2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


How far is too far?

It is with mixed emotions that I blog tonight. This is a subject that I have thought a lot about as a parent. Kids are remarkable. Some bloom early, some bloom late and some bloom early and just keep on blooming and getting better. I am attaching a link to recent article in Outside Magazine about the remarkable Welsch sisters of Alvin, Texas. We know these girls from the Youth TRI Circuit and they are phenomenal athletes and competitors. Fast doesn’t even begin to describe them. They are one in a million runners, sweet girls and by all accounts happy girls.

12-year-old Katylynn recently WON the 21K Xterra Trail Run in Waco. No doubt you could see the jaws dropping, as the adult competitors (including a couple of competitive Ironmen) witnessed her achievement. Katylynn 12 and her 10-year-old sister Heather have competed in over 100 events in the past 2 years including marathons, 1/2 marathons, triathlons, duathlons, trial runs, and fun runs. Keep in mind that Heather finished 3rd at the Waco Xterra Race and may catch big sister in the near future.

So I am sitting here, like many of you awestruck by the fact that these little girls can do so much so soon. I am also trying to understand where they go from here. Will they continue to love to run and compete? Is there a chance that they might just stop running at some point, just like Forest  Gump did?  As parents, we want to see our kids succeed and we want to see them win. The question for me is when does our wish to see them succeed overshadow what they want to do. But then again, no one says that Tiger Woods shouldn’t have started playing golf when he was 4 years old and you can bet that at some point, someone probably told Earl Woods that he should let Tiger play a little baseball or tennis. What if he had listened to them?

Some times I hold my kids back. Sometimes I push them. It’s hard to know exactly how far is too far.


Questions about starting a Kids TRI

I recently received some great questions from Nicole, a brave soul that is contemplating starting a Kids TRI in Alabama. I thought I would share her questions and my responses

1.timing systems–suggestions on inexpensive companies or are there rental options?

-We have always gone with full split chip timing on our kids triathlons. We want to offer a quality event and give the kids feedback that they can take away. Maybe they didn’t do well overall, but almost always there is a bright spot to focus on when you drill down to the times on the events. The cost on this will vary depending on how many timing companies are in your areas. I would get a few quotes. Expect to pay around $2000.

2.template for waiver for event?

– I always recommend that you use USAT to sanction your triathlon events. This does a couple of things for you. It provides insurance for the event and comes with the standard USAT waiver that  includes language releasing the facility, production company, etc…from liability. Of course all waivers can be challenged in court and that is why you need to produce a safe event. USAT sanctioning requires that you follow an online checklist of safety issues as well. The flip side to this is that all your kids/participants will need to be annual USAT members or buy the single day pass for $10. If you use ACTIVE for registration, you can sell the one day membership online when you register kids for the event.

3.suggestions for private insurance for event?

– There are a few companies that will offer private insurance for this type of event, but in my opinion there are gaps in the coverages in most of these policies and the USAT option is better.

4.did you have your own tax ID?  Your own bank account?  How did you handle sponsors?  If they gave money did you give them a receipt as a charitable donation?

– When we began to explore the idea of starting a kids triathlon in our area, we realized that this couldn’t/shouldn’t be a couple of private citizens taking on this challenge. From a liability standpoint, this would be crazy and leave us wide open for lawsuits, etc..so we approached a local non profit (Childrens Museum) and we operated the triathlon as part of their programing. This helped in a couple of ways. First, we worked under the non-tax umbrella of the museum and that helped us attract sponsors and donations. Secondly, the museum has a broad liability policy that covered our pre and post race production. The USAT Insurance (or any private insurance policy for that matter) will only cover you during the actual event. You need protection for the months leading up to and after the event as well.

5.is 10 months long enough time to plan?

– Yes, that is just about the  smallest time period I would attempt, but you can do it.

6.can we purchase bike racks?  Make bike racks?

– You can probably rent the adult style racks from the timing company you use. You definitely want to use bike racks. I have seen too many kids triathlons try to use tape or kickstands and it is a mess in transition. The small kids 6 to 11 or so will not be able to reach the larger adult bike racks. We actually made 30 wooden racks that allow for the kids to slot their front tire in the rack. They work perfectly and you might be able to get your local Lowes to donate the wood. We use these for our 6 to 10 year olds.



2012 USA Triathlon Youth National Championships

2012 USA Triathlon Youth National Championships

In a fierce battle, our Abby wins her age group and gets the top spot on the podium. 36 hours of driving. Worth every minute and mile.

This was our 3rd trip to a national championship race and I must admit that I wasn’t excited about West Chester, Ohio. The venue changes every 2 years and was in San Diego last year which meant triathlon, beach, etc…you get the picture. We were pleasantly surprised by West Chester and Voices of America Park. It is a great venue and the weather was perfect. We had 2 kiddos competing this year. Abby and our 15 year old Aaron who had a top 20 finish. We are of course proud of them both, but also ready for a bit of a break for triathlon since it has dominated most days and weekends since May! Our 7 year old skipped the race since he is still working on his open water swim. He will be ready next year. Now we will move on to cross country, swimming, and soccer. A few observations about the race:
1. Youth TRI teams are growing fast. There were dozens of teams making trip this year and the team component is beginning to take hold.
2. USAT is getting better at producing the youth events. They of course focus more on the adult age groupers and youth and junior elites, but they are beginning to come around to understanding where their future lies.
3. There needs to be some type of qualification into youth nationals. You do get many of the fastest kids in the nation, but since the youth division is open (unlike the youth elite and junior elite which requires qualification) you also get a few local kids with the wrong bikes and a lack of experience. Don’t get me wrong, they need to be doing triathlons. Just not the national championships. USAT should require at least a top 5 finish in a sanctioned youth event in order to participate.
4. The hardware is getting serious. Wow, some of these kids were riding $3000 bikes. Its difficult for a parent since you want your child to have the best opportunity to compete, and seconds often matter.

Overall it was a great experience for our family and the Trinity Multisport Youth TRI team that our kids belong to. Looking forward to next year.