Saturday, 22 October 2011

My Hopes for an Ideal World

'They've been fighting for over 2000 years, it can't be much longer now...' I love that quote from Adam Sandler's 'You Dont Mess with the Zohan' in regard to Israeli battles. With Osama supposedly popped, Yugoslavia supposedly settled, and Lybia supposedly freed, the world is getting closer to Utopia. But the evil regime that will never be broken down is that of the WTC, owners of the Ironman brand.

The 'World Championships' for IM and 70.3 (or 'half IM' if you haven't paid your licencing fees) is run by WTC and on the whole they do a good job. But to qualify you have to do one of their races at an extortionate cost. There are a few other organisations who are putting on brilliant events but aren't getting the athletes they deserve because either they're not a qualifier for the worlds or they're not M-Dot branded. I think that's a shame. In Australia WTC's events sell out in under 2 hours (IM Melbourne actually took just 6 minutes to sell out) yet Challenge Cairns, a brilliant Ironman run by a different company has been on sale for months yet is only half full.

While I also want to qualify for the worlds, I have decided not to do any WTC races in Australia and, in fact, only race them overseas when I feel I'm at a standard worthy of qualification. There are so many other races worthy of your entry fees, and at considerably cheaper prices!

Challenge Cape Town was recently postponed, I believe, due to issues about the safety of the course. WTC today offered any athlete registered for Cape Town a spot at any of their remaining Ironman events for 2011. I think that's both a beautiful offer and a brilliant business move. While nobody can deny that WTC have their domination of the sport dialled in, I hope that this offer is the start of a joint effort in opening up the world championship qualifying races to other organisers. Business wise, I think Gaza will be settled quicker. But for the good of the sport, maybe the answer is hiding in a drain with a golden gun.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


In the last 2 weeks I've shipped everything I own (bar a backpack full of clothes and a skateboard) from Acton to Whitechapel to melbs (hopefully). I've also shipped myself to Whitechapel in East LoItalicndon as my lease is up and in the next week I'll ship myself to Notting Hill because Carla's lease is also up! All the while I'm still working full time, started training again, bricking it about the cost of living and not having a job in Aus, and trying to say goodbye to everyone I've met over here in the last 5 years. Ironic that my 1st month in London was spent in Notting Hill and my last month in London will also be spent in NH, but I'm perfectly happy with that; I love the place.

Still looking for that spare 20 minutes to sit down and write a blog on our trip to Germany- I'll make the time this weekend. Maybe I'll also make the time to sit down and select a good word to contribute to beating Dad in Words With Friends, instead of rushing it and settling for something like C-A-T. I'm fairly sure my vocabulary stretches further than that but it hasn't been tested lately. Innit Bruv.

Considering the only wheels in my possession at the moment are on a skateboard, I'm living vicariously through Felt Epix who have returned to big smiles after a year off. They are no longer officially contracted to Felt but still choose to ride Felt bikes, which has to be the biggest endorsement around.

In other news, I have sore feet, LCH have changed their margin parameters, and northern winter is the opposite of southern winter.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It's All the Financial Markets' Fault

Either I am missing something big or the same painful issue keeps coming up. It’s not the markets that dictate job losses and reduced growth. It’s the political policies. Funnily enough it’s only the Politicians and the uneducated public who blame the markets (who may well be one in the same). My same argument time and time again is that if you add regulation to an efficient market (by definition, not necessarily by practise) you are creating a set of rules for people to exploit, which further skews its inefficiency. This will exacerbate any Political failings when interest rates are applied based on market expectations and economic releases.

Remove all regulations and a free market will help (but not solve) these problems. There are always two sides…

Monday, 10 October 2011

Kona 2011

I have heaps of photos from Germany last week which I've been meaning to put up here but with a hectic week moving house, and Ironman on last night I thought I'd unleash a few thoughts on the state of long distance triathlon in Australia.

But first, here's a preview of my Germany post:
Yep.  It was like that.

So... the Hawaiian Ironman is the world championships and has fascinated me since I was 16.  On the surface it seems a stupid endeavour (and it probably is) but I love the idea that there are 1600 people racing and there are 1600 different reasons for being there.

Australia has owned the men's race for the last 4 years (Crowie in 2008 and 2009, Macca in 2007 and 2010) and last year Miranda Carfrae also won the women's.  This year at the half IM worlds Australia won the men's and women's races (Crowie and Melissa Rollinson) so Australia held the world championship for all long distances in both genders.  A huge feat for any country and something to be flaunting for promotion of the sport, yet Triathlon Australia made no mention of this dominance on their website, in press releases or used the world champions in any kind of self promotion whatsoever.  A huge opportunity wasted.  Luckily they still have a chance because Australia finished 1st and 2nd in the men's (Crowie and Pete Jacobs) and 2nd in the women's (Carfrae) so yet another year to be proud of Australian long distance triathlon.

With the expectation that no Australian media will mention this, I will offer a few thoughts on last night's race.

Luke McKenzie, an Australian pro who has chosen his races selectively for whatever reason often gets good results in poor fields.  He has been criticised for not racing the best in the world, most famously by Macca who is a great proponent for racing in Europe against the strongest athletes.  Whether it be purely down to my physical location I'm not sure but I also agree that Europe has the most competitive Ironman racing in the world.  Luke won Ironman Brazil but it was against a 2nd rate field (who, incidentally, would tear me apart- but here I'm simply a commentator!).  Many were wondering if Luke could step up at a big name race.  Step up he did, came off the bike in 2nd and finished the race in 9th.  A huge effort that should put most people's criticism aside.

Pete Jacobs, another Aussie who finished about 10th (I think) last year.  He has been chugging away in Sydney all winter and through his twitter he seemed fairly confident during the last few weeks.  I'm fairly sure that he even surprised himself with a 2nd place!

Chrissie Wellington has done 13 ironman races.  Guess how many she's lost.  None.  Not one.  Not even a 2nd place.  13 starts and 13 wins.  I like working with trends but I understand when a trend is unsustainable.  13/13 including 4 world championship wins, I didn't expect her to win again.  Someday her run will come to an end and I hope the media don't make a big deal of it.  There are many girls so close to beating down the door and beating Chrissy but it didn't happen yesterday.  Cracking effort for Chrissie to win again.  The undisputed queen of ironman triathlon.

Once information about the age groupers comes out I'm sure there will be some spectacular performances to comment on there too.

Ironman is one of the few sports in the world where you can race against the pros on the same course, same day and same conditions.  It also keeps the pros sort of mortal in the eyes of the fans (age groupers).  But the humanity of the pros in acknowledging that everybody performed super-human feats on the day makes the event so much more incredible.  Seeing Chrissie, Mirinda and Crowie come back to the finish line after their win to congratulate athletes crossing the line all the way up to midnight puts a nice touch on the event.  It shows a mutual respect and always lights up the face of those who realise the world champion is placing a lei around their neck.

I'll leave you with my favourite photo of the day; Macca, last year's winner, not racing this year but cheering on previous arch enemy and eventual winner Crowie.  Rivalries are all talk.