefore would happily describe myself as a tri-geek. Or perhaps as a ‘student’ of the sport? Either way I follow all aspects of triathlon and am reasonably opinionated on the subject.

The ‘hot topic’ at present seems to be the fact that at the previous two mens WCS events in Madrid and D.C there has been a break away which has – and shudder the thought! – stayed away, resulting in those in the chase pack effectively racing for the scraps. The podium for sure and the top five virtually, being gone and out of reach.

There seems to be an air of discontent in the ranks!

This type of racing is superb. It is how triathlon – a sport of three diciplines lets remember – should be raced and provides a winner of serious credit. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not going to start harking on about draft legal racing being all about athletes who ‘can just run’ – I think this is a ridiculous argument, and one that is only voiced by those who don’t have a clue how tough ITU racing is at that top level. No no, i’ve got no problems seeing someone running from a pack of 50 in a time hovering around the 30minutes mark – if that’s the way the races goes, so be it, the swim and bike are still damn fast regardless. But boy, when a break occurs after the swim and it’s capitalised upon, that’s cracking racing!

So I was ammused to read these comments by Bevan Docherty where he comments that “I was very motivated to work and catch the leaders, however, it seemed like a select few only wanted to pull their weight on the bike, the others were content in sitting in and doing nothing!”  And even more interested in his later remark that “I’m certainly very vocal on the bike towards the lazy athletes, to try to get them motivated, but that’s the nature of the sport now they don’t have to work.” – It’s certainly been a while since I raced at ITU level, but I have been in my fair share of bike packs with Bevan – both small and large – and where he says ‘vocal’ I read ‘bully’.  Fellow online tri-member Will lamented earlier in the week that “the main problem is these 5 guys are very strong and very motivated… They never miss a turn” whilst discussing the Washington break away. Very true.

These guys are effectively spending so much time looking around at each other in the early stages of the bike – the crucial first 10-15k – that they miss turns, don’t iniate a bullet proof chase and before they know it the gap has exponentially increased. –  What seems bizarre is that nobody seems willing to lay it all out and put ‘the smack down’ – it’s daft to take the stance that ‘if everyone isn’t taking their turn, then why should I bother?’, since that will never happen. It’s logical to realise that if you want to catch “these 5 guys who are very strong and very motivated” then surely you too must show similar motivation and determination!! – That means burying yourself for the cause – taking extra turns, plugging the gaps that appear due to the ‘lazy’ athletes who are not riding for ‘the cause’ – and after all, why should they, I mean I agree totally with Gav on this one – in reply to Bevan and his ‘encouragement’ of the ‘weaker’ athletes; he simply shouted back ““It’s your money motherf%&ker, you do the turns” … clearly if Gav is not in a position to battle for the money positions come the run (yet), then why should he bust a gut helping others to do so on the bike. –  His (and others) time will come, and until then, it’s a conservation of energy game!

At the end of the day I’m just a fan of the sport and I am as interested as the guys actually racing these amazing races in the whole dynamic of the situation, and yet, I’m not racing, so my thoughts are simply that – thoughts and musings! For what it is worth however, I reckon it will not be the last time such a situation arises this year. There are substatially more Benjamins on offer and there is clear commitment now amongst the boys who manage to sneak a few extra seconds out of the water – whereas before I think there was maybe a half hearted attempt to ride hard for a lap but no more. At T2 in D.C the chase was 2.10 in arrears – and the Russians, who caused swim havoc in Madrid the month previous, were not even racing! – it could have been closer to 3 minutes with them added into the mix. I look forward to Des Moines this afternoon – no doubt I will be proven utterly wrong mind you.

The bottom line appears to be that the swim has become a fundamental once again.