The Midwest Indoor Tri-Classic Series (http://www.mitcstriathlon.org) is held about this time every year. It consists of 4 races at various premier clubs in the western suburbs of Chicago. To compete for series standings, you must participate in at least 3 of the 4 events, each of which is a 10 minute swim, 20 minute bike and 15 minute run. The athlete that covers the most distance wins.
There are a couple of problems with this format:
- Calculating total distance equally among disciplines strongly favors the strong cyclist. If you're a really good biker, you can skip the swim entirely and still win this event. Some events use a weighted formula that corrects this discrepancy.
- The bikes used are stationary bikes that cannot possibly be calibrated equally. Therefore, someone pedaling at a much higher level (i.e., gear) sometimes gets no further than the athlete who leaves the bike at an easy level, even if cadence is equal.
Then why enter an indoor triathlon, you ask? Well, it's fun. I did this series a few years ago and thought it was well-organized, the clubs they use are awesome and I thought an indoor triathlon was a good indication of my fitness. I no longer feel that an indoor triathlon is any great indicator of fitness level, but it was nice to see that I was able to run more laps this year than in years past. My favorite part of participating in the event this year was to see so many familiar faces I haven't seen in a while. I also was able to meet some really great people.
Even though I'm not a huge fan of the indoor triathlon, I do feel it's a good way for a newbie to become acquainted with the sport. I know there are some pretty strong opinions of indoor triathlons out there. Do you participate? Why? Why not? What would you change to improve them?