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It's the "Saucony Ironman Village" in Kona
|It's the "Saucony Ironman Village" in Kona
August 10, 2001, Tarpon Springs, Florida (www.triathlonlive.com):
The World Triathlon Corporation has signed a multi-year agreement with Saucony Inc., making the company presenting sponsor of the sports exposition held annually in conjunction with the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
This year's "Saucony Ironman Village" will feature more than 50 vendors from the multisport community and will be the hub of all activity during race week. Aside from the latest gadgets and training equipment, the village will feature a series of educational and motivational seminars courtesy of Triathlete Magazine, as well as appearances by Saucony athletes and other personalities. Another special feature will be on-site demonstrations of Endless Pools. Local vendors will provide additional entertainment and refreshments.
For athletes who won't be in Kona, another part of the package includes title sponsorship of a "virtual" expo on www.ironmanlive.com. The "Saucony Ironman Virtual Expo" will feature a layout of the actual site and profiles on each of the companies showing at the expo, as well as links to their respective sites.
Clif Bar hones in on multisport
July 27, 2001, Berkeley, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Clif Bar, the Berkeley, California-based energy bar and gel company, is expanding its presence in the multisport market, boosting its sponsorship of both races and athletes in 2001.
Clif Bar was the sponsor of three Kona qualifiers this yearthe Vineman Half-Ironman earlier this month, Blackwater Eagleman and St. Croixalong with the high-profile Escape from Alcatraz and Gulf Coast triathlons. Clif Bar also is sponsoring the Dannon Duathlon series.
"Were excited about making a contribution to multisport events," said Jeff Johnson, the companys field/events marketing manager. "Our products are designed with endurance athletes in mind."
In all, Clif Bar has added roughly 15 more multisport events to its sponsorship roster this year over the 2000 season.
Professional and elite age-group athletes are benefiting, too. In all, more than 70 multisport athletes are receiving Clif Bar sponsorship this year, including Aussie Chris McCormack, on a tear this season, Ironman Europe and Austria champion Jurgen Zack, former Escape champ Wes Hobson and Ironman up-and-comers Beth Zinkand and Andrea Fisher. In duathlon, Clif Bar is supporting Greg Watson, current U.S. pro champ, and national age-group duathlon champion Heather Gollnick.
"For several years weve sponsored a small number of well-known professional triathletes and age-groupers, but now our company has grown enough to be able to support a broader roster of multisport athletes," said Chris Randall, Clif Bars athlete sponsorship supervisor. "With the Olympic recognition of triathlon and the continued growth of the sport, its very exciting to play a larger role in backing these athletes."
In addition to a seasons worth of Clif Bars and the Clif Shot gel, sponsored athletes receive clothing, gear and, in some cases, performance and media incentives.
Active Release, Mike Leahy do IM deal
July 3, 2001, Colorado Springs, Colorado (www.triathlonlive.com):
For those who've attended IM Hawaii over the years, Mike Leahy's is a familiar face. Just at the base of the pier, to the right and over the short lava rock wall, sits a grass-covered lea. On the afternoon and evening of race day this area is covered by a sea of massage tables. Finishers tumble in a heap upon crossing the line, and a pair of "catchers"not unlike those awaiting the "slain" at a pentecostal tent revivalcarry or drag the overcome to this place, so as to make room at the altar for more to cross over into the Land of the Finished.
That's the scene on race day. Each of several days prior to that, though, Leahy is every pro athlete's secret weaponat least for those pros who know of Leahy. He's there, in that grassy spot, with only a few tables up and in use. Leahy is more than massage. He's a doctor of chiropracticis himself a finisher of a couple of dozen Ironmansand he knows how to keep a triathlete's body straight and true and running on all cylindars.
Now he's also an Ironman sponsor and licensee. Leahy has actually patented a chiropractic and therapeutic technique called Active Release. Leahy's "Soft-Tissue Management System" has become a boon for heatlh care providers who're now minimizing the need and expense of surgery for repetitive injuries that cause low back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Leahy's focus over the years has not been on the afflictedthough he does maintain a private practicebut on educating physicians, chiropractors, osteopaths, physical and occupational therapists, and trainers.
Supervet Bill Leach pens a triathlon retrospective
May 1, 2001, Irvine, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Bill Leacha '76 Olympian, husband to an Ironman Hawaii winner, and and a triathlon age-group world champ himselfhas just co-authored Circle of Success with water polo coaching legend Ted Newland.
It's not a how-to or a book of tri-historythough Leach himself is a history teacher. It's more a sports devotional. Still, some heretofore unknown tri lore has come to light, such as the time Leach came home from a training ride to find a note from his wifeIronman Hawaii champion Julie Leachexplaining that she'd decided to retire from triathlon.
Those who've been around the sport since the beginning will recognize stories from such original Iron heroes such as Tom Boughey, Kim Bushong, Ferdi Massimino, and John Howard. Many of these tales predate triathlon, and recount the deeds of Ironman stars in their "former athletic lives.
Profile Design Multisport Rankings debuts new website
April 23, 2001, Vista, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
The well-respected rankings of more than 1000 elite long course, short course, and duathlon multisport athletes compiled by Katherine Williams and John Walkerand titled the Profile Design Multisport Rankingshas unveiled a new website. It can be found via the navigational bar on this site, and directly at www.triathloncentral.com/rank.html.
The new site features a graphic interface that should appear more pleasing to the eye of the reader and make navigation easy. By virtue of its frameset architecture the site is also better suited to incorporate efforts by strategic partners to enhance the rankings via value-added reader benefits, such as an international pro calendar, elite athlete profiles, and so forth.
The recent career achievements of virtually every pro athlete worldwide can be accessed on the Profile Design Multisport Rankings site.
G-Push ending 50% off promotion today
February 28, 2001, Toronto, Ontario (www.triathlonlive.com):
That 50% off banner at the top of this page (as of today) will be replaced by a 25% off banner tomorrow.
New sports drink juggernaut G-Push will throttle back its promotional engine a bit, as its half-off offer has perhaps worked a little too well. The banners seen over web pages from Slowtwitch and Triathlonlive to Inside Triathlon's website and elsewhere are now threatening to outstrip the company's ability to supply customers.
With Greenspan-like tinkering, though, G-Push managers have chosen not to drop its discounts cold turkey. Watching for the best price will be Wildflower contestants, who'll find G-Push on the course and will therefore probably want to train with it prior to the race.
As to the discounts offered so far, Kristin Chapman, Marketing VP at G-Push, said, "Happily, people are loving the product, and the discount. We have been overwhelmed by the response. We'll continue to offer our product on Slowtwitch at a 25% discount through the month of March."
Any discounts past that point, though, are unplanned as of yet.
GPush signs with Wildflower, Alcatraz
February 24, 2001, Monterey, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Tri California, the popular race organizers that produce the Wildflower half-Ironman, Alcatraz Triathlon, and Pacific Grove Triathlon, announced today a deal with new fluid replacement company GPush to provide fluid replacement at their races.
The deal is good for three years, and replaces the deal Tri California has with Powerbar as fluid replacement sponsor. Powerbar has exited from the fluid replacement business, but is still as strong as ever in the energy bar and gel business. Powerbar and Powergel remain as Tri California sponsors and providers.
GPush is a new entry in the fluid replacement category, and a detailed description of its philosophy and product line can be found on its website. It is also one of the many fluid replacement products reviewed in-depth on Slowtwitch.com last month.
