I just read with some dismay that this year will be Graham Fraser's final year to be associated with IMC. A fairly vague online article in the Penticton Herald confirms that he is done with the race after this year, and it seems he did not leave voluntarily.
I also notice after reading the 2012 Athlete Guide that bike aid stations are now to be 15 miles apart, not 10, and the nutritional offerings are far less. A couple of lines in a 24 page document is the only mention I've seen of the changes - changes after years of being the same. The main website for IMC still has them at every 10 miles and fully stocked - who knows if they'll even update it at all. Of course, the organizers only have to point to the Guide to say that they notified everyone of the changes... but what of the multi-time IMC racer who has built his/her nutrition on the aid stations being 10 miles apart? As a first time Ironman athlete this year at IMC, all I read is how important nutrition is in a race of this length. What happens when they round a corner or crest a hill expecting to see an aid station and are met instead with a whole lot of nothing? A great way to decrease cost/increase profits, I suppose - I can't imagine that they are using the same amount of water/Perform/etc and just dividing it among 7 aid stations instead of 11 (or whatever). There will less of everything available on the course, no doubt. With 3000 racers on the course (2943 age groupers, last time I checked) you think you would need more on-course help, not less. And of course, all of this assumes that they're not going to run out of water again this year.
Now, the 5-mile difference between aid stations "only" makes for 15-20 minutes of extra riding between stations, but it will affect what some people carry on their bikes, for sure, assuming they even find out about it in time. I know it is the responsibility of all athletes to know everything about everything before starting the race, but give me a break.
In the "doesn't affect me" department, I also notice that the pro prize purse is now $25000 total, 6 deep paid with $5000 to the winner. In 2011 it was $75000 total, 8 deep paid with $12000 to the winner. Wow... just, wow.
The only thing left to ask is... what the f--k is going on?