Athletes in Motion

Victoria Brumfield - Athletes in Motion Podcast EP 033

January 24, 2023 Tom Regal and Kenny Bailey Season 3 Episode 33
Victoria Brumfield - Athletes in Motion Podcast EP 033
Athletes in Motion
More Info
Athletes in Motion
Victoria Brumfield - Athletes in Motion Podcast EP 033
Jan 24, 2023 Season 3 Episode 33
Tom Regal and Kenny Bailey

Send us a Text Message.

Triathlon faced a tough past couple of years with a pandemic and lower than expected turnout.  We spoke with newly appointed CEO Victoria Brumfield about those challenges, how she came to the sport, and what is needed to ensure that triathlon continues to grow.  Needless to say that USAT is fantastic hands with her drive, enthusiasm, and focus. 

An absolute pleasure to have her on the show!

https://www.teamusa.org/usa-triathlon
https://usatriathlonfoundation.org/
https://www.tritomrendurance.com/

On the Web:
www.athletesinmotionpodcast.com

On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@AthletesinMotionPodcast

Episodes Sponsored by:
TriTomR Endurance LLC
www.tritomrendurance.com

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

Triathlon faced a tough past couple of years with a pandemic and lower than expected turnout.  We spoke with newly appointed CEO Victoria Brumfield about those challenges, how she came to the sport, and what is needed to ensure that triathlon continues to grow.  Needless to say that USAT is fantastic hands with her drive, enthusiasm, and focus. 

An absolute pleasure to have her on the show!

https://www.teamusa.org/usa-triathlon
https://usatriathlonfoundation.org/
https://www.tritomrendurance.com/

On the Web:
www.athletesinmotionpodcast.com

On YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/@AthletesinMotionPodcast

Episodes Sponsored by:
TriTomR Endurance LLC
www.tritomrendurance.com

Narrator:

Welcome to the athletes in motion podcast from race to recovery. With your hosts Tom regal and Kenny Bailey

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Hey, Tom, how are you?

Tom Regal:

I'm fantastic. Kenny, how are you?

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I am doing fantastic. Thank you for asking. We have on our show today Victoria Brumfield. She is the CEO of USA Triathlon. Victoria. Welcome.

Victoria Brumfield:

Thank you. Great to be here.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

And by the way, congratulations, the interim CEO title was removed a couple of months ago. Is that correct?

Victoria Brumfield:

That's right. Yeah, it's it's legit.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

It's looking at your data rather than once you're not.

Victoria Brumfield:

I know, I had to be on my best behavior for like three months.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

How did that feel? 90 days. So I noticed that you you've been at USA Triathlon for a couple of years before that you were at Virgin sport and lifetime and other places. What What was it about USA Triathlon, it drew you to this to this role?

Victoria Brumfield:

Well, I absolutely love endurance sports. I mean, that's kind of where my heart and soul is. I didn't grew up as an endurance athlete. But actually, my first job out of college was working for a sports marketing agency in New York City. And one of our very first events was the New York City triathlon in 2001. So actually started working in the sport of triathlon very early on in my career and started participating in the early 2000s. And it's always just been, I guess, a common thread in my life. I mean, even when I I left to go do other things like bike racing, or running, I always came back to the core of swim bike run. And so when I had an opportunity to come to USA Triathlon, it just felt like home.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

That's great. And so as your background, it sounds like you you've been doing some athletic endeavors. How were you growing? Did you grow up athletic? Or was it something that this

Victoria Brumfield:

stage, I played golf, I mean,

Tom Regal:

school sort of athletic,

Victoria Brumfield:

I guess, you wear a belt, is that how, you know, I was always very drawn to being outside and outdoors. And I played golf growing up, I grew up in a golf family, I was really into riding horses, and snowboarding and hiking and just being in the great outdoors. I never participated in team sports. And I, I don't really know why I don't know if I didn't really have access to it. Or maybe my family wasn't into it. Or maybe I'm just not good with people. I have no idea. But I think when I started working in endurance sports, it was just a natural draw for me, because actually, I love the challenge of of things. But I also love to be alone. And so it was this like, really nice mix of community, but also training on my own, which I, which I really love.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, it's not one of those things where you've trained up and then you know, somebody, you know, you throw a ball, somebody drops the ball, or you're playing volleyball and all of a sudden, you know, it's sort of like, you're ready, you're

Victoria Brumfield:

dropped balls all the time.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Great. And just so we get it out the way the cat's name is, is what?

Victoria Brumfield:

Well, okay. I have a gut will give you the whole story of the animals that we have a minute so I have Betty White, the Boston Terrier, who during COVID Very lonely so I got her share the cat. And then we started going back to work so I took dolly to or Betty to daycare and then share was lonely so I got share another cat named Dolly Parton. And now her best friend's the dog was lonely. So then I just got the dog a dog named Reba McIntyre. So I have a very strong dominant female voice.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So any one of those is going to be the background anytime. It's gonna be in sort of kept watching out for us had

Victoria Brumfield:

a lot of activity. Yeah. Great. And so

Kenny Bailey<br>:

is triathlon. Is it a sport that you participate in? Is it something that you probably do? Maybe that's a stupid assumption that you do, but no, it's

Victoria Brumfield:

not stupid at all. I mean, when I look when I first started working in the sport, I thought there's no way I can do this, right? Like, these people are superhuman. And then what I realized is I started running and I got a bike and I started biking and I got back in the pool and learned how to swim progress properly and realize you know what, I could do this. And I started with a sprint triathlon for women only and in the early 2000s Absolutely loved it. And I've been participating ever since. I did my first full actually, last year in 2021. Last year did my first full but I've done I've done probably a dozen halves and a whole bunch of shorter distance stuff. I also I just love cycling, that's kind of where my passion is to. I think running I always tend to get injured although I have a good coach now. So that's, that's good. But yeah, so I did unbound gravel blast. Two years. Nice. What did you last couple years I really love riding long in off road. So I like to mix things in, in addition to triathlon.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

That's fantastic. And so I think that you bring that experience in as as, as CEO.

