Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a ferkin disgrace - Ironman China cancels the swim

Ironman China announced today that the swim portion of the event, set to take place on May 29 in Jixian, Tianjin, has been cancelled. The decision affects both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman races, scheduled to debut in and around the Yu Bridge Reservoir. Both races will be conducted as bike-run duathlons, as would occur if the cancellation was due to weather or other natural causes.

The freshwater reservoir where the swim was scheduled to take place has been closed due to the impact of a major water works program implemented by city government. Ironman’s local operating partner, the Tianjin Sports Bureau, was only recently informed of this closure. Jixian was vetted as an Ironman venue a year ago by Ironman, the Tianjin Triathlon Association and the Tianjin Sports Bureau, and all necessary approvals were obtained at the time.

Ironman is offering a full refund of entry fees to athletes wishing to withdraw from the event. For the athletes who remain committed to race, Ironman is bulking up their chances of qualifying for the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai’i, on Oct. 8, by adding 10 more qualifying slots to the original 50. The same amount of qualifying slots has also been added for the 2011 Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, in Sept.

“Event planning was proceeding normally until 10 days ago,” said Murphy Reinschreiber, World Triathlon Corporation’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. “While we did everything possible to maintain access to the reservoir and look for alternative swim venues, we ran out of options and appeals and have had to accept the city’s decision. Despite this setback, we remain committed to providing a high-quality race and travel experience.”

The races will be conducted with athletes starting time-trial style on their bikes at five second intervals. The start and transition area will be moved to a conveniently located park in Jixian. The Ironman finish line will close 14:30 after the last starter or at midnight—whichever is comes first. The Ironman70.3 finish line closure and bike cut-offs for both races will also be adjusted. Athletes will still get to experience racing in beautiful rural China. Modified maps and rules will be posted on the event website as soon as they are available.

Simon says: -
Obviously I'm torn between being "bought off" with 10 extra slots, not losing time on the swim to help qualifying for Kona and the fact that I won't feel great if I do make it by qualifying in a duathlon. Not only that, it's just not cricket! I'm better at duathlons than triathlons but I'm sorry du's just don't have the romance of tri's. I feel cheated and let down.

They say they'll give full refunds but will they refund our hotels and flights? I doubt it. What about all the pain sweat and tears that we've shed over the last few months? Will they refund those?

I certainly don't blame Ironman (for a change in this particular instance). If a country and more particularly a province/city was looking to sabotage its reputation and credibility on the International stage then this is the perfect example. What a complete bunch of bureaucratic dooshbags! Well done China, Jixian and Tianjin Province, what a spectacular fail!


ree_ti_ree said...

Go for it! It's a tough sport, use this break to your advantage. Remember when you qualified in Kentucky with the ~140 roll down spot? Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

Tan Kien Boon said...

not just pain sweat and tears...for some even pee blood!!...:p

Azman said...

wait, let me get this straight. they're changing IM China (triathlon) to duathlon, increases the qualification slots from 50 to 60 for the race, and those who made it in this makeshift duathlon qualifies for IM Kona? doesn't that water down the value of qualifying for Kona? is even equivalent to qualifying?

Elenamary said...

I feel you Simon. I am torn too. I won't feel as if I've done a real race without the swim...because honestly, I won't have. There won't be that intensity before the swim, there won't be that feeling of coming out of the water onto land, the transition or the feeling of accomplishment.
And yes, what about the fact that I've already booked flights there with a zero refund. Ugh. I can't decide if I still want to participate.

Chris W said...

Seems like the perfect race for you.....no swim
Never know, maybe they cancell the run too (wrong type of road?)....then you're sorted....

JohnP said...


That blows goats.




I dunno what to think. I guess my initial reaction is FAAAAWWWWK - it is just not the same. I'd feel jipped cuz well, it's just not the same.

This probably works to your advantage for qualifying. So I guess the only thing you got to ask yourself is "Can I live with myself if I qualified for Kona by doing a duathlon?'

Do you plan to do Kona only once? In that case, I would not want to use my one-time Kona trip opportunity earned via duathlon. I would have a nagging thought in the back of my mind telling me how ghey that is.
If you have the cash/means to goto Kona multiple times, then duathlon-slot is acceptable cuz u still have IMLP and other years to do it 'legitly'.

I blame Ironman cuz they know damn
well people are screwed cuz hotels/flights are already booked. Refunding your money is chump change compared to the rest of the bill. Thats just not enough to make amends.

Regardless, China FAILS on a global doosh-ometer scale of epic proportions.

$$ wise if ur already booked hotel/flight then go have fun and enjoy yourself regardless. If ur not already booked, I would get my money back and forget about China.

Simon said...

R, Agreed thanks

T, Haha goo point

A, Dude, the same athletes will be there competing against each other to qualify. Everyone is bummed about it but the best will still qualify - it's a bit harsh to say it waters down the value for those that do make it I think.

E, I feel really bad for you being your first 70.3. You've got to be philosophical about it and use it as a stepping stone for a full 70.3 or even the full Ironman next year perhaps. We're gonna have fun whatever happens.

C, yeah thanks buddy but they've cancelled the swim for everyone not just me. I'm not quite that bad a swimmer these days - I recall being only a minute or so behind you in IMWA!!! However yes I am hoping they'll cancel the run too haha

J, Very well said buddy, I would be OK about qualifying in a duathlon, the same guys will be there fighting it out, the swim is cancelled for everyone not just me so it'll be a fair fight.

I missed a slot last year being 9th amateur overall in IMMY and qualified in every other age-group except my own, I then missed a roll down slow because I was too daft to wake up in IMKY so if I qualify (and that's still a big if) then I'll take it.

It has always been my intent to qualify twice just to demonstrate to myself that given the right training and attitude I can do it pretty much anytime, so I'll feel OK about it if I get in this time and qualify next year or thereafter. You’re right the race won’t be the same but hey this’ll be my 18th Ironman so I can put up with this especially as I have IMLP in a couple of months too. I feel really sorry for the first timers though.

What would be magical (albeit a very tall order) is to qualify in China and to do it again in IMLP. We'll see. Thanks for the input it was extremely useful in getting my thoughts clear.

Matty O said...

dude, 18 IMs? HOLY CRAP! Get a life! haha (joking).

My 2 cents, that is complete bullshit and sabotage.

Would I still race it? YES, would I take the KONA slot? YES. Would I feel ripped off? NO. Why? cause at least now you know you don't have to go to the damn pool anymore ;)

This is totally your race now, no questions. Your bike is disgustingly fast and your run will be strong enough to maintain your place off the bike if not pick off the few guys probably in front of you.

I agree with Scott, don't look a gift horse in the face, take the GIFT!

JohnP said...

Well said buddy! I remember you missing IMKY slot - damn near the fuckin funniest thing I've ever heard! lol :) You lazy phuck! haha!

Totally, NO regrets takin' a slot if u get one. You've earned it, AND THEN SOME!

Go and give it your best! I will be watching, I can't wait! Remember to get a good warm-up in since there is no swim eh! Get your head straight and gameplan adjusted! You got this!!

Your Mantra shall be: "I am the best duathlete EVAR!" *snicker*

For those poor bastards that are doing China for there first time though... damn - what a kick in the balls!