Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Thoughts On The 24hr "Worlds"

This past weekend saw the 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Championships race at Conyers, Georgia. I've always scratched my head about this event thinking about how alot of endurance athletes have "bought into" the idea that the race with the name, "Worlds", really is the world championship. I wonder how many of these athletes thought this process through. Perhaps it doesn't really matter, but here is what I would consider the recipe, if you will, of a true "world championship" solo 24hour event.

First, you have to have some sort of way to get the majority of the top talent together at the same venue at the same time. This seems to me to be the whole crux of the matter. Exactly how you do that, is another thing all together. The way it works now, you "qualify" for Worlds by winning or being a top placer in selected events. Events selected by the promoter of the Worlds event, and not by any governing body or group. Hmm......that's okay, but perhaps it could be done even better. Even if somebody "qualifies" it doesn't mean that they are coming to the Worlds. What good is that? Where's the incentive to reach for that bar? Perhaps there is a way to get top talent, people who are talented enough to score a 24 hour solo win somewhere, to commit to coming to a world championship. Like free travel to and entry into the event? Extreme example, maybe, but that would perhaps motivate someone to come that ordinarily wouldn't. Maybe make it cheap to come? Hmm.........

Then there is the events that are used to qualify. They must be top notch 24 hour events. Events that take place worldwide. That shouldn't be too hard to figure out. The number of these events should be limited, too. The problem here is that you are going to eliminate good events due to timing in relationship to when Worlds is held. Moab anyone?

Finally, there is the event location itself. Perhaps it could be moved around from year to year to give the Worlds different flavors like the UCI World Road Championships. Perhaps it shouldn't move and it should go back to Whistler, B.C. as it always had been. That way you get a consistency of course difficulty to measure against the athletes. Whatever is chosen, the course should be tough and be able to accomodate a large number of athletes comfortably. That seems obvious, but it also would seem to eliminate some places. Again, Moab comes to mind.

For this year, it would seem that none of this mattered. In the end it came down to two athletes and nobody else really figured into it. Like two embattled warriors going at it with every last ounce of determination within them, they duked it out till the climatic finishing hours. Did it really matter who else was there or not, or even where the event was being held? To me, it didn't seem that it did so much. So maybe none of this really matters.

In the end, it was an epic battle between a relatively unknown and a perrenial champion. Stuff stories are made of. Who cares what the race was called.

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