GPush also sponsors the home page of both Triathlonlive.com and Slowtwitch.com, and offers 50% off its products. That discount offer is set to expire at the end of this month.
NYPPE.com to the rescue
February 20, 2001, Greenwich, Connecticutt (www.triathlonlive.com):
Its pronounced "nippy" and youll find its logo emblazoned on athletes like Joanna Zeiger, Sheila Taormina and Lisa Bentley. It is the latest white-knight company to swing in on a velvet drape from the balcony like Errol Flynnif a company could swashbuckleto save pro triathletes from a life of dumpster diving and sleeping in cardboard boxes.
Who, exactly, are these people? And why does the management of NYPPE.comshort for New York Private Placement Exchangecare whether our sports pro athletes eat rib-eye steak or Kraft macaroni and cheese out of the box?
As to The Who, they are just over two dozen of Wall Streets finest: ex-managers of flagship securities companies like Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley and Dillon Read. If youve been around the sport for a long time and hear "investments" and "triathlon" in the same sentence, you immediately think of J David, the granddaddy of those who would keep pro triathletes in high style. Not to worry, though. These guys are different.
As to The What, this will take some explaining. Imagine NASDAQ. There are buyers, sellers, and guys in the middlemarket makerswho take a cut of every transaction. Things on the NASDAQ are on the very up and up. The Securities and Exchange Commission has very strict rules about buying and selling equities, and you can go to jail if you break them. Companies that offer chunks of themselves to the public are called (as we all know) public companies. But there are many billions of dollars of private company worth that isntper companybig enough to be public. Just the same, these companies principals might want to sell a chunk of their companies, too.
A couple of things stand in their way. First, theres no central clearinghouseor exchangewhere people can buy and sell these kinds of equities. Second, the rules are perceived as much looser. Its the Wild West out there. So there isnt a lot of liquidity in these equitiesthere arent a lot of ready buyers and sellers. Its sort of like the bike hanging from your rafters: Its worth a lot more now that youve got Ebay a mouse click away. Ebay is an "exchange"a place where buyers and sellers come together, with some ground rules to control the mayhem, and add "liquidity" to the equity you own in your rafters.
NYPPE aims to become the NASDAQ of private companies. Its principals want to use the power of the Internet to build something between Ebay and NASDAQ (but much closer to the latter). It wants to add liquidity to private securities by making them more appealing to potential buyers. Furthermore, itll take away some of the risk by making these private companies adhere to some of the strict disclosure and accounting guidelines that apply to public companies.
This firm will make its money by helping private companies get ready to offer chunks of themselves for salethe process of underwriting that investment banks go through when preparing a company to go public. Itll also make money like those NASDAQ market makers on every transaction that occurs on its exchange.
Now, as to The Why? Michael J. Van Patten serves as a managing director of NYPPE.com and is, himself, a triathlete. Hes not at all apologetic about the fact that hes not simply sponsoring athletes because of some expected return, but because the athletes need help. If NYPPE.com gets value back, thatll occur by virtue of triathlons well known and loudly proclaimed demographic. (There may not be a lot of us, but boy can we earn!)
Van Patten, a former Bear Stearns vice president who also logged time with Salomon Smith Barney, says, "We might become an Ironman sponsor; I have not decided yet. I like dealing with athletes better, I feel I can make more of a difference with direct sponsorship of athletes."
Van Patten came over with two other Bear Stearns employees to start NYPPE.com. He is now in charge of trading and oversees the development of the website.
Good for him. And good for the athletes, who include:
- Joanna Zeiger
- Lisa Bentley
- Sheila Taormina
- Melissa Spooner
- Jessi Stensland
- Chuckie V
- Amanda Pagon
- Andrea Fisher
- Tony DeBoom
- Michael Smedley
- Troy Jacobson
- Susan Bartholomew
- Jamie Cleveland
- Randy Caddell (wheelchair Athlete)
- Heidi Musser (blind triathlete)
- Ray Viscome (amputee triathlete)
Enduro Sport buys Steve's Multisport
February 20, 2001, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (www.triathlonlive.com):
Enduro Sport announced today that it has purchased the assets of Steve's Multisport, a U.S.-based reseller specializing in bikes and other merchandise for triathletes. The two retailers will continue to operate separately, and plan to offer their respective services to customers in both Canada and in the United States.
Enduro Sport is well-known among triathletes in Canada, and is almost certainly that countrys biggest triathlon-specific retailer, but it has not yet gained the same reputation among U.S consumes. Dan Rishworth, owner of Enduro Sport, hopes the purchase of Steve's Multisport will help Enduro Sport spread its story south of the border.
While both retail operations will sell to customers all over North America, each will continue to serve its niche market. Steve's Multisport will offerand expandits selection of closeouts and special purchases, with price being the key feature. Enduro Sport, the worlds leading seller of Cervelo Bicycles, and a top-10 retailer of many other tri-specific brands, will specialize in stocking, explaining, fitting, and servicing the latest top-quality products, which also include running shoes and wetsuits.
"We want to let Americans know what Canadians already know," said Enduro Sport owner Dan Rishworth. "Enduro Sport is one of the top value-added triathlon shops in North America, and triathletes will find a larger supply of top brands, like Cervelo, here than in any other place in this hemisphere. Buying Steve's helps us to tell that story. It also allows us to add our financial strength to Steve's Multisport, an already strong retail presence."
Meanwhile Steve Harad, founder of Steve's Multisport back in 1989, has taken a position with Endless Pools, a company that makesfor lack of a more precise termthe treadmill of pools (its mosts famous triathlon exponents being Ken Glah and Jan Wanklyn, who also use for their winter training both a treadmillfor runningand a Computrainer).
Profile Design to sponsor multisport rankings
February 4, 2001, Carson, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
John Walker and Katherine Williams have announced a three-year agreement with bicycle component and accessory maker Profile Design for title sponsorship of their well-respected elite triathlete ranking system.
Profile Design Multisport Rankings will debut on February 1, 2001. The rankings of more than 1000 elite long course, short course, and duathlon multisport athletes now found at www.triathlonlive.com will soon be in abbreviated versions in multisports premiere publications, Triathlete and Inside Triathlon, and at www.active.com, the Internets top participatory sports site.
Sponsorship of Profile Design Multisport Rankings suits Profile Design on two levels it gives the sport a much needed comprehensive ranking system and provides a leg-up in the formation of an industry roundtable to advise on further development of The Rankings and other issues of mutual interest.
Indeed, the Profile Design Multisport Rankings will be the focal point of the "Triathlon Industry Council (TIC):" a non-political consortium of athletes, event directors, media, and industry players soon to be defined. It will follow the lead of other organizations that have aided the growth of their sports outside of -- but parallel to, and often in concert with -- those sports' governing bodies.
Profile Design's Sports Marketing Manager, Mark Vandermolen said: "As our sport grows we felt we had a responsibility to look beyond our own interests, to see if we could do something to promote the sport, not just ourselves. It seemed to us that this was the perfect vehicle, and the Profile Design Multisport Rankings represents the catalyst for all these things to come together."
Walker's and Williams rankings -- ongoing since March, 1998 -- is the consensus best system of ranking multisport athletes over a range of distances and disciplines. Williams, publisher of the Triathlon Digest e-newsletter and Triathlon 2001 directory, gathers results from all over the world: Rankings in 2000 consisted of results gleaned from almost 1000 races. Walker devises the algorithms and generates the rank.
