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2014-06-25 7:13 PM

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Subject: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Curious, what do you think about the state of the Michigan triathlon scene? For example, but thoughts don't need to be limited to, some of the following.

Are there too many races with watered down competition and/or not enough competitors?
Just the right amount of races with good competition and/or plenty of competitors?
Too many choices?
Not enough choices?
What about price points of races?
How about distances being offered?
What about races being offered in some areas but not others?
Top notch race organizations?
Not-so-top-notch race organizations?
Good cooperation between race organizations with a common goal of a thriving triathlon community in Michigan?

What would a true Michigan Triathlon Championship look like, and how would it could it be organized (perhaps a different thread on this one)

Anyway...what are your observations/thoughts?


2014-06-26 11:20 AM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
I've only been doing this for a few years, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt:

Originally posted by Tri Sam

Curious, what do you think about the state of the Michigan triathlon scene? For example, but thoughts don't need to be limited to, some of the following.

Are there too many races with watered down competition and/or not enough competitors?

I never really paid attention to races before I started racing, but since I've noticed I like that there is a race nearby almost every weekend in the summer.

Just the right amount of races with good competition and/or plenty of competitors?

As a MOPer I like the smaller races with a better chance to podium. =)

Too many choices?
Not enough choices?

I can usually find a race when I want to race. I don't think there are too many choices -- if I don't want to do a particular race, I just won't.

What about price points of races?

Maybe a little on the expensive side if you're used to 5K prices, but I think they're reasonable when you realize you're paying for lifeguards, food, medals, shirts, etc.

How about distances being offered?

I did have to do a bit of research for a fall 70.3, but I did find one, so good, I guess? What's the closest full Iron-branded 140.6 -- Wisconsin? That seems a bit far for all the lakes we have here in Michigan.

What about races being offered in some areas but not others?

There could be more longer-distance races in SE Michigan. It seems like the longer distances gravitate to north or west.

Top notch race organizations?
Not-so-top-notch race organizations?

I keep racing with the same orgs -- Element Events (Island Lake) a half dozen times, so they must be doing something right. I know there is a lot of talk on here about 3D but I don't hate them: I think they put on a good race, but I do wish they were USAT. A couple others here and there, nothing remarkable either way.

Good cooperation between race organizations with a common goal of a thriving triathlon community in Michigan?

Here is where I think we can improve. In order to train with a group or a team, I have to travel a half hour, minimum, so I haven't seriously considered it. Maybe that is not a long time for some, but I want to spend that time training, not driving. Juggling my training time and working full-time is hard enough.

I see that some race companies and stores (3D, Level, LifeTime) have teams, but I don't see them cooperating at all.


What would a true Michigan Triathlon Championship look like, and how would it could it be organized (perhaps a different thread on this one)

I don't know! Maybe you earn points similar to USAT but Michigan races only?

Anyway...what are your observations/thoughts?

2014-06-26 1:45 PM
in reply to: Miles around Midtown

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Miles around town-
Thank you for your thoughts. Great insights from someone relatively new to the triathlon scene. Good luck with all your racing and training!
Peace,
~Sam
2014-06-26 6:35 PM
in reply to: Miles around Midtown

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
I'll echo Miles' comments. I've always found plenty of races to enter; I'm MOP to BOP so the level of competition seems just about right to me.

What about price points of races?

They are more expensive than a 5K but the prices seem pretty fair to me. The last couple of years, I've been able to watch the set-up for the race in East Tawas and there are a lot of people working for a couple of days to get everything ready. Having seen the amount of people and equipment that are "behind the scenes", I'm comfortable with the price.

Top notch race organizations?
Not-so-top-notch race organizations?

I keep racing with the same companies, Tri to Finish, 3D, and Epic. I've been very happy with all those groups. I prefer to enter USAT races so I only have a couple of 3D races to choose from.

