December 30, 2008

Deadline for Mileage Entry

For any club reps who haven't seen the message on the admin screens yet, the deadline for entering mileage for the Swim Session will be midnight on January 2.

This gives everyone enough time to enter all the December miles without worrying about spilling your drink.

Happy New Year, all.

December 26, 2008

Bunnies Win! Bunnies Win!

Congratulations to the Alaska Tri Club Red Biting Bunnies, the first team to hit the Swim Session benchmark of 750 miles. The Bunnies edged out their intra-club rivals the White Wabid Wabbits and perennial nemesis the Tri Club of San Diego to take the prize in the first session, and on Christmas Day no less. Santa was definitely good to the Bunnies this year!

There are still prizes up for grabs, though, so nobody gets to phone it in now just because the Bunnies broke the tape first. There are still prizes for the most swim mileage for the session and for 2nd and 3rd spots, so don't hang up the goggles just yet, folks. It should be a wild final week!

December 20, 2008

"4th Event" Not Eligible for NCC

Just a quick note to all NCC participants in the northeast - shoveling snow does not count as a 4th event for the National Challenge Competition, so please take it easy this weekend and let's not have any snow-related back injuries that might affect your performance for the rest of the competition.

December 15, 2008

Gorillas, Bunnies and Buffalo

At the halfway mark of the Swim session, some of the usual suspects are once again in the thick of things at the top of the standings. Perennial 800 pound gorilla the Tri Club of San Diego is in the lead as of tonight with 356 swim miles, the Ford Athletic Swim & Tri Club is next with 323 miles, and the Alaska Tri Club Wabid Wabbits are in 3rd place with 295 miles.

Newcomers the Buffalo Triathlon Club have cracked the top ten, sitting just behind another returning favourite, the DC Tri Club, so the northern teams are proving that you don't need nice weather to put in the miles.

Other top tenners include the other Alaska teams (Biting Bunnies and Hammering Hares), the Hammerhead Tri Club from Jacksonville FL , the Memphis Thunder, and another new crew, the North West YMCA Tri Club from Irmo SC.

The Swim Session benchmark mileage was raised this year to 750 miles, since previous years' benchmarks were proving too easy for many clubs to reach. It's going to be close, though, unless some of the leaders can really pour on the mileage. No doubt the Alaskan crew has some crazy mass swim event planned. Let's hope it's in a pool and not out on the lake or the open ocean. A wet suit will only get you so far...

December 8, 2008

Greetings From... Iraq

And you thought Guam was exotic. Have a look at the following email we received this week:


I saw the homepage for the NCC today...Unwilling to be undone by the Air Force, I am writing to say that I am competing in the NCC from a combat zone. :-) To be more specific, I am competing in the National Challenge as an individual from just outside of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq. Can anyone beat that one?


Erica L. Chabalko
FOB Loyalty, Iraq

How's that for dedication? Not only is Erica stationed in what is essentially a desert, as of this writing she's winning the non-club athlete swim session! Way to go, Erica! Did we mention she's in the desert?

So now we have athletes from Alaska, Guam and Iraq. As Erica says, can anyone beat that?

December 7, 2008

What is a Widget, Anyway?

Visitors to the NCC site will by now have seen the mileage roundup thingy on the home page. It tracks mileage for each discipline (that would be your swim, your bike, and your run) plus total mileage for everyone. It also tracks the number of clubs in the competition as well as the total number of athletes, both club and non-club. Sort of (ok, exactly) like this:

If you or your club have a website, you can get this 'widget' and others for your site. What other widgets do we have? How about these:



Just go to the widgets page on the NCC site and the code is all right there for you to copy into your website or blog.

Q. Are these the same as the Widgets from Apple?
A. No. Those have a capital 'W'
Q. Kind of looks like the same thing you might see on YouTube. Is it?
A. Exactly.
Q. What about a widget that tracks mileage only for my club?
A. Great idea. One is on the way.

Greetings From Guam

USA Triathlon, Race-Tracker and the rest of the National Challenge Competition athletes would like to welcome the Tri-Andersen team from Andersen Air Force base in Guam. The Tri-Anderson club now holds the record for the team located farthest from the Lower 48, ousting previous record-holders the Alaska Tri Club. To see just how far away they really are, check the Teams page and click the Tr-Andersen link in the map. Then wait for the map to scroll... way... to... the... left. Good luck to the team, and a warning to anyone considering trash-talking them on this blog - they also hold the record for most heavily armed squad(ron) in NCC history.

December 2, 2008

A Note About Mileage

Just a quick note about entering miles for your athletes (this applies to Club Reps, who are doing all the heavy lifting for their clubmates).

If you make a mistake in your mileage entry, please correct it by entering a negative mileage amount to balance out the incorrect one. This way we have a full 'paper trail' for all entries. Each mileage entry is date & time-stamped.

Mistakes happen, and sometimes BIG numbers get entered by accident. This usually does not go unnoticed by competitors! So thanks to everyone who wrote in pointing out the latest mileage error. I'm looking at you, Tri-Fury. To everyone else, settle down, it's only Day 2 and we can expect at least a couple more of these little mistakes.

