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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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In response to Slowman, I'd totally agree that if you create an excellent race, treat people right, your race will succeed. I've been an entrepreneur since I graduated from College (something about having to wear a suit and tie really bothered me:)), and have owned 3 businesses. All three were successes....

Why? Because I worked my ass off, cared about what I did, had a passion for it, and delivered a great product to the customer. I don't consider myself any more intelligent than the next guy...Really, it's not rocket science, and it's the same thing in triathlon. Of course, longterm, the races that really deliver a great product to the athlete will succeed. Musselman is a great race, and will continue to grow/thrive. As will other races. I'm a firm believer in this, otherwise I wouldn't have added two HIM weekends this year. I have complete and utter confidence in what we do, and what we'll provide the athlete.

IMO, that's not truly the point. It's more about supply. There are quite a few long course athletes out there. BUT, I still think there are too many long course races for them all to succeed. That's true of any business model. Supply and demand. If your business is good, it'll survive. It may take a while, though, and you may need deep pockets to survive the lean times. Eventually, the great races will prosper...With 101, it's probably more a question of whether they can weather 3-4 years of 200-300 athletes.

My basic belief is, for most of us, if you wanna go long you want the hype and excitement that only comes with racing with 1500 other athletes, and all of the spectators it brings with it. Most non-MDOT IMs can't capture the excitement because there are 100 people racing. 100 people racing means about 200 spectators, given that it's generally only family that's coming out to watch this stuff....Face it, folks, even at a high profile MDot, the people watching are family and friends, not the general public. This stuff just ain't that exciting to watch:)

So, it's the chicken/egg thing....How do you build the hype and excitement with only 150 athletes? It's tough, and it has a direct impact on the athletes experience.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [GearGrinder] [ In reply to ]
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The biggest mistake that 101 made was coming to Florida for the first race. There are a number of Florida RD's who have been putting on races for the past 20 years that would NEVER have attempted to put a race up against St. Anthony's, Gulf Coast and the Florida 70.3.

101 could have been the best race in the world with a great course, great value to athletes, etc. but going against established events with only a 4-5 month ramp up just was not a smart move.

When we started the Whirlpool Steelhead Triathlon 4 years ago, we looked at the 1/2 iron distances races around a five state area. We stayed away from Muncie and Ironman Wisconsin. It still took 3 years to grow the race, but at least we did not have to go up against establised events.

Z
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [tomziebart] [ In reply to ]
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I'd agree....Every race we start, we make sure there aren't other established races around those dates....Just out of respect for other RD's, I think it's the right thing to do. From a business perspective, it's pretty smart too...:)

Again, it gets back to the big increase in # of races...There aren't too many dates available now that don't conflict with other events....
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [KJ] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
Musselman is a great race, and will continue to grow/thrive.
Mussleman suceeded because it has a good time and place; there are/were no 1/2 IM conflicts in all of July anywhere near that location. You had Eagleman, Tupper Lake and Harriman in the early season and then Timberman, FIRMman, Montauck in the late season. There was a BIG hole waiting to be filled. So he stuck his race smack in the middle of July, weeks away from anything else.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Uncle Phil] [ In reply to ]
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"why weren't the pros at Bradenton tested?"

the way the system works these days, drug testing is (almost) totally out of the hands of RDs. it's under the purview of USADA (if the race is in america). what happens is that USAT and USADA get together before the season and decide what races are going to have testing. it's some smattering of short course, long, ITU-style, etc., so the RD has no input into that.

but that's not entirely true. you'll remember the brief time when WTC was out sanctioning and insuring itself. one of the reasons it left, and one of the issues upon its return, was that it wanted testing at all its races. so there is a fund into which WTC pays, and through a commingling of its funds with USAT's funds, the testing occurs at most if not all the U.S. races.

