The Triathlon One O One series, which began this past May in Bradenton, Florida, has been canceled. Their website, www.trioneoone.com shows only the following text:
Billed on its website as "bringing a new brand of world class long-distance racing to the multisport world," the series sought to fill the gap between the Ironman and half-Iron distances. Each race offered a $50,000 prize purse, with $10,000 going to the first place finisher in each gender. The series finale in The Woodlands, Texaspreviously scheduled for Novemberwas offering a $150,000 purse.
No other information on why the series ended was readily available. The site had previously postponed a race in Halifax, originally scheduled for this September. The announcement on the website read:
"IMPORTANT: Triathlon One O One regrets that this year's Triathlon One O One Halifax event has been postponed until August 31st, 2008. The reason for the postponement is due to a recent resignation by our local race management company several days ago."
Whether the series is truly canceled or just on hiatus is still to be determined. The news does raise a few questions, however: Can a series of national long-distance races not under the Ironman umbrella compete with the globally-recognized brand? Are triathletes, both professionals and age-groupers alike, more likely to sign up for a race because of potential prize money or because of other factors that characterize a race?
While the initial Bradenton race was met with good reviews, the problems that plagued Tri One O One may suggest that a national series of races might be better served by starting off small as it cultivates regulars and grows within the triathlon community rather than exploding on the scene before bonking halfway through the season.
The Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series is more a collective of nationally prominent Olympic-distance races than a schedule of races born of one company. But for long-distance tri's, one has few choices outside of Ironman sponsored races. The question remains, does this benefit the sport?
Today, August 8th, begins the one-year countdown to the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, China. Spending more money than any other host city ever, Beijing's venues are nearly ready for competition, with several staging test events in the next six months. To say that China is excited to show itself off to the world would be an understatement.
Fans of the Olympics should also be excited to learn that NBC will broadcast over 3,600 hours of coverage. The majority of it will be available via live streaming video online, a first for American viewers. This amount of coverage is more than the total of all previous Summer Games combined. Prime-time coverage will feature live swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball.
National Bike-to-Work Week begins on Monday, May 14 and culminates on Friday, May 18 with Bike-to-Work Day. As both the temperature outside and the price of gas continue to rise, there isn't a better time than now to start commuting by bike.
As a bike commuter myself, I've seen the high and lows of attempting such a daily endeavor. Impatient drivers, pot holes and the absence of bike lanes can be thoroughly frustrating. Almost daily, I find myself questioning if there really are any requirements for a driver's license in the state of California.
Yet the feeling of accomplishment and the physical invigoration I get when I reach my destination make it entirely worth it. Add to that the friends I've made during the public transportation leg of my commute, and I feel like I'm part of a larger, urban web -- connected to the city I live and work in beyond the door-to-door lifestyle of home/car/office.
Across the country, cities and states are wrestling with a growing population and its effect on transportation budgets. More and more municipalities are realizing the benefits bike trails and bike lanes have on easing congestion and providing citizens with a healthy, fun and inexpensive alternative to driving.
This coming week, add some activity to your daily commute. You just might find there are better things to do in the morning than sit in traffic listening to radio DJs babble.
During a visit to Beijing earlier this month, swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff caught an early glimpse of the National Aquatics Center. Also referred to as the Water Cube, the futuristic square building -- which will host swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming -- looks like it's covered in bubble wrap.
"It's definitely pretty cool," Phelps told reporters. The structure is located in the Olympic Green, adjacent to the National Stadium, and is one of the centerpieces of Beijing's Olympic venues for the 2008 Games.
"I think it's going to paint a picture for Katie and me in our minds, to really help us prepare for next year and get us more and more excited," Phelps said.
Scheduled for completion in October of this year, the Water Cube's exterior is made up of membrane structures which comprise over 3,000 pneumatic cushions. Low-pressure air is inflated into the cushions to resist wind and provide insulation.
For the Olympics, temporary seating will allow a capacity of 11,000. Permanent seats number 6,000. In comparison, the largest indoor pool in the U.S., the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind., can hold 4,700 spectators. It will host this year's U.S.A. Swimming National Championships.
On the heels of an incredible World Championships in Melbourne, the swimming world was suddenly rocked last week when the French newspaper L'Equipe reported that retired Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe showed high levels of two performance-enhancing substances in a drug test in May 2006.