"I wanted to create a system where the athletes decide which races are the most prestigious by toeing the starting line," said Walker. "Katherine had the results and the familiarity with the athletes pieces I could not provide. We have been working together ever since. With more eyes on the system, I hope the feedback we receive will enable us to improve it still further."
The web home of Profile Design Multisport Rankings will undergo a facelift during the month of February to reflect its new sponsor affiliation, and to aid online portals whove agreed to them.
February 4, 2001, Vista, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Rooworld.com launched in late 1993 when that number of websites was in the low thousands, not in the millions, as is the case today. Cycling's first-even commercial website relaunched on the first of February with another breakthrough site -- this time for its spiffy graphics and a peek at what multisport's commercial websites of the future may look like.
Viewing the new Rooworld.com will It will take a Flash player to view it, and not everything is functional (Triathlonlive noticed a few bugs here and there problems Quintana Roo is aware of and troubleshooting). The site is reach with features perhsps, to some viewers, it will be too rich. A variety of pages have music tracks attached, which might be annoying to those who do their browsing with their own music selections playing.
The graphics are whiz-bang, with mouse-rollover sizing and geometry spreadsheets popping up, and bikes and wetsuits racing across the screen. The site is not just feature-rich, though, but full of information as well. Most of what readers will want to know from Quintana Roo is ound on this site.
Active.com sheds 30 employees, predicts profits this year
January 27, 2001, La Jolla, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Popular sports portal Active.com laid off 30 workers at its La Jolla headquarters last Thursday, trimming its work force to 90 employees in a move designed to transform the company into a rare position: that of profitable Internet company. The high flying web portals primary revenue stream comes from online event registration, which it provides to more than 20,000 events around the world.
Active.com is the leader in online sign-ups for participatory sports and recreational activities with 90% of the market and recently secured a second round of funding for around $21 million from investors including Brian Maxwell, founder and owner of Powerbar. Altogether, more than 52 million investment dollars the largest single chunk from Ticketmaster have funneled into Active.com.
"This was an incredibly difficult decision because this is such a talented group," said Jon Belmonte, chief operating officer. "Just really tremendous people. Streamlining staff operations is never an easy decision, but it is critical to our goal of reaching profitability."
Active.coms work force may have had some remaining redundancies in its workforce, as it is still digesting recent acquisitions. Last month it acquired eteamz.com, a heavily trafficked sports site on the Web, which provides web site building tools for teams and leagues. The month before, Active.com merged with Sierra Digital, Inc., a profitable recreation management software company that focuses on the parks and rec market.
Among those now hitting the pavement looking for a new employer is highly regarded triathlon journalist Matt Fitzgerald. He is considered one of the top wordsmiths in the sport, and for him this is déjà vu. He was hired away from Triathlete Magazine to join start up Athletesvillage.com two years ago. Though content was good at the dotcom, the company ran out of money before a reliable revenue stream was developed. Fitzgerald was quickly picked up by Active at the time.
Active.com affirms its commitment to delivering top-quality content, but will be doing so with fewer writers and producers.
There's trouble in Wattville
January 24, 2001, Cambridge, Mass (www.triathlonlive.com):
Nobody wants to talk about watts just now in California, what with energy bills double and triple what they used to be, and with "rock solid" utilities threatening bankruptcy. But theres trouble in Wattville, trouble unencumbered by the borders of California.
It has been widely perceived that as heart rate overhauled velocity as the de rigueur method of measuring human effort power output would likewise outpace pulse. At least on the bike.
Early protagonists of watts over beats favored the SRM a European-made crankset that, with the aid of strain gauges, could tell you how much power your legs delivered to your bicycle. What these people were less comfortable with was the price tag: over $2000 US dollars.
Then came the Powertap not a crank, but a hub. You just spoked up the wheel and, voila, watts. The Powertap also had a heart rate monitor built in, and all the functionality of a bike computer, and a price about a third of that of the SRM.
But all was not well in Wattville. Powertap found it hard to make its units, and orders went unfilled. Then it decided to go consumer direct, which increased profit margins, but it still couldnt make the units to fill the orders. Finally, it became apparent that there was a problem with the units themselves. They ceased to work when they got wet. Warranty issues became paramount.
In the midst of its success and struggles, Powertaps owners sold their promising but troubled business to Personal Health Management, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass, who endeavored to wrap the Powertap around a more comprehensive offering. Powertaps website says it, " completed the plan to offer an end-to-end fitness measurement and tracking tool by providing a dynamic charting web engine for users to upload their data and chart their progress."
Unfortunately, what the website also mentions, "the temporary suspension of sales of
Power-Tap computer and software package." That happened about three months ago, and the parent company is seeking a buyer. It has, according to a member of the management team, " a prospective buyer with whom we are in deep negotiations who has signed a non-binding letter of intent."
Should the deal be consummated which would take another couple of months at the minimum Powertap units would be available several weeks thereafter. Meaning nothing forthcoming for a period of at least three months.
So there you have it. Do not ask for whom there are watts. No watts for thee.
Then there is Polar. It of heart rate monitor fame did not want to be without a power-measuring device. So it unveiled a promising system that does not rely on the technology used by both SRM and Powertap strain gauges but instead measures the frequency of the chain, much in the way a guitar string, when plucked, exhibits a particular, measurable frequency (which determines its pitch).
But alas, Polar is behind as well. Besides the fact that there are a variety of "experts" that question whether Polars premise is sound for its intended use, the project has been delayed. Beta units out by December are now promised by April. Whether this is just the delay often experienced with start-up projects, or whether there is a deeper problem, no one knows.
As a result, there is now, again, only one unit that is shippable, buyable, and which measures power output: SRM. It will be at least Spring before either Polar or Powertap ships anything. Perhaps later. In the meantime, break out your heart rate monitors.
Mission Bay set to open store #2
January 18, 2001, Elgin, Illinois (www.triathlonlive.com):
There are few tri-specific shops that remain fixtures on the world circuit for years on end. In the U.S., there are perhaps a half a dozen, perhaps most notably Nytro Multisport in Encinitas, and Bicycle Sports in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of the largest and most successful of these, Mission Bay Multisport, in Elgin, Illinois, is preparing to open the doors of its second store.
Having grown from $160,000 in gross annual sales in the mid 80s, Mission Bay has become a juggernaut in Chicagoland, and throughout the country, with sales somewhere in the 7-figures (owner Bill Linnemann isnt saying). But now hes taking on the big boys downtown. The existing store is in Elgin, a working-class community about 40-miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The stores artsy hand-drawn ads easily recognizable to triathletes who read Triathlete Magazine or Inside Triathlon have also appeared in local Chicagoland magazines, and have steadily drawn consumers out from downtown. The store and its owners Bill Linneman and Val Gervais have prospered because of Elgins lower overhead and sparser local competition (Gervais is the artist who draws the ads).
But the new store at 738 W. Randolph Street in the West Loop will take Chicagos big shops head-on. It is scheduled to open February 24, and will carry almost all the lines the Elgin shop carries including Kestrel , Cervelo, Quintana Roo, Litespeed, Colnago, Softride, Klein, Giant, Felt, Fisher, and LeMond. Absent from this store will be Trek and Cannondale, due to existing territorial restrictions. This is no-doubt an issue that will resurface as both Linnemann and these two bike companies are cognizant that the Elgin store is one of the largest "doors" in Chicagoland for both brands.
