Highest Tri in the World – 106 West – “still has faint heartbeat”

Early this morning, various news sources, including 9News and the Summit Daily, reported this year’s 106 West Triathlon had  been cancelled.

Human Movement, owned by Powder Corp (sic), decided to cancel the race and focus on events closer to Copper Mountain, 9News reported.

However, 303’s Bill Plock pulled out his reporter’s notebook and asked some questions, revealing there is more to the story…

By Bill Plock

For ten years Jeff Suffolk, president of Louisville’s Human Movement, worked on bringing the 106Degree Triathlon to life in 2016. It was an epic event. (Full review below.) From being the first time humans could legally swim in Dillon Reservoir to being the highest altitude triathlon in the world, the 106 offered something unique.

But, according to Jeff, it’s not dead yet: “It has a faint heartbeat,” he told me this afternoon. The realities are a few very vocal people influenced officials to want to reroute the bike course and confine it to the Reservoir roads and trails.  Jeff said, “Yes, we could’ve had a three loop bike course, but that would simply take all the ‘epic-ness’ out of it.” Jeff went on to praise local officials who last year went out of their way to make the bike course very free of any traffic and with plenty of room for racers.

Human Movement was purchased in 2015 by Powdr, the owners of Copper Mountain and many other resort properties. The strategic vision is for Human Movement to focus on races and events that enhance the experience of their resorts. Events such as obstacle mud races and ninja courses, the kinds of events Human Movement also produces.

The 106 being in Summit county surely had some reach into the Copper Mountain community, but with its indirect impact, the race really needed to remain epic to afford the expense of keeping it going, and when the bike loop was dramatically changed it made it hard to continue with the same model.

Jeff said they could still pull it off this year, but because it looks bleak, he decided to refund money to athletes so they could shore up the race schedules and not be left in limbo wondering. “If it does indeed happen, it will probably be sort of last minute from a training perspective, and I just didn’t think that was fair,” says Jeff.

So stay tuned, crazier things have happened, the highest triathlon in the world may happen again someday!

106 Degree West Tri: Highest Tri in the World Recap

 

 

Monday Masters: Podcast – Eney Jones on the Yoga of Swimming & Mastery in Sport

Highly decorated swimming coach Eney Jones

The latest podcast from Yogi Triathlete featuring swimming coach Eney Jones.

“The whole point is to be relaxed and centered during the storm”
-Eney Jones

Forward breath, two beat cross-over, Chinese take-out and driving with a snorkel. What the heck are we talking about?

Swimming, of course. Actually, we’re talking about downright intelligence of technique and execution that is steeped in science and equals less resistance and more flow in movement through the water.

Eney Jones is our guest today and she is straight out of the box. In other words, she is intelligent. She has an ability to take data and information and create new concepts that yield results. She has produced innovative tools and techniques that have greatly improved the performance of many well-known athletes. Eney is always stretching possibility and she does this by remaining in a state of curiosity. She has what yogis describe as a “beginners mind”. Refusing to rely on her decades of expertise, she is open to learning and by not resting on her laurels, she has become one of the most sought after swim coaches in the world.

The daughter of an Olympic swimmer and world record holder, Eney was putting down 10,000 yards a day in the pool at the age of thirteen. She was literally born to swim and through a lifetime of being submerged, she is now living her purpose more than ever as she guides athletes, every day, to finding their most efficient stroke and movement through water.

Eney combines the principles of yoga and athletics to pull out the highest potential in each athlete and she believes, above all else, that we must enjoy what we do with our heart. Combining love and strength in our sport equals our greatest performance. By not giving the negative any energy she draws upon the unique strengths of each athlete to create their optimal body/mind connection in sport and life.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Related Eney Jones article: Scrutiny in the Flume

Do you Strava? Join Team Colorado & win prizes!

Boulder, Colorado, USA – Mike Ricci & Jim Hallberg: D3 Multisport

Author: Bill Plock

Do you Strava? Yet another verb in our language morphing from a website (i.e. googling). Join the Team Colorado Strava group and you can be eligible to win prizes for completing the D3 Multisport segment within the Ironman Boulder bike route. The segment essentially starts at 63rd and Nelson Rd., heads West to highway 36, then North to St. Vrain and East to 65th and south back to Nelson Rd.