AFAIK, no other RD does this. and of course it's an open question how much WTC actually pays, that is, it may pay nothing, it may pay almost all of it. i don't know how that negotiation went. but that's how it works.

if you think there should be drug testing at a 101 event, then you should address this with USAT, not with 101. if i'm USAT, i'm probably going to choose to wait until i know the 101 is a going concern. OTOH, maybe i'm going to fool some pros and pick one of these races.

i would like to see a program laid out for RDs, where they can in fact pay into a fund, to add to the moneys USADA pays for testing. there's plenty of capacity for testing, now that there's a second WADA lab going in the U.S. (in utah). i think it would be great if triathlon became the most tested sport there is, not because it's dirty, but because it's clean and wants to stay that way.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [ In reply to ]
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I love it when folks talk about Econ 101 this or what I learned in my MBA program that.
While it is imperative to have the background knowledge to be prepared for the real world, once you get into the real world be prepared to throw everything you learned in school out the window....well maybe not everything but time and time again we have seen businesses flourish when they really shouldn't have.
At least they are trying....Glad to see you guys are all happy with having a monopoly in the long distance arena. What do your business courses say about monopolies?

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Markus Mucus] [ In reply to ]
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Hey Marcus, the point I was making about econ 101 is that you don't need a b-school degree to figure out marketing. MBA grads are a dime a dozen, and quite honestly, many have spent too much time studying and not enough time doing it in the real world. I would hire someone with practical expereince much faster than someone with another diploma.

BTW, I'm on your side with this. I think 101 is a good thing and has the opportunity to develop into a viable race series. The more options the better for us as a tri community. Can't seem to figure out why so many people on this board are planning for the demise of 101, when at the same time they bitch about M-Dot's cost and having to sign up a year in advance.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [tomziebart] [ In reply to ]
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"going against established events with only a 4-5 month ramp up just was not a smart move."

yeah, i never understood it. i could never figure that out. i asked them why it was so imperitive to put a race on there, at that time, with so little time to get the execution ducks in a row, and little time to allow people to train for the event, once they become aware of it and decide to do it.

now, of course, it's all clear to them. i can't figure out why it wasn't clear before. if all that time could've been spent ramping up clear lake, things would've gone smoother.

but, i don't think it's indicative of anything other than an isolated mistake against the backdrop of an otherwise sound plan, and a history of well-produced events. they were stubborn and wrong. having been in the tri biz for 20 years, i "stubborn" and "wrong" are two attributes occasionally found in even the most successful of my contemporaries (me included).


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Carl Spackler] [ In reply to ]
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it was more of a general comment towards all the business experts out there. Not you specifically. :)

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Markus Mucus] [ In reply to ]
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Not relevant. The long distance race market is not a monopoly. Oligopoly, yes, but then so are most of the markets in the U.S.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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The one smart move they did make was hiring TJ, a veteran Florida RD - without him, the Bradenton race would not have happened. Z
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [cooterbob] [ In reply to ]
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[reply][font "Times New Roman"][size 3]Not relevant. The long distance race market is not a monopoly. Oligopoly, yes, but then so are most of the markets in the U.S. [/size][/font]
[font "Times New Roman"][size 3]--------------[/size][/font][/reply]

I would say in some parts they have the qualities of a Oligopoly however, this caught my attention.
"Oligopolistic markets are characterized by interactivity. The decisions of one firm influence, and are influenced by the decisions of other firms. Strategic planning by oligopolists always involves taking into account the likely responses of the other market participants"

The IM folks aren't influenced by anyone other than themselves since they are the only game in town. There may be other smaller races but there is no other long distance race series company like them.

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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My feeling was that they were very aggressive when announcing the series and that's why there is the animosity from some, at least on this forum.

I'm not a marketing guy. Is that just the way you have to do business these days?

In Bradenton, the 101 organizers and staff were very approachable, helpful and humble.
Last edited by: Dave Stohler: May 9, 07 8:11
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Hmmm...interesting. Thanks for the info, I didn't know that's how it works.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Markus Mucus] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
I love it when folks talk about Econ 101 this or what I learned in my MBA program that.
While it is imperative to have the background knowledge to be prepared for the real world, once you get into the real world be prepared to throw everything you learned in school out the window....well maybe not everything but time and time again we have seen businesses flourish when they really shouldn't have.

