Memories for a Lifetime…
This weekend in Lake Placid, something very unique is going to happen. Over fifty triathletes from across the US are going to come together for three days of training and learning. There will be TT bikes, road bikes, wetsuits and running shoes. Coaches and newbies. Spandex and sunglasses. But one thing will be conspicuously absent: money. This camp is 100% free.
Endurance Nation will hold its first free training camp, aka as the IMUSA Tri-Rally. The weekend is open to anyone who wants to attend, the only thing you have to spend money on is lodging (unless you camp out) and food (probably a good idea given the training). There is no registration on Active.com, there is no padded registration fee…if you want to attend all you have to do is RSVP via Facebook (Placid or Madison) so we can be sure to have enough schwag from our sponsors to hand out.
We decided to call it a Tri-Rally in the spirit of motorcycle weekend, where enthusiasts can show up, show off, have fun, and go home with a whole new host of friends and memories. Over the last three years, we have learned some incredible things while building Endurance Nation. At the end of the day, all the websites and ebooks and podcasts pale in comparison to watching what happens on a race weekend or at a member-run camp when our members connect in person. It just hit us; it’s not about the high price tags. It’s not about some secret seminar. It’s about connecting really cool people who share a passion for this sport, then stepping back to watching what develops.
There are just too many things in our sport that cost a whole lot of money. Yet when you get right down to it, some of the best things you have likely ever experienced in triathlon probably didn’t cost very much. Making new friends through training. Open water swimming. Finding a new run route, or just finishing a long run with a strong kick.
There’s no doubt that a trend of commercialization and monetization is afoot in our tiny sport. It affects all of us, as. It’s part of growing up, for sure, but we certainly hope that our sport is able to hold on to the super cool stuff that brought us here in the first place.
Doing this will require more than just complaining about entry fees or other rising costs. It means making something free or cool actually stick. For our part, we hope our Tri-Rallys grow and touch more than the 150 athletes expected to attend. The rally allows us to send a powerful message to the athlete community but also to some of the key brands in the space. This year Fuelbelt, Nuun, Gu, and Soigneur are all contributing to the cause. We hope to grow this in the future.
Maybe you can register for a local event to help support a new race director. Or maybe volunteer and leverage your expertise instead. It could be as simple as stopping to help a friend or a stranger with a flat tire. You can invite someone on a ride and share your secret route or your nemesis of a hill. Maybe just listening to someone rant about work or their struggles during a run is enough.
We all have the power to preserve the best parts of triathlon. We are not only participants, we are curators of this fun, unique, and cool sport. Take a moment to think about what makes triathlon so special for you, and then get out there and do something about it.
Pass it on.
Rich and Patrick