D3 and some of their partners including; Rudy Project, Infinit, Colorado Nutrition, Pro Bike Express, and Lock Laces will be giving away products to athletes who complete the D3 segment in the month of April. You need to join the Team Colorado Strava group to be eligible—and ride your bike between Arpil 7th and April 30th—that’s it! Click here to join

This isn’t about coveted KOM or QOM’s (king and queen of the mountain) but rather participating. Team Colorado is initiative started by Ironman Boulder to build a stronger community feel at their race in June. It’s morphing to be an inclusive group encouraging athletes to be more engaging and have fun training. All clubs, athletes, groups and individuals are welcome at events.

Most of the prizes will be given at the Team Colorado picnic scheduled for Sunday afternoon on April 30th at the Ironman office/warehouse in Louisville. There, food and beverages will be available along with some great advice from experts of D3 Multisport along with other fun events and a chance to see some of the behind the scene happenings on how a triathlon is put together. The Ironman warehouse in Boulder is the staging place for everything needed for all of their North American events. Families will be encourage to join the picnic!

Monday Masters: Growing Older – If you want to keep moving, keep moving

From Growing Bolder – grab the tissues, and get ready to be inspired as you watch a relay team of 80 & 90+-year-olds smash a world record with 3-time Olympic Gold Champion Rowdy Gaines looking on.

Two women. Two men. One incredible lesson in active longevity. If you want to keep moving, you have to keep moving.

A master class in active longevity.

 

2017 Ironman Boulder Bike Course REVEALED

By Bill Plock

Ironman Boulder’s bike course is now THREE loops (passing through the Boulder Reservoir four times!), potentially faster, and should be tons of spectator-friendly fun!

(maps below!)

Ironman continues to refine this course, and after listening to athlete feedback proclaiming they want a more connected and spectator-friendly bike ride, the new course will feature three loops, passing through the reservoir area four times giving racers that extra boost of crowd energy. There, family and friends will be able to cheer and hang out at the beer garden, listen to music, swim in the lake and enjoy the time (and amazing views!) while waiting for their athlete to pass through.

IM Boulder Race Director Tim Brosious and Pro Triathlete Chris Leiferman

Food trucks will be there along with other entertainment and features still being planned. Shuttle buses will run throughout the day for easy transport between the Reservoir and downtown Boulder.

The course could potentially be faster, especially as racers will head east from Highway 36 on St. Vrain road with its nice downhill instead of on Highway 66 like the last three years. The three loops will still utilize most of the same roads as previous years, but on the last lap racers will spend time on a closed Four Mile Creek bike path for a couple of miles before dropping riders onto a few streets heading into T2.

An added plus? No Railroad crossings!

Pro Triathlete, Chris Leiferman, competing this year and who led the group on Saturday, said he “likes the bike path near the end as it’s quiet and will give everyone a chance to stretch out a bit and relax before hitting the run.”

Poppy Sports owner Melanie Mitchell, who isn’t currently signed up, says she is more tempted now after riding the course because, “Three loops mentally seems more attainable than 112 out in the middle of the plains.  Having done the 70.3 it is very familiar territory and training will be easier to ramp up mileage doing loops of the course.

Tim Brosious, the new race director (don’t worry Dave Christen will be around too—he is a regional director now), says, “This is a celebration day not only for the athlete but also for the families, friends, and supporters who have taken on extra responsibilities over the past year to make sure their athlete has a memorable day and crosses the finish line with a sense of fulfillment and pride.

Join the Strava Team Colorado group and get out and practice the loops and see how you stack up with others doing the same.

303Radio podcast featuring North American Race Director Dave Christen and new Ironman Boulder Race Director Tim Brocious, discussing Ironman Boulder features, course preview, and Team Colorado:

Check out all the photos from our 303Radio Podcast HERE.

Here is the official course map!

