Survey response about value of membership: I did not find any value in my membership. The website advertised a discount for a race I was participating in but after I became a member there was not an up to date discount code to use so I was unable to take advantage of one of the major reasons I decided to join. None of the events were at times or locations that I could participate in and most other events cost additional money. The shirt I was sent as part of my membership did not fit properly. I am very disappointed in my overall experience.
President’s reply: I am not going to just pick and choose responses to suggest that everyone has a great time here at the DC Triathlon Club, not every one does. So I will address the unhappy responses along with the good. To this responder, I’m sorry that you are disappointed with your experience in the club. Let me take a few moments to specifically discuss each comment made above.
- Discount codes: We apologize that you did not find an up-to-date discount code for a race. Depending on when you tried to sign up for your race, we might not have had an up-to-date discount code from the race organizer yet and that is why it wasn’t posted. If you tried to register for your race before the end of 2018, then we did not have discount codes for any 2019 races yet. And even if we did have it already, it would not have been active. Let me take Kinetic Multisports races as an example. They typically open registration for their races in November for the following year (so November 2018 for all 2019 races). Whenever we get a discount code from a race organizer, it typically becomes active on January 1. So even if we had the code in November, it would not have worked. And you will notice that their tiered pricing structure jumps to the second tier starting January 1! This is no coincidence! Race organizers have a minimum price per participant that they can charge without losing money to put on the race. The earliest tier 1 pricing that they offer is typically around this level. They can then offer clubs a discount code that takes effect when the price jumps up that brings the cost back down to around this minimum price point. This is how all race organizers work their discount codes: the code is designed to bring the price back down around that earliest early-bird pricing, but you will NEVER find a discount code that gets you a discount off that earliest early-bird price point. The benefit of being a member of this club is that you don’t have to decide so early on what race you want to do. You can decide later or even last minute and the discount code will bring the price of that race back down to around the early-bird pricing. But if you know what races you want to do, then sign up right when they open for registration! That is the lowest price you will ever get and no club will ever get a discount code that gets you below the earliest early-bird price.
- Event times and locations: In a club of roughly 1000 members, it is very tough to find times and locations to host events that accommodate everyone’s schedules. We try to vary weekend events and host some on Saturdays and some on Sundays because we know a lot of people in the area work one of those days. Some work both of those days and cannot attend any weekend events. We also realize that traffic in DC during the week is horrible (and only going to get worse), so we try vary the locations of weeknight events (like happy hours) so that there is at least something in your area once a month (please check the regional community groups for their happy hours, rides, and runs and see if happenings are occurring in your area). We also realize that a lot of people in DC are going car-less and so it might be difficult to get to an event that is not in DC proper or Metro accessible. While happy hours are easy to arrange because that’s just sitting in a bar or restaurant, trying to host triathlon-related events in DC on a weeknight is virtually impossible. There are very very few places to ride and run in large groups that would not cause major safety concerns. So we tend to go outside of DC where the traffic is considerably less, the number of potholes is hopefully less, and number of traffic lights and street crossings is reduced. Unfortunately, a lot of the time that entails driving somewhere or getting a ride with someone. Therefore, the best we can hope to do is give people enough advanced notice of events so that they can hopefully free up some time on their schedule, and if they are car-less then hopefully find a club member to ride with to the event. One thing we are going to try being better about this year is posting ride-sharing threads so that people can offer up rides or request rides to specific events. Hopefully that will get more people to join up with us and help everyone meet people in the club outside their small circle of friends!
- Most other events cost money: The club puts on a variety of events and programs and races, and yes: some of them cost money while a lot of them are free. Training wise: we have group rides and runs that are free. We have brick-nics where all we ask is participants bring an item for potluck sharing while the club buys the main courses for everyone. Event wise: the member meetings, annual meeting, and happy hours are all free. We have some tail-gate nights at local sports venues that do cost money, but the aim here is to get DCTri people sitting together at the event so we arrange the block of tickets and have people buy them from us. Program wise: yes, all programs cost extra money. With venue costs, coach fees, TrainingPeaks fees, it would be impossible to provide free programs to club members from just the membership fee of $50-60 per year. If we went with the model of TeamZ where they charge $150 per month, then yes we could definitely offer up programs and coaches as a general perk of membership, but are opting not to charge everyone that price and make it much cheaper membership and then only charge those interested in a program the additional amount. Club racing wise: yes, these low-key club member races do cost extra money. The fee for these goes toward venue costs, post-race snacks, timing costs, etc. So in summary, yes, there are some things that cost money, but there is a lot that you can do in the club for free and the free events definitely happen way more often than anything that costs extra.
- Improperly fitting shirt: Last year, we did have a run of badly sized shirts. This was on the manufacturer’s end in that they had mislabeled the sizes on the women’s shirts. The manufacturer sent these mislabeled shirts to our printing/distributing company who did not think they would need to double check the sizes, and so a bunch of VERY wrongly sized shirts were given out. I believe the women’s small was barely big enough to put on a chihuahua! We contacted our distributor who called the manufacturer and we got a new set of properly sized shirts. I believe we had some opportunities to trade out the shirts last year but I don’t recall offhand when or where they were. We have properly sized shirts now and if the person who made this comment would like a new shirt, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you one that actually fits! We are sorry that this happened, but we definitely want to make amends for this screwup.
Again, I’m sorry that you are disappointed with your experience in the club so far. I hope we can turn that around and help you have a wonderful experience in 2019 with the DC Triathlon Club!
President | DC Triathlon Club