Victoria Brumfield:

Yeah. 15 hours eating uncrustables sandwiches... That's,

Tom Regal:

you know, that's important. Yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I tell you, we gotta get a sponsorship with uncrustables that is the go to you go to like me

Victoria Brumfield:

tackling soccer moms, you know, for the last box of uncrustables

Tom Regal:

Exactly. Oh, that would be perfect. You don't understand. I love that.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So tell us a little about USA Triathlon. I know and I'm going to plead ignorance here you know, I write the you know, I write the the form out every year you know, I spend the money on USA Triathlon and and then I go race and hopefully nothing falls off the off the wagon, right? What give us go to the elevator pitch the corporate the corporate deck the

Victoria Brumfield:

show. Before I do that, I'll say you know that you're an amazing athlete because you coach with the USA Triathlon certified coach, so your best. And I think that, you know, people don't and actually I was one of them, right, who didn't really realize what USA Triathlon did but we exist to grow and support the triathlon and multisport community. That's our whole purpose for being. And so we oversee a few things. One is the Olympic and Paralympic pipeline. So making sure that we have the world's best athletes competing at the highest levels, at the Olympic and Paralympic level. And then in addition to that, it's our responsibility to make sure that we're serving and supporting the entire endurance sport ecosystem. So just based on this conversation right now, I mean, what that looks like is making sure that we are providing the highest level of education and mentorship for the coaches that are out there so that not only are they progressing and tapping into what's possible for them in their professional careers, but making sure that we have really strong consistent, safe events for athletes to participate in. And so as a coach athlete, you have a place to go something to train for something to look forward to. And then the whole community around it of clubs and support systems to make sure that we have a really strong ecosystem of racing, because the reality is, triathlon shouldn't just be a one and done, it should be part of who we are, right? Like, that's the beauty of having a multi-discipline sport is that it's, it's about having this dynamic experience of always having something different to do to stretch your body and keep you healthy and, and making sure that we support all the tools and resources associated with that. So that no matter what age you are, what level of competition, you prefer, that you have a place to go in the sport.

Tom Regal:

It's about the active lifestyle. And this is the perfect active lifestyle, especially for those of us that get bored with one sport.

Victoria Brumfield:

Well, and it's not just for two, it's it's this over specialization, it's, you know, there's something about not only your body being more balanced, but also your mind, right? Like, I love knowing that I have different forms of athletic pursuits that I can that I can follow whether I'm traveling or no matter where I live, right? There's something that I can do whether it's swimming, biking or running and that's become core to how I live my life, not just how I compete.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yep, yeah. And so one of the the interesting challenges of triathlon right is when you look at other sports, for some reason, it seems like triathlon turned into sort of an event sport rather than a lifestyle, right? To your point, I'm going to get to this goal. And then once I hit that goal, I can check it off. You know, it's a checkbox thing. Right? We're joking around about pickleball. We'll, I guess we'll call it a sport. But you don't hear somebody like going I'm going to show up

Victoria Brumfield:

Once Labron James Invests in your

Tom Regal:

sport. Yeah. Yeah,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

there you go, actually, but

Victoria Brumfield:

Canyon bikes, so cycling.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

So maybe we'll see LeBron out there someday. Just a really big bike,

Tom Regal:

just him and Reggiano is on a bike,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

but you don't hear like you don't hear you know, I'm going to a the big pickleball tournament in October. And then once I get that done, I'm going to high five and I did and I go, you know, people play I play pickleball people on triathlons. A challenge sometimes is I'm going to do a triathlon, it's like a marathon or any other things. How do you try to get past that sort of event driven idea of a one and done versus sort of the lifestyle? What kind of education? Do we do we I say we because I feel like we're all sort of part of the cult now. How do we how do we get that transition to occur?

Victoria Brumfield:

