Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Ironman Face-Off

On September 11, two athletes, Alexa Harding and Mark Olivieri, will go head to head at two separate Ironman events. Alexa at Ironman Wisconsin vs. Mark at REV3 Cedar Point. High stakes have been wagered on the outcome of this contest.

These two athletes have some similarities. Both have been doing triathlons for about the same amount of time (less than 5 years). Both are loud and love to talk. Both dislike clothes (Mark has rarely been sighted with a shirt on and Alexa hates pants). Both love it when people look at their abs and therefore have slightly inflated egos. (Mark's is bigger - his ego, NOT his abs).

In an attempt to create some controversy for this contest, I have made a list of criteria that will determine the odds for these two athletes. There are 8 categories in which the contestants will be evaluated. This assessment is not at all biased and was NOT written by one of the athletes who is participating in this contest. TOTALLY UNBIASED, PEOPLE!

Alexa: XX chromosomes
Mark: XY chromosomes
Advantage: Mark. No matter how fast Chrissie Wellington may be (or how much of a freak of nature she is), she will always be beaten by her male counterparts: Macca, Chris Lieto, the Raelerts, etc.

Alexa: Mary Eggers
Mark: Mary Eggers
Advantage: Neither. It's a tie.

Alexa: 2008 Cervelo P2C, Zipp 404s
Mark: 2011 Kestral, Zipp 808s
Advantage: Mark. Newer bike, faster wheels, 'nuff said.

Alexa: works 41 hours a week, rotates through days, evenings, nights, is single and lives alone.
Mark: college professor (tenure-track) with summers off, has a wife and 5 young children.
Advantage: Alexa. Five kids is insane.

Mental Stability
Alexa: reasonably emotionally unstable in most aspects of her life, somehow manages to pull it together for race day (except during IMLP where she cried on the run).
Mark: he's a man. men don't have a soul, do they?
Advantage: Mark. Reason? He doesn't menstruate. Game over.

Race Experience
Mark: 1 Ironman, unknown # of other races.
Alexa: 2 Ironmans, 3 HIMs, and Alexa continues to kick Mark's ass in races at all distances (running races, IM, half-IM, Olympic distance tris, etc).
Advantage: Alexa. Proven to be faster (sorry Mark!).

Race Venue
Alexa: has never even BEEN to Wisconsin.
Mark: returning to REV3 Cedar Point which he raced last year.
Advantage: Mark.

The Badass Factor
Alexa: has an attitude, 4 tattoos, curses like a sailor, has totaled 2 cars in less than 10 years.
Mark: watches Twilight with his wife, has to talk to his kids about "the birds and the bees," plays the piano, has crashed his bike going 40 mph.
Advantage: Alexa. Clearly. Would have been an even easier win if Mark hadn't crashed his bike.

Now I don't actually know how to calculate odds, but PLEASE leave a comment and let me know who you are rooting for! The fun part of this is - we are not racing at the same venue, so we will have NO IDEA who wins until we are finished and can check in with Mary!

*Disclaimer: I can do this to Mark because we are buddies and he knows I am teasing him. Also, he dishes it out just as bad!


  1. Have you ever raced in a race together? Need to see results from one similar race before I wager in :-P

  2. Keuka Lake Tri Oly Distance 2010

    me: 2:38, Mark: 2:49

    Johnny's Runnin' of the Green 2011

    me: 37:07, Mark, 38:54

    those are the 2 that I can think of off the top of my head!

  3. This is awesome!

    There is one other category though.
    Alexa: Is going to rock 3 mental defeating climbs - twice - on the bike and then follow that up with a run with a couple of good climbs.
    Mark: The biggest climb he is going to have to do is when he climbs out of bed in the morning. (I've ridden the CP course and it pales in comparison to IMOO)
    Advantage: Mark. Although this scores extra Badass points for Alexa.

  4. I agree, Alexa is at a disadvantage, since the IMoo bike course it tough. Odds are n Mark's favor, but I look for Alexa to pull an upset.

  5. #1) I nearly peed my pants reading this. This might be the best blog post ever.


    #3) I believe I kicked your ass at least one time in Canandaigua when you were talking Shizzle.

    #4) I regards to Shevaun's comment—it clearly would not be an upset if Alexa won. It would be a huge upset, and gigantic blow to Alexa's ego if I beat her. On the contrary, if Alexa won, I would expect it given she has more race experience.

    #5) I will gloat for the next year if I win and never race you again.

    #6) I will still have kick-ass abs as a result of training, so nah-nah-nah-boo-boo!

  6. Love it... This is a hilarious post!!

    I will be racing the Rev3 Cedar Point half so I will have to keep an eye out for Mark!

  7. I'm going for the underdog... but I hope you both have GREAT races!

    P.S. Did Mary write this comparison?

  8. haha! I wrote it. totally, unbiased! and wait.. who is the underdog in this situation?

  9. It would appear you have the upper hand but your course is more difficult.'ll kill it!

  10. Hahahahaha I don't even know Mark, but this is HILARIOUS! Love it! Of course I am rooting for you :)


  11. I'm rooting for you since i will be at Madison as well:)

  12. I think there should be some sort of handicap given for the fact that Mark has 5, FIVE, children. Seriously...1,2,3,4,5 that's a whole hand of children, almost half a dozen! You should at least give him 5 minutes per child.

    Just sayin..

  13. After hard data analysis :-P Im going with Alexa, but by a verrrry close margin depending on how Mark paces.....IMOO is tougher!!!

  14. I love this. I can't pick sides because Mark's a kickass teammate and Alexa just kicks ass. But I'll be so excited to see how this plays out. Oh... and Mark... check in with me during the race (I'll be in a tent cheering near the turn around). I can give you Alexa updates as long as IMLive is working, which I'm sure it won't be. :)

  15. Alexa- what was Mark's IM time in his debut?
    I am safely gonna say you are the winner based on experience. Let me know!!!

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