Asked what bikes are hottest right now among triathletes, Linnemann mentioned QRs Kilo and TeQuilo, and had special praise for how customers are responding to Cervelos One. "We ordered lots of those," he said, "and were glad we did." At a slightly higher price point, and selling extremely well in Mission Bay, is Kestrels new Talon. "Weve sold a lot of OCLVs in Elgin over the years," said Linnemann, "But the Talon is a special bike. Kestrel did a good thing with this bike, and its definitely going to get a lot of the market that would otherwise have gone to Trek."
Quintana Roo set to debut landmark website
January 18, 2001, San Marcos, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
There has been a lot of industry speculation about QR: Is its artsy, folksy, culturally tuned-in personality going to remain intact under the new ownership of Litespeed? Every industry player on QRs Christmas list got a vintage dose of QRs answer to that via UPS. Shops and vendors received bottles of custom-labeled QR salsa and chips, one of which was Pican-ti sauce emphasis on the ti named after the Litespeed-built QR-branded titanium tri bike for 2001.
In keeping with QRs tradition as having been the first bike company worldwide to publish a website (late 93) Litespeed previewed a brand new Rooworld.com to Triathlonlive.com staff. Not yet online (itll be loaded on the server sometime in February) the new Flash site is perhaps the most outrageous, advanced website ever built in the cycling industry. It is at least the slickest tri site yet built.
Those who want to view Rooworld.com site will have to download Shockwave from the Macromedia website (free), something that most users of Trilive, and Slowtwitch, have already done (due to the many Flash banners already on both sites).
A further announcement will be forthcoming when the site goes live.
Bargains just around the corner
January 18, 2001, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (www.triathlonlive.com):
January, is not usually closeout month. Tradition says that August when your local dealer starts to get nervous tics when he looks at the unsold merchandise on his floor, and Labor Day staring him in the face is the month when prices are slashed. This year, though, the sweet smell of closeouts is wafting in the air not at the end of the season, but at the beginning.
First and foremost is the Mongoose tri bike purchase just concluded by Supergo. These are the ti bikes that were featured in double-truck full-spread ads in every magazine, it seemed, from Boys Life to Wine Spectator, and all this just a year ago. But Brunswick abruptly pulled the plug on its expensive gambit, and now a gaggle of high-end fully-built bikes are sitting on Supergos Oceanside showroom at almost half price (Oceanside is the lone tri-specific store in the Supergo chain). Regularly priced at $2600, the Mongoose 9.7, a full Shimano Ultegra titanium-framed bike, is now $1499. Only 56cm, 58cm, and 60cm bikes remain, all are steep seat-angled 650c-wheeled bikes. 760-736-5559, or email@example.com.
Endurosport, in Toronto Canada, has just concluded a buyout of all bike-related merchandise of a popular tri store in San Diego. The Saucony Factory Outlet store that was attached to Quintana Roos San Marcos factory has closed operations and consolidated its footwear and apparel inventories in its other factory stores around the country. The store attached to QR was unique in its emphasis on tri-bikes and tri-related merchandise. After Saucony sold its bike division to Litespeed the store ceased to have a compelling reason to continue operations. All other Saucony Factory Outlets are footwear and apparel specific.
Endurosport bought the entire bike-related inventory, so look for good deals next month on hot products (including the last of the pristine Redstones already assembled complete bikes, boxed and ready for sale). Sources say that Endurosports is about to flex its muscles again. It is close to completing a deal to buy the entire operations of another popular tri-related store. The deal could be announced any time.
A stones throw from Endurosports is another Ontario, Canada-based company who is digging deep for market share. New fluid replacement company G-Push is ready to hit the market with a half-price introduction on all its fluid replacement products. This will be a tri-specific promotion only, and banners advertising it should soon be flying on both Trilive and Slowtwitch pages.
Meanwhile, sources say that the San Marcos Saucony Factory Outlet is about to sell its entire wetsuit merchandise to popular Northern California based wetsuit specialist Kalifornia Kool Stuff. KKS is always a dependable source for closeout and demo wetsuits, and it appears this store which might be the largest retailer worldwide of triathlon specific wetsuits, with reported sales of close to 2000 wetsuits annually is ready to pick up another shipment of value-priced rubber. Look for jaw-dropping prices on KKS demo and closeout wetsuits February and onward.
Profile Design is back in the pink
January 12, 2001, Carson, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Profile Design has had an up-and-down time of it in the tri-handlebar business. Shortly after Scott USA took the tri world by storm in 1987, Profile Design then owned by Chicagoan Bill Powers made what a lot of people thought was a better bar than Scott, and took a large chunk of the market away.
Unfortunately, all this occurred without a licensing agreement in place, which led to a legal fight. Scotts patent position was, and is, considered tenuous just tenuous enough so that Profile Design fought on for years. The parties settled prior to final adjudication of the suit, but not before hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent by both sides in legal fees. Profile agreed to make its bars under license, and the details of the licensing arrangement have never been made public.
Since that time Profile Designs fortunes have risen and fallen, as has its ability to execute a fine product. German bar maker Syntace steadily took market share away from both Profile Design and Scott, and two years ago Scott ceased making handlebars altogether.
Now, though, in 2001, Profile Designs fortunes are again rising. The company is no longer owned by Powers, but by Gallup Corporation. It is now headquartered in Carson, California, having moved out last year from Chicago. The product has been substantially upgraded over the past three years, and generally receives high marks from users. And, pro athletes have streamed back to Profile.
This year Profile Designs bars will be ridden by the all three male podium winners in Kona: Peter Reid, Tim DeBoom, and arguably the hottest property in the tri bike market, Stormin Normann Stadler. All are racing on the Carbon X bar, as is Lothar Leder, Tony DeBoom, Mike Pigg, Chris Legh, Oliver Bernard, and duathlete Greg Watson.
Draft-legal racers also using Profile Designs bars include Wes Hobson and Victor Plata. Profile Designs Jammer SLs shorter extensions designed for road race bars will most likely be fitted onto the bikes ridden by these athletes. (Theyll still use Carbon X bars in no-draft racing).
Former Kona champs Lori Bowden and Heather Fuhr will also ride the Carbon X, and Profile Designs bars of one style or another will be ridden by Nicole Best, Jennifer Gutierrez, Wendy Ingraham, Siri Lindley, Barb Lindquist, Ute Muckel, Katja Schumacher, and Fernanda Keller.
In recent years, Profile Design has also made a name for itself as a fork producer. Peter Reid, Tim DeBoom, Lothar Leder, Tony DeBoom, Chris Legh, Oliver Bernard, Lori Bowden, and Fernanda Keller will ride its forks this year. Most of these athletes will ride the all-carbon BDS aero fork, used last year by a variety of top manufacturers such as Cervelo as standard equipment on their bikes.
Mark Vandermolen, Profile Designs marketing and promotions manager (and a Cat I bike racer, as Trilive publisher Dan Empfield recently, and emphatically, discovered during a hilly, all-day North San Diego ride) says, "There are not a great number using [Profile Design's] Quick Stop [brake] levers. The brake lever issue is somewhat touchy because many of these athletes have contracts with either Shimano or Campag. Consequently, it is tough to have athletes use the levers when it violates the contract of their component sponsor. Some athletes are allowed to use alternative levers, but not everyone." That seems a shame, because the Quick Stop levers are a significant upgrade over STI or Ergopower levers for those using pursuit bars. Athletes will otherwise ride with brake levers not made for pursuit bars, or will resort to a much cheaper Dia Compe #188.