Can you give an example of a business that "flourished" in the "real world" where there wasn't a clear need in the marketplace?

Supply and demand is a fundamental principal in the "real world".

Can you explain how the 101 series is being successful running counter to Econ 101?
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Dan, do you consider the full Vineman a well run, successful race? Clearly it is well run. It has been around for a long time.
But, I do not believe they ever get that many folks. I wonder if folks would rather do a race like vineman, or 101?
It shall be interesting, but are most real smart 20 year experienced successful business folks stubborn? Seems to me the real
good ones would have a good business plan. And, seems they would have come to a place like ST before they made decisions and
asked this community what they wanted.

Dave

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

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Lions don't lose sleep worrying about the sheep
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [reggiedog] [ In reply to ]
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There are thousands of businesses that created a demand for their product - CNN, Playstation, running shoes, Apple, Mp3 player, the squeeze ball sitting on my desk, legos, PDAs, hair gel, $30 Riddel crystal wine glasses, etc. The list is endless. And one could easily argue that each of these companies created a market for their product, instead of relying on pent-up demand.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [h2ofun] [ In reply to ]
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"do you consider the full Vineman a well run, successful race?"

i've never been to it. but it's an andy robles race, isn't it? he runs his races well.

"
I wonder if folks would rather do a race like vineman, or 101?"

i think anyone who puts on a race over the IM distance is always going to be a "fake" IM. i think you're just building somebody else's brand every time you put on a fake edition of the race, because you highlight the fact that there are real ones out there.

if triathlon is viable, and strong, and has legs, it can support another brand. whether it's 101, metric-101, double-oly, half-101, triple-oly, or just a bunch of geography specific courses of varying distances, the key is to build a strong brand. terry davis has a series, none of his races look like the other, none of them are of the same distance, but his tricalifornia races are a "brand" he's built, through mini-branding every event.

there is nothing that indicated that rock 'n roll marathons around the country would've been the successes they've become. it's not about the competition, or the race calendar, or the pent-up demand or lack thereof. it's not about whether to grow it incrementally, grass roots, internally funding your race through fiscal discipline, versus the all-out, big-time, hit the ground running approach. some big, important races were built over time (timberman). others, like rock 'n roll marathon, were launched as high-dollar enterprises right out the gate.

you just have to always think in terms of the brand, what it means, execute your plan well, let your business guide you toward smart decisions, and have a large reserve of nerve and grit. but putting on a IM distance race without being an IM violates what i think is a key ingredient toward building your own brand.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [reggiedog] [ In reply to ]
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[reply][reply]
/reply]

Can you give an example of a business that "flourished" in the "real world" where there wasn't a clear need in the marketplace?

Supply and demand is a fundamental principal in the "real world".

Can you explain how the 101 series is being successful running counter to Econ 101?[/reply]

I won't bother since any example I will give someone will pipe in with "oh but you forgot about this or that". I don't believe I said that the 101 series is being successful yet but if I did, please feel free to point it out.
My point is that for every theory and law you learn in school, there absolutely are exceptions to every rule. I am sure you business dudes could shoop me up and down all day long citing this and that about business rules and practices, but sometimes the real world just doesn't realize it is suppose to adhere to everything we learn in school.

https://www.miles4matt.run/
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:
"Do IM in North America selling out in hrs mean that there are thousands of additional people banging on the door to race?"

let me put it this way. baby boomers populated triathlon in the 80s. then they got older, and triathlon ebbed. now baby boomers' children are in high school, or college, or out of college. they are about ready to join, and are joining, this sport. this in part accounts for the run-up in triathlon in this decade. demographics alone will help push this sport upward, we just have to be smart about how we manage our growth.

were there to be another ironman, and another, so that we eventually had 12 north american ironmans, i think 10 or 11 would sell out, and rather quickly. maybe all 12 would sell out. i think each of these races absorbs its field as they are incrementally added.

graham fraser has been saying there is a limited number of people, much smaller than anyone thinks, who wants to do these races, and he's been saying that since there were 5 of them in north america. maybe he's right. but that limited number keeps growing. it's always going to be a finite number, but, it keeps growing.

