2014 – The Year In Review

 

As we close out 2014 and get ready to welcome in a new 2015 triathlon season, we will take a look back at some of the events that made 2014 a memorable year for our sport.

For Onefortypointsix Media it was our first full year of operation. We filmed some very good bike courses in Ironman Lake Placid, Challenge Atlantic City with race director Stephen DelMonte, Rev3 Maine with multiple Ironman finisher Dr. Aque Alamo, Mightyman Montauk with Ironman and Challenge veteran Scott Leslie and Seaside Heights Triathlon with race director Tom Manzi. We attended some outstanding events like the triathlon expos in Philly and Washington DC as well as the Meet The Race Directors Night at Ridgewood Cycles. We covered some epic races such as Bassman, Red Bank Tri, Escape The Cape, Challenge Atlantic City, Ironman Lake Placid, Atlantic City Internation Tri and Seaside Heights Tri.

2014 saw the blossoming of a very real rivalry between Ironman (WTC) and The Challenge Family. Ironman has been the face of long distance triathlon since ultra distance triathlon has been a sport. It has engendered very strong brand recognition and loyalty with its “M-Dot” trademark being emblazoned on both product and skin alike. This year saw The Challenge Family make its move on WTC’s marketshare and domination with their inaugural Challenge Atlantic City. Onefortypointsix Media provided wall to wall coverage of this historic event and opined in our reporting that this inaugural event did not feel like an inaugural event and that with a few more years of tweaking and development, it will be a world class destination “bucket list” race.

Ironman not one to go down quietly raised the stakes on the East Coast with their inaugural Ironman Maryland (IM Crab). Challenge then upped the stakes further by merging with Rev3 which gave them the ability to surround Ironman Maryland effectively boxing them in. What makes the Challenge3 merger so intriguing is the mojo they will create seeing how both companies share many philosophies in regards to the race day experience. Challenge3 will now be a force at both the ultra distance as well as the 70.3 distance. 2015 will be very exciting to see how this all plays out.

Ironman on the other hand has to be hoping this year ends quickly as they had more than their fair share of problems. WTC’s problems began in June when first they secured a $240 million loan in which $220 million was used to pay back hedge fund investors while not improving the race day experience. Their June problems continued when Challenge AC was a smashing success. July did not improve things for WTC when at Lake Placid they had to deal with a shortened swim due to an absolutely horrible Adirondack storm which left athletes walking down Mirror Lake Drive in their wetsuits to T1 and after finishing the race questioning who was and wasn’t an Ironman. WTC was also forced to address a pro athlete mutiny over prize purses after this years Ironman Lake Placid. In September, Ironman Lake Tahoe was cancelled due to a forest fire that risked athlete safety. In November, Ironman Florida became a duathlon after the swim was cancelled due to unsafe ocean conditions and then complaints afterwards of finisher medals being smaller than some 5k local road race finisher medals. If Ironman hopes to keep their dominance at the ultra distance they will need to step up their game and rethink how they do business and once again put the athlete first. If they choose not to, Challenge will be glad to take up that mantle.

Some clubs made some fantastic noise this year. Clubs like Fil-Am Tri were well represented at races this year and Moira Horan’s Jersey Girls Stay Strong Multisport club once again made just about every major race turn into a wonderful shade of pink.

2014 saw some really quality races. Ironman Princeton 70.3 was highly anticipated and lived up to billing as many of the athletes saying they would do the race again. DQ Events did a great job bringing triathlon back to Seaside Heights with a very successful inaugural Seaside Heights Triathlon. Challenge Atlantic City brought ultra distance to the Jersey Shore with swag and style along with a finisher medal that would make Flava Flav envious. The inaugural Ironman Maryland had a lot of athlete buzz with their athlete created “IM Crab” stickers and a Jim Ristow guest appearance (A Jim Ristow appearance is like a Springsteen guest appearance only cooler). In the opinion of Onefortypointsix Media, the finest race of 2014 on the Jersey Shore was Delmo Sports “Escape The Cape”. Just an outstanding concept that was executed perfectly. Congratulations to Stephen Delmonte and his Delmo Sports team for putting on such a quality event.

So in the end, I believe our sport is healthy and strong. We had the kind of year that says our sport is still in a period of growth. Competition is healthy and more choices for athletes make for better races as Race Directors are forced to step up their game to attract athletes to their events.

It has been a pleasure covering races for you and providing you with bike course videos that you can spin to while getting familiar with the courses. We look forward to providing even more videos for you going forward into 2015.

Again, thank you for your support and loyalty to Onefortypointsix Media, it means the world to me and I promise you I will work hard to continually live up to your expectations.

Have a peaceful and blessed holiday season and we will see you on the road in 2015.

Peace,

Rob Kulessa

Editor, Onefortypointsix Media

Posted in Triathlon News

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