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Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018?
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Bold prediction from Dan Empfield - that triathlon has reached a bit of a bottom, and will start to rebound and experience some growth in 2018! - http://www.slowtwitch.com/..._for_2018__6704.html


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Fleck wrote:
Bold prediction from Dan Empfield - that triathlon has reached a bit of a bottom, and will start to rebound and experience some growth in 2018! - http://www.slowtwitch.com/..._for_2018__6704.html

Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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We have a local RD that sold out his entire Olympic distance series last year. He is moving to a larger venue this year to accommodate the growth. Challenge is coming back to US. Who knows what that brings but I hope they are hugely successful this time around. I am signing up for their race. Lake Placid, Arizona and Texas is sold out. Florida is 20th anniversary so it may get close to selling out. It's a good year to make that prediction. These are just a few things I noticed. I don't follow the news like some.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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B.McMaster wrote:
Fleck wrote:
Bold prediction from Dan Empfield - that triathlon has reached a bit of a bottom, and will start to rebound and experience some growth in 2018! - http://www.slowtwitch.com/..._for_2018__6704.html

Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.

Agreed. More money to spend means more bikes and gear being sold.

Powered by All Out MultiSport - http://www.aomultisport.com/

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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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That makes sense but didn't tri's last growth spurt coincide with the Great Recession? The reasoning, which I'm pretty sure I read on ST, was that folks turned to sports like tri when they were dealing with financial difficulties.

I wish Dan would have provided more details in the article on why he thinks tri is rebounding. Maybe he's teasing us until after the TBI conference.
Last edited by: Mark Lemmon: Jan 10, 18 6:59
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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B.McMaster wrote:


Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.


Except that logic doesn't quite work. The economic bull run started in 2009, and triathlon's decline has accelerated over the last couple years of that run. I don't see how there's some magic threshold where it starts growing again. There could be. I just don't see it.

I tend to think the trends are cultural, not economic. Marathon running is also down, and running is cheap.

I do agree with the article that triathlon needs to rediscover its grassroots origins.
Last edited by: trail: Jan 10, 18 7:10
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Mark Lemmon] [ In reply to ]
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Mark Lemmon wrote:
That makes sense but didn't tri's last growth spurt coincide with the Great Recession? The reasoning, which I'm pretty sure I read on ST, was that folks turned to sports like tri when they were dealing with financial difficulties.

I wish Dan would have provided more details in the article on why he thinks tri is rebounding. Maybe he's teasing us until after the TBI conference.

Mark, you are right on about the last growth coinciding with the recession....also, increased participation by women drove the last large growth spurt also.....and lots of novices on mountain bikes in the transition....we were grabbing people who wanted to have fun and complete not compete. But a good portion of these seemed to do have visited us and then moved on....we didn't keep them in large enough numbers.

I think Dan is a bit optimistic but I hope he is right and I am wrong.....
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
B.McMaster wrote:


Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.


Except that logic doesn't quite work. The economic bull run started in 2009, and triathlon's decline has accelerated over the last couple years of that run. I don't see how there's some magic threshold where it starts growing again. There could be. I just don't see it.

I tend to think the trends are cultural, not economic. Marathon running is also down, and running is cheap.

I do agree with the article that triathlon needs to rediscover its grassroots origins.

What has been weird to me is the "big deal, and expensive" trend that triathlons have taken the last 10 years....When I started in 1985 it was a local group (a running club, a church, a local civic group) putting on a 3 sport challenge called a "triathalon". It was lower key and getting 150-180 finishers was seen as a solid field and the local group that put on the race saw those numbers plenty to keep putting the event on that showcased their small town.. The cost of the event was relatively lower because they didn't try to be a "big deal" race, just a local cool challenge that people sought out. We would serve our selves by getting back to this in some events and supporting those races.

I have purposely stayed away form our local big deal Triathlon that is an expensive hassle (even though I can easily afford them) and signed up for races like the local Hopkins Royal Triathlon that is less expensive but put on by a local group that does a great job. Lake Minnetonka Triathlon is another good example that does well.

I love rolling out of bed, driving less than an hour to the sprint triathlon, parking 100 yards from the Transition zone, racing and getting home by noon....Love it!
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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I actually disagree with Dan's optimistic prediction. I predict triathlon will continue to decline.

