The announcement of Challenge Miami means I get to give you a follow up to April’s article Challenge Family’s North American Expansion!
At the end of February I heard a rumor about Challenge creating a NASCAR series because of the success of Daytona. That guy from whom the rumor came said it was going to be Charlotte and Atlanta Speedway they had in-stadium lakes.
I was home that night checking out the speedways on google earth and saw that the source of the rumor was incorrect, the nearest water a couple miles away, which would mean to make his claim work there would need to be a split transition, and I highly doubted they’d want to do that because most triathletes aren’t fans of them, they tend to think the logistics are more complicated that they really are.
I ruled those two race tracks out and created my own race track criteria using Daytona as my guideline. Anyone Involved in any kind of research will tell you you can’t make too many generalizations out of a sample size of one, but it was all that I had. If I recall I had two main criteria: extremely close proximity to water from the race track and a minimum of 2.5 miles of race track. So after a month of researching and mapping I had that down to five potentials. Homestead Speedway was off that list because it was 2.21-mile track.
But…I don’t really think the ‘where’ is as important as the ‘when’ for Challenge. They can’t go toe to toe and slug it out with IRONMAN on their own backyard. Daytona is an extremely late season race and Miami is its bookend the early season. Daytona has to compete with Indian Wells, but draw isn’t an issue as they’re on opposite coasts. Miami has Cleremont Challenge, which draws a different type of triathlete and Puerto Rico 70.3, which only had a little more than 600 triathletes last year. Eric Opdyke of Rev3 Triathlon told me back during an interview in April that Americans don’t really travel to Carribean races because of bike logistics based off his experience having a race in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Honestly Puerto Rico has been so beat up by hurricanes and earthquakes over the last couple years that I’m surprised it still exists. With an option to stay on the mainland US, Challenge Miami has an edge.
I’m all for more racing, and with no viable competition I see Challenge getting their second foot on dry land. Now that we know that it’s no longer a theory on a bloggers’s website and is a verifiable fact, where will their next step be? And will or be a race track selection based of when rather than where again? Sonoma Raceway happens to be within earshot or Santa Rosa, California, a location where IRONMAN won’t be returning. Could Challenge swoop in two years from now and plant their flag on both coasts?