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A Road Map to Multisports - Review of the Newest Multi-Sport Directory
The beauty of the US Multi-Sport Directory is its expansiveness beyond just the sport of triathlons. It’s a multisporter’s ultimate road map.
By Ovetta Sampson
B.T.com Managing Editor
When I was young, I told my mom I wanted to be a writer. She said that’s great but you need to earn an income. So while other middle-schoolers were happily playing tag and sewer-to-sewer in the urban playgrounds of Chicago, I was in the house, pen and paper in hand, mapping out my career to become a writer and make money. I was nine when I made this career road map. Purpose of the story – I like to plan.
So imagine my happiness when I heard about the US Multi-Sport Directory. Like most triathletes, come November when the leaves are turning, I’m thinking about summer races I want to enter.
The directory is a product of U.S. Multi-Sport Publications (a current B.T.com advertiser), an upstart company started by some triathlete enthusiasts in Wisconsin. It’s a big, difficult vision – create a wide-ranging events calendar that offers the skinny on all things multisport. Others have tried it, but it ain’t as easy as it sounds.
Race directors are notoriously a fickle bunch. Some are anal to a fault, others are laid-back lackadaisical. Trying to walk around their minds to see if they’re planning a race can drive a sane man crazy. Trying to contact them and then having them contact you back to say whether they’re doing their race can turn a sweet girl mean. Then there are all the different venues. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the Race Directors took the blue pill and reported their schedule events in the same place? Boy, what a beautiful dream…and Anthony James and his partners at US Multi-Sport Publications almost pull it off. Their guide is more well-organized than any other list I’ve seen. The crew spent months, heck, even years, calling and contacting every race director they could Google. The result is an expansive guide that falls a wee bit short of everything you need to know.
US Multi-Sport Directory
U.S. Multisport Publications
$6.95 (Suggested Retail Price)
This beautifully designed, extremely practical guide is a must-have for triathletes looking to get the low-down on everything multisport, but lack of comprehensive listings and race descriptors keeps this directory from perfection. But hey, nobody’s perfect right?
The US Multi-Sport Directory is split into geographical regions. For some reason the guys decided to color-coordinate the regions – Northeast is hot red, the south is ice blue, Midwest draws dark blue, mountain states get a glorious green, the gold rush West is golden, and Alaska and Hawaii are kinda’ turquoise. (Don’t take me literally on the colors. I don’t have a fluorescent light in my bedroom where I’m writing this review).
The races are listed by region and color and the guys provide a color-coded map in the table of contents. The color designation continues with the race headings. Each listing contains the date of the race, the name of the race, its distance, its location and a website. They also point out the USAT-sanctioned races with the organization’s logo, and the Xterra off-road events, and events sanctioned by the United States Adventure Racing Association as well as their featured events.
Aesthetics aside, the beauty of the US Multi-Sport Directory is its expansiveness beyond just the sport of triathlons. It’s a multisporter’s ultimate road map. Inside the soft-cover pages of the US Multi-Sport Directory you will find not only triathlon races, but also a great selection of:
Adventure races and
You say, “I’m a triathlete, why would I care about marathons and cycling events?” Oh ye of little training. To become a better triathlete it’s good to cross train. And knowing when a century is coming up or a marathon will allow you to plan accordingly, allowing you to train for a 50-mile cycle race to see if you got the chops for a 1/2IM.
That’s why I love this guide. You can plan your whole race season. You can pick and choose races in different sports disciplines organizing your training races to prepare for your “A” race. It’s a wonderful training navigation tool and the guide is awesome to have in your training goody bag.
In everything there can be improvement – look at my run times and you’ll know that’s true. The US Multi-Sport Directory is awesome but it is far from complete. For example, in my beloved Rock Mountain region the guide failed to list some of the most popular triathlon races, including the Rattlesnake Tri. While the guide has 16 races listed for the state of Colorado in its triathlon/duathlon section, go to the Colorado section on www.trifind.com and you’ll find more than 50 listings.
The Publishers did charge race directors for listings but Anthony James, one of the four guys who put the guide together, said only about 60 percent of the races listed paid to be in the guide.
“We did not only list those that paid. We listed all that we could that paid or not with our research and data collection. We were not trying to exclude anyone. We wanted this book to be as comprehensive as could be,” James said in an e-mail.
So we can’t say the guide’s lack of race listings is because of something crass like commercialism or capitalism.
To be fair, the publishers of the US guide say they tried everything to contact as many race directors as possible. This is only the second year of the guide. And in a nod to imperfection the guys write a disclaimer in the book that races aren’t set and stone and beg the reader to do some checking on their own before they hop in the SUV for a multi-sport race three states away.
Need More Data
In addition to missing some races, the publication lacks the enormous amount of historical data that an online website like www.trifind.com provides, such as past race results so you can see whether you want to sign up for a race or whether you’ll skip it because the field is too hot. US Multi-Sport Publications does have a website, www.usmultisportpub.com, which also has race listings and hopes to have it fully stocked soon.
Some may wonder why there should be a printed multisport directory at all? Online you can store so much more data than any book can bear to hold. But I’m an old school girl and I love having a tangible product in my hand. I like to check off listings of races that I want to do without having to wear out the ink on my HP printer. Also my HP can’t reproduce the beautiful photos and design work that populates the US Multi-Sport Guide.
A suggestion to the publishers would be to add a little descriptor about each race, especially for the reader that is using the guide to travel to different races. It would nice to know a little bit about the Buffalo Springs Triathlon. And some articles wouldn’t hurt.
Despite its minor deficiencies, the US Multi-Sport Directory is a dream come true. It provides all beginners with a good look of what’s out there for the season. It’s by far the best tool for the traveling triathlete who doesn’t want to lug a laptop around trying to find somewhere to do a great race.
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