Yeah, honestly, I'd be really curious to see especially hear from you, Tom, about what your perspective is as a long distance athlete. And I'll start by saying, I personally think that one of the challenges is that the perception of the sport has evolved into one where people feel and think that they can only be a triathlete if they do some huge, iconic, long distance event in the ring. Reality is that while we all have the potential to do that much more so than we believe we do, it is a very difficult thing to fit into your life is a continuous thing that you just do all the time, right? Because it takes up time and resources. And if you have a family or a big job, or other interests, it's hard to have all these things living together. And so I think helping shift the mindset and the narrative that it's not just about these long distance races, it's not just about Iron Man. It's actually when I got into the sport, and maybe it was similar for you. It was all about short course racing, right? Like I traveled around the country doing St. Anthony's and LA, and Chicago, and Philly and New York. And like all these races, that were these incredibly iconic races, but they were short enough that you would go compete in them, like you would have 5k or 10k, or maybe a half marathon, where it's something to train for, but you could train for it. Like I used to train taking spin classes, you know, in New York, or like going for a jog. Like, you know, 5k a couple times a week, it wasn't this crazy, epic experience that my whole world evolved around. And I think helping shift the narrative that the majority of triathlons out there, and I'll say multisport, because they don't even all have to be swim bike run. But the majority of multisport events out there are not these crazy epic distances that take over your life. There's something that can become part of just the way that you live. And you don't have to race all the time. But if you want something that makes it sticking, gives you something to aspire to, you can and you can do it in a way that it's not like this epic build an epic decline. It's just part of how you live your life.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, and that's something that I try to impart on any athletes that I talk to is that it's like short courses a whole world. That's amazing. And that's what makes it a lifestyle, trying to do long course racing takes up, I set so much time I do it. And it seems like I have to promote it as a coach to get other athletes because they only seem to care about the crazy long distance stuff. But I actually enjoy doing short course racing, I started off that way doing, I was doing four or five races a year, I was in LA, it was doing it all around the LA area. And that's what was fun. I mean, that's what makes it it's actually doable at that point. And enjoyable. And, and for me challenging myself was that piece where I wanted to just push a little bit further or try this or see where the edge was. And that's just kind of a thing I do on the side. But it's, it shouldn't take your life over so that you have you know, you're not I talked to too many athletes that, you know, they're trying to figure out how they deal with their spouses and their family and how they go through. I had a young athlete last year, his first Ironman distance race, and you know, so we went through and we built up his patterns to go through. And I said, Okay, these are the couple of weekends that you need to, you know, take pictures and have pictures of your family and let them know that there's a picture of you and you're not going to see them these particular times, it's that the rest of the time you need to spend time with your family. Here are the down weeks, here's where you need to make sure that you're spending extra effort, because of this extra distance that you're going and when you get back to your short course racing, then have fun, like bring everyone in, go on rides with your spouse, go on rides with your kids and you know other friends and you can you can make it fun and you know, you can do more of it. And I think that's where we're getting a little bit of that stigma is everyone thinks that triathlon is an Ironman. And it and it's not I mean Ironman is just one of like we even talked about the off you know, the off road races the draft legal races the super Sprint's now they're coming along every house, it's just like, there's so many options for people just to incorporate this into their lives. And then you don't have to train 15 hours a week or more. You can do it on just a few hours a week of you know, you can even just roll off the couch and do some of these. It's kind of fun.

Victoria Brumfield:

I couldn't agree more. I actually I participated this past spring in our multi sport national championships and I hadn't been training for triathlon, I was training for a long bike off road bike race and or bike ride, I guess. And I jumped into the multi sport event, I did four events over two days. They were so fun. I mean, one of them took me 25 minutes, that I think a lot this one took me 45 or something. And they were so fun. And I just, you know, it was a kind of thing where it just felt like I was going to like a spin class, you know, or doing something like challenging, but it was fun and it was entertaining. And I could go to brunch afterward and not feel like I was going to heart and I love that about the sport and I think making sure that people understand that. That's something to aspire to as well. Like, you don't have to be a long distance athlete. You don't have to do an Ironman and if you want to do one at one point to your point to test where the edges, that's okay, but you can't live on the edge all the time. No, it's not sustainable in life. And this should be a lifestyle right? It's It became three different sports that make our bodies our best selves. And so making sure that we can do that in a sustainable way is really important.

Tom Regal:

You're trying to take the word list of the distance.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah. And I think the word just just needs to be removed. Right? That's the thing, right?

Victoria Brumfield:

I do it all the time. We

Tom Regal:

all do it. Yeah.

Victoria Brumfield:

I know. It's, it's funny that you say that, because I say the same thing. It's not just a hat for us to sprint, or just, whatever, do the same thing. So it's, it's, you know, it's a narrative that's so embedded in us that even if we believe, otherwise, it just becomes part of the narrative.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, and you know, what's funny is I you know, you deal with that stigma, right? Because everyone, you know, the first thing you say, Oh, you do triathlons? Yeah. Oh, are you going to go into why? No, I'm not gonna go to why I probably won't see who I am. Unless they pay a crap ton of money to go to Hawaii. Other than that, you know that but that's not it. And so what I've noticed is I say, Well, I'd rather go fast than far right? Like this year, I'm gonna go fast, not far. So I'm going to try to my test isn't necessarily the distance my test is can I beat PR times? Can I kind of be faster? And I guess that's why there's so much it feels like triathlon somewhat lagging on the running community in a couple of different ways. One, the running community, you know, Boston is kind of the thing right? Everyone's like, Oh, you did you qualify for Boston? And that's the big good, but everybody you know, is doing a 5k They're doing the half not not a lot of people are, are saying just right, you're like, Oh, I've just signed up for a half marathon and this is gonna be my cool thing to do. Right. So I think that's one thing that that you know, as triathlon as we tried to get more exposure to your point to say, I love what you said, you know, the idea that I can go do a triathlon be done at 11 o'clock and go have brunch, right? That's freaking fantastic. I got accomplished a cool goal. And now I gotta go, you know, eat a lot

Victoria Brumfield:

deleted omelet in actually, Penny, one thing I want to pause on when you said you want to go fast, not far, I don't think you have to do either. And this is one of the things I've loved about having a coach. So all back up to when I first started doing triathlons. I was also I did my first marathon. And I, you know, I did a couple other things, and I got injured, and I was getting injured quite a bit. And it wasn't until I started bike racing, that I got a coach. And I want to pause on that for a minute. Because my perception was you only got a coach, if you wanted to go fast and far, either or, you know, fast and were far and what I didn't realize until I got a coach. And there's, there's more of them. In bike racing. I guess everybody has a coach, I don't know, based in New York. Like, it's just part of like, if you register for race, you have to have a coach, I don't know. So what I realized, though, and getting a coach and I've been coached ever since then is they've helped me realize that, that because they've met me where I am. And where I am, is I may not sometimes I want to go far. And sometimes, well actually, I've never wanted to go fast, but try and do new distance. But what they helped me do is they help me make sure I stay within wherever my guardrails are. And for me, that's, I just like waking up every day and swimming, biking and running in a way that I feel healthy and strong. And that doesn't always mean going faster far. And that's what's helped me stay in the sport in a healthy sustainable way. So I will also say coaching has been a game changer for me, I've there it's like, it's like the the Steve Jobs black turtleneck of fitness. Because I wake up every day and I never have to think about what I should be doing. I have somebody who's analyzing my sleep and my output and looking at my life schedule saying okay, actually, here's what's sustainable for you right now. And that actually might be a lot less or it might be a big training block. It just depends. So I think it can be all the things fast far or just continuous.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, and my point was that I that was my excuse on on doing the short one. Like I had to feel like I came up with an excuse, right? Oh, you're doing the smaller ones? Well, yeah, cuz I'm going fast. And everyone's like, Okay, well, that's good. You know, at least that's worthy, right? We're gonna be like, how about just go have fun, but and I think you hit on a really good point, which is, if I were to go to you know, go to a workout and I'm wanting to start a workout program, you know, I hire a personal trainer to help me figure out kind of form in motion so I don't injure myself. So to your point, coaches aren't required just because you got a big epic thing it's just how do I move correctly? How do I make sure I can have fun and not get injured and be able to continue to do those cool things I want to do in a way that that that I don't get in my own way and injure myself.