I had an opportunity to volunteer a a kids tri in the spring and thought that was a great experience; I was really surprised at the number of spectators for the kid's race and I heard a couple of volunteers talk about trying a race after watching the kids.
2014-06-27 10:34 AM
in reply to: LJonesCPA

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Great thought LJones, and thank you.
Curious, why is it important to you that a race is USAT sanctioned or not? I don't have a problem with you wanting this feature, I'm just curious.
Have a great season!
Peace,
~Sam
2014-06-27 10:07 PM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
For me, I run three or four races a season and I like the ranking system. Hopefully, I'll see progress each year.

I must admit though, I don't know anything about the other organizations. If I ever looked at the other organizations, I might feel differently.


2014-06-28 7:42 AM
in reply to: LJonesCPA

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Got it. Thanks again for your thoughts.
2014-07-01 4:53 PM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?

Northerner here... The tri scene is rising here in NW lower and competition is stiff.  We have some amazing athletes up here.  I however am only MOP.   There are a couple different tri clubs in the area and training friends are easy to find, and places to train are in our backyard. 

I would like it if races were less expensive but I do understand the cost involved, and still happily pay to suffer

While we don't have as many races to choose from as the southern part of the state we can usually get to race a couple times a month throughout the summer.  3d had most of the market but Tri 2 Finish is closing in and I really enjoyed their event last year that I raced. 

I do wish that 3d races were sanctioned, mainly just for points and visual progress

I really would like to see some longer distances up north.  There is Tawas but that is a 3 hour drive from here.

I have been racing tris for 8 years and I am definitely getting more selective of the races I choose

 

2014-07-02 6:43 AM
in reply to: emferg

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Good thoughts...and thank you.
I see you have a couple IMs under your belt and you are headed to TN this fall. Good for you, and good luck!
Peace.
2014-07-03 6:25 PM
in reply to: #5017650


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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Too many choices?
As an athlete I think the more choices the better and there are a ton of choices. As others have said every weekend there are several races to choose from. From a race company's perspective it must be hard to make money with a limited number of athletes and so many races. To me this is why the company's don't offer as much as mdot events, they can't afford it.

Not enough choices?
There are not many options in the half or full distances but outside of GR's half, but most of those races are very small.

What about price points of races?
I think the price depends on the company you race with. If you sign up early you can race for 60 dollars which is cheap, if you wait until race day you can pay more than 100, which is over priced to me. Some company's give you a lot for your money, other company's charge the same with no finisher medal, little or no post race food, no finish line, no support on the bike or run course and races can feel unsafe with athletes going many different directions.

How about distances being offered?
I think a person could find any distance they want pretty easily outside of long distances, half is limited and full there is only one that I know of.

What about races being offered in some areas but not others?
SE has by far the most races with SW not far behind, that's where the largest population so it makes sense. Look at the races north of clare, I can't think of one that has more than 350 people.

Top notch race organizations?
To me there are several companies that stand above the rest. The GR tri's and 3d feel the closest to professional events like ironman. They have nice finish lines, swim set up has big buoys and looks nice, things are roped of and courses are clearly marked.

I think Michigan races are watered down, we have so many races and not nearly as many athletes as other states. There are very few races over 400 people. There is a group at the top that is fast but other states have races with 800+ athletes and some very fast racers.
2014-07-04 6:43 AM
in reply to: Swimmer98

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Swimmer98-
Thanks for your great insights, and think you are right on. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Have a great season!
Peace,
~Sam


2014-07-04 6:45 AM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Oh! I will add TriToFinish puts on good events as well, and Jim Mishler has got the Mom & Pop triathlon down, and does well with his events as well.
2014-07-04 6:54 AM
in reply to: #5021389


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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Sam, what do you like about Tri to Finish? I don't have much experience with them but Caseville last year was a mess.
2014-07-05 1:08 PM
in reply to: Swimmer98

