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  1. #1
    Poseuse. sweetharriet's Avatar
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    tri rules ... do you know 'em?

    i did my first relay this past weekend. it was fun, though the swim was cancelled due to some crazy high chop that had the coast guard harbor-bound. it was going to be the swim person's first tri, coming over from crazy awesome masters swimming. she had a foot issue, so i did both runs of the now-duathlon. the bike person had been in triathlons before. i was replacing a runner who's done a bunch of sprint tris, but came from a marathon background.

    here's the thing: our biker got a drafting violation. he wasn't too upset, just thought it was silly because he'd "just been talking to somebody else." apparently the ref hovered around them for a while, watching the blatant drafting, before coming up to my teammate and asking for his number. clearly, he shoulda lied but he's a good doobie. when i responded to this story with the inevitable statement "man, i'm always terrified about those three bike lengths", he was totally surprised. "THREE?! I thought drafting was when you hovered behind someone for the whole race or something!"

    ......

    a conversation followed during which i found out (and not in a snotty way!) that quite a few of our fellow competitors, my team and people just standing around, didn't know about bar-ends, overtaking, dropping gu packs, what have you. during the run i'd passed five people with headphones, the white ipods are pretty obvious, though some had made a little effort to hide the ipod unit in their jersey or something.

    and i'm not a freak. i have no chance of winning races, the time penalties don't matter to me, and i'm shy, so i think telling people they're violating rules DURING a race, when you're not the ref, is quasi-obnoxious, like saying "good job" when blowing past someone who's clearly having trouble.

    i simply have done many a race with mandatory pre-race briefings, wherein the ref hammers the main points into my head. i believe in fairness, so i appreciate that USAT goes to this trouble with sanctioned races.

    so.....do you know the rules?
    Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

  2. #2
    Prefers Aluminum Sprocket Man's Avatar
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    Sweetharriet, this post isn't directed at you, but rather at people who don't take the time to learn the rules before they race. It sounds like you're already well aware of the rules.

    The only time I'll ever bring up rules violations during a race is if a fellow competitor is putting my safety or someone else's safety in jeorpardy or if they're blatantly cheating. Drafting is a critical one. First of all, it's cheating because drafting off of someone can allow people to either travel much faster on the bike or allow them to conserve a lot of energy that will carry over to the run. Whether you're front, middle or back of the pack, it doesn't matter. There's a reason why other racers are called "competitors" - we train and race to try to pass as many competitors as we possibly can. So when someone is drafting, they are violating rules which allow them to have a substantial advantage over people who are playing by the rules. I see it as blatant disrespect for everyone else who is participating in the race and I have no problem speaking up if someone is doing it.

    Secondly, and more importantly, drafting can put people in serious danger. I've participated in races where people draft off of me in aero position! This is dangerous, because if I have to slow down, the person drafting me doesn't have quick access to their brake levers. If you've never been hit from behind by another rider who couldn't brake in time, believe me, it's an awful mess.

    Regarding Ipods, although it's a rule violation to wear them during the run, I wouldn't bring it up to another competitor. I don't think that wearing it gives them a significant competitive advantage, and they aren't really putting anyone in danger except for themselves.

    Let me reiterate one more time, DON'T DRAFT!!! Just my 2 cents.

  3. #3
    Poseuse. sweetharriet's Avatar
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    i think while people may cotton on to the three-bike-length rule, they may not be aware of some nuances. i get a little antsy about overtaking (all within the "position fouls" section of the rules).

    essentially, if you move into the drafting zone from behind, you'd better intend to pass. if you do pass, you'd better execute the whole deal in 15 seconds. and i, since i've been passed (so sad), must then move back so that i'm out of your drafting zone. once your front wheel passes mine, you've overtaken me. no tea parties. no pride checks and challenging, hovering behind you so that i can pass you again. essentially, as soon as i'm behind you, i'm in that drafting zone myself, and need to get out.

    if you're overtaken, suck it up, and move back. if you think that you can overtake the person again, you probably can, but get out of their zone before you do it again. otherwise you're benefiting from drafting them, and you're...uh...cheating.

    but no, i just don't mention this during races. i'm there to race, not be the ref, and i figure there's an average amount of obliviousness per race that levels the playing field for the rest of us. AND i get all my agression out on the swim. it's allowed!
    Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetharriet
    i think while people may cotton on to the three-bike-length rule, they may not be aware of some nuances. i get a little antsy about overtaking (all within the "position fouls" section of the rules).

    if you're overtaken, suck it up, and move back. if you think that you can overtake the person again, you probably can, but get out of their zone before you do it again. otherwise you're benefiting from drafting them, and you're...uh...cheating.

