1. Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    I agree with you one million percent. I had the best time this year in Philly cheering others on during the race. I now look at price before entering.

  2. El Hammstah
    Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    I agree with you 1,000,000%, Big Toe, Remission Man. However, we all know that the WTC will, never — stress NEVER — become grounded, in-touch, down-to-Earth again. They are owned by a holding company. Period.

    They have lost all sight of what it means to be a grass-roots sport, when we used to have transition areas in people’s back yards because that was the only access between a quiet, little lake and the street for the bike course. WTC is no longer the Sharon Ackles-era sport, and it has grown up in such a greedy way, since Lew Friedman’s last year or so and especially since Ben Fertic took over (and to be clear, and I can say this because I am Jewish, it’s not for the stereotypical comment some people might say “because their last names are Jewish” – I assume they are, but I’ve not wasted time looking into it.).

    It is truly disgusting in the way they gouge the consumer, but, is the NFL any different when they charge $75 for the cheapest seat at a game and seven dollars for a beer, and the players hold out for another $2MM? Why does it happen? Because WE, THE PEOPLE, do not stage our own lock-out. Because WE, THE PEOPLE, do not refuse to go to just one game — nationwide — to show our disagreement with their greed and our ability to fight back.

    Steve, as the old saying goes, “the masses are asses.” Many triathletes are self-absorbed and selfish, wanton and untrustworthy. Knowing quite a few people in the business of triathlon, I can say that there are a number of influential people who fit this description, too. WTC’s personality, starting with many in leadership roles, fit it. At the end of the day, you have those kinds of people leading, and the asses…or sheep…following.

    So, if you want to change the face of triathlon, the people need to form power in numbers to make a difference. Or, we all need to just go back to our own roots, and star racing only HFP events, SommerSports, events, etc.

  3. Scoogie
    Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    well written…
    any ideas as to what i can have my m dot tat turned into?

  4. Andrea
    Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    I actually really liked your comments on the logos. It’s so funny because I thought so many similar thoughts this past weekend (first half was awesome btw!). I didn’t care that the race wasn’t an official Ironman sanctioned 70.3 – but that is such a big deal to many. Ridiculous. The branding is insanely expensive, and the people that buy into in a lot of ways are the ones I don’t particularly care for at races. You’d be proud of me, I cheered for all fellows athletes and had fun on race day. And I did it for me, because it was a goal and the feeling of accomplishment is all I ever wanted/needed. Setting my eyes on a full…for me and me only, for the love of the sport. Just wanted to tell you I enjoyed the post and can almost hear you saying that all out loud lol.

  5. Wayne Kurtz
    Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    Fantastic article and could not agree with you more! That’s why I refuse to do Ironman races any more and have been having a lot more fun back to the roots of triathlon with ultra-tri’s. I plan on attempting a world record on Ironmans and am not looking forward to having to deal with the WTC races – that’s for sure.

    Hope your well with your training and racing!

    Best regards,

    Wayne Kurtz

  6. Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink


    In a post Cultural Turn world, identity is created in the moment of consumption. The IM is not an event as identity is not a “thing.” Each produce each other.

    WTC is owned by a venture capital group. You know how that works better than I—value is created when a product is sold for more than it was purchased.

    And fair market value is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller.

    How many commercial products do you know of that signify the same thing for a person or persons in perpetuity? The GM Buick was considered the best car on the road a few decades ago.

    It’s a fair and useful rant but perhaps a hopeless one. The IM logo will have a life of its own dictated by the ever-changing relationship between production and consumption. If enough athletes felt as you do, they would not consume IM products and the corporation would either realize this and make appropriate changes in their image or ultimately lose the value of an unstable and dated image. To wit, GM could not respond to the defensible claim that the Japanese could build a better car.

    The IM logo is in a “market cycle,” being popularized/massified in an effort by the Providence Group to own a property that is worth much more than they paid.
    Interestingly, the IM lore—part of its inherent value—was constituted in the non-corporate environment of Valerie Silk’s tenure as owner/manager. That organic growth period gave way to increasing capitalization as subsequent owners saw the value.