 

303Radio spends the day with New Ironman Boulder Race Director

Today we interviewed North American Race Director Dave Christen and the new Ironman Boulder Race Director Tim Brosious… we learned all about the new North American Headquarters office (and how the staff spends its lunch hour), details on Team Colorado, and some *WOW* news about the new bike course! (By the end of the interview Bill Plock – who had sworn off iron distance racing this year, was looking up the registration page on his phone…)

Check out all the behind-the-scenes photos at the link below, and stay tuned for the podcast publishing very soon! Don’t miss the Group Ride tomorrow, which will feature the bike course reveal!

 

#303Radio recording today: Passing the IRONMAN Boulder #RaceDirector torch from Dave Christen to Tim Brosious , how…

Posted by 303Triathlon on Friday, March 10, 2017

US age-group triathlete banned for doping competing in ultras under maiden name

Photo: PRICE CHAMBERS / NEWS&GUIDE

Exclusive for 303Triathlon

By Tim Heming

A US age-group triathlete banned for four years for doping is now competing in ultra marathons under her maiden name.

Holly Balogh, 46, a Kona qualifier and Ironman All World Athlete champion in 2014 and 2015, tested positive for exogenous testosterone after winning her age-group at Ironman Texas last summer.

The mum-of-two from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, trained under the highly reputable purplepatch Fitness, headed up by British coach Matt Dixon. It is believed a whistleblower alerted the drug enforcement agency USADA..

However, despite the ban, Balogh is now entered under her maiden name Hancock for the Old Pueblo ultra, a 50-mile race taking place this weekend in Sonoita, Arizona. The race is not thought to be governed by World Anti-Doping Association rules, and the organiser has not yet replied to requests for comment.

The use of any exogenous anabolic androgenic steroid is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code and Balogh did not apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

“It is unfortunate that Ms. Balogh chose to disregard the education, advice and knowledge she had regarding anti-doping and instead competed in violation of the Ironman Anti-Doping Rules,” said Kate Mittelstadt, Director of the Ironman Anti-Doping Program. “We applaud the decisions of the athlete support personnel to step forward, first to report Ms. Balogh’s use with disregard to their advice, and also for the conviction to include anti-doping awareness in their coaching. They each recognised the importance of honoring their obligations under the anti-doping rules and cooperated with Ironman’s investigation.”

Balogh initially challenged the verdict, before later dropping her case. A source who did not want to be named said: “To cut a long story short, she’s a type A person who became more obsessive through triathlon.

“She was a mid-level triathlete with a dream to go to Kona and a strong work ethic, but something changed around 2013. She injured herself through overtraining, but raced too soon and re-fractured her leg. She found a doctor who told her there is a pharmaceutical cure to her problem, when the problem is a mental one: she just can’t rest.

“It sounds like this new coaching group either saw something in her performance or she told them what she was doing. I suspect the latter because she was not terribly shy about this claiming it was for ‘medical reasons’.”

Balogh, a real estate manager who trained up to 25 hours a week, said finishing the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii in 2014 was “the coolest experience of my life. That gets me a little emotional when I think about.”

Her failed samples from Texas comprised her only drug test of  2016. For comparison, Tim O’Donnell, the professional Ironman, was the most tested triathlete by USADA (15 times), with professionals responsible for the lionshare of tests.

Matt Dixon, head coach of purplepatch, said, “purplepatch has a very clear policy on any use of PED, as well as what we would see as potential ‘abuse’ of TUE with the aim of gaining a performance advantage.  We make it clear to each athlete, beginning with a set of commitments with our professional team, as well as information and education to all the amateurs who utilize our coaching services. … This global purplepatch policy applies to every athlete we help, and we find that establishing this policy ahead of time, and revisiting periodically, allows our primary focus to be channeled to our passion, namely, to help athletes improve and flourish.”

I asked Balogh via her new Twitter account whether she thought it was morally right to race in an ultra event while serving a doping suspension. I cited her tweet: ‘Interesting times right now, I will begin anew now, today, despite the insanity around me.’ Her response was to block me from following her or viewing her tweets.

