Is It Real Or Is It Memorex?

The TriRiot 70.5 race was a huge success. All athletes had a good race and not a single spectator complained about not seeing their athlete. That’s the benefit of racing by yourself. I did, however, almost get a penalty for blocking (on the bike), but because I was the course marshal, I decided to let myself go with a stern look.

What Makes A Race Real?

Some people want to call the TriRiot 70.5 a virtual race. You can call it what you want. It was a real race.

With the proliferation of online races during COVID-19 social restrictions , I want to take a closer look at what we mean by virtual races.

Merriam-Webster.com defines the word, virtual, four different ways. Definitions two and three relate to computers which don’t apply to this discussion unless we want to include Zwift and other online simulations. We don’t. This is about getting outside and going the distance.

The other two definitions are:

of, relating to, or being a hypothetical particle whose existence is inferred from indirect evidence

I am not a hypothetical particle, so let’s move on to the other definition:

being such in essence or effect though not formally recognized or admitted

That’s it! That’s the definition that applies here.

Now we have to define a race, but that’s much easier. To save time and hopefully keep you from clicking away, I’m going to use the following definition (also from Merriam-Webster.com):

a contest of speed

If you want to get really nit picky, you can quote someone else’s definition of a contest and discredit my conclusions below, but you wouldn’t do that… would you? Obviously, you can see where I’m going with this.

My results may not have been tallied by an accrediting body and I may be the only one who competed, but it was a race because:

  1. I trained to be in peak form on the particular day in question
  2. The entire course was carefully planned out to be close to a recognized race distance
  3. A race plan was developed and executed
  4. My body took a beating
  5. The competition was the clock. My goal was to beat a specific time
  6. I had a race bib and bike number (number 3)
  7. I came in first place (I also came in last place, but we don’t like to mention that)

So there you have it. A race does not have to be a big extravaganza that makes the athletes feel like rock stars. Tomorrow’s blog post will look at this topic by going back to the 1970s, so get out your love beads and disco suit.

Until tomorrow…