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
I realize, and TriToFinish will readily admit, that things definitely went awfully last year at Caseville. However, I had a great experience in Charlevoix with them, and they really seem to want to do things right. We'll see how things go this year at Caseville to determine if they were able to right the ship with that event.
Some general observations, not in any particular order of importance from Charlevoix, etc.
* Safe event.
* Started on time
* Clearly marked course
* Decent food after the race
* Efficient with awards
* Solid race environment (feel); great venue
Other...Nice website, nice shirts & awards...
If you have not given them a try, and last year's Caseville is your measuring stick, I would recommend you give them a chance, and not make a decision based on that particular event last year. My instincts tell me there won't be any problems with the event this year.
2014-07-08 8:58 AM
in reply to: #5021510


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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
I'm happy to be back in the mitten since I flat out refused to swim in the dark and murky waters of Georgia - I need my swims wetsuit legal! It's nice to see more options 'up north' and was very happy with TriToFinish at Boyne last year (will be back this year). Living in SE MI now and there are plenty of races to choose from I suppose, just not venues I'm too excited about (island lake has what 6 races?). Currently everything is cost prohibitive without an income, but in general I sign up early and have no qualms paying for 3-4 good races a summer.
2014-07-08 1:28 PM
in reply to: Spartypants

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Spartypants-
Welcome back to the mitten. I don't blame you re; murky waters in GA, and I loves me some wetsuit as well. Thank you for your thoughts and good look this season!


2014-07-08 1:28 PM
in reply to: Spartypants

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Spartypants-
Welcome back to the mitten. I don't blame you re; murky waters in GA, and I loves me some wetsuit as well. Thank you for your thoughts and good look this season!
2014-07-09 11:28 AM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Are there too many races with watered down competition and/or not enough competitors?
Just the right amount of races with good competition and/or plenty of competitors?
***I don't think there are too many races...it makes it easier for people to get involved in the sport if they don't feel overwhelmed with a huge race/AG***

Too many choices?
Not enough choices?
***I think it's just right...there are races practically every weekend of the summer depending on where you look location wise. I do wish there were some more women only events, and as others have said it seems like the choices go down with the Oly, Half, Full distance races.***

What about price points of races?
***Having volunteered with Epic, I see some of what goes on behind the scenes...and I feel that the prices are fair. There is ALOT of manpower behind these races. Yes, they are more expensive than a 5K, but hello, you get to torture yourself in 3 different ways not just one!!! ;-) ***

How about distances being offered?
***It would be nice to see more Oly length races at the end of the season for those of us who work up to a longer distance through the summer.***

What about races being offered in some areas but not others?
***I could see it being frustrating for those northern michigan peeps to see all the races available in the SE/SW part of the state and not have that up there.**

Top notch race organizations?
***I've only raced Epic here in MI (done another one in KC, MO for two years now as well) and I've loved every race I've done!***

Good cooperation between race organizations with a common goal of a thriving triathlon community in Michigan?
***No clue...but like others have said, having them USAT is something that I look for just because it becomes more cost effective for a yearly membership if I have more races that are USAT***

2014-07-14 8:42 AM
in reply to: Spartypants

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Sam - just getting caught up on the show after a long gap. Glad you're still going strong!

I am happy with the plethora of choices - I think it leads to everyone upping their game. I think we have a good mix of pro companies like 3D and local races like Hawk Island. Every corner of the state has some races - even the UP! I don't have the sense that current local 70.3 and 140.6 races have huge numbers, so I can't imagine adding too many more.

I aim for mostly USAT races for a few reasons. My team - Lansing Triathlon Team - participates in the Mideast Regional Club Racing Series (MERCRS), and you only get points for USAT races. I am also somewhat interested in my USAT ranking/ qualifying for national championships. I like supporting our Olympic triathlon program, which is through USAT. I also believe USAT sanctioning means USAT approves of the race plan from a safety perspective, which I enjoy.

I like the idea of a "real" Michigan championship race, but it would be hard to swing without some major cooperation. You also have the issue of so many of the fastest folks racing 70.3/ 140.6 races as their late season "A" race. A USAT sanctioned "official" (so many finger quotes in this paragraph) championship would be a great start - they could rotate between event companies, venues, etc.
2014-07-14 11:11 AM
in reply to: MI_Mumps

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
MI Mumps-
Great insights! Thank for throwing your ideas out there. You made good points. I have further thoughts on this, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for putting yours out there.
Peace.
Oh!...and thanks for giving the show a listen.
2014-07-16 4:01 PM
in reply to: Tri Sam

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
Sam,

This has been an interesting thread. Sorry I haven't answered previously.

