1. Demographics (name, address, phone,I'm not sure exactly when it started but it is rather commonplace now. And, for some reason, it is triathlon specific. They've added another step...
2. Emergency contact info (name, address, phone,
3. Promotional data (how'd you hear about the race, can we send you hourly copies of our newsletter, can we sell your
souldemographic information to others who will send you hourly copies of their newsletter, would you like to buy some socks)
4. Official Business (USAT number, age group competition,
5. Carbon emissions offsettingDuring step 5, they ask you about your car and what how many athletes you are bringing to the race. Then, by the magic of the internet, they already know how many miles per gallon for your vehicle and how far you have to drive to get to the race. (Aside: I think they are padding the numbers. They list my SUV hybrid at 25 mpg but the dashboard thingy says I get 30.)
Through some simple math, roughly 1 cent per mile, you can opt to pay money to off-set your carbon footprint for the race. This is completely voluntary. Like an idiot, I always click "Sure, please take more of my money." I have no idea what happens to the $0.37 that I just handed out. I do know that I now feel better for the carbon free day I am about to enjoy.
This only happens in triathlon. None of the running races I have done offer carbon offsetting. Maybe it's because runners are naturally better people than triathletes.
One thing that's for sure, the algorithm cannot possible account for all of the makes and models available to the consumer. Sure, they have the major brands, but they don't have these fancy cars on their list. Granted, I don't have any of them either. Maybe one day I'll own a car like these (thanks to cracked.com for the inspiration).
(Okay, I'd probably sell my tri-bike too)