Heads-up: Huge Sports Tech Sale Underway – 20% Off All Smart Trainers!
There’s a massive sales on smart cycling trainers right now, plus plenty other sports tech. There’s 20% off the Wahoo KICKR, KICKR CORE, CLIMB, Headwind, 20% off the Tacx NEO 2T, Flux 2, and Flux S, 20% off Saris Hammer 3 trainer and Saris MP1 Motion Platform. Plus also 20% off the Elite Direto X and Suito too, even the new Sterzo. Plus even steeper deals including with the Kinetic trainers at 30% off.
Earlier today, the city of Penticton along with the Challenge Family announced that next August, there will now be a single iron-distance race called ‘Challenge Penticton’, at the same time which Ironman Canada has been for the past 30 years (interestingly, two years were skipped). In short – Ironman Canada is going away next year.
Now, there’s a bit of messiness that’s going down still – which Slowtwitch covers well. It sounds like a bit of a political pissing match and mismanagement between the former race owner, WTC and the town. It’s not clear how much is WTC’s fault, or the town’s fault, or the former owners fault. I wouldn’t blame Challenge Family in this. But it’s clear it’s a mess.
At the end of the day – this is a sad ending to an icon of a race in the Ironman world. Now don’t get me wrong – I believe that the Challenge Family will undoubtedly run a fine race. A great race likely. And, I know they run awesome races across Europe and elsewhere in the world – incredible races with upwards of 150,000 spectators – amazing in fact. An experience that at some point in the next few years I’m looking forward to taking part in.
But their race in Penticton won’t be ‘Ironman Canada’. A race that has been around for three decades and the oldest Ironman race outside of Kona still going on. A race that has legendary legions of volunteers – thousands strong on race day. And the only active North American race with a single loop for each of the three sports (swim/bike/run).
The ending of Ironman Canada is (in my view) unfortunate for a bunch of reasons. First, is the loss of a marquee Ironman race in the region. Within the Pacific Northwest, this now only leaves Ironman Coeur D’alene (in Idaho), with no Western Canada Ironman races. For those looking to qualify for Kona – this reduces the local options.
Second, is the lack of warning to those that were headed up to Penticton to signup for next year. I can’t imagine how many folks have paid untold sums of money to fly to Penticton today and tomorrow in hopes of signing up Monday morning for next year. In fact, the official athlete guide still lists ‘Ironman 2013 registration’ on it:
Next we look at the impact to the community. Again, this isn’t about Challenge being bad (because they aren’t) – but the reality is that the community from an economic income standpoint will suffer at least in the short term. Having booked Ironman Canada hotels more than once before – all hotels sell-out exactly one year in advance (the Monday after the race), and with 3-5 night minimum stays, at prices 3-5 times that of normal rates.
That simply won’t happen next year. That hotel sellout is dependent on knowing that you already have a race slot for next year, and that the race itself is sold out for next year. If those two items don’t happen this weekend – people won’t book hotels. And there’s no way a new race and brand on the scene is going to sellout this weekend. Just being realistic. During their press conference today, the Mayor said that they believe this will funnel more money into the community. I just don’t see that happening – at least anytime soon.
When we talk numbers – everyone likes to quote the 150,000 spectator number in Europe for a few of their Challenge Family races. Let’s be clear – that simply won’t be happening in Penticton. Heck, it won’t even be happening anytime soon in North America for a triathlon. If you look at ALL sporting events in North American that attract crowds of 150,000 spectators – you’re talking a very very very small number of events (count them on one hand small). And those that attract anywhere near that number are near large cities that can support those numbers from a traffic and hoteling standpoint.
Within the Penticton area, Ironman Canada sells out every single hotel in every direction for the roughly 6,000-8,000 people that are there on race day (2,000 athletes, assume 4,000 family/friends, and 3,000 volunteers). Not counting course locals, but there just aren’t huge concentrations of them on race day there outside of those already volunteers– they’re more spread out across the course. Nowhere near 150,000. There simply isn’t room or draw for 150,000 spectators in the greater Penticton area. Or the greater-greater-greater Penticton area. It’s out in the high-dessert mountains of eastern British Columbia – not in a metropolitan area.
I know that Challenge will do a lot of great things with the race. But despite having the Ironman branding, Ironman Canada never really had the issues of other WTC races. In fact, if you look at most longstanding Ironman branded 140.6 races – most of them operate just fine. It tends to be the newer races (both in the US and abroad) that WTC manages hoses up at an astounding rate. Interestingly, during the press conference, Challenge and the Mayor talked to lower entry fees for athletes. Yet afterwards, their press release showed the same rough price as Ironman Canada – $675 – for entry. Also of interest is that there will no longer be a mass start, but rather a wave-start instead. And yet finally of interest, is that WTC has said nothing publically (which is poor). I reached out for comment via cell and e-mail – but received nothing.
So while I’m excited to see Challenge introduce a race in North America – I’m seriously bummed to see Ironman Canada going away. Like I said at one point today on Twitter – this weekend at Ironman Canada will be kinda like watching a legendary ball player retire. A bit bittersweet and sad. While I’m sure Challenge will do great things as a rookie in the region – their ultimately not the Edgar Martinez who’s been in the Northwest for decades, with one team his entire career and a longstanding fan favorite. It’s gonna take time, lots of time.
Good luck to all those competing this weekend, one last year!
As a brief sidenote, my very first post to this blog (nearly 5 years ago this weekend) was actually the day I signed up for Ironman Canada. You can read it there. A lot’s changed since then.
For those that want to go down memory lane, here’s a few more Ironman Canada posts:
I swim, bike and run. Then, I come here and write about my adventures. It’s as simple as that. Most of the time. If you’re new around these parts, here’s the long version of my story.
You'll support the site, and get ad-free DCR! Plus, you'll be more awesome. Click above for all the details. Oh, and you can sign-up for the newsletter here!
Here’s how to save!
Wanna save some cash and support the site? You have two options. The first is to use Clever Training with either the coupon code (DCR10BTF) or the VIP program. Both save 10%, see details by clicking below:
In the UK/EU/Australia/New Zealand? Then hit up Wiggle at the link below!
Alternatively, for everything else on the planet, simply buy your goods from Amazon via the link below and I get a tiny bit back. No cost to you, easy as pie!
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2019 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s 2018 Gear Guide too.