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  1. #1
    Fledgling Triathlete Dirtbagfitness's Avatar
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    Bike Racing Rules

    I was reading through the rules section of my upcoming tri (first time!) when I came upon this, "Common infractions include drafting, blocking and position foul on the bicycle."
    I have a pretty good idea what drafting is from my swimming background. And blocking seems self-explanatory. But I have no idea what a position foul is. In swimming everyone stays put in their own lane (Except for one time in high school. That was hilarious for everyone except the poor freshman.) so you don't really have to worry about position.
    I would hate to be disqualified or screw up someone else's race by doing something that is poor form out of ignorance. What is a position foul and are there any other bike race etiquette things I should be aware of?
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Don't worry too much about the actual terms. All you really need to know is:

    #1 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #2 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #3 - Pass on the left
    #4 - Complete your pass quickly and get back over to the right. There will probably be times when some dbag decides to speed up while you are passing. Don't ride alongside him at the same speed. Drop back, wait for him to slow again (he will) and complete your pass.
    #5 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #6 - When someone passes you, ease up for a second or two so you can drop back enough to avoid a drafting penalty
    #7 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
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  3. #3
    Fledgling Triathlete Dirtbagfitness's Avatar
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    So what you're saying is I should stay to the right...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Quel's Avatar
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    I'm not sure amateurs ever get called for position fouls. A position foul is basically that you can't line up directly behind someone, even if you are out of the draft zone. So if someone is all the way to the right, you have to be a tiny bit to their left, and then the person behind you has to be a tiny bit to your left or right, and so on. Don't ask me why this rule exists, it just is. They call it in pros, but never heard of it called on amateurs.

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    usually the field is so packed in places, getting a positioning foul would eliminate almost everyone. Very tough to move through the pack like that without getting behind someone. Just don't form a paceline with people, use common sense, and you'll be all set
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  6. #6
    eco
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    Senior Member eco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quel View Post
    I'm not sure amateurs ever get called for position fouls. A position foul is basically that you can't line up directly behind someone, even if you are out of the draft zone. So if someone is all the way to the right, you have to be a tiny bit to their left, and then the person behind you has to be a tiny bit to your left or right, and so on. Don't ask me why this rule exists, it just is. They call it in pros, but never heard of it called on amateurs.
    Staggered positioning is only a rule for elite athletes. Regular amateurs aren't limited and can line up directly behind somebody as long as they are out of the draft zone.

    Amateurs do certainly get called for positioning fouls all the time though. The "positioning rules" define the draft zone, right of way, position on the road to ride as well as things like staggered positioning for elites etc. etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazelle5333 View Post
    usually the field is so packed in places, getting a positioning foul would eliminate almost everyone. Very tough to move through the pack like that without getting behind someone. Just don't form a paceline with people, use common sense, and you'll be all set
    I experience what Gazelle said here during Ironman Branson (IMB). There were many times climbing those Ozark Mtn hills, that a lot of us found ourselves bunched up. Yet, like cjbruin said, "Stay to the right unless you are passing someone." During the bike leg of IMB, we were told in the race briefing that we had 20 seconds to complete a pass when overtaking another rider. When being passed, we should drop back so there is at least four bike lengths between you and the other rider. Yet, even though I saw the refs zipping by on the back of those motorcycles, especially during the climbs when riders were bunched up, they weren't exactly out there with a tape measure ready to throw a penalty flag.

    Just stay aware of those around you, and when you're ready to pass someone, drop the hammer to get around them as quickly as possible. It's also gives you momentum during the race, especially if you're doing the passing on the climbs.

  8. #8
    Auburn Fan jasonball's Avatar
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    intersting thread. question

    how big or far back is the draft zone?

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    I wanna say 10m behind and 2m to each side but I may be wrong...haven't read the rules recently
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  10. #10
    Senior Member jetta-the-hut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonball View Post
    intersting thread. question

    how big or far back is the draft zone?
    most races say 3 bikes lengths but i've seen it as high as 4

    in my last race 2 guys were riding beside each other talking thru the bike course I had to go into the on-coming traffic lane to pass. Nothing was said, until the end of the race where i said something!
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjbruin View Post
    Don't worry too much about the actual terms. All you really need to know is:

    #1 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #2 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #3 - Pass on the left
    #4 - Complete your pass quickly and get back over to the right. There will probably be times when some dbag decides to speed up while you are passing. Don't ride alongside him at the same speed. Drop back, wait for him to slow again (he will) and complete your pass.
    #5 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.
    #6 - When someone passes you, ease up for a second or two so you can drop back enough to avoid a drafting penalty
    #7 - Stay to the right unless you are passing someone.


    clarification / correction on point #4...

    once a rider moves up onto a leading rider and enters the draft zone, the trailing rider is then obligated to complete the pass within 20 seconds. the trailing rider is not allowed to enter the draft zone and then fall back out of it for any reason. this is known as drafting.

    i hate it as much as the next guy when that leading rider speeds up upon seeing he is about to be passed. doesn't matter, though; the trailing rider must complete the pass or else.

  12. #12
    Fledgling Triathlete Dirtbagfitness's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. Had my race this weekend, had fun. Also, I didn't have to worry much about the how-to-overtake portion of the rules, I was the one being overtaken. And they went over the rules more specifically in the pre-race briefing. They said what everyone here is saying. We had 15 seconds to pass, the rider being passed (me) is responsible for dropping three bike lengths back of the person in front of him or get a drafting penalty.

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