On a positive note the miles are definitely piling up. On a personal note, the NCC has inspired your host to actually get into the pool for the first time since, um, September? And I can still swim, so that's a positive.

Keep the miles coming, everyone!

Jeff M

November 22, 2008

NCC Hits the 30 Club Mark

The USAT National Challenge Competition is now over the 30 club mark for 2008-2009. Included in that list are perennial contenders the Alaska Tri Club (Wabbits, Bunnies and Hares divisions), DC Tri Club, and the Tri Club of San Diego.

This year we have some new clubs from Buffalo, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Jose (among others) so it's looking like another heated contest. Welcome aboard to all the new clubs.

Don't forget to check out the map on the Teams page - we have a real cluster of clubs in the northeast again this year, so some of you can probably just holler out the window to get your trash talk on. I'm talking to you, Elmhurst TC and Chicago Athletics TC. And you too, Midwest Xtreme and U of Iowa!

Individual signups are also coming in, for all of you (us) poor souls not part of a tri club. Ah the lonely life of the triathlete.

Just a few more days to go now until the swim session starts!

November 5, 2008

NCC Login is Open - Add Your Athletes Now!

Although the competition does not get under way until December 1, club reps can login and start adding athletes to their rosters now.

Results cannot yet be added, of course, but adding athletes in advance will save club reps some time.

Don't forget, this year all participating athletes must be USAT members in good standing, so have those membership numbers ready when you are adding athletes to your roster.

Also, a reminder that each team has a 75 athlete limit. For many clubs this won't matter but if you are a member of the Super Huge Mega Triathlon Club you may have to field more than one team. If you think you will have more than 75 athletes this year, please contact USAT so we can create additional teams for you. Email them at clubs at usatriathlon dot org.

November 1, 2008

USAT National Challenge Competition Registration Now Open

The 2008-2009 edition of USA Triathlon's National Challenge Competition is officially underway. Registration is now open (as of November 1) for clubs who want to take part in this year's event.

Last year saw over 2,000 athletes chalk up more than 1 million miles (yes) over the 3 months of the NCC, and this year we are expecting even higher numbers. Traffic on the NCC website has been high in October, an indicator that interest in the competition is also high.

To register your club - it must be an officially recognized USA Triathlon club - go to and follow the Register link. There is no charge to enter the competition.

Individual athletes may also compete, as long as they are also members in good standing of USAT.

The competition begins on December 1 and runs to the end of February. Could there be a better way to get through winter than this?

Let's rock!

July 20, 2008

Updates for June & July

1. Brick Fix. At least one Racetracker-er noticed a small bug in the training calendar - brick workouts (more than one workout on the same day) showed only the distance of the first workout entered, not the correct total distance. This is in the monthly bar chart display only, not in the detailed breakdown of each workout. That has now been fixed.

2. Calendar Upgrade. Calendar users now have a way to toggle through all workout types for each month. Want to see only your killer swim workouts? Click 'Swim' in the legend at the top of the calendar. Just want to compare your epic bike rides? Click 'Bike'. This helps particularly if you do a lot of bricks and want to isolate your sessions by workout type.

If you are wondering what this calendar thing is all about, all you have to do is sign up with your local tri or running club. The calendar is available only to registered club members.

March 24, 2008

New Stuff for March

Comparing triathlon results just got easier. In the My Results / View / Compare Races section, all charts and tables are now viewable using a new 'tab' feature. This makes it much easier to toggle between swim/bike/run and percentile/pace/pf results. No more scrolling down the page to see all the charts.

Layout issues with some parts of the site have been fixed, but if you do see something that looks off please send an email so we can get it fixed. These are all issues related to MS Internet Explorer, mostly version 7.

RaceTracker still recommends using any of the following browsers if you can: For Mac, Safari, Firefox, Camino. For PC, Firefox. IE6 and IE7 do work, but the site looks best in those other browsers.

March 3, 2008

One Million Miles!

The USA Triathlon National Challenge Competition has just wrapped for another year, and this year the numbers are a ginormous improvement over last year. Granted last year was the inaugural year, but still.

The combined mileage for everyone in the competition, including athletes not affiliated with a local club?

1,012,163 Miles!

I think a 'holy cow' is in order here. 77 clubs (though some clubs did split into more than one team this year since the max number of athletes was set at 75) and 2,343 athletes took part this time around. 

Your humble narrator even took part in the festivities this year, although only for the swim session (December) since he went and broke his leg in early January in a non-triathlon related activity. Next year I'll be right back into it, I promise.

Congratulations to everyone who took part, and of course especially to all RaceTrackers who racked up the big miles!

February 26, 2008

Browser Grief

This post may be more for web nerds than tri geeks, but whatever.

A friend just pointed out to me that the USAT National Challenge Competition site does not render the left menu properly in Internet Explorer 7. Hear that sound? That's the sound of me hitting my head against my desk.