Tom Regal:

Right. Yeah. Right coach to add a little bit to that allows you like we say the body doesn't know the difference between the training stress and the life stress. With the with the right coach. The right coach helps you navigate the stress in general, your life stress, stress and your training stress and adjusted, adjusted so that you can continue on in a healthy and healthy manner.

Victoria Brumfield:

I my coach tells me more of what not to do than what. Exactly. Just before we got on this podcast, I was reading an email from her. I asked her if at endurance Exchange, which is our industry conference coming up in January, if I can do the Austin half marathon, that's the Sunday before, wrote back and said, No, you're riding your bike down the coast for the week before you won't, you shouldn't do anything like. But if I wasn't coaching with her, and she didn't tell me that first thing I would do is register for that race because I just love events. I love a free cup of water.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Well, that's what they say. And now your CEO, you know, the the joke is leadership, sometimes you just have to stop stupid. So that's what coaches do. Right? So there's my leadership, you know, Guide to you there if you needed one, you know, just your job is to stop stupid. So one of the things that that I noticed also in the half marathon at least rolled now there are more women signing up for half marathons than there are men. How do you see is you How is USA Triathlon? What does that look like right now? What does that landscape look like? And and do you see that changing also in triathlon, as well.

Victoria Brumfield:

So we see a higher proportion of women in shorter distance than we do a longer distance. And I think it depends also on where you're where you are geographically, but my understanding is for long distance, and this could vary, but for long distance, it's typically around 75%. Male, or, you know, 70%, male 30%. Female, I think that's probably the standard. In general, when you look at traffic on an aggregate, we're about I think we're about 38%. Female 62%. Male. So does that add up? Okay. Yeah.

Tom Regal:

Everyone, yeah.

Victoria Brumfield:

So it's not as high as we want it to be. And then running, you know, running didn't start that way. And actually, exactly, running, you mentioned, I was with Virgin sports. So we looked at a lot of different running industries across the world. And in Europe, it's still very male dominant, and running much more so than in the United States. So I think some point, you know, it just varies depending on where you are. But in shorter distance running, it is predominantly women, and in aggregate, the running community is, is I think, more male, female dominant. I haven't looked at the numbers in a long time. But my understanding, is that still the case, so we're always pushing for more female participation. And I do think it's increasing, especially at the shorter distance, because the reality is, and actually, we've seen this in our coaching and restructure. Demographics, and I'll talk about that in a second is that especially coming out of COVID, we know that women predominantly had were more disproportionately impacted during COVID. And their ability to manage, you know, homeschooling and work responsibilities and home responsibilities. And so I think we've seen a shift to an even lower female demographic over the last couple years. And where we've also seen it is in our coaching and our race, Director, population, which we were very close to equity in those two groups. And now we're seeing that dropped slightly. And I think that's, I personally think that's part of the the COVID effect. So hopefully, we can get that number back up. But we do see a stronger number of female representation in the coaching and restructure community than we see in the participant community. So that's something we're super focused on.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah, there's a unfortunately, you know, I'm reminded too much. Just had a was at a dinner with some friends of ours. And I was talking to one of the one of the, my wife's friend who is an avid runner, she's very good at it, right? She just runs all the time, you know, averages like 12 to 15 a day. I hate her. Yeah, she's just really good. I mean, this is what she does. She lives unfortunately, she's carrying note no fewer than three products in order to keep her safe. Right. She has a knife in her hand, she has a spray in her hand. She has a bunch of stuff. And I It is my personal goal, to make sure that she doesn't have to do that. But is I'm trying to kind of yes, the COVID effect is other thing. Is there a safety issue that's going on to Is there is there I know cycling when you talk to a lot of cyclists on triathlon websites, cyclists are getting more and more sort of pushed off. I mean, as I'm, you know, I used to race bicycles as well. I'm very, very comfortable in a bike. You know, I'm very comfortable with traffic. People starting out in this sport. How's that safety aspect, especially for women? Is it is it on the rise? Is it is it isn't an effect? Is it something that that is? I doubt it's isolated? I guess my question is, well, something you worry about. First,