Clinchers trying to sew up the market
January 8, 2001, Vista, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
For almost as long as cycling has been around, the racing tire of choice has been the tubularpopularly known as the sew-up. But times are changing.
In a Triathlonlive email poll of two dozen world-class pros spread over four continents and in more than a dozen countries, those racing on clinchers actually outnumbered those riding tubulars by 14 to 10.
The reasons listed are several. One is the cost. A good tubular tire can run as much as $90. Several are still willing to spend the money, or, if they're lucky, they're sponsored by a tire company. The sport's top-ranked long-course athlete, Denmark's Peter Sandvang, says, "I am still racing on tubulars and have no plan in changing that fact. Normally it is Vittoria."
But others choose high-pressure clinchers. Vredestein's 150psi tire was the top vote-getter among the 14 clincher users, followed by Michelin and Continental. (Tubulars by "Conti" are also quite popular among the sew-up users.)
While not specifically mentioned among the reasons for the trend away from tubulars, it is also true that while clinchers are getting progressively better in quality, tubulars may have gone in the other direction. While it was common 25 years ago to find high-quality French and Italian handmade tires produced by such august names as Clement and Vittoria, almost all sew-ups other than Continental are now made in the Far Eastprimarily Thailand. The few, small remaining factories in Italy that craft many of the world's best tubulars make barely enough to sustain the needs of the professional European racing teams.
Speaking of books
January 4, 2001, Malibu, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Having just mentioned a spate of multisport books just coming out, theres a re-release of an old standard we ought to mention as well, but this time it's on a new medium.
Mark Sissons Training and Racing Duathlons is now available as a free downloadable .pdf file at the Primal Nutrition site. First introduced in 1989, it was frequently reviewed as a must-read primer, and in its re-release has been updated to reflect more recent findings in training and nutrition.
Lest you believe this is all an altruistic gesture, the only website on which you can download this book is also the only place you can make a purchase at Sissons commercial venture: Primal Nutrition (readers should note this is an advertiser on Triathlonlive's sister site, Slowtwitch.com). Sisson is the ITUs anti-doping guru, and his experience in the not-so-legal means of enhancing performance led him to develop a line of high-potency vitamin and recovery supplements called the "Damage Control System." Claims are made that this is the best legal way to counteract the ills that hard training causes, and users include Ned Overend, Alberto Salazar, and Slowtwitch.com training editor JulieAnne White (and many of her clients).
Downloading the book is free. The supplements are as our Aussie readers say a little dearer.
A rush to publish
January 2, 2001, Vista, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Make space ready on your bookshelf, and warm up your credit card. A spate of new multisport books is in the works.
French legend Isabelle Mouton and her twin sister Beatrice just finished "The triathlon," a book for triathletes of all levels. "The French editor, La Martinière," says Isabelle, "expects to make an English version too. The French one will be in bookshops in March 2001."
English coach Steve Trew, who manages the workouts for Sian Brice, among others, will have a book out by Easter: "Triathlon, a training manual." For those who want more than a "how to do it," how about a "whodunit?" Trew will also publish a "triathlon novel," which will bear the title, "Triathlon, a moment of suffering," out by March. Trew reports that he's, "happy to take advance orders for these!" His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louis Delahaye, coach of the Dutch Olympic squad for the past four years, is currently hunting down another coaching job. But in the meantime he's writing a book about running. He wrote a book about triathlon some years back. (Delahaye still coaches Silvia Pepels -- 26th in the Olympics -- and Raymond Lotz).
Finally, Terry Laughlin, who might be the most successful of all tri-sport clinic producers, reports that he is "...writing a book on Swimming For Triathlon. The writing is going extremely well and I expect to have the book ready for release (at www.totalimmersion.net) by April." Countless triathletes and swimmers have attended Laughlins Total Immersion swim clinics over the years.
Katherine Williams calls it a day at Triathlonlive
December 28, 2000, Vista, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Two weeks short of its first anniversary, Triathlonlive.com undegoes its first major editorial change. Katherine Williams, editor of this publication since its first issue on January 12, 2000, is leaving to focus on her flagship title, Triathlon Digest. The reasons for the change are simple: Anyone reading both publications noticed a lot of duplication. Williams' unique take on the sport was best suited for the textured, stylistic "Digest," and Triathlonlive's straight-news approach worked counter to her assets and sensibilities. The email-based "Digest" will fast-forward with a renewed vigor and focus.
Meanwhile, Triathlonlive.com will broaden its base of news themes to cover more news associated with age-group racing, industry and technology, and on races of all distances. For those readers who hate political reporting, expect a broader range of topics. For those who like our reportage of white-hot political issues, we'll try not to disappoint.
Finally, for those of you who think you won't have Katherine Williams to kick around any more on these pages, realize that this organization and its publisher, Dan Empfield, will still be involved with Williams on a variety of fronts, including the online sign-ups for Triathlon Digest (see the link on the navbar above); also for the Triathlon 2001, an annual directory, and formerly known as Triathlon Sourcebook. (stay tuned); and on issues surrounding Williams' and John Walker's fabulous triathlon rankings (another link on our navbar).
Katherine Williams' spot will be hard to fill, and we'll try to do so via the leveraging of our editoral assets across both sister titles -- Triathlonlive.com and Slowtwitch.com. Helping in no small measure will be Slowtwitch.com editor Amy White, herself a longtime veteran of hard news foxholes in the analog world of daily newspapers.
McGillivray named "Race Director of the Year"
November 13, 2000, Washington, DC (www.triathlonlive.com):
Today's runners and triathletes may not know Dave McGillivray by his face, but they certainly know him by the quality of his events. That was recognized on Saturday at the 18th Race Director Conference, where he won the "Race Director of the Year" designation over other nominations across the country.
McGillivray -- who once ran 3,452 miles across the country -- was honored for making Joan Benoit Samuelson's Peoples Beach to Beacon 10k in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, an internationally recognized event each August in just three years. McGillivray is better known for his work with the Boston Marathon, where he was technical director for 13 years. Last April, McGillivray was named race director for the Boston Marathon.
The "Race Director of the Year" award follows another top accolade: In February, he was given the Lifetime Achievement award at the Competitor Magazine Endurance Awards Banquet in San Diego.
"This award represents the pinnacle of my professional career," McGillivray, 46, said in accepting the award. "The success of Beach to Beacon is to be shared by everyone who contributes to the event, from the volunteers who direct parking, to the athletes themselves who make the race so exciting."
In nominating McGillivray, race founder Samuelson -- the 1984 Olympic marathon champion -- wrote: "Dave is known throughout the running world as a technical wizard when it comes to road races. He is much more than technician. He is also teacher, motivator, leader and mentor. He enthusiastically and unselfishly shares his in-depth knowledge and expertise with staff and volunteers, while instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment within each and every person with whom he interacts."
Within triathlon, McGillivray is credited with producing what's considered the most technically demanding triathlon ever staged -- the 1997 Goodwill Games Triathlon within New York City. When he wasn't running across the country (1978) to benefit Boston's Jimmy Fund, he has produced, directed or consulted on more than 600 mass-participatory athletic events, including numerous triathlons, in the last 20 years. His position as director of all road events for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was a career highlight.
He has also finished eight Hawaii Ironmans and 106 marathons, including 28 Boston Marathons. That is, when his day as the technical director is over, he starts his own private run over the Boston route -- into the night.
