June 19, 2018
World Cup Kind of Challenge - Mexico, Iceland, and Montana TBAs
Mexico, Iceland, and TBAs have the right stuff
At the end of 2017, there were 24 athletes (18 men and 6 women) who had earned the title of T.B.A. for completing the Madison Trifecta. NASA has the same number of guys (all guys) who have orbited the moon. Unlike NASA, who no longer goes to the moon, the Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series (GYAS) still hosts the Madison Trifecta. We still award TBAs. We still attract The Right Stuff to Southwest Montana.
The Madison Trifecta is the combination of the Madison Duathlon, Madison Marathon, and Madison Triathlon. The challenge is to complete all three races within a four-week time span. The Madison Duathlon is on July 8, the Madison Marathon on July 21, and the Madison Triathlon on August 4. If an athlete completes this challenge, he or she will earn the title of TBA which stands for Total Bad Ass because that's exactly what these athletes are.
You can join this brethren. If you have the right stuff, we're ready for you. Make room John Glenn. You got company coming.
It's an extremely difficult challenge. There's obviously a lot of training required, but it's also not easy traveling to each of these races. A few years ago, Steve and Tina Dean traveled all the way from Colorado to earn their TBAs. Several athletes have earned repeat TBA awards. Eric Huff and Lynda Andros-Clay have won the overall TBA title four and three times each respectively. This takes scrappiness. It takes grit. It sure as hell takes the right stuff. It's an underdog kind of deal.
Everybody loves underdogs. I definitely do, especially when the World Cup is on. The World Cup was made for underdogs.
On Father's Day, I was on the phone with my son and your co-race director and together we watched Mexico hang on to a 1-0 half time lead in their match against defending World Cup champions Germany. We both assumed the German side would at least even up the match. I shared with Colter the infamous 'Miracle on Ice' hockey game between the USA and the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Americans (really just a bunch of college kids) were up 4-3 in the third period, but there were 13 minutes remaining in the game. The Soviet players back then were pure professionals who had easily beat an NHL All Star team. For them, 13 minutes was enough time to score two or three goals, go have some vodka, and then come back and score a couple more. No one was worried. The world expected the Americans to lose. They were just a bunch of college kids. Mexico was facing 45 minutes of the same thing against Germany. The Americans didn't fold in 1980. Neither did Mexico on Father's Day.
The same goes for Iceland. It's a nation of just 330,000 people and around 10 percent of the entire nation attends its matches when the team plays in Reykjavik. In their first round match, they went up against two-time World Cup champion Argentina. Like with Mexico against Germany, there was no way Iceland could win. Argentina was going to crush them. They had already won the World Cup twice and they have Lionel Messi, the best player on the planet. Iceland, cool Viking clap and all, didn't have a chance. Well, they didn't win, but Iceland earned a point with a draw. In the world of underdogs at the World Cup, that's almost like a win.
Mexico also has the unfortunate distinction of the country with the most World Cup match losses. The back story to this trivia is that most countries are not good enough to make it to the World Cup (like the USA this year). There are 195 countries in the world, but only 32 of them make it to the World Cup every four years. It's not like the Olympics where every country can send a team and participate. Countries need to qualify. Mexico does every time, but then they don't tend to win.
This helps explain why beating Germany was so cool. It also helps explain why seismologists in Mexico City recorded an "earthquake" on their machines reportedly due to citizens of Mexico City jumping up and down after Mexico's first goal and win. It's easy to scoff at this story, but I've actually been in downtown Mexico City when Mexico was playing in a South American tournament back in 1993. It was a big tourney, but nothing like the World Cup. I watched tens of thousands of locals screaming, shouting, dancing, and very much jumping up and down after Mexico had lost a match earlier that day against Columbia. Beating Germany in the World Cup, the greatest football tournament in the world, was a monumental achievement. TBA on steroids with enough fuel for an earthquake.
As for Iceland, from the day Leif Ericson stepped ashore to just recently, it had never been good enough to even get to the World Cup. It's hard to qualify for the Cup, especially when your entire country's population is equivalent in size to a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Montana is to America as Iceland is to the other 31 nations at the World Cup. There are not many Icelanders, but they (just like Montanans) are a bad ass bunch.
Against all odds, Iceland and Mexico are going for it at this year's World Cup. They got scrap. They got grit. They got the right stuff. They are TBAs, and they need company.
Show up and play on the World Cup stage? Do the Madison Trifecta? Hells to the yeah. Sign me up.
I love the World Cup. I'm still pissed that we ain't in it, but that's how sports works sometimes. Rather than pout, we are going to host a World Cup kind of challenge of our own. We want athletes with the scrap and grit worthy of Mexico, Iceland, and every small nation on earth that competes against all odds.
We got our own version of the World Cup right here in Southwest Montana. It's called the Madison Trifecta. Find the TBA in you. We all have some right stuff in us. Come out here this summer and let 'er rip.
Stay Happy, Healthy, and Always Keep Running Forward and be sure to cheer for Iceland! Go Vikings!
The John Colter Club
The John Colter Club is a members-only club for athletes who are or have been:
An inaugural athlete in one of the six GYAS races.
Earned a podium finish (top three) in the overall men and women's category of any GYAS race.
Are a three-time returnee to a GYAS race.
We want to recognize those who went first, those who finished well, and those who just keep coming back. For a membership fee of $30 per year and immense bragging rights for getting in, members receive the following:
A personalized water bottle with the GYAS logo, your name, and the club's name.
Early access. Members get to sign up for the GYAS races before the March 1 opening.
A discount of 15 percent off the entry fee of the race you sign up for.
Do the math and you can figure out that your $30 comes back to you pretty quick. If you qualify and if you want to join an exclusive club of athletes named after Montana's most famous total bad ass, send me an email. Tell me how you qualify. I'll confirm it all and send you the application.