Victoria Brumfield:

it's so tragic. What happened in your your area recently with a female runner. So I think I think the reality is we always have to be vigilant. And I'm the first to like, not think about it. I run on a trail in the dark all the time. I actually, I miss being in New York City. I've never felt safer than I felt running Being in New York City, really, because I ran in Central Park, you can run in Central Park 24/7. And you're surrounded by people and it's fully lit. And it's just there's emergency phones everywhere. There's cell service everywhere. Where I live in Colorado. Now, it's not the case. So if I run on a trail, there's, you know, there's definitely a transient community that lives along that trail, and it's pitch black. And it's, it's isolated from, you know, homes and streets and things like that. And so, yeah, I do think about that. And, you know, that's just my own personal experience. But I also believe that, look, there's a lot of indoor opportunity to train. I think the reality is, is that I love the sport so much, and I love movement so much. And it's my therapy that, yeah, I'm going to do it no matter what. But I'm going to be I'm going to take precaution. Going back to your comment about the road. I've loved getting off road, buying a mountain bike and a gravel bike were the two best investments I've made since I moved to Colorado, and it has not negatively impacted my road traffic on it's improved it. And so I spend a lot of time now doing off road riding because I feel safer from traffic, it's more mentally stimulating. So even if you're not comfortable on a mountain bike, which I know a lot of triathletes aren't first of all, you can ride a mountain bike on the road, like it's just pedaling. In fact, it's better fitness, right? Because it's a little bit. But I ride my gravel bike or my my mountain bike all the time on dirt trails and dirt roads. And what I find is that, it it it's more mentally stimulating, because there's nuance to the road, you're safer because you're you're less close to cars, typically, typically, these dirt roads don't have high traffic, and you tend to get out into nature in a way that you wouldn't is much on a paved road. So I've absolutely loved that. And what I've found is there's amazing dirt roads all across the country that I never realized were there before. And so I do think that for the most part, there tends to be access to roads that are less traffic. Once you get wider tires, and all the bikes now are allowing for wider clearance wider tires. It's been a wonderful change for me, and I love it.

Tom Regal:

I think getting out on the trails running and cycling allows you to you have to focus on your footstep, right you have to focus on bike handling skills. triathletes are notorious for not having bike handling skills, especially if they train too much indoors and then they get outside. It's just like, it's the running joke, I think in the cycling community for sure that it's just like, oh, here comes the triathlete. Everyone run and get out of the way here they come you know, type of thing. So I think getting people out off road for not only for safety, but it actually it makes them better athletes and without without having to put in too much effort.

Victoria Brumfield:

Yeah, like you just naturally learn to handle the bike a little bit better. And you do it in a more relaxed way. Because you're more comfortable. You're on white. It's like driving a truck versus you know, a sports car. You just naturally learn to navigate loose ground or uneven terrain better. And it absolutely translates when you're on skinny tires on the road.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, for sure.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Are you seeing a rise? I know we've talked to some folks that put on triathlon events. Are you seeing a rise in sort of that off road? You know, do the lake swim instead of doing a road race do do gravel. Is that Is that something you see growing faster?

Victoria Brumfield:

There? I think there have always been off road triathlons. Obviously we've heard of exterra. There have been offered triathlons on dirt roads that could be seen as gravel, I think triathlons branding themselves as off road or gravel. triathlons, I believe is on the rise. And we're trying to amplify those, we created a gravel series, which is essentially an opportunity for us to promote and market those so that people understand that they're out there and available and accessible. And I hope that there's more. So as a former race director, one of the biggest challenges for operating an event is road closures, as well as finding a venue where the water and the road and the running that you know trail or whatever the runs on where they all intersect. And there's also parking, like that's the

Kenny Bailey<br>:

and the bathroom. Don't forget the bathroom,

Victoria Brumfield:

and the bathroom. And so so when you're able to to expand your options by going off road, I think that that will create more profitable opportunities for race directors. I mean, the reality is you'll probably have potentially less capacity, depending on what the venue allows for as far as dirt or trails. But you'll also have, you know, fewer logistics and lower costs. And so my hope is that more race directors will be more open to world alternative formats like this.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Nice. Yeah, and I think it's fantastic. I mean, I would love to see that as well. I mean, I used to race cyclocross, and it was like I know I used to race cross you I love it. Yeah, we loved it. Right. So in the winter, you did your 180 beats, you know, one mile loops 45 Min. And so it's just sheer you know ass on fire, excuse my French kind of stuff, but it was fun.

Victoria Brumfield:

I had this vision which nobody else shares. But what if every bike race USA Cycling, these are draft legal races? What if they also run portion after or was cyclocross? Like how fun to do a cyclocross division? Which, by the way, it's a closed course. It's usually like, yeah, exactly cool. Or like, you know, a random field with like, caution tape, it's like nothing. How easy would it be to then also have a run portion after I think it would be so like cross do Athlon? To do that? Yeah. Right. We created an off road do Athlon nationals as well as a gravel nationals this past year, and so we're excited to hopefully see those grow. But yeah, if we could add,

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Sign me up. And that's great. I know, we

Tom Regal:

thought that'd be great to have a section where you do one loop on a bike, and then you get off and you do one loop on a ride, and then you're back on the bike, and you loop back and then your loopback. And you just do that for six hours.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

It'd be like a Madison, where you do what does the regex like? Oh, right. Yeah. And the cyclocross we were doing was at night too. So it was in October underneath underneath, you know, they had a dinner, it was funny, because the race director be like, Okay, if the generator, you know, goes off, then all the lights go off. Everyone just stopped. And I'm like, you're telling a bunch of people that are racing, just as a stop, okay.

Victoria Brumfield:

cyclocross version of musical chairs?

Tom Regal:

Yeah. Wherever.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

It goes off, and then everyone's like, Well, what do I do? It's like, I'm gonna finish. Yeah, the trees gonna make me stop. But that's about it. Yeah, I think it'd be ton of fun. I mean, Sign me up. I think it'd be great. You know,

Victoria Brumfield:

nobody's agreed to do it yet. But

Tom Regal:

we're working on that.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Well, we got it. We got two people that are willing to do it right now. So you got an n of two right now. So I think you got it. We just got to start someplace. We need to find a locator. That's fine.