    but no, i just don't mention this during races. i'm there to race, not be the ref, and i figure there's an average amount of obliviousness per race that levels the playing field for the rest of us. AND i get all my agression out on the swim. it's allowed!
    Okay, I a fairly poilte racer, I even thank volunteers on the course while I race but I DEFINITELY mention certain violations to other competitors in races. As a female, there are certain males who can't really handle being passed by a woman. If I am going 24mph and I pass a man like he is standing still he will up the tempo, pass me, and slow WAY down. In addition to being a exceptionally poor use of energy during racing conditions, he (sorry boys, this has never been a problem with a woman) is putting me in jeopardy of a drafting penalty. Usually, a polite: :"I have overtaken you. You will get a penalty if you don't drop back" will suffice, but not always. I have actually gone so far as to hem one of the aforementioned rule violators in until we come up behind another slower person. By refusing to move outside, I can force him to drop back to avoid running into the slower rider. Basically, if a persons pride or ignorance is at risk of causing me a penalty (and possibly a podium spot) I have no problem saying so. Drafting is also dangerous in the wrong hands, but in the perpetrators own head he/she/its knows its cheating.

    My reasoning for this? Officials seem to automatically fault the faster, more experienced racer. If you are in a later heat and systematically taking down competitors from the heats in front of you, USAT officials will sit on your wheel for miles at a time and you can bet the inexperienced athlete will not get the penalty. I had a friend cross the yellow line because the girl he was passing (who was committing a blocking violation) swerved. He could crash or cross the line. Despite a post race discussion with the official, he got the penalty while she never recieved a blocking penalty. Similarly, if I were to come up on someone riding 10mph on the left and pass on the right, I would get the penalty despite the blocking.

    Triathlon is a sport for everyone and part of its appeal is being on the course with so many people fighting the same inner battle. However, it is the responsibility of every racer to know the rules. Staying on the right side of the road is a matter of safety as it would be difficult and disorderly to worry about riders passing on both sides. It is the responsibility of each rider to follow the rules because the are desgined 1) to ensure the safety of all racers 2) to ensure that each person is able to race with minimal interference from other racers.

    Sorry, this is just my personal pet peeve.

  5. #5
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
    Regarding Ipods...they aren't really putting anyone in danger except for themselves.
    I disagree. Anytime someone has a distraction that can cause them not to know their surroundings, they are putting others in danger as well. I person wearing an iPOD could easily get in the way of a faster runner trying to pass them and get tangled up. Even worse, if they have it on while running through the transition area, they might run in front of someone running with their bike.

    I just think it's safer all the way around if they are kept away from the race course.
    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  6. #6
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    By the way...on the subject of drafting and being out of position on the bike...

    Many of you here know that I was in a bike accident a year ago at Long Beach where I broke my shoulder in two places. In my opinion, there are two ways the accident could have been avoided...

    1) The guy who hit me from the back left and I could have hit our brakes instead of trying to slalom at 30 mph through about 20 slower riders who were all over the course. This in on us and we should have used better judgement and slowed down...but A, it was a race and B, both of us thought that we could get through safely.

    2) Riders could have been educated better and stayed to the right of the course. The road we were on was very wide but the way everyone was scattered across the lanes it looked like a game of Frogger instead of a triathlon.

    I probably sound like a broken record...the reason I keep posting this in different threads is because we seem to have a lot of first-timers here. If I can help anyone to be more safe and if just one accident gets avoided...that makes a huge difference.

    By the way RacerGirl. I have no problem with you passing me at 24 mph...but if you're wearing that Orca suit, you can expect that I will do my best to keep up (three bike lengths back of course)
    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  7. #7
    i like pie
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    The bar-ends rule I've never fully understood.

    If I'm wrong someone correct me, but isn't it so that if a carsh, or some knee bumps someones bar ends without plugs in them, things won't become catatonic and bad?

    And I went on my region's MS 150 ride this weekend.

    On the second day I started with a team of people. I didn't know them, so I was at the start just looking around, and noticed more than a few of them riding full-tri bikes. No drops, just aerobars and bullhorns. I noted it to myself, and quietly condemned them.

    10 rides into the 80 mile ride that day, I'm still with the group and we're riding in a big back. I don't know how many here raced bikes proper before they did triathlons, but you hear the crash before you see it usually. Well I heard it and led off the road and passed the two people who had fallen. I came back around, and could see the person who most likely caused the crash was riding a triathlon bike. I'm sure he was drafting in his aerobars, or had his hands placed in another way that is absolutely stupid to have in a group ride.

    I saw people ride in pacelines all the time, on both days, sitting on their aerobars.
    Last edited by TheKidd; 09-28-05 at 06:13 PM.

  8. #8
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racergirl
    Similarly, if I were to come up on someone riding 10mph on the left and pass on the right, I would get the penalty despite the blocking.

    .
    I'm a master's category bike racer, and getting ready to do my first triathlon. This thread is very helpful. (I even went and read the rule book, from the link). I was curious about the one sentence above. Is there a rule against pacing on the right?

    Also, how does this drafting zone bit work when there are tons of people coming out of the transition zone together. In a TT you just have to worry about your one minute man. but in a Triathlon, it would seem impossible to stay inside the yellow line, and not be in someone's drafting zone while tens or hundreds are coming out of the transition area closely together.