Syntace USA buys Jetstream
November 3, 2000, Lake Forest, California (www.triathlonlive.com)
Syntace USA has acquired all of the rights and interests to the Jetstream line of hydration systems. Syntace's purchase includes patents, trademarks, and any additional intellectual property, and Syntace USA becomes the sole agent for sales and distribution worldwide.
Syntace USA is now responsible for sourcing of raw materials and the production of Jetstream products allowing, says Syntace USA's Pat Sagara, for "... more aggressive pricing of Jetstream products [in an effort to] compete with other aero drinking systems." Syntace USA vows to continue to use only the highest grade of materials in the construction of Jetstream products.
Syntace USA is also committing the brand to a much more aggressive in the marketing of Jetstream, which will be backed up, says Sagara, "with the usual high-level of delivery and customer service that Syntace USA's customers are used to."
The purchase makes strategic sense for Syntace USA, since its main competitor, Profile Design, has its own proprietary handlebar drinking system. Both these companies are distancing themselves from the pack, in that both offer high-grade products from the stem forward -- stem, pursuit bar, aero bar, brake levers, shifting systems -- and now both offer a handlebar refueling system as well.
The Jetstream will be offered for sale in the same way, and through the same U.S. distribution channels, as has been the case with Syntace USA's other products. Further inquiries should be directed to Pat Sagara at Syntace USA: (949) 470-3700; email@example.com.
Triathlete Magazine hits record figures for 2000
October 30, 2000, Cardiff, California (www.triathlonlive.com):
Triathlete Magazine, which publishes its 200th edition with its November issue, has achieved record levels in a number of key publishing areas for 2000, according to publisher John Duke.
The magazine has maintained more than a 100-percent circulation advantage over its competitor (Inside Triathlon), and drove paid subscriptions up 25 percent in the last 12 months, Duke said. It also has increased its ad revenue by $500,000 in its highest-revenue-producing year ever, and added an impressive 228 additional pages to the monthly magazine.
"Triathlete possesses the most talented, hardest-working staff in this sport, with unmatched knowledge and a passion for triathlon," Duke said. "With that kind of mix, comes success. Don't look for us to stop here.
"I feel a lot of excitement was generated in 2000 with triathlon's Olympic debut, and the result will be robust, long-term growth for the sport. As the largest triathlon publication in the world, Triathlete will continue to reflect the spirit, imagination and energy of triathlon, which, despite its growing status, remains open to all comers."
Hey, need some e-commerce? Call Mike Gilmore
October 8, 2000, Gig Harbor, Washington, USA (www.triathlonlive.com):
He used to be one of the most-mentioned names in triathlon: Mike Gilmore. He says he traveled as many as 75,000 miles a year in his role as managing director of the International Triathlon Union.
But that high-flying position came to an end last December, when ITU president Les McDonald curtly announced that Gilmore's contract would not be renewed for 2000 -- the Olympic year that he had worked so long and hard for, as had the rest of the ITU family.
When the Olympic triathlon took place in Sydney in September, Gilmore was two weeks into a new job -- with nary a customer coming his way. But he's home with his family in Gig Harbor, and most significantly of all, happy. Here's a note Gilmore (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote on Sunday:
After spending the better part of 20 years working to help create the sport that was so magnificently presented to the world on the opening days of the Olympic Games in Sydney, I am happy to report that there is life after triathlon for Mike Gilmore.
Since ending my relationship with ITU last December, I have had the opportunity to take a little time off, sit back and think about what is important to me. I realized that with the extensive travel required to produce all those events, deal with the politics, television, sponsors and athletes of a growing sport on a worldwide basis, I missed a few important things at home.
Important things like being with my children as they grew from infants to teenagers. I cannot count how many of their soccer games, swim meets and water polo games I have missed. Important things like being away from my wife in foreign lands, leaving her to be responsible to parent our children.
Over the years, I met you and scores of people in dozens of countries. Many became close friends, while some became adversaries. I have been lucky to be exposed to more cultures than most people and accomplished many goals in bringing triathlon onto the world stage.
So, after much thought, it became clear to me that among the requirements for my next career were; limited or no travel, keeping my family in Gig Harbor, working from my home, and earning a better wage than was paid by ITU.
I am pleased to report that I have secured a position that meets all those criteria. The first week of September, I signed on with Concord EFS, a leader in the field of electronic payment transactions. It is a very profitable, publicly traded company listed on NASDAQ (symbol "CEFT") with sales approaching US $7 billion.
I am a commissioned salesman helping retail merchants, medical practitioners and local banks increase their profitability by streamlining the way they accept payment from their customers. We provide a complete electronic payment solution utilizing credit card, debit card, ATM, and electronic benefits transfer.
The first week was awful. I did not sell one customer. By my fourth week, I was earning more than when I left ITU. I am my own boss and I do not spend one minute of my time dealing with politics of the kind that has so burdened triathlon. What a relief to spend all my time working rather than politicking.
For all of you who worked so hard to make triathlon a success, congratulations! To all the triathletes who qualified for Sydney, congratulations! For Brigitte and Simon, I can offer no words, only a small tear of happiness for your fabulous success to be the first on the podium.
Multisports School of Champs now Multisports.com
July 27, 2000, Solana Beach, California, USA (www.triathlonlive.com):
You can't say that the Multisports School of Champions wasn't ever cutting-edge: Rather, it's been one of triathlon's hippest, most happening companies since its start.
Now, two more changes have occurred, both of which are completly in line with the front end of the sport. First, the company with principals John Duke, Paula Newby-Fraser and John Howard, among others, is now called Multisports.com. (One of those dot-com things, you know?).
Second, Steve Hegg, the Olympic gold medallist in cycling's road race in 1984, has joined Multisports.com as a cycling coach.
Multisports.com owner and Ironman champ Newby-Fraser said this of Hegg: "Steve's 18 years as a top professional cyclist bring a element of credibility to our new cycling division that is impossible to duplicate.
"In addition to being a great cyclist, Steve has privately coached several world-class riders. That makes him the perfect person to fill this position.
"Our personal and on-line coaching has increased ten-fold in the past three years," Newby-Fraser added. "We are committed to continuing to grow our business and remain the dominate coaching and training system for multisport in the world. With Steve on our winning team, our success at Multsports.com will be that much easier to maintain."
Multisport.com offers camps, personal coaching, online training programs and a full line of multisport merchandise.
Saucony sells Quintana Roo, Merlin to Litespeed
June 30, 2000, Peabody, Mass (www.triathlonlive.com):
Yesterday evening marked the completion of a sale about which speculation has been rampant for months. The parent company of Litsepeed, JHK Investments, LLC -- a private investment fund -- purchased substantially all of Saucony's bicycle interests. Hind apparel is considered by Saucony the core of its apparel business -- not part of its bike business -- and was not part of the deal. The new company is called "QR Merlin Acquisition LLC."
During this past spring the deal was widely rumored, and almost occurred during the weekend of Ironman California. Indeed, Litespeed representatives were in North San Diego County, home of Quintana Roo, rumored to be performing due diligence, and were seen at the Ironman Expo. But, the deal was reportedly nixed at the eleventh hour. Rumors about an impending Litespeed purchase were so thick that Saucony sent a statement to its dealers, telling them such rumors were not true, and that Saucony had decided to put its efforts into keeping and running its bicycle division. That quelled talk on the "street," and subsequent negotiations have taken place in a more quiet atmosphere.