me, i believe in our sport. i think it's a great sport, for a lot of reasons. perhaps i have more faith in our sport than others do. maybe more faith than i should have. a few years ago a guy who occasionally writes for us, jeff henderson, decided to put on a half-IM. it's not a 70.3. he was and is on his own. i knew he would be a success, because he's a quality guy. last year he got 550 in his half, along with 450 in his sprint. actually 1,043 altogether. this year he's expanding a bit, hoping to get 1200. his race is musselman, in upstate NY.

if you're smart, patient, quality-minded, shrewd, ambitious, and service-oriented, you'll succeed. it may take you several years, you have to be prepared for that, but you'll carve your niche. it's not about having it be the right distance, or your date on the calendar. it's about working until your property is built. jeff will eventually have 1500 people at his race weekend, i have no doubt. there's room for good races and good RDs.
Joe
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Markus Mucus] [ In reply to ]
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In Reply To:

My point is that for every theory and law you learn in school, there absolutely are exceptions to every rule....but sometimes the real world just doesn't realize it is suppose to adhere to everything we learn in school.

The point is that while there are "exceptions to every rule" they really don't happen nearly as often as lore has it - "sometimes" is a heck of a lot rarer than one is lead to believe.

There just doesn't seem to be a case for "another" triathlon distance, unlike a new 24hr news channel or a much better video game console.

"Build it and they will come" was a movie about ghosts who didn't have any place to play.
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Ironboy] [ In reply to ]
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oops, sorry about above, gotta figure out the quote thing!

I agree with Dan on this except the maybe the point about "your date on the calendar" as this isn't a deal breaker but can make the first few years a grind depending on # of other races & their quality/history. eg. last weekend


Ziebart, and I can't believe I'm saying this Tom, made a valid point that dropping a race in one of the busiest months in the Florida schedule was probably the biggest gaff. The second being anytime you have a short window for reg. it also means that you have a short window for planning, permits etc.. - obvious but there a reasons that we won't ever know all the scoop as to the rush to start in Dec. for 2007. If 800 people had shown up on that bike course it would have been an interesting race for sure.

The days of putting out a race and having a casual attitude to athlete feedback are over in the eyes of those RD's who get it. Times have changed and athletes now have a heck of a lot more race options and shouldn't have to put up with poor venues, no volunteers, crap swag and a less than welcoming approach from a RD and his/her crew. I am still surprised when our athletes tell me about a jerk RD who won't speak kindly or professionally to them when they ask "newbie" questions etc.

"It all starts with a course" is a favorite expression of a guy I know from Grimsby and I agree. Fleck mentioned it often isn't the distances put on, look at Muskoka, but whether or not once people finish they are impressed by the challenge of a course, scenery, lack of 5-6 loops, a PB course or whatever great points they could find on the day combined with a well managed and well supported event.

The next few years should be interesting as races compete for the customer base (God I hate to sound corporate) that is out there. Larger companies, such as HFP, have a better chance to weather the storm and some races that don't get an increase in numbers each year might not be around in a couple of years as they don't want to end up making .10$/hr to host 150 people - we'll see.

Have fun wherever you decide to race, even Stealhead, and see you out there
Joe

Joe Dixon
Race Director
Westwood Lake, Oliver Half & Aquabike,
"Wine Capital of Canada" Tri, Elk Lake and Cultus Lake Triathlons
http://www.dynamicraceevents.com
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [reggiedog] [ In reply to ]
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [reggiedog] [ In reply to ]
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Do we need another cell phone provider? Another fast food chain? Airline? Car company? Mortgage company? Insurance? Running shoe? Cable channel? PC manufacturer? Sports drink?

How many examples do you need of marketplaces where new companies have entered with something slightly different and been successful?
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Re: We can all complain about IMNA, but... [Carl Spackler] [ In reply to ]
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Thats fine if you market is the potential of the entire population. But, if your market max is a very small sub set of the population, ....

Dave

Dave Campbell | Facebook | @DaveECampbell | h2ofun@h2ofun.net

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