Are there too many races with watered down competition and/or not enough competitors?
- I definitely don't think there are too many races, and I haven't noticed it being watered down. I do notice a variety of speed levels at some events, but that doesn't bother me. I don't pick a race based on how tough the competition is, I pick races based on location and whether they look fun to me, and I tend to be a repeat customer.

Just the right amount of races with good competition and/or plenty of competitors?
- I think the amount of races is good, but there are some times when I can't find quite the right one in my area. Being generally a sprint athlete, I pick a few races that I *KNOW* I am going to sign up for every year (Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Ludington) and then I often sign up for a few more at almost the last minute depending on how I am feeling and what else I have going on.

Too many choices?
Not enough choices?
What about price points of races?
- I think the price points are fair. They're always going to be painful, but from the couple of times I've looked at racing out in the San Diego area (I've done Mission Beach, the original triathlon), they're not bad at all.

How about distances being offered?
- Being mostly a sprint guy, I don't concern myself too much here. I do miss the intermediate distance that Tri Del Sol offered. I know they changed to sprint AND Olympic due to participant feedback, but I had previously looked forward to that one due to the unorthodox distances between sprint and Olympic. It gave me reason to train a little more distance, which was good for me, without having to go all the way up to an Olympic.

What about races being offered in some areas but not others?
- West Michigan guy, so I really only focus on races in this area, although I do sometimes get to train at Island Lake in Brighton and I have done a race there, but I can't offer much of an opinion here.

Top notch race organizations?
- I have enjoyed racing Grand Rapids, they do a great job. Ron Knoll puts on good races (Grand Haven, Cereal City, Bear Lake), and I have personally never had an issue with 3D races (I've done Ludington many times, plus Lumberman).

Not-so-top-notch race organizations?
- No negative feedback on anyone.

Good cooperation between race organizations with a common goal of a thriving triathlon community in Michigan?
- Really no opinion here.

What would a true Michigan Triathlon Championship look like, and how would it could it be organized (perhaps a different thread on this one)
- I don't know exactly. I wouldn't want one specific organization to put this on, but it would be nice to see a few of them put this together. Honestly not sure we really need one at this point.

I'd honestly like to see more teams open to beginners (I can't really call myself a beginner anymore, but for others), and maybe some more coaching possibilities. Most of the teams seem to be either a clique of friends or based on being pretty darn fast, or occasionally corporate. I guess it probably isn't a fair opinion, because I haven't looked into it that closely, but I haven't seen a lot of teams welcoming newer people. Most of them seem to be word of mouth, which is okay, but semi exclusionary. I train mostly on my own due to both schedule and personal preference, but being involved a little more with a team may be a benefit to me as well as others. I've even been contemplating putting together a loosely organized team based on MSU alumni/fans, but haven't put the effort into it yet. Maybe in the offseason.

Originally posted by Tri Sam

Curious, what do you think about the state of the Michigan triathlon scene? For example, but thoughts don't need to be limited to, some of the following.

Are there too many races with watered down competition and/or not enough competitors?
Just the right amount of races with good competition and/or plenty of competitors?
Too many choices?
Not enough choices?
What about price points of races?
How about distances being offered?
What about races being offered in some areas but not others?
Top notch race organizations?
Not-so-top-notch race organizations?
Good cooperation between race organizations with a common goal of a thriving triathlon community in Michigan?

What would a true Michigan Triathlon Championship look like, and how would it could it be organized (perhaps a different thread on this one)

Anyway...what are your observations/thoughts?



2014-07-21 3:31 PM
in reply to: MSU_Brad

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Subject: RE: What are your thoughts on the State of the Michigan Triathlon Scene?
MSU- Great thoughts, and I appreciate your opinions. Thank you!
Good luck with your remaining events this season.
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