While Litespeed has not publicly commented on the fate of existing employees, it is speculated that Merlin will cease to exist as a manufacturing center in the metro Boston area, and that employees will be given an opportunity to relocate in Chattanooga, Tennessee, headquarters of Litespeed. Quintana Roo's factory, in San Marcos, California, also appears to be fated for a close-down of some sort, although Litespeed executives are not sure, yet, what course they want to take with regard to QR's bike and wetsuit manufacture. While they are committed to being in both markets, no decisions have been made as to where, and by whom, QR's bikes and wetsuits will be made. Whatever changes will be made will not be apparent until next season.
The sale does not seem to be bad news to retailers who've been unimpressed with the performance of QR and Merlin management this year. While Saucony is a stellar performer in the footwear industry, its ability to manage a pair of bike brands this past season received less enthusiastic marks.
"It can only be good for us," said Mission Bay Multisports' owner Bill Linneman. "We can only go up from here. We got fewer bikes and wetsuits than in years past. There isn't one contented dealer among the big hitters. Not one. Because Litspeed has bikes as its primary business, I think they'll have a much better grip on the overall picture. I'm also glad that QR is back in the hands of a private company. Perhaps we'll get the soul back into this brand."
"Jonn Cobb of Bicycle Sports in Shreveport, Louisiana, said, "If Litespeed does as it plans -- which is move as many of the Merlin workers as possible to Tennessee -- and it continues using the Haynes tubing [Merlin's titanium vendor] , and its goals are to maintain a separate identity, this will be great for the titanium lovers. On the QR side, I think the Litespeed guys need to buy some surfer magazines, so they can figure out how to keep that culture going out in San Diego. QR does things its own way out there. Overall, though, because of the past few months of chaos at QR, I think this will be a positve thing. It'll bring stability to QR, which is triathlon's leading bike brand."
This marks the second sale of both brands in recent years. Saucony purchased Quintana Roo from its found (and publisher of Slowtwitch) Dan Empfield in 1995. It subsequently purchased Merlin from its founders and investors in February, 1998. (Empfield ran both companies until June of 1999).
In addition to what it means for the its investment in triathlon, Litespeed has purchased Merlin at a fortuitous time. Coupled with Brunswick's recent announcement that it is leaving the cycling industry -- calling into question the future of its Mongoose brand -- Litespeed is sitting with title to the lion's share of upper-end titanium bike sales.
Britain's 220 Magazine gets a new owner
June 2, 2000, Bristol, England (www.triathlonlive.com):
The oddly-named 220 Magazine -- the only British triathlon title since Triathlete-UK magazine folded last November -- now has a new owner in Bristol-based Origin Publishing.
The sale occurred suddenly last week when David Titchener, the previous publisher, realized he had a deal with Origin, an established publishing house with a mix of niche magazines and a staff of 35. The sale allows Titchener, who had bought 220 from John Lilly in 1997 and ran it from Swindon, to turn his attention to other interests, including a new home on the Cornwall coast.
The editorial team, including Gail Titchener (David's daughter) as editor, remains intact. They moved over to the Bristol offices immediately. Gail Titchener may be contacted at (mailto:email@example.com).
The sale signals a new era for the magazine, which had been in the hands of triathlon-loving Lilly and then Titchener. The two had been childhood friends in Swindon and pursued multisports together. Lilly had launched 220 12 years ago -- and never revealed the source of its name, still a valid trivia question for British triathletes.
New publisher Kevin Cox, Origin's managing director, admits he doesn't know the sport well, but he does know about successful magazine publishing. Among Origin's newsstand titles are Ponds and Gardens, The World of Cross Stitching, Cross Stitch Crazy and Koi. The company also does contract publishing for HMV Choice (on music), Roland's Power On and Sustrans' National Cycle Network News (for recreational cyclists).
Said Cox: "220 is a great magazine and we're taking it over at the perfect time. This year sees the inclusion of triathlon in the Olympics for the first time. More people are going to enter the sport than ever before -- and they've got plenty of money to spend on swimming, running and cycling gear. 220 is the best and only place to reach them."
That is particularly true in light of the sudden disappearance of Triathlete-UK magazine from the market last November when owner Jean-Claude Garot discontinued publishing it. Subscribers were left without any communication, and no arrangements were made to either fulfill or refund their unused subscriptions.
Noted Dave Titchener in his last words as 220 publisher: "220 has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years. I am confident that Origin Publishing will build on the magazine's recent success."
ITU's return to Eurosport bumps the Euro Cup races
May 28, 2000, London, England (www.triathlonlive.com):
Eurosport, the television broadcaster which has been friendly to the European Triathlon Union and its ETU Cup races in past seasons, has bumped all but the ETU Championships in both triathlon and duathlon to make room this summer for the ITU World Cup races.
The move is neither surprising nor devastating to the ETU, which expects to regain next year the approximately 30 hours combined that Eurosport usually gives to ETU triathlon each year. That includes triathlon, duathlon and winter triathlon races.
"What has happened is not unexpected," said Erika Koenig-Zenz, ETU's general secretary. "Our races will still get coverage on other sports channels. Eurosport's Ian Sweet is still our freelance partner in TV
The ITU World Cup broadcasts began earlier this month with 30-minute coverage. SSM-Freesports, the London company handling the World Cup productions, has taken an approach that mixes "lifestyle" with actual race coverage. Toward that, each broadcast features one male and one female athlete per show -- and material is not always triathlon-oriented. The feature on the Netherlands' Rob Barel, for example, contained footage of him both skydiving and scuba diving.
It's expected that next year's ITU World Cup broadcasts will expand to 60 minutes and return to a more race-oriented format of coverage.
One of the World Cups, Lausanne on August 12, will be a live broadcast. Eurosport has only done two other live broadcasts of triathlon, and neither were traditional racing. Eurosport carried an indoor triathlon live from Bercy, France, in 1994, and an ITGP (International Triathlon Grand Prix) race live from Koblenz, Germany, in 1995.
Eurosport schedule for ITU World Cups
May 29, 2000, London, England (www.triathlonlive.com):
Here is the remaining broadcast schedule for ITU World Cup races on Eurosport, including a live transmission of the Lausanne event on August 12:
May 23 - ITU World Cup, Ishigaki, Japan (2-2:30pm)
July 4 - ITU World Cup, Sydney, Australia (3-3:30pm)
July 6 - Repetition: Sydney (9:30-10pm)
July 11 - ITU World Championships, Perth (2-2:30pm)
July 14 - Repetition: Perth (9:30-10pm)
August 8 - ITU World Cup, Toronto, Canada (1:30-2pm)
August 10 - Repetition: Toronto (1:30-2pm)
August 12 - ITU World Cup, Lausanne (Live: 12-6pm)
August 15 - ITU World Cup, Monte Carlo (1:30-2pm)
August 17 - Repetition: Monte Carlo (9:30-10pm)
August 22 - ITU World Cup, Tokyo (1:30-2pm)
August 24 - Repetition: Tokyo (9:30-10pm)
September 5 - ITU World Cup, Corner Brook, Canada (2-2:30pm)
September 6 - Repetition: Corner Brook (8:30-9pm)
September 12 - Repetition: Lausanne (2-2:30pm)
September 13 - Repetition: Tiszaujvaros (9:30-10pm)
October 3 - ITU World Cup, Brisbane, Australia (1:30-2pm)
October 4 - Repetition: Brisbane (9-9:30pm)
December 12 - ITU World Cup, Cancun, Mexico (1:30-2pm)
December 13 - Repetition: Cancun (9:30-10pm)
Triathlon back on Eurosport TV
April 15, 2000, London, England (www.triathlonlive.com):
Triathlons World Cup series of races has returned to the Eurosport airwaves, with the first three events of 2000 scheduled for May broadcasts. However, although the races are scheduled, the actual contract has not been signed with Eurosport, according to sources close to the ITU.
