Wow - an hour of reading this thread and I'm thoroughly disgusted. Why are so many on the attack when it comes to 101? If it succeeds or fails - why all the fuss? Is it to be the first to be able to say, "I told you so"? And then the personal attacks - the flippant attacks on integrity? Good grief - there are, thankfully, MANY triathletes out there who either don't anymore or never do read Slowtwitch for reasons like this thread - all the damn negativity. This is an awesome sport - a savior to some and life-long activity for many. The people involved in the sport, for the most part - again are awesome. How folks get across the finish line worrying about how they are going to explain what they just did, or the difference between making a brand or an event, etc, etc - it baffles me. It really seems like many of you hope TOOO does not make it...why would you hope for that?
I did the 101 - and I've never done a M-dot race - prior to the 101 I just did a single half - Miami Man, which I thought was an excellent race. Perhaps I'm a minority, but I make decent money but can't stand the thought of having to pay $450 a year in advance to take part in an event just to hear, "you are an Ironman", when I can pay a lot less to do the same distance. I know I'm a minority - the dwindling numbers at non-M-dot races show me that. I'll do a M-dot race some day, but not so that it's "easier to explain at the gas station", but because I'm a lemming too, and will have to check that block, so to speak, for myself. I chose to do the 101 because I READ
what was written about the event - the "whys" for doing it, and saw the value in not beating myself up like an IM distance does, and I really wanted to test myself at that distance, before taking on IM. I paid $150 and could have signed up still the week prior for that same amount with readily available discount codes.
Only 117 (I think) started the race - it was personal and charming, if thats any way to describe a race. I felt by the end of the race the guys and volunteers from 101 knew me. It was awesome and made a difference. Sure execution is important, and on race day, these guys and gals did execute. What these folks did on race day and during registration was show that they care about ME. I'll give them more of my money, and recommend them to my tri-friends. Many folks - perhaps outside the slowtwitch mafia - are looking forward to doing this race (btw, there are other communities out there filled with POSITIVE, enthusiastic triatletes...). There are 204 folks signed up for Woodlands right now - spending registration money in advance, and more will sign up after they talk with their friends who've had positive experiences.
I averaged 7.6 hrs a week training for this event in the 25 weeks leading up to it. It's not a race you have to commit hours and hours of training time to. I was not beat up by it. No - I'm not fast or strong in an event - I dig the lifestyle. I dig the challenge. I know that I'm not ready for IM distance. I proved that to myself on May 6th. I gained invaluable knowledge about pacing, nutrition, liquids, heat and proper tire changing gear that wasn't learned at the half IM distance. This was a much different race than 70.6, as I'm sure the next step will be - when I'm ready.
There's a progression to triathlon that I think many people overlook or ignore. Folks go after thier M-Dot tattoo too early, before they are ready, and suddenly they never want to do that distance again. The investment in time and energy and toll on the body with such a quick ramp-up is too much for many, many people...it probably hurts the long-distance tri market in the long run because of the lack of repeat business! This race lends itself well to folks who want to test the waters and realize that this year is not thier LAST year in long-distance triathlon. Do a half; when it feels good, try the 101 - it's ok to bounce back to a half or do another 101 to build confidence for a full. Why bother? Because if your training at the Half level, you can do a 101. It's a step up, in the right direction, and it doesn't kill ya. It means something to me. I don't really care if the IM finisher's of the world think less of the race - really, every one of my tri friends and accuaintances have congratulated me on the accomplishment (most are IM finishers). No one has said, "yea, but it's not an Ironman...". It certaintly isn't an Ironman, but now I know what I need to do to get there. Thank you, One-O-One. Good job in Bradenton; my wife (who as a spectator was treated first class, unlike at other races) and I had an excellent experience.