Triathletes heading down to The Woodlands for Ironman Texas this weekend may be frustrated or happy to learn that they won’t be cycling a full 180 kilometres on the bike course.
After months of issues with the municipal politics, bad weather and road construction, organizers of Ironman Texas released the finalized bike course at the end of April. The single-loop course is full of twists and turns (80 in total) giving athletes more than twice the technical turns they’d face on either the Ironman Arizona or Ironman Wisconsin course. But what’s causing most of the uproar among athletes racing this weekend is the fact that the course is only 151 kilometres long, leaving the course end up at only 122.6 miles instead of the standard 140.6.
Several athletes have expressed their frustration online, arguing that “if the bike course isn’t 112 miles it’s not really an Ironman.”
If this year's Tour d'France route is 18 miles shorter than in '15, are this year's cyclists allowed to call themselves finishers? #IMTX
— Daniel Bretscher (@DanielBretscher) April 30, 2016
— Mariah (@eatpraylovenc) April 30, 2016
Let's keep a positive attitude everyone for #IMTX Saturday, control yourself and good things will happen! I WILL be calling you an Ironman!
— Mike Reilly (@IronmanVoice) May 9, 2016
Canada has a handful of pros heading down to race the North American Championship at Ironman Texas. We asked their opinion on the shortened course.
“It is what it is. We all have to do the same distance and no matter how much we worry about it, that isn’t going to change. You just do the best you can to tackle the challenge in front of you. It is all comes down to the old adage, ‘Focus on what you can control’.
Most of the disappointment comes from competitors for whom this is their first Ironman. They are unsure whether or not they will be able to confidently say they are an Ironman, because they did not go a full 140.6 miles. It is ironic to me because a lot people were disappointed about Challenge Penticton because they questioned whether the could call themselves an Ironman if they did the distance but didn’t have the brand name attached. To me, being a triathlete and Ironman is something you do not something you did. It is more about living the lifestyle and going on the journey it takes to reach the finish line than the medal or title you receive when you get there.” — Jeff Symonds