Contracts to show the ITU World Cups are expected to be signed next week, although Eurosport has gone ahead and scheduled the events because of the fast-moving pace and demands of television sports scheduling.
Triathlon World Cups last appeared on Eurosport in 1998, although they tended to air at lesser-viewership times such as 1 a.m.. The 2000 plan will have World Cups shown from 2 to 2:30 p.m. on May 2 (Rio de Janeiro race), May 9 (Kona) and May 23 (Ishigaki). However, those broadcasts will be 30-minute tapes (plus commercials).
ITUs television distribution arrangements last year failed to land the World Cups on Eurosport, in spite of the pan-European broadcaster providing the ideal and largest possible audience for triathlons. Eurosport continues to carry 30-minute regular broadcasts of the ETU (European Triathlon Union) Cup races, and a 60-minute broadcast of the European Championships.
Last year's World Cup production arrangements called for 1-hour broadcasts distributed by Prima TV, a London company. Prima sold the rights to Canal+ of Spain, which has a three-year agreement to distribute the World Cups. The terms of that deal preclude the possibility of the sport signing for a pan-European deal with Eurosport.
Exactly how ITU plans to get around this existing agreement is still to be seen, and will no doubt be a point of debate at the ITU meetings in Perth at the end of this month. Getting the World Cups on Eurosport is the work of the London-based Sportsworld media group, an ITU partner since January.
Further, Sportsworld is said to be changing over the presentation of triathlon on television in radical ways, making the 30-minute showing triathlon as more of a lifestyle than hard-racing. The new format may not go down well with the pure-sport stations that have traditionally taken the triathlon broadcasts.
Very prime time for that triathlon Visa commercial
Triathlons part of Polars Get Fit Tour 2000
B&L Bike exclusive N.Amer. Ironman retailer
In the deal, it appears that no other retailers will be allowed to purchase or otherwise obtain a booth at the expos in Florida and Lake Placid. One or more retailers have already purchased booths for Ironman Californai expo, and those deals will have to be honored for this year. But those are the only retailers other than B&L which will be present at the Ironman races in these three U.S. locations.
Inquiries to the executive offices of B&L, in Solana Beach, were not answered, and so difficult questions remain. It appears that Ironman's official suppliers--companies like Sugoi, GU, and Kestrel-- must sell their products through B&L. But neither Sugoi nor Kestrel, to cite two examples, currently sell their products through B&L, and in the case of Kestrel, selling to B&L may violate other exclusive regional retail relationships currently in place in at least the San Diego market.
Also unclear is whether Ironman Canada is part of the deal. It would l;ikely prove a logistical nightmare for B&L to get expo product into Canada, and then bring unsold products back into the U.S., without paying duties each way.
While the deal may seem like a slap in the face to local retailers close to each race, like Bike Barn in Penticton and High Peaks Cyclery in Lake Placid, it is almost always the case that such retailers do not attend Ironman race expos. Their shops usually do tremendous volume the week prior to the race, and brisk in-store business means there is usually no staff available to man an expo booth anyway.
Big bucks for new BTA CEO: £45K
Laurent Gauthier says goodbye to 220
March 20, 2000, Leicestershire, UK (www.triathlonlive.com)
Graham Schuil-Brewer has stepped down from his post as acting chief executive with the British Triathlon Association.
In a carefully worded press release the BTA announced that Schuil-Brewer, who jointed the BTA just over a year ago as its treasurer and took the top job last July, was leaving for "personal reasons."
The release heaped praise on its former chief for his administrative efforts, noting that the office is "fully staffed and running very smoothly." Though the press release paints a picture of a smooth-running office and universal comity between Schuil-Brewer and the BTA board, one source--unconfirmed and speaking on condition of anonymity--says that Schuil-Brewer was not happy with his relationship with certain of the BTA's executive board, and chose not to extend his contract. According to this source, the contract's anniversary was to be two months from now, but the board decided to end the relationship early upon being apprised of Schuil-Brewer's impending departure.
Regardless of the circumstances of his leaving, the BTA has nothing but good things to say about its former chief, and has also lauded Schuil-Brewer's efforts in developing new anti-doping rules, and his work with BTA's Tri2000 Roadshows. "Schuil-Brewer will be retiring to the South of France with his wife Kate," the release says, but contains no quote from Schuil-Brewer himself.
Members of the Executive Board will share the responsibility for managing the office until the new chief executive is in place. --DE
March 3, 2000, Colorado Springs, CO, USA (www.triathlonlive.com)
USA Triathlons de facto title sponsor, Internutria Sports, Inc., is in default on $92,500 owed to USA Triathlon (or USAT, triathlons national governing body) for the calendar 1999 year. There is no prognosis for imminent payment of that money, nor any certainty that payment will be made at all, absent some dramatic event. Internutria, which was contracted to pay USAT more than $200,000 during the year 2000, has been dropped as a sponsor, according to Mike Bone of Pacific Sports, USATs exclusive marketing agent.
February 15, 2000, Vista, CA (www.triathlonlive.com)
There is always a little game of musical chairs going on in any industry, and the industry of triathlon is no different. You can usually count on the players being a constant, but they do sometimes change teams. If we have any duty in helping to be your scorecard, we'll fulfill it in part right here.
Jenny Wood, Pro triathlete and promotions manager of Quintana Roo, will be taking a job as head of team sales at TYR. Deb Weaver, who was one of the new owners of the United States Triathlon Series, will leave the USTS and her position there as VP Sales and Marketing to take over Wood's place at Quintana Roo.
The USTS will fill Weaver's spot through an internal reorganization of duties plus some outsourcing of certain sales and PR functions.
Dan Empfield (publisher of Triathlonlive.com and Slowtwitch.com) was initially going to produce the Oceanside USTS event, but has opted out of that duty in order to focus entirely on the online ventures just mentioned (he put too much food on his plate as he passed through the buffet line, and found he couldn't eat it all).
Otherwise, the USTS is going forward as schedule, and as a seven or eight race series, although a few changes in organization will be announced in the upcoming days and weeks. Stay tuned.
Guillermo Jimenez-Labora, an original partner of the upcoming Huatulco half-Ironman, has ended his association with that organization, apparently on a positive note, to put more time into his other business ventures.
Most Triathlonlive readers will not know Sean Walters, but those in the bicycle business certainly will. He was the primary contact between Easton Sports (popularizers of #7005 bicycle tubing, and more recently, Scandium-alloy aluminum tubing) and its bicycle customers, and he has also gone on to greener pastures. Also for those in the bike business: Tom Mason, head of Schwinn and GT, has parted ways with the Questor Group, owners of these two bicycle brands.
That gets us up to date on the ebb and flow of people around the sport, unless we're missing anything which, if we are, we trust our loyal readers will apprise us of our omissions.
January 31, 2000, Vista, CA (www.triathlonlive.com)
Triathlonlive.com (that's us), the newest and-- some feel-- already leading generator of daily news and content on issues relating to triathlon, announces a new working partnership with the U.S. edition of Triathlete Magazine, the world's largest magazine for triathletes.