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Triathlon News and Notes: Champions Open a Hotel, Zwift Goes Off-Road, and More

A look at some of the buzz we’ve picked up in the sport over the past seven days.

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There may not be many (if any) races going on right now, but the triathlon news cycle continues to spin.

Frodeno and Snowsill to open hotel and cafe in Spain

Three-time Ironman world champ Jan Frodeno and his wife, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Emma Snowsil, are opening up La Comuna, a boutique hotel and cafe in Girona, Spain. This week, the couple, who share a home in Girona with their two young children, launched the social media home of La Comuna, which has already gained nearly 10,000 followers. “2020 may have put a hold on racing but it didn’t put a hold on realizing dreams,” Frodeno wrote about the new project. Based on the photos posted on La Comuna’s Instagram stories, one can assume the cafe will have Frodissimo, Frodeno’s signature espresso, on tap.

Ironman doubles down in Indiana

While we may not yet know what the 2021 season will look like just yet due to the ever-changing status of the pandemic, Ironman is charging full steam ahead into the year by rolling out a one-time-only full-length event in Muncie, Indiana on Oct. 2. Having already hosted a 70.3 event in years’ past, Muncie will now be just one of two locations in the U.S. to hold both 140.6 and 70.3-mile races on the same day (Madison, Wisconsin being the other spot, set for Sept. 12). Registration opens up on Jan. 25 and race officials anticipate some 4,000 athletes to compete in both races. As for concerns about the spread of COVID-19 at such a large gathering, the race will adhere to Ironman’s Safe Return to Racing guidelines, and local news reports say state health officials assume many race participants will be vaccinated by that point of the year.

“Tri at the Trump” permanently canceled

In the wake of outcry and backlash following the U.S. Capitol insurrection, the “Tri at the Trump” race event in Charlotte, North Carolina has been permanently canceled. According to the Charlotte Observer, race director Chuck McCallister was barraged with demands to shutter the race, which has been held at the Trump National Golf Club for the past several years. After suggesting on Facebook that he’d change the name to Tri For Good to keep the focus on the charitable arm of the race, McCallister ultimately permanently pulled the plug once sponsors and the event management company he’d worked with backed out. “It was just too out of hand,” McAllister told the Observer. “Too much unrest, too much negativity, too many bad comments, too many people threatening…I was hoping that I could (keep it alive) but you know what, I’ve got to stand up at some point in time and just say enough’s enough.”

USAT taps Rosinbum as board president

Elite paratriathlete Joel Rosinbum already has several titles to his name: Five-time national champion, aquathlon world champ, paratriathlon world medalist. And now, he can add USAT Board of Directors President to that list, following confirmation this week. Rosinbum, 40, who suffered a paralyzing injury to his right arm in a skiing accident in his 20s, is the first paratriathlete in USAT’s history to be elected to the position. The Austin, Texas resident–who had previously served as the board’s vice president–expressed optimism for his new role, saying, “the sport of triathlon has been through its most challenging year in history, but we are on the road to recovery. As USA Triathlon Board President, I am eager to begin charting the path forward, with a focus on serving the multisport community and reaching new audiences.”

Zwifting goes off-road

Off-road triathletes now have an opportunity to shine on Zwift, the interactive training and racing program, thanks to a partnership with XTERRA. Designed by 14-time XTERRA U.S. champion Josiah Middaugh, the XTERRA x Zwift Off-Road Series features four daily run and bike workouts, including some led by XTERRA triathlon world champs Bradley Weiss and Flora Duffy. Then, between Feb. 22-28, Zwifties can test their mettle in races set in virtual courses based in far-flung locales like France, China, Tahiti, Canada, and the notoriously tough XTERRA world championship course in Maui. 

Beyond Human documentary to showcase world’s best triathletes

On the heels of hiring Tim Godfrey as their CMO, the Professional Triathletes Organization (PTO) has commissioned London-based Noah Media to produce a long-form documentary about the build-up to their flagship event, The Collins Cup, slated for this May. Described as a film “showcasing the incredible stories of unique athletes at the pinnacle of the sport,Beyond Human will follow athletes including Canada’s Lionel Sanders, Germany’s Sebastien Kienle, and Heather Jackson of the U.S. as they prep for the event. It purports to offer “unfiltered access” to their training and personal lives. 

Bartlett says “Cheers” to Team Erdinger

2019 Ironman Lanzarote champ Nikki Bartlett of the U.K. announced that she will join Team Erdinger’s elite squad for the 2021 season. The team, backed by the alcohol-free German beer brand, also counts some of the world’s best triathletes, including Patrick Lange and Andreas Raelert, on its roster.  

Additional speakers added to Endurance Exchange lineup

Endurance Exchange has rounded out the speaker list with the addition of powerhouse tri couple Tommy and Katie Zaferes; Chris Nikic, the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman, and Chris Mosier, the first transgender member of USA Triathlon’s age-group Team USA. The virtual event begins on Jan. 21; register here. 

Podcast Notes

  • PTO CEO Sam Renouf has been making the rounds, talking about the organization’s business model and future plans (and spilling tea on a rumored rift with Ironman) on the MX Endurance podcast and chatting with Triathlon Taren about “making lemonade” out of 2020, including the success of the Challenge Daytona race and his goals for the growth of the sport. 
  • Pro triathlete Alissa Doehla shares her personal journey from top distance runner (and 2:31 marathoner) to elite triathlete on the IronWomen podcast.
  • British ITU star Jess Learmonth catches up with Witsup’s women in triathlon; also this week, Learmonth joined up with teammate and friend Georgia Taylor Brown for a lighthearted chat on training together with the Inside Tri Show.
  • This week’s Fitter Radio episode features Braden Currie, the Kiwi pro triathlete who talks about his new partnership with bike sponsor Felt.
  • Barry Siff, former USA Triathlon board president and World Triathlon board member, talks about his lengthy career in the sport on the Triathlete Hour podcast.
  • Wolfram Bott, who helms the German Triathlon Federation (and has coached long-distance stars Nils Frommhold, Christian Braer, and Andreas and Michael Raelert) talks about his coaching philosophies and tactics with That Triathlon Show.