Victoria Brumfield:

Every cyclocross location is the location. That's all you need. Yeah, exactly. cautioned already.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

What else do you need? Exactly? Perfect. Yet the people there is yeah, just put a table there with some Gatorade call today. So looking back on 2022, what are the biggest accomplishments now that you saw through 2022? What are those things that you guys are pretty proud of that you've got done?

Victoria Brumfield:

Well, I think what was so interesting going into 2022, nobody really knew, like, think about I mean, yeah, whether you were an athlete or a coach, or a race director or a retailer, you had no idea where you still going to have pandemic sales. If you're a retailer, if you're a race director, is your date going to actually happen? I mean, we like I don't know, if you remember, but like January through May, we had another surge of COVID. And so it's so wild looking back that, like we were still all remote in our office in the first quarter. So I think what I'm most proud of is just the stability that we've seen, not only in our organization, but in the sport. And I know that, you know, the show up rates have been down. And I think, overall, we haven't had the, you know, the level of participation that we had in 2019, which 2019 By the way, was the first growth year that we USA Triathlon had seen, since I think 2013, you know, the sport had started not just the sport of triathlon, but multi sport or endurance sport in general had started to decline, right, you saw it in bike racing, and all these other spaces. But 2019 was a growth year, we're not back to 2019. But we were way ahead of 2020. So I'm really proud of not only what we were able to do with our own events, but how we were able to support and amplify restructures and coaches who were able to get their businesses back up and running. We were also super focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and access. And in 2022, we added a non binary category to our national championships for the first time. We we also had a neuro diverse category for our youth and junior and age group nationals, which was really exciting to see. So you know, look, the reality is we're focused on onward and upward, growing the sport, trying to increase the diversity in the sport so that, you know, it more broadly represents the population of the United States, and in helping race directors get up and running. I think that's, that's at the core of it. And I know what you were saying, Kenny, like, we don't want to just be like just a race sport. But the reality is, we all know that things are stickier when you have something to aspire to. Oh, absolutely. And so that's really important. And it's the crux, it's the hardest sport. Yeah, yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Very cool. And so talk to us about the Ironman foundation how give us sort of again, the elevator pitch on that foundation. I'm sorry, I

Tom Regal:

just say our man oh my god did

Victoria Brumfield:

love Ironman and we love the

Kenny Bailey<br>:

so sorry, wrong. Okay, Edit Cut. Alright, now, I

Victoria Brumfield:

will be the first to say we love what Iron Man does for the sport and we love there. So, what our foundation does is it's the charitable giving arm of USA trout. On and they focus on three distinct pillars of making sure we're supporting our aspiring high performance athletes, which is across both elite travel on elite Olympic as well as elite paratriathlon. So we have a lot of donors and fundraising that goes into developing that talent pool and making sure that they have the tools and resources to be the best they can be. So that we are sweeping podiums from Tokyo to Paris to LA. They also focus on making sure that they are funding different programs that lead to more diversity, equity and inclusion in the sport. And so again, going back to broadening what our sport actually looks like, not only in female representation, but also ethnic and racial representation as well, and social, economic. So the last thing that they focus on supporting is youth. And the reality is we talked about women being you know, disproportionately impacted during COVID. Well, youth racing and youth participation plummeted to all time lows, and we need to make sure that we have a really strong youth base in the sport, not just racing, but in making sure that socially kids are socializing and connecting to the sport, beyond races, but through clubs and community. And not just at the youngest ages, but also through high school and collegiate we do have the NCAA women's program, which has become now now that we've hit 40 universities has qualified qualifies us for a championship level NCAA sport or to apply to become a championship level sport. But we also need a really strong Club program so that, you know, young men and young women can participate across the country, outside of that elite NCAA level. And by the way, collegiate club is highly competitive as well. So Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So making sure that we have a really strong ecosystem for young people in the sport.

Tom Regal:

How do we get how do we get the high school level going on to that is that that would, to me would seem like the next step. Right. So we've got the collegiate level kind of moving along, in a good spot. How do we we need to feed that exactly. Clubs? Or is it is can we do high schools? What's I don't know what's harder? What's easier?

Victoria Brumfield:

Well, it's it's all hard, I'll say. And actually, let me start with the NCAA program. So the 40 NCAA women's programs, which is incredible, but 50% of the of those athletes are international. And that's because we don't have the pipeline. So not only do we need to have the strong NCAA Women's pipeline coming up young American women, but we also need to have a really big club program so that we have universities and colleges that have programs across the country, for young men and young women, or non binary athletes. And we need a pipeline, like, Yeah, where are those athletes going to come from, which is why high school is so important. So high school is complicated, because it's very difficult, if not impossible, to get a high school to start a new sports program. My understanding is it's a little more probable in private schools, but in public schools, extremely challenging. Now, what is possible, is to replicate what Nika has done. I don't know if you're familiar with Nika, but it's the it's an interscholastic mountain bike program. That was the grassroots program. It's their high school program. Some are connected to schools, but mostly what it is our community based clubs that tap into high schools, and they're run by coaches, parents who are coaches, and they have I think it's over 3000 clubs across the country and 30,000 young people all competing around the sport, and some of its participatory and some of its highly competitive. And so what we're focused on is trying to figure out how do we replicate that type of model, so that we can get coaches? I mean, you know, Tom, like, you're the great example of somebody who could go out and just start a club, that targets high school aged kids, one of our biggest challenges with high school is having succession planning, because what happens is, you have a lot of really passionate parents who started a program because the kid that they want in the sport, or the kid wants in the sport, so the parents like, Yeah, whatever, I'll figure it out. And then the kid moves on, you know, ages opera ages out, or whatever it is, and the whole thing falls apart. So we need a stronger system around it. And that's what we're trying to figure out. And we're super focused on going into the new year.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, I just found out the local high school of Franklin High School, has a mountain bike team in the Nikka. format, and I was just like, I was blown away. I was like, I would have loved for that as a kid in high school to have a mountain. It would have been amazing. I had no idea and I was learning more and more about that. So it's so what

Kenny Bailey<br>:

is the barrier? I guess? I mean, you talked about you know, like a kid, you know, No parent wants them to do it. Is it a price barrier? Is it a is it a perception And barrier, is it a just get attention? Because there's so many things out there? I mean, is it a availability of resources? It's what seems to be.

