EDIT: Here is another perspective on why pro triathletes may not be getting as much publicity as they should or could. I know this is all about money, but if WTC is purposely keeping pro athletes from gaining popularity, that’s pretty sad.
I think one of the coolest things about triathlon is racing with the pros. Age groupers are fascinated by the ungodly splits, mysterious lifestyles, and mythical training schedules. All of which is why I think a lot of pros are missing a huge opportunity.
Age Groupers are rabid fans who can’t get enough of their sport, but I’m pretty sure most “Ironmen” can’t name more than one or two pros in their race. I write and think about triathlon every day, and the Pro Roster at Wisconsin was totally off my radar.
Konstantin Bachor, after setting a new Wisconsin bike course record
I’d imagine it has to feel like a traveling circus for many pro triathletes. Showing up in random towns with other endurance freaks so the age groupers can gawk at their oddities. But, just like carnivals, triathlons have a built in, and captive customer base.
Occasionally I will strike a conversation with a pro at a race and they have always been really cool, but I am typically unimpressed by the way most handle their online presence. Some are accessible, but most of the time it feels like the conversations are “inside baseball.”
I went to Wisconsin to “cover” Ironman simply because I love the sport and culture. I was shocked by how many people recognized me and said they read Crushing Iron. Open communication resonates, and I certainly connected with a bunch of new friends and readers.
I have written over 500 posts about triathlon and while I’m certain much of it is BS, I rarely hear or get responses from pros. I don’t mean praise or positive reinforcement, but a quick barb, thank you, disagreement, or whatever.
Last night, out of the blue, I did get a “thank you” on Twitter from Pedro Gomes for posting a picture of him at Ironman Wisconsin. I didn’t even tag his name under the photo because I wasn’t sure who he was. But now I know.
Not only did he thank me, he followed, responded again, then sent his email so I could link him some video I shot at the race.
Pedro Gomes, 3rd Place at Ironman Wisconsin 2014
It’s not a huge deal, but I thought it was cool, so I checked out his website, and Race Report (which included a photo credit for me). You can rest assured my friends will now be getting a taste of Pedro Gomes 1st place predictions.
A little Twitter love goes a long ways. I’ve heard from Jodie Swallow, Mirinda Cafrae, Ben Hoffman, and . . . well, that’s about it, but I definitely remember and talk about them.
I just think with all this talk about cutting pros out of races, etc, it would be in their best interests to build followings and marketable brands for coaching, merchandise, or general leverage with sponsors. I would certainly order a “Gomes Racing” or “I Follow The Swallow” t-shirt.
I really enjoy having pros at races and think it’s important for the integrity of the sport. But with the growing popularity of Ironman among the carnival goers, it makes you wonder if the pro circuit is losing some of its allure with race directors.