    In a market economy, stasis is not possible. The “shelf” life of a thing is always and already growing or shrinking. Brian Maxwell, Powerbar founder, resisted this fact at first but then realized the utilitarian element of growing/massifying his product. First, he maintained the integrity of the product itself (IM races are very well staged) , they were more widely available to those who chose to spend their discretionary income in that category (your IM NY $895 example), and then he sold to Nestle for $386m and began his philanthropic career spreaded his wealth and knowledge to the less fortunate.

    Providence will likely sell its IM product (remember—they don’t own the trademark, only the events. Marvel Comics owns the “Ironman” name) which is increasingly the events themselves, when they feel they have increased the market value of its property. And any subsequent owner will then dictate the direction of that property.

    The athlete/consumer necessarily might decide that, yes, as you suggest, an M-dot tattoo is akin to a Chevy or Ford logo on your calf. But if you haven’t been to the Midwest in recent years, there remains an ideological division made explicit by the kind of truck that you drive.

    The IM logo and the events will not go away any time soon. And don’t expect WTC/IM to “redeem themselves” by reducing entry fees; not when they can sell out a $900 race in 20 minutes. Corporations are not people but an entity unto itself. But I suspect that your frustrations are reflective of many others who had an identity relationship with the IM logo when it signified something else. Herein lies the danger in a consumer-based society: when our identities are linked to the material production/consumption cycle, the Self becomes controlled by those who control the production. That may be the root of yours’ and other’s frustration—we are losing our sense of agency and are challenging those that we as consumers created.
    In a way, we are teens creating our own identities by fighting with our parents.

    In some ways it’s a Pogoian realization—“we have met the enemy and he is us.” And when we fall back to the resistance is voting with our pocketbook, essentially we are saying that we can longer see nor constitute our Selves in a moment of subject-creation that partners us with a particular product. We can find our selves in our activities and our human-to-human relationships or we can again define our Self in another moment of consumption by choosing another product.

    There is also an element of classic Marxism here as well. If we become increasingly alienated from the product we produce (we can no longer afford to race an IM brand event), then our frustrations are ameliorated in some organization/revolution where the worker denies their place in the means of production and looks for new opportunities to sustain their livelihood.

    Maybe you are that worker.

    Keep on,

  7. Posted July 22, 2011 at | Permalink

    Great seeing you last night at the screening of Running with Demons. Love your writing and liked our conversation on this topic last night. Peace to you mate.

  8. Race Director X
    Posted July 23, 2011 at | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing. Your words are spot on! As I travel around for races I constantly hear athletes bitch about WTC events and swear they’ll never sign-up for another one. Those same athletes are the ones first in line to sign-up when registration opens. WTC has mastered the art of pre-race registration hype and often the ability to register becomes an event in itself.

    I keep hoping the IM bubble will burst soon.

    Speaking of IM tattoos, at the Gulf Coast tri this year I saw a guy that had the Ironman Florida logo tattooed all the way across his upper back. The tat was at least 12 inches across, insane!

    I hope you are doing well.

    Have a great summer!

  9. Fellow Race Director
    Posted July 23, 2011 at | Permalink

    I agree with you Steve and if I didn’t have events that have been targets of WTC in the past, I would forward this to everyone in my database. They have gone after any and all races that used the term “Iron” in their race names. I have friends who had Half Irons that used that term and were sent a letter threatening them with a lawsuit. Part of that was OK, they owned the term. But they did it right before the race forcing them to throw away plaques, t-shirts and other materials that had that term in the name.

    They are now coming out with a new race series, called the Primal Challenge and I just noticed they have formed a partnership with the Marines http://primalchallenge.com/ is the website, they have a FB page as well. There are two courses so far, FL and the Whitewater Center in NC.

    So they are going bigger toooooo.

    Hope you are doing well, see you soon.

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