I do all my work on a Mac these days, having given up on PC a couple of years ago. The sites (Racetracker and USAT) are both tested on different browsers: Firefox and IE6 for PC, Safari and Firefox for Mac, but not IE7 for PC. I just don't have that version of IE. Unfortunately millions of other people do! Argh.

It's a bit late now that the National Challenge Competition is just days from ending, but I'm going to try to round up a copy of IE7 for testing purposes and get that menu fixed.

Apologies to all.

In the meantime, if you're a PC, please try to use Firefox. If you're a Mac, Safari (or Camino) looks smashing.

February 11, 2008

New Stuff for Runners

With all the focus lately on the USA Triathlon National Challenge Competition, it's been easy to forget about all those runners out there still putting in the miles and still racing throughout the winter. My apologies to all. Blame the triathletes and their infernal competition.

But I haven't really forgotten, no I haven't. To prove it, some New Stuff has just been added to the Running Races section of Racetracker.

When viewing your Single Race results under Running you will now see some additional Race Pace data. The World Record times and paces for 5k, 10k, half-marathon and marathon distances are now shown in greater detail.

See meters per second (which was always there) plus kilometers per hour and time per kilometer. There is also now the most up-to-date info on who holds the World Record for each of those distances, plus when and where the record was set. This info also links directly to the relevant Wikipedia page for each distance. You'll see the appropriate record for your gender only.

For those who race in miles, not kilometers... help is on the way. Since international records are kept mainly in metric distances, those were completed first. Conversions to ye olde Englishe units are on the Big To Do List.

February 8, 2008

USAT Update: To the Moon and Back

I've just added a Total Mileage counter to the NCC site. I thought everyone would like to know just how many total miles everyone in the competition had put in so far. Much to my amazement, and probably yours, we are over 700,000 miles! Thats enough mileage to get to the moon and back and most of the way there again.

Are triathletes a bit nuts, or what?

February 4, 2008

USAT Update: Superhuman Workouts!

The Run Session has begun, and already it seems that some clubs have unleashed their awesomest triathletes for the home stretch. Run 200 miles in 2 days? No problem. Bike 300+ in the same 2 days? Hardly broke a sweat.

Actually these were entry errors, and the offending parties have been notified. They have graciously agreed to remove these miles, as they were intended for January. And of course it's too late now since the cutoff was Saturday February 2 at 6pm (local time).

Everyone settle down.

February 3, 2008

Bug Report

A sharp-eyed Racetracker-er noticed today that the grand totals on the Team Training Report, Total Mileage were not adding up correctly. This error has been fixed. Thanks to JW in Michigan for pointing that out.

On a related note, when you are entering swim mileage please take care with the distance units. An entry of 500 miles when you really meant yards will blow up your calendar real good. A warning message has been added to catch these so if you see it on your mileage confirmation screen, please please please go back and check your entry. Please.

Do you see something that isn't quite right? Let me know, I won't be mad. Honest. Reporting bugs is a good thing for everyone so don't be shy. They tend to show up only after a new feature has been added, so once they are taken care of it's smooth sailing from then on. Until the next feature gets added.

February 2, 2008

New Stuff for February - Maps!

For everyone who was asking for a map feature to go with the training calendar, we now have one. Sort of.

If you use the excellent mapping capabilities of Google Maps, MapMyRun or MapMyRide you'll be pleased to know that you can now embed your maps right into your Racetracker Training Calendar. This is not just a link, you can use the code provided by these sites to embed your cycling and running routes into your own reports here on this site.

Full mapping capabilities are still planned for Racetracker, but this is a good solution for now. The MapMyRide and MapMyRun sites in particular have done a great job enhancing the Google Maps application. As soon as I can wrestle the Google API code into submission, we'll have one too.

January 30, 2008

Metric Shmetric?

Even though 9/10 of the known universe is now on the metric system, some diehards refuse to let go of ye olde imperial system of measurements. A request to allow swim workouts to be recorded in any units, not just kilometers or miles, has been been fulfilled.

Swimmers can now enter their workouts in yards, meters, miles or kilometers. We're still working on rods, furlongs, and Egyptian
Royal Cubits for those athletes who are truly old school.

January 29, 2008

New for 2008

First of all, a big welcome to the DC Tri Club, the latest club to sign on to I think that might be called a 'shout out' in some circles but then again that might be so yesterday. In any case, welcome aboard.

Some very cool new features have been added to Racetracker this month, for the exclusive use of team/club members. What kind of features? These kind:

Team Reports have been upgraded - The 'Highest Mileage' training report is now active, and for all Race and Training reports you can now view results for either just your own team or for all registered teams. The reports can be sorted by year from the current year (default) back to 1990, when we were all still riding aluminum bikes and wearing sealskin wetsuits. The good old days.

Swim workouts on the Training Calendar can now be entered as miles, kilometers, yards or meters. No more converting to miles/kilometers if you were measuring yards/meters.

A new 'Join' page is up now, and after a couple of tweaks suggested by the DC-ites it should make joining as part of a club as easy as a September tri-a-tri.

This officially puts the site back into production mode after a mostly uneventful 2007. More features are planned for the Training Calendar, and of course I'm always open to suggestions so make a wish list and send it in!