I wish it wasn't that way, but triathlon is becoming an ever-increasingly priced sport with a higher and higher barrier to entry, and we're missing any sort of national-headline grabbing status like the original crawl-across-Kona-finish line shots. Furthermore, doing an IM isn't as amazing an accomplishment anymore when Mr. Joe nonathlete from the cubicle next door finished an IM (in 17 hrs) last year.

I think at best, we'll claw back some of the recession-type short term losses, but I fail to see how triathlon grows and includes more young folks at a faster rate down the road.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Steve-oH!] [ In reply to ]
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Steve-oH! wrote:
I love rolling out of bed, driving less than an hour to the sprint triathlon, parking 100 yards from the Transition zone, racing and getting home by noon....Love it!

Same here. I'm a bike racer, and we'll set up a race in damned office park and charge $30 entry fees.

If I want to sight-see or go on a vacation, I'll sight-see or go on a vacation.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [lightheir] [ In reply to ]
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lightheir wrote:
I actually disagree with Dan's optimistic prediction. I predict triathlon will continue to decline.

I wish it wasn't that way, but triathlon is becoming an ever-increasingly priced sport with a higher and higher barrier to entry, and we're missing any sort of national-headline grabbing status like the original crawl-across-Kona-finish line shots. Furthermore, doing an IM isn't as amazing an accomplishment anymore when Mr. Joe nonathlete from the cubicle next door finished an IM (in 17 hrs) last year.

I think at best, we'll claw back some of the recession-type short term losses, but I fail to see how triathlon grows and includes more young folks at a faster rate down the road.

Dan has been in this business for so many years and no doubt has the data to back up his claims, however, I am inclined to agree with you in some part. I think the ultra running community are poaching a LOT of endurance athletes nowadays (at least the young ones) as it is a sport I think that caters more to their personalities (social, fun and certainly cheaper than triathlons). I have noticed the prices for triathlon ever increasing and cities seem to becoming less and less inclined to shutting down streets for events like this. I think it will just get harder and harder to put these events on and even more expensive.
Soooooo many moving pieces to putting on triathlons....I am glad it isn't my job. :)

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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B.McMaster wrote:
Fleck wrote:
Bold prediction from Dan Empfield - that triathlon has reached a bit of a bottom, and will start to rebound and experience some growth in 2018! - http://www.slowtwitch.com/..._for_2018__6704.html


Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.

Unemployment has been down, mortgage rates low, and equity markets have been up for several years and yet triathlon has seen a decline over those years. If anything I'd be worried that an expensive sport isn't doing well when times are good.

WTB: TriRig Omega SV (not x). PM me if you have one :)
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [M~] [ In reply to ]
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I think it's less the ultrarunning scene than the obstacle-course type races which are increasingly winning over the hearts and minds of the millenials and other future up n coming athletes. It's a lot cooler and easier to say you crawled under a million watts of electricity and get the quick n easy chest thump than it is to bust your tail for years just to come in the top 20% of a triathlon without a podium award.

Like it or not as well, triathlon televises poorly compared to the popular sports. Ask any nonathlete if they would rather watch people getting creamed by obstacles, shocked by electricity, and muddified in big mud pits, versus watching a pro triathlete run and bike at a steady race-winning pace, and it's no contest.

And don't even get me started about the bike costs. I know I know, you can almost ride ANYTHING on the bike course - mtn bike, banana seat cruisers, virtually anything goes at small local events. But here's the hard, cold reality of the result of the superbike arms race from my middling AG perspective: At the last two LOCAL Oly races I did, in M40-50, literally every single bike was a hot TT bike or race-adapted aero road bike. There were literally NO entry-level bikes, and at least a third of the bikes were wireless Di2 or other shifting. We're talking $3k minimum at those 2 races for a bike - my Cervelo P2c 2008 (which is in great shape) was easily the oldest, cheapest bike in the entire group. Yes, I looked!

Now imagine if you're a curious M40-50 who's thinking about dabbling triathlon, so you go to this local 'small' race, and see the MOPers weaponized with $3-10k bikes. Yikes! Even I would likely think "ok, this is WAY too hardcore for me, ever - those bikes are nuts!" and not even try out triathlon, even if could potentially be good at it. So, yes, I think the increasing arms race costs of bikes def has a negative effect on the sport.

I recall when a Cervelo P2 at $2k used to be considered an uberbike, and that's not even a decade ago, and that price point alone was nearly enough to get me permanently turned off to triathlon (I did it anyway because I was hobbled by a stress fracture, lucky me.) Now a $2k bike is considered barely entry-level - no way inflation is accounting for this new standard.
Last edited by: lightheir: Jan 10, 18 8:25
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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B.McMaster wrote:

Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.

Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.

2x Deca-Ironman World Cup (10 Ironmans in 10 days), Quintuple Ironman World Cup (5 Ironmans in 5 days), Ultraman, Ultra Marathoner, and I once did an Ironman.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [chuy] [ In reply to ]
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this =>
chuy wrote:
Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.
or at least almost this. it's not that RDs should dumb down their races. it's that there should be a welling up of new races that fit the changing mood and that appeal to audiences not previously catered to.

so, for example, one example: life time allowing a family to compete in the same wave. that's just one thing. not that alone is going to make much difference. but, consider the gran fondo. it's a thing that sprung up. it's not new. we used to have 10,000, or 30,000, take part in the rosarito=>ensenada, and tecate=>ensenada, back in the 80s and 90s. if you build it they might come. if you don't build it i guarantee they won't come.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
this =>
chuy wrote:
Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.

or at least almost this. it's not that RDs should dumb down their races. it's that there should be a welling up of new races that fit the changing mood and that appeal to audiences not previously catered to.

so, for example, one example: life time allowing a family to compete in the same wave. that's just one thing. not that alone is going to make much difference. but, consider the gran fondo. it's a thing that sprung up. it's not new. we used to have 10,000, or 30,000, take part in the rosarito=>ensenada, and tecate=>ensenada, back in the 80s and 90s. if you build it they might come. if you don't build it i guarantee they won't come.

I think LifeTime has offered those family waves http://www.mplstri.com/race/divisions/....

check out their registration participation numbers over the years.....if you charge as much as they do compared to other local races, it aint working.....and likely not sustainable.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Steve-oH!] [ In reply to ]
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Steve-oH! wrote:
Slowman wrote:
this =>
chuy wrote:
Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.

or at least almost this. it's not that RDs should dumb down their races. it's that there should be a welling up of new races that fit the changing mood and that appeal to audiences not previously catered to.

so, for example, one example: life time allowing a family to compete in the same wave. that's just one thing. not that alone is going to make much difference. but, consider the gran fondo. it's a thing that sprung up. it's not new. we used to have 10,000, or 30,000, take part in the rosarito=>ensenada, and tecate=>ensenada, back in the 80s and 90s. if you build it they might come. if you don't build it i guarantee they won't come.


I think LifeTime has offered those family waves http://www.mplstri.com/race/divisions/....

check out their registration participation numbers over the years.....if you charge as much as they do compared to other local races, it aint working.....and likely not sustainable.

these are changes life time announced mid last year and began implementing late last year.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I also think this series is doing it all wrong...https://www.igniteswimrun.com/minnesota

.....charging to much for entry and trying to big deal in SwimRun.....$400 for a 2 person team?

if this same event was produced locally for $160 for a 2 person team, not trying to be to "fancy" but playing up the coolness of challenge with a post race get together at the local brewery they would have a better chance of making this a success.....how did Otillio get started again???
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
so, for example, one example: life time allowing a family to compete in the same wave. that's just one thing.

A lot of races do allow this in the East. My son and I start in the same wave 9/10 times we race.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
Steve-oH! wrote:
Slowman wrote:
this =>
chuy wrote:
Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.

or at least almost this. it's not that RDs should dumb down their races. it's that there should be a welling up of new races that fit the changing mood and that appeal to audiences not previously catered to.

so, for example, one example: life time allowing a family to compete in the same wave. that's just one thing. not that alone is going to make much difference. but, consider the gran fondo. it's a thing that sprung up. it's not new. we used to have 10,000, or 30,000, take part in the rosarito=>ensenada, and tecate=>ensenada, back in the 80s and 90s. if you build it they might come. if you don't build it i guarantee they won't come.


I think LifeTime has offered those family waves http://www.mplstri.com/race/divisions/....

check out their registration participation numbers over the years.....if you charge as much as they do compared to other local races, it aint working.....and likely not sustainable.


these are changes life time announced mid last year and began implementing late last year.

They charge to much Dan, thats the bottom line....these changes will not make a difference.....
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [chuy] [ In reply to ]
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chuy wrote:
B.McMaster wrote:


Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.


Race directors and Race series doing everything in their power to make triathlons as easy as possible and less intimidating so more people will participate.

