Login | June 27, 2022

Arena Games Triathlon

Pete’s World

Published: May 16, 2022

I’ve been a participant, a fan, a journalist and an ardent supporter of triathlon for decades, but I’ll have to admit that tri’s have existed outside of my wheelhouse ever since the COVID pandemic enveloped us.
But by gosh a new twist on this multi-sport event has just recently grabbed a hold of my senses and pegged my interest level right back up there in the anaerobic zone again.
What I’m talking about here is a brutal––no, check that––a masochistic version of swim-bike-run that’s called Arena Games Triathlon (AGT) Powered by Zwift, a totally indoor event which was initially hatched by tech savvy race directors who wanted to offer safe yet competitive racing environments during the year’s long global pandemic.
And it was precisely because of the smart technology that’s available in bicycle trainers, treadmills, watches and various other training devices that such races began popping up in the 2020s, allowing competitors to do events on their own yet still compete with others via the high tech virtual world.
That “race safe” concept was the catalyst for the aforementioned high tech professional indoor triathlon series which debuted in 2021 with two pro events––Rotterdam and London––both televised, but due to the pandemic, totally crowd-free.
Nonetheless those two televised events garnered a ton of looks, so much so that the series was expanded in 2022 to three pro races: Munich, London and the Grand Final in Singapore, all of which are now, in these post-pandemic days, allowing the indoor stands to fill with screaming spectators.
So how exactly do Arena Game Triathlons work?
Each event contains a swim, which occurs in a 100-meter pool, and a bike and run which occur on Zwift static cycling and running apparatuses that are set up adjacent to the pool deck.
The athletes compete in heats, where each heat contains anywhere from one to three races and where each race contains killer short segments, say for instance a 200-meter swim, a 4K bike and a 1-mile run.
After a race the athletes rest for 2 minutes and then drag themselves up off the pool deck floor and compete in yet another race, and maybe even a third race. The top several athletes in each heat of races then move on to a final heat of races.
The racing format can best be described as gladiatorial, where the head-to-head, up-close and personal competition provides spectators a unique opportunity to watch endurance athletes battle it out in a way that up until now was just not possible to capture on the camera.
What’s more, the high tech gadgetry used in the devices gives stats nerds the rare opportunity to partake in live data (speed, power, heart rate, minute/mile pacing) from the athletes as they crush themselves against one another in real time.
Okay, so I happened to catch a rebroadcast of the April 23 London race where France’s Cassandre Beaugrand won the pro women’s three-race final heat with a 32-second victory and Germany’s Justus Nieschlag won the three-race pro men’s final heat by 29 seconds.
And as I said earlier, watching these triathlons provided me with a thoroughly novel spectator experience when it comes to viewing a multi-sport event, one that kept me gripped out on the edge of my comfortable sofa for each and every rockem-sockem heat.
I mean the extreme level to which these athletes pushed themselves was something that I just wasn’t accustomed to seeing in the sport. And after witnessing that one event I immediately penned the May 7 Singapore race on my “must watch” list.
Now if I sparked your interest in this fast-forward version of triathlon understand that you’re not going to catch it on traditional television stations like NBC, CBS and ABC, nor even ESPN and the like.
Nope, to watch these events as I did, which were as rebroadcasts, you’ll only get them on such stations as: Eurosport, Discovery+, L’Equipe, Viaplay and OutsideTV.
You can also watch them on the Super League Triathlon’s free website https://superleaguetriathlon.com/watch-live/, or on the pay site, TriathlonLIVE.tv.
Arena Games Triathlon, if you’re a multi-sport junkie like me it’s definitely something you’ll want to give a look-see.