  9. #9
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    Passing on the right? I have vague recollection of reading that it's allowed, though obviously it's frowned upon.

    As for the traffic clumps that inevitably appear? They're tough, for sure. I've never seen someone pulled out of one of them for drafting, but I suppose that it happens. If you're as strong a cyclist as you say you are, you should be able to power through them in short order (maybe with a bit of "on your left!"ing as you go through).

    The yellow line, though, HAS to be the biggest violation you can do on the bike. Just way too much potential for trouble. Better to slow down in traffic than risk crossing the yellow line just as someone coming the other way tries a sudden move. =(

    I DO feel for racergirl. I'm not Liesel Jones. I'm not Geneviève Jeanson. I'm not Paula Radcliffe. Most men out there stand an excellent chance of being outclassed in at least one discipline. Don't let ego and pride ruin someone else's race. =(

    'roth

  10. #10
    Poseuse. sweetharriet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    I'm a master's category bike racer, and getting ready to do my first triathlon. This thread is very helpful. (I even went and read the rule book, from the link). I was curious about the one sentence above. Is there a rule against pacing on the right?

    Also, how does this drafting zone bit work when there are tons of people coming out of the transition zone together. In a TT you just have to worry about your one minute man. but in a Triathlon, it would seem impossible to stay inside the yellow line, and not be in someone's drafting zone while tens or hundreds are coming out of the transition area closely together.
    good questions. thanks for reading, that was the point of the thread! you can find your answers in the book sections listed below.

    section 5.10 (e).

    your questions about leaving transition and certain narrow road sections are in section 5.10 (h). if someone in front of you slams on the brakes because, say, a dog runs out, you also slam on your brakes, but you'll get "bunched up". the ref is probably on a motorbike, and also slamming on their brakes, and lets it go.

    this relay i did had a certain bridge designated as no-pass. it was narrow and shared with traffic, as well as the returning cyclists on an out-and-back course. the few people who hadn't listened at all to the repeated warnings got an automatic DQ. because of the no-pass, it was also no-draft for that brief portion. riders were directed to simply ride onto the bridge single-file, and if they got stuck behind someone, to not worry about the distance, but get back up to speed and pass afterwards.

    certain courses i've done have had "hilly" exceptions, where the ref just can't be bothered to hand out multiple penalties for a crowded race that bunches up on the up hill. as long as the riders spread out again on the down, it's fair.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheKidd
    The bar-ends rule I've never fully understood.

    If I'm wrong someone correct me, but isn't it so that if a carsh, or some knee bumps someones bar ends without plugs in them, things won't become catatonic and bad?
    we're not just talking drop bars here. i wouldn't like to see the average sticky-outy aerobar end, unplugged, coming towards me at 25 mph. carbon fiber or not. and metal handlebars can take a core sample of your fave body part. you'll poke yer eye out, etc.
    Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

  11. #11
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    A perusal of USAT rules lists a requirement for helmet usage, and some prohibitions on things you may not use (fins, fairings, etc.) in the race, but nothing about required pieces of clothing. Is there a Japanese equivalent to USAT with it's own rules, or rules specific to that race that may be relevant here?

    In the 7 tris I have done in part or whole over the last 3 years, I don't think I've ever seen someone go out on the bike without a top on, so I'm not sure what would happen if they did.

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    Sorry; wrong thread.

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    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    No - I don't know many of the tri rules.
    This is evident from my thread of about five weeks ago asking if wearing my ipod during a tri was a good idea. Obviously, I am woefully ignorant.

    I knew about the no drafting rule, but not much more than that.

    Here's a good question: why don't I know the rules? I have read 3 tri training books, books on swimming, biking and running. I subscribe to Triathlete and often pick up Inside Triathlon and 220 Triathlon. I am somewhat obsessed with this triathlon stuff yet I have come across almost no discussion of rules in any of these resources. In the three tri's I have done I have been provided with no copies of the rules or even references to the rules.

    Maybe its my responsibility to know the rules. And, thanks to this post I know where to find them and I will make it my responsibility to know the rules (thanks). But how about everyone else out there?

  14. #14
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  15. #15
    Poseuse. sweetharriet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennings780
    In the three tri's I have done I have been provided with no copies of the rules or even references to the rules.
    I've found the bigger races (and by big, I don't mean distance, I mean # of athletes) have head refs (yeah, more than one) who provide a "mandatory" pre-race briefing. This usually consists of what drafting is from all angles, the bar-end plugs, the dropping stuff, the wetsuit judgement, etc. What's usually left out is any mention of portable music, but I think most racers, if they do more than one sprint a season, catch on to the fact that the people who seem to know what they're doing aren't wearing headphones.

    I've also done a lot of informal weeknight races, where the best the race director can do is ask you to not be an a** and get run over on winding rural roads. I love those races, but I'm glad that the vast majority of larger events make a point of drilling people on the rules. Thanks for reading up on them, you'll be a smarter racer for it.
    Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling. ~James E. Starrs

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