I actually think (and could DEF be wrong about this!) that a great potential, low-investment entryway to triathlon, is to run a lot more indoor triathlons by partnering with YMCAs and gyms with pool facilities. The one's I've done have been loaded with newbies, as low key as you can get from a triathlon, and it's been really fun to see the new ones super excited at finishing the race, as well as some of them even making the AG podium (which is obviously super soft compared to the typical local triathlon, let alone WTC events.)

One of them in my neighborhood is run as a promotional event by a local health club, to get more people to consider joining - I could see an organizer partnering with gyms, running these events which would also benefit these gyms/clubs as a marketing tool and event.

I tried to get a bunch of my M40-50 sedentary friends to try out triathlon in the past year, as several expressed interest. Only a small minority was willing to commit to even doing a small beginner-friendly sprint outdoors. ALL of them were interested in doing the indoor triathlon, which was alas, ultimately canceled by the organizer.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Triathlon may indeed rebound this year, but will it just be a "dead cat bounce"? (An old Wall Street term for a temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or a bear market followed by the continuation of the downtrend.)

Regardless, it's good to see Dan feeling the renewed optimism sweeping the country as we Make America Great Again. :)

My 2017 Internet resolutions: No personal attacks; no arguments; and no more than a single view and post per thread.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Steve-oH!] [ In reply to ]
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Steve-oH! wrote:
trail wrote:
B.McMaster wrote:


Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.


Except that logic doesn't quite work. The economic bull run started in 2009, and triathlon's decline has accelerated over the last couple years of that run. I don't see how there's some magic threshold where it starts growing again. There could be. I just don't see it.

I tend to think the trends are cultural, not economic. Marathon running is also down, and running is cheap.

I do agree with the article that triathlon needs to rediscover its grassroots origins.


What has been weird to me is the "big deal, and expensive" trend that triathlons have taken the last 10 years....When I started in 1985 it was a local group (a running club, a church, a local civic group) putting on a 3 sport challenge called a "triathalon". It was lower key and getting 150-180 finishers was seen as a solid field and the local group that put on the race saw those numbers plenty to keep putting the event on that showcased their small town.. The cost of the event was relatively lower because they didn't try to be a "big deal" race, just a local cool challenge that people sought out. We would serve our selves by getting back to this in some events and supporting those races.

I have purposely stayed away form our local big deal Triathlon that is an expensive hassle (even though I can easily afford them) and signed up for races like the local Hopkins Royal Triathlon that is less expensive but put on by a local group that does a great job. Lake Minnetonka Triathlon is another good example that does well.

I love rolling out of bed, driving less than an hour to the sprint triathlon, parking 100 yards from the Transition zone, racing and getting home by noon....Love it!

I agree and this is why I love cyclocross.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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I am new to triathlon. Last year was my first season. I did two halfs (Lake Raystown PA, and Savageman). I guess you would call these small local races. I really enjoyed them. I will be doing my first full this year to meet my ultimate goal. I almost talked myself into doing my own private full because of the cost, buy my wife did finally talk me into doing the official race.


When I everested, I was mostly alone and there was 0 entry fee. I also ran my last marathon alone, two weeks before the real race. I trained for it like it was a real race and set a PR. These races cost too much and now I am planning more and more of my own "races". I will do the one and done Ironman this year and shell out the $700-$800 entry fee, but future years I will be setting my own challenges and my own private races.


I do plan on supporting 1 or 2 local (non-branded) halfs each year and I have not ruled out running an official marathon in the future, but at the end of the day I am a MOPer and I am racing myself, no one else.
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Re: Bold Prediction - Triathlon to Rebound in 2018? [B.McMaster] [ In reply to ]
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B.McMaster wrote:
Fleck wrote:
Bold prediction from Dan Empfield - that triathlon has reached a bit of a bottom, and will start to rebound and experience some growth in 2018! - http://www.slowtwitch.com/..._for_2018__6704.html


Is it really a bold prediction?

Dow is at 25k
Unemployment is down,
Income taxes are down.
Mortgage rates are still very low.

Take those 4 facts and any expensive hobby should will do well.


If the customer finds value.

What are races, clubs, coaches, etc doing to provide an increase in value for the customer (athlete).

While I agree the increase in costs has turned some away, I also think many other factors are in play here.

Most notably how will the younger age groups fair this year, they are the most careful to watch with the economy doing better as they are probably the most financially restricted in that sense.

Personally, what I am hearing, seeing, and observing through the local scene here is that logistically it is becoming too demanding for many.
Last edited by: CU427: Jan 10, 18 11:19
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