Breaking News: IRONMAN forming “Team Colorado” for IM Boulder

Thinking about IRONMAN Boulder? Already signed up? Look here on 303 to find out about IRONMAN’s new Team Colorado to make this your best and most memorable Ironman ever! Opportunities for exclusive training with professional triathletes, one-of-a-kind IRONMAN Team Colorado gear, and more. Stay tuned this week for big announcements!

2017 Triathlon Business International – Day 2, Lance Armstrong

Basketball… “Flat, Challenging” times in Tri … and Lance Armstrong:
“I went from the stars to the ground, seemingly overnight”

The Monday morning start of Day 2 at TBI began early, with a group workout at the local Dallas YMCA, put on by ACTIVE. Following an old-school basketball lay-up drill, Arch led participants through four, 7-minute “Tabata” sets and had us all sweating and dreading sitting on sore glutes later in the day, but smiling goofy endorphin-induced grins. (Only the first three sets were physical – the fourth set was a mental “Triku” writing exercise… we may – or may not – hear more about those submissions later in the conference.)

By 8:00 a.m. the breakfast crowd was ushered into the presentation hall for a few opening remarks by TBI President Richard AdlerCiting registration data, Adler pointed out 41% of this year’s TBE attendees are race producers, followed by those in the technology field, and manufacturers with 15% each. And then a large “other” category, that includes coaches, tri clubs, city representatives, advertising/marketing entities, sponsors… a good cross-section of the industry.

This year’s conference theme is “profitability and success in triathlon,” and Adler referenced data presented by Gary Roethenbaugh yesterday and reiterating the current “flat” triathlon climate makes for “challenging times.” However. The entire purpose of this conference is to collaborate and share ideas; TBI is, at its core, a “sounding board and connector of resources.”

And then a hush fell over the room as Lance Armstrong was ushered down the center aisle, red carpet style, haloed by a bright spotlight, led by Slowtwitch publisher Dan Empfield. As they walked Empfield referred to Armstrong as his “very good friend,” and Armstrong made reference to Empfield being his “first sponsor” (Empfield was Lance Armstrong’s first bike sponsor, with Quintana Roo, the bike brand Empfield founded).

Empfield opened the session with an air of caution and assertive direction, launching immediately into Armstrong’s The Forward Podcast, and skipping any preamble about the cycling world or doping or other obvious precursors. Admitting he is “very jealous” of Armstrong’s podcasts because “they are so good,” Empfield asked about:

  • Most recent guest (astrophysicist Neil Degrass Tyson – whom Armstrong pointed out is “Stephen Colbert‘s favorite guest”)
  • Toughest interviews (“Seal was very emotional and dark; he and I did the dance and it came off…“)
  • Favorite interview to date (Michael Morton – wrongfully convicted for killing his wife: “He is my favorite by far, so far. He went to prison for 26 years for a crime he didn’t commit. And then DNA evidence proved his innocence and he was exonerated. His views on the people who put him away – what he wanted to do to them – for 15 years he had a plan for every one of them. Shoot & bury. Burn. Drown… And then he found God. . . The guy is amazing. Really cool guy.

As Armstrong mentioned Sean Penn (whom he hangs out with in Aspen), biographer Hunter Thompson, Johnny Depp, Bo Jackson, Brett Favre (a “good friend”), Malcolm Gladwell (If he does a tri, “Who’s going to make the swim cap to go over that ‘fro of his?”) … Empfield points out, “These guys are all friends – you just call them up.” And later in the interview, regarding Armstrong’s residence in Aspen, “there’s a posse, and you’re in it.” Empfield continues, “You can hang with these people and talk with these people in a way a CNN interviewer couldn’t… I mean, a presidential historian and rock stars…”

Armstrong revealed his techniques for landing an interview with someone he finds compelling: “I grab coffee in the morning and read the newspaper. I see who’s in town… send a DM to a mutual acquaintance and get a cell phone number…” He goes on to point out how public most personal information is, saying, “You can find out about anybody’s life – start with Wikipedia, and then go to YouTube… There’s still some secrets out there, but very few.”

He also acknowledges the timing of his Forward podcast, saying, “I couldn’t have done this kind of platform five years ago. . . I went from the stars to the ground seemingly overnight, and all of my platforms went away. That was a humbling experience. The podcast is my first platform, my first offensive move, the first place I’ve gone back to to give people a place to go. . . I’m blown away at the success it’s had.”