Thorpe, who retired last November at the age of 24, denies ever cheating. He will not face losing his records (except, perhaps, to Michael Phelps) or medals, because he did not fail the test, according to swimming and doping officials. The substances, testosterone and luteinizing hormone, are both naturally occurring in a male's body, but high levels can have steroid-like effects.
In fact, the biggest controversy surrounding the report has been the actual leak itself. FINA, swimming's world governing body, plans to investigate how the confidential information reached a French newspaper. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) performed the test and maintains they aren't the source of the leak.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has called the report a "serious breach of confidentiality." WADA is not yet involved in the case because it "has not led to an analytical positive result, but is rather an unusual situation which is subject to further inquiry," it said in a statement.
On Monday, what was a major investigation into doping in cycling came to an anticlimactic end for those anticipating a strong legal stance against alleged cheats. Judge Antonio Serrano ruled that he could not charge anyone because Spain's doping law did not exist when the case, dubbed Operation Puerto, broke last May.
Though admitting doping took place and calling it a lack of "fair play," Serrano said that without evidence that it harmed the riders' health, Spanish law at the time of the charges couldn't prosecute them.
A new law, which took effect last month, makes it illegal to prescribe, dispense or aid in the use of blood doping (increasing the ability of red blood cells to hold oxygen, thereby delivering more energy to a person).
Many of the riders originally named in the investigation weren't charged -- the actual defendants were mostly doctors and team staff -- but it still affected many reputations and careers. Most notably, former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich dropped out of last year?s race and recently retired from cycling due to the allegations.
The ruling, while an embarrassment for the investigators, can be appealed in Spanish courts. Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said, "These people were caught red-handed and it is inconceivable that they return to the world of cycling. I cannot imagine that the International Cycling Union (UCI) will let them return."
It remains to be seen how this ruling will affect cycling from here on out. It's been announced that the UCI will continue its investigation. In the meantime, how does this affect the riders and teams who were initially connected to Puerto?
While Ivan Basso, who dropped out of last year's Tour after being implicated, raced last month in the Tour of California for the Discovery Channel team, other teams had to disband as sponsors pulled out.
Perhaps this case will serve as a lesson to countries and governing bodies of sports. Doping and steroid policies are only as strong as their laws and punishments. It's one thing to embarrass an athlete, but as we've seen in everything from Olympic track and field to Major League Baseball, that?s not enough to make the problem of cheating go away.
Last month's Amgen Tour of California wound its way from San Francisco to Long Beach. Attracting some of the top international cyclists -- including Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt and Michael Rasmussen -- the event covered 641 miles of scenic California highways and roads that passed through small towns and large cities.
But how does this course compare to the venerable roads traversed in European races? According to many, the race made quite the impression.
"California has way better roads, by far," said Dr. Allen Lim, sports physiologist for Team Slipstream. "This is some of the most exceptional terrain in cycling."
Jonathan Vaughters, former professional cyclist and current CEO/Directeur Sportif of Team Slipstream explained why, "The roads are wider and smoother here in California."
Referring to stage four's route along Highway 1, through Big Sur and finishing in San Luis Obispo, Justin England of the Toyota-United team had this to say, "Highway 1 was just spectacular. I was talking to a lot of European guys who said they really enjoyed it."
That sentiment was echoed by stage four winner and defending world champion, Italian Paolo Bettini of the Quick Step-Innergetic team, "The roads are all different, the landscape changes, but the riders and the competition are the same... Day by day, I am discovering California on this course and it is beautiful.
"Here in California the courses are good for me. They are difficult, but not too difficult... The fans here are incredible, just incredible," said Bettini.
But while European races sometimes ride over cobblestones, in California riders had to deal with a slightly different hazard, the raised reflectors designating lane lines -- known to cyclists as turtles.
"They can wreck havoc sometimes," said Lim. "But the guys know they're there. They are mainly bad in packs, where they can be dangerous."
On the whole, the future looks bright for the Tour of California. At the conclusion of the race, Frenchman Christophe Laurent of the Credit Agricole team remarked, "There were lots of people at the start and finish...and the encouragement was great. The races in Europe have to be envious. There isn't a race in Europe that is this well organized."