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Racing with a mobile phone?

Does anyone carry a mobile when out on the bike (racing, not training)?  I like to travel as light as possible but after a recent experience I'll be reviewing my policy!..

I competed in the popular NW Tri (part of the UK Triathlon Series) on 14th Sept. Having done the same event in 2013 (my first tri), I was looking forward to gauging my improvement.  The swim went well, and I settled into the bike quickly and felt good. Unfortunately I suffered a mechanical failure just on the five mile mark. I waited twenty minutes into the hopes a support car would come, but no luck.  I walked up the first major turn, no marshal there. With a wife and child waiting back at the start I knew they would be getting anxious, so I started walking back to the start, hoping a support car or bike would be along soon enough...

I walked some three miles in my cleats, which became so painful I had to walk barefoot for the last mile.  Fortunately a kind competitor who had already finished the race stopped his car and gave me a lift the remaining couple of miles.

Perhaps I should have been better prepared by carrying a phone, but I think this asks some serious questions of the marshalling of such a large event (on open public roads).  

I raised this concern with the event organisers and failed to receive a satisfactory response.

On a more positive note I can only praise my fellow triathletes, many of whom asked if I was ok as they sped past with me hobbling in the other direction!



  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    Sorry that you had a poor experience but to be honest these things happen. Dealing with the bad stuff is part of sport as much as sprinting down the finish chute to the acclaim of others.

    As a competitor you are responsible for your equipment and making sure it is safe, well maintained and reliable not the organiser. That's what the rules say. I've seen fellow competitors carry out serious roadside repairs at both Helvellyn and Aviemore including breaking and re-riveting chains so they can carry on. I've also seen many retire with punctures because they cannot fix the simplest of problems.

    At our local tri I was the mobile support for the bike leg but my priority was the safety of competitors & yes I had a box of spares and all my bike tools with me just in case. I was in radio and telephone contact with all the bike marshals so could have responded to your mechanical. Not all events are able to offer this. We deliberately didn't marshal all of the junctions because not all junctions had mobile telephone reception and we didn't want competitors reporting incidents to marshals who couldn't have done anything about it.

    Working out the likely problems in advance and making plans for them may be a better bet than taking a mobile phone

  • I agree that having a bad day makes the good ones what they are, so to speak.  However I wonder what would have happened in the case of an accident? If I had come off, how long would I have lain on the road?

    I always carry basic tools and have suffered punctures in races, rpeaired them and  just carried on. This was a different story, my rear mech broke off hit the frame and cracked it.  I could not have foreseen this before the race and had thoroughly checked the bike before racking. It was just one of those things.  I am quite sure mobile support would not have been able to repair but could at least have attempted recovery.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425

    Agree about the accident concern. The assumption is that fellow competitors will be the first there and will either help or let the next marshal know. Of course the marshal can only act if they have communication to call up an ambulance/defib/ other help or can provide first aid. Ours could but I'm not sure about other events

    As part of the event registration process with BTF the organiser has to detail the emergency procedures that will be in place. The events I've been involved with have robust procedures but I'm not certain about others

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