Ok I admit it, I am an ITU racing fan. It is funny when I talk to my friends who live in Europe and they tell me how much emphasis is put on ITU racing. Here in the US it seems all about IM. Either way I love tri’s.
But, I remember when I was but a young tri buck in 1996 and I would read the British Triathlon magazine, 220 from cover to cover. They would cover all the great ITU and Short Course races around the globe. For readers who don’t understand the difference, let me sum up. Professional ITU racing is always a 1.5K open water swim (typically with a two loop course where the racers get out and run about 100 meters before launching into the water again), a 40K DRAFT LEGAL bike and a 10K run. The courses are usually run on tight loops to allow great spectating. This IS THE FORMULA RACE CAR DRIVING OF triathlons. These guys are super fast, crazy quick with everything. The good one’s swim 17:00 for 1500 meters and bike like crit style with breakaways and other teamates pulling and then it is off to the run race where they click off 30:00 10K’s. That is sub 5:00 min/miles people. As Beijing approaches the ITU events will get more attention and I frequently check out the happenings at triathlon.org for rankings and videos. Sure, some people follow the grossly overpaid NFL but I like the grossly underpaid ITU.
Back in those days when I was reading 220 (still do) I was amazed by the feats of Brad Beven, Ben Bright and Simon Lessing. They were killing it all over the world. I also kept hearing about a guy named Andrew Johns. Fast forward 10 years and I manage him and more importantly he is a true good friend who is still podiuming at World Cup races. If you can, go check out an ITU race if your eyes can keep up with the speed!
-A Fan (LeeZee)