Victoria Brumfield:

So there's a lot of talk in our sport around limitation around resources. Because it's true. You need a bike, you need access to a pool, but but look at what Nike is doing. Every one of those kids has a bike. And the reality is, you don't have to have a fancy bike, right? You just need something which feels on it. And what I here's what I'm curious about is, if we focus time, energy and resources, maybe it's grant money from the foundation, and maybe it's just dedicated people spending their time figuring out how do we start to cultivate these communities? can we replicate that and that's what we're focused on this year. So Tim, yawn, who some of you probably know, that are listening. He's he's an icon in sport. So Tim's worked for USA Triathlon for more than 30 years, he's held every role that that exists in our organization. And he's single handedly built this NCAA Women's Program. And there is nobody that understands scholastic sports better than he even beyond triathlon. He's just passionate about scholastic sports. And so he's transitioning his entire role just to focus on how do we figure this out and build it moving into 2023. And I'll be the first to admit we have never had dedicated resources. We've, we've, you know, certified and provide insurance for and we've like, probably had some ad hoc programs or support. Throughout the years, I'm sure we've done different things. But I don't think we've had consistent robust infrastructure in place. And that's what we're focused on trying to figure out how to build moving forward.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah. And I think you hit it on the head, I mean, having that consistency to your point of someone in that community, or someone running that club that's going to be there no matter what, we have this local running group around here, and a guy named Seth is the guy that runs it. And he's out there every Tuesday. And he'll take a picture of himself by himself in the rain and the cold, like, Hey, I'm the only one that showed up. But he showed up. Yeah. So you know, he's going to be there, you know, that that's going to be there. I think, to your point, if if you want to join something, and you want to put two to three years into it, but but the coach or the the infrastructure is gone, because yeah, because, you know, Lesley graduated, and now she's off to college, and her dad doesn't want to do it anymore. It's just normal, you know, that, that that can't be a sustainable process. But yeah, I think that's, to me, the perception has always been the difficult perception with triathlon is it's old. And it's expensive, right? Generally, older people in a demographic will do it because they can afford to do it, because it's an expensive sport to do. And everybody loves toys. I know, I love new toys. I just got a new Garmin watch. And I'm like, showing it off. My wife's like, great. You gotta watch. I'm like, No, but did you look at she's like, Yeah, it's awesome. Right? Like, Yeah, but look, it does this again. Cool. So I think that's part of the barrier, right, is to break that sort of, you know, it's an expensive, older sport that anybody can get into it, it doesn't matter what, what you have just as long as you're moving. Right? I mean, is, is that kind of part of the challenge, as well as just this automatic sort of, you know,

Victoria Brumfield:

I think so. And, you know, looking at the high school side, that's something we've been talking about are, can we put limitations on equipment. So it's not about I'll jump in change, not change topics, but jump for a second, too. I remember when I was producing a triathlon in Hawaii, and it was in the early 2000s. And we put on a kid's race. And I just remember these little kids, I don't know how old they were, maybe they were like, 10, or something on little mini survey fellows. Like, it blew my mind. who's spending that kind of money on their kids bikes? And how fair is that the other kid was streamers on like, you know, their, their little like, bike that just got its training wheels off. And I think the reality is, is that with equipment, it's really hard to normalize, you know, the fitness across the board. But I do think having limitations on equipment can be important, and just making sure that we have some level of fairness. But I think also, the reality is, when I got into the sport, I didn't have a trial bike, I didn't have a Garmin watch. I didn't have I didn't have any of that I don't, I didn't have a tie, like a power meter. And what's interesting is even now, like I go, I don't even look at my power meter numbers anymore. Like I've gotten back to like, I just want to know I have the numbers because my coach uses them to like, see if totally falling apart. But, but it's about having fun. And I think if it again, it just comes back to our responsibility to make sure what are the messages that we're amplifying and communicate? You know, I look back at our old magazine covers, and like we really we really honored that high level of competition that was a representative of a diverse group of athletes and participants. And this is what I love about the work you're doing right like when we say the word athletes, anybody who's moving, who's interested in pushing their bodies is As an athlete, and I think that we need to help change the narrative that there's a lot of different levels of competition, and every level is welcome at every age.

Tom Regal:

Yeah, it all fits in there. We need to get away from the shiny things. Like we're constantly going after the latest newest. I can't do that. If I don't spend $7,000 on a bike. It's just It's insane. Yeah, and one of the things,

Victoria Brumfield:

too, I love it. Yeah, you know, it's stuff is fun. And you don't need stuff to have fun.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I, you know, Tom and I both, we were lucky enough to have some guests on our podcast before that, that again, wasn't your typical, you know, triathlete, and was able to go out and do her first, you know, her first triathlon, and it was fantastic. I mean, Tom and I were going more nuts over that. And then, you know, seeing a professional that got, you know, another six minutes shaved off of their time, that's awesome. You know, that guy's that person is an awesome person. But just watching somebody do it for the first time or watching, you know, somebody from a couch to 5k can be more enjoyable because they were able to do something they never thought they can do and just that, that, that goalpost is your own goalposts. It's your goalposts on what you've said. And we celebrate all of that, that that's, that's, that's the fun part about it. Right? So yeah. So 2023, you said you've got you're looking at sort of the foundation stuff, what else? What else is 2023 unfolding for you?