When asked about the “corporatization” of sport, making big business out of triathlon or other endurance sports, he was clear, saying whether it’s Ironman or New York Road Runners or the Boston Marathon, “we still have millions willing to pay to play.” But. ASO/Tour de France is “much more evil” than Wanda Sports. “The business model of pro cycling is 100 years old and not sustainable. There is turmoil there. They want to control as much as they can and cast a shadow over all the other events. The Tour is too big – but they are the only one, and the only thing people care about.”

“I wish there were more players and riders who had a bigger voice in pro cycling.”

Armstrong’s latest venture, WEDU Sport, was touched on but not well defined. According to the trademark application, WEDU will incorporate monitoring & tracking (“Computer software and computer application software related to tracking, monitoring, planning, compliance and motivation”), clothing, and “athletic competitions, triathlon events, athletic coaching services.”

When Empfield asked about the new brand, Armstrong provided an explanation for the name, saying, “WEDU is an answer to a question: Who does 100X100’s in the pool or runs Rim2Rim? Who wants to do that? Who would be crazy enough to do that? The answer is WEDU. That is the brand. There is space for more events in the endurance world. Also, monitoring and tracking – GPS, Strava, wearables – allowing athletes to train better, smarter, and injury free.”

Later in the interview he added on the subject of WEDU: “We’ll provide events, content, and training. Similar to Endurance Nation – we’ll sell plans. And WEDU may be an app.”

And what about that subject of doping? Empfield raised the subject, and Armstrong elaborated, saying first, “It will never change.” He said there will always be cheaters Whether traditional doping, or course cutting, or mechanical doping with engines. He did an obstacle course race, and when he missed an obstacle he had to do 180 burpees. “I did all 180 burpees,” he said. “But how many people really do them? It’s the honor system. If they have to do 30 burpees, how many do 30? No one. They do 22.”

What about just letting letting drug testing go – just “chilling” – and letting athletes do what they will do? “Just chilling is not an option,” Armstrong insists. “I don’t have a lot of credibility on this.” (crowd chuckles) “You laugh, but it’s true. Should we test athletes? I’m probably not the guy to ask. But if it’s my kids, I say test them.”

And, on the future of triathlon: “Who knows? Who would have thought there would be the Tough Mudder and events like that? We just don’t know… You never know what the next event is. What will provide relevance and motivation? For Type A motivated people, what are you going to give them in ten years?”

He speaks about the return of his Aspen mountain bike race in 2017 (the 2016 event ended up being “a party at my house” since he missed the permitting deadline), his preference for century rides over Gran Fondo’s, because they are untimed and easier to permit, and “alternative” events in general. He then adds, solemnly, “I want all of the ships to rise.”

Also: Jimmy Buffett & Margaritaville. “When you stay there, he is making money off of you from the minute you wake up until you go to bed. From music to blenders to everything… I really respect what he’s done with his brand.”

Finally: Empfield circles back to the Forward podcast. He notes that listeners are asked to rate the show, one star to five. “There are no 2s, 3s or 4s. Only 1s and 5s. Is this a metaphor for how people view you?” Armstrong responds, “I was an asshole for a very long time. I understand that.”

As Armstrong left the room (for 1.5 hrs of post-appearance interviews in the outer hallway), the TBI sessions continued with discussions covering the Future of Triathlon (“Triathlon has plateaued. But it’s stable. Flat is the new ‘up’.” – Chuck Menke); Sponsorships; Diversity in Triathlon moderated by Sara Gross (“Diversity brings innovation, and that’s what triathlon needs now”); and the USAT State of the Union address by Rob Urbach (which began with, “Do you remember the first time you made love?”). Late afternoon sessions allowed participants to choose between topics including Working with Municipalities, Retailer Relationships, Understanding Millennials, and Triathlon Teams.

The Ron Smith Reception and Awards Celebration filled the evening, with winners announced in multiple categories. Be sure to check out 303Triathlon’s twitter feed for all the details on the day’s presentations and events.