If you’ll bear that in mind, I’m about to admit something: this year, I’m more excited to see the results of the Ironman World Championship than I was to see the results of the Tour de France. It’s not that the Tour wasn’t nifty, but I was restricted on internet at work this year—meaning I couldn’t even follow the race as minimally as I used to—and half of the competitors were pulled from the race with positive doping tests. How Interesting can that really be?
Actually, I do have to thank Boz for mailing me some DVR recordings of the Tour—it really was pretty exciting stuff.
But last year the most entertaining race I watched on TV was the 2006 Ironman World Championship, and I actually got a little hooked on it. Since then, I’ve only found it more and more interesting.
See, in long-distance triathlon there are two basic schools of strategy at the moment: one school, traditional Ironman racing, says you put it all out there all day shooting to hit the finish line first; the other school of thought says you conserve as much energy and absorb as much advantage as you can (even on the bike where drafting is supposedlly illegal) and then you try to get a high enough placing to satisfy your sponsor or your ego.
The odd thing about is, both schools are valid.
See, on one hand you have the purists who say the spirit of racing is throwing it all out there, then on the other hand you have those who point out that this is Kona, Hawaii, we’re talking about. When you get too brash at the Hawaii Ironman, as many have figured out before, the island itself can turn on you—capricious ocean currents, unbelievable crosswinds, searing lava field heat, take your pick. You never know what will happen.
Nonetheless, I still cheer for the purists who put it all out there. My favorites win off the bike (go figure) and aren’t afraid to take the front. It also doesn’t hurt that NBC puts together a wicked-good TV package for the race.
Still, for me, that’s too much distance—the same way the Tour is too much distance. I’m content to do the occasional sprint triathlon. And even then, I know I’m just a time trialist in a triathlete’s game.