Victoria Brumfield:

For USA Triathlon growth, like I mentioned, getting back to those 2019 numbers. For us, it's about making sure it's a few things, it's making sure that we are providing and communicating the highest level of value to all of our constituents. And in art, our constituents are very different. You know, like we've, we serve coaches, we serve race directors, we serve elite athletes, and we serve everyday athletes. So we have this diverse group of people and value and service to each of them looks very different. So making sure that we're really focused on focusing on serving them in unique ways that that really resonates in meaningful ways with them, so that every person who shows up to a race understands the value of participating in a sanctioned race, it's fair, it's safe. It's you know, it has high operational standards. And then making sure that race directors understand that we're going to do whatever we can to help them promote and grow their races. So that's, that's first and foremost, the other is making sure that we really have diverse types of events that are being promoted. So when we talk about growing High School, we need to make sure that those kids have a fun place to go race. And so we now have state championships in every state. And each of those state championships should have a High School Championship division, so a fun place for them to go and compete against each other as high school age athletes. Same with clubs making sure that clubs can go compete as clubs to see you know it because it's fun. And then not just locally, but also nationally. So that's been something that we're really focused on too is giving different levels of competition, and then also promoting those shorter course races that we talked about. So even if you are a long course athlete, make your training fun, go to a super sprint, or sprint, or we're trying to get more mixed relays happening at events which the mix really is I'm telling you the most fun, you can have an event teams of, you know, four people all doing a little super sprint back to back, you know, like tagging each other off and going in and doing their own little their own leg of their swim bike run. So that's been really fun. And then also for us focused on our elite athletes. So making sure that we're really going deep and making sure that we're identifying and cultivating the best talent from high school age on up and supporting our athletes as the highest level as they start to now compete and qualify for Paris.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

But other than that, not not

Tom Regal:

going on January

Kenny Bailey<br>:

I needed an unprofitable app.

Victoria Brumfield:

And then personally I'm just excited to be racing again. races on the calendar and I think what you were saying earlier Tom about life stress and you know work stress is also seen as physical stress. So we'll see we'll see how much actually accomplished but I've got to go we've got

Tom Regal:

a good coach so your your coach will guide you through that stress those stress levels and it will get you to your races prepared. Yep, I hope so.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

For 2023 for you then what do you have? Do you have certain races circled on the calendar Do you have

Victoria Brumfield:

I do I'm doing a half distance race in April. I'm going to do a bunch of our races at multisport nationals hopefully those super sprint and draft legal sprint and do fun races which will be fun which by the way Dr. legals super theoretical for me because I'm so slow in the swim that I never

Tom Regal:

so you're not gonna make the first group on the bike. The second the fact

Victoria Brumfield:

that I could draw You know and then I'm actually I'm, I think I'm going to it's a lottery so we'll see but doing unbound gravel, Leadville 100, I'm doing a three day Breck epic mountain bike race. And then I've got a full distance Ironman on the calendar for the fall. So wow,

Tom Regal:

outstanding

Kenny Bailey<br>:

to add to my calendar

Tom Regal:

training to do

Victoria Brumfield:

well, you know what, though, I'll just say it like, I don't treat any of them like races. I just, they're all it's just my training calendar. So long training day. Yeah, that's how I think about it. And so I just I love to be around people for events and I love to, you know, be at events in the expo and I just love the whole experience of it. So for me, that's part of what motivates me to keep moving every day. Nice. Yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

And you're Soozee Azzam for it. Just, I mean, jumps off of those off like, yeah, it's really kind of neat to see

Victoria Brumfield:

anything I can do to wear spandex.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

That's, well, that's a goal, I guess. Yeah. I actually, I actually am going to try pickleball this year, I thought I would, you know, you know, cross over to the other side and see what it's like.

Victoria Brumfield:

It's actually super fun. I played we did a USA Triathlon pickleball tournament. Yeah, it was really good. I was terrible. I did not progress with the bracket at all. But it was really fun. It's, yeah, it's nice to be able to, like, have fun and do something that doesn't require, you know, like, dripping and sweat. Oh, yeah.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Did you still wear the spandex? I think that's important. Oh, yeah. So

Victoria Brumfield:

that's probably why they didn't progress me in the bracket.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

You can't wear your cycling shorts on the pickleball.

Victoria Brumfield:

training time and pickleball

Kenny Bailey<br>:

the chamois gets in the way but other than that, yeah, it's effects your side to side. Yeah.

Tom Regal:

Very cool.

Kenny Bailey<br>:

Well, we appreciate your time today. Yeah, thank you so much a ton of phone. We wish you luck on on. It sounds like the USA Triathlon is in great hands with an enthusiastic CEO, it's fun when you when you have a passion for it, and you're, you're leading a team that's that, you know, that makes, makes the staff want to do some really cool stuff. So congratulations on that.

Victoria Brumfield:

And, honestly, thank you so much for both of you, the more positive voices we can have out there in sport, showing how accessible and attainable the sport is, and, and how, you know, like everyone's capable of doing this and and they're capable of doing it in a way that it's just, it's part of our life and who we are as long as you take care of yourself and give yourself space for you know, downtime and and your family or whatever else is going on in your life. There's room for that and trap on. So I just I appreciate everything that you do. And thank you for having me on. Sure. Absolutely.

Tom Regal:

Yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks, everyone for listening, and all your comments and feedback. Please keep up giving us a thumbs up five stars, whatever it takes, and helps the algorithms find us. helps everyone kind of get out there. So we appreciate all your time, Vic and Kenny, thank you so much. And for everyone. We'll catch you on the next one.