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Not controversial - in any way, at all.....

treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
Novice triathlons are a great idea - it will keep the great unwashed from getting in MY way.

In rowing we have a points system whereby the winners get moved up a grade as they win or compete with distiction!


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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    They already exist don't they?

    The are called:




    Super Sprints


    Age groups

    OK, I speak partly injest. But I am sure most first timers will do one of the above. A weak swimmer might try a duathlon first, likewise, a weak cyclist an aquathlon. And, for the few that can't run, there is an option of a relay.

    Perhaps not so much at Sprints, but super sprints will see a lot of novices, and of the remainder will be doing it as a training event.

    More competent/confident novices will probably head straight for a sprint.

    Finally, age groups are there to make things as open as possible.

    I'm not actually sure what a novice is: someone who has never been through T1? Or someone who has never run+swam+cycled on the same day?

    Or maybe it is someone who has spent less money on kit, or trained for 1 minute less than Treefrog, but still beats him.

    Tri caters well for people of all abilities. The only case for selection is when events become oversubscribed. And how that selection is performed is up to the event organisers.

    I'm off for a swim.
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    BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    It's a really bad idea. Once you introduce this sort of segregation you are on the dangerous slippery slope to elitism, apartheid and the sort of unhelpful and downright insulting attitude as expressed in comment number 2 on this thread.

    When I did my first event last year I used my brain, entered a sprint, pool-based event and loved it. I loved the sport, competition and self-testing element - but I also particularly liked the friendliness and all-inclusive feel.

    We have World Championships and an Olympic Games events for those who wish to be elite. We have sprints and supersprints for the less-confident. We have Olympic distance all-inclusive races for everyone.

    I find all these posts - with all their thinly-veiled snobbery - really worrying. One of the main reasons why I love doing triathlon, and why I encourage my sporty friends to have a go is that as a woman new to sport with a chronic illness I feel I have found something truly inclusive and democratic without any discrimination, that I can take part in and enjoy.

    Introduce segregration, voluntary or compulsory it makes no difference, and this element disappears; and so probably would I.


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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Conehead wrote:
    I inadvertantly found myself at the front of the swim start at Windsor one year and came to the conclusion everyone was trying to kill me.

    Perhaps it was a response to the threads you post here?

    Are you saying that you were a novice and the elites were trying to kill you?

    Or the other way round.

    Would elites be at the front of a swim? Or the novices?

    Until you can define what a "novice" is, there is little point in trying to construct some framework for separating the novices from the non-novices.

    Is someone who has run for Team GB in the olympics, but never swam a novice? Or someone who has never competed in an event a novice? Is someone who takes > 50 minutes to run a 10K a novice?

    Are you talking about inexperience of racing? Of training? Or of one of the three events? Are you saying that only someone who has a background of competition as a youngster can be considered for events, and someone who only takes up the sport in "middle age" must be a novice?

    It is it a question of taste or etiquette? Or is it anyone who can't do one of the legs at an even pace so that after a few minutes they are "in your way".

    The whole point of "competition" is that it segregates - the novices will be at the back, the elites at the front. Is your problem that some people are good swimmers, medium level cyclists, and poor runners, so they get in your way.

    Do you want an event which excludes anyone who does your worst two events better than you?

    Once you've determined what a novice is, what benefit does it have to either a novice or an elite to be segregated?

    It's very difficult to understand what point you are trying to make. If any.

    As such you are just coming across as arrogant and borish.
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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Conehead..sounds good to me. I do not believe that this is elitism, cetainly not segregation or selection, merely a marketing idea/opportunity.

    We have 'novice weekends' within our club, so that those who may wish to partake can do so, or try out without having to contend with more experienced/competitive folks.

    There are I believe women only races, I assume to avoid the testosterone fest of some races, is this elitist? I think not.

    Whilst I agree with blurredgirl I too did my research & decided to give the washing machine effect a miss at first & still in open water swims I am at the back or side of the field. I am aware that I am no fast swimmer, do not enjoy a fight & am never going to win a race, so why get in everyones way & get punched into the bargain?

    I would be very happy to marshall/help out at novice races to provide a good experience for those who are feeling their way in our sport.

    Incidentally I really don't think Mr Frog is as opinionated as he likes to make out, just a competitive chappy who would rather not get held up.
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    And another thing.

    I know that you (Conehead) are starting these threads for the intellectual amusement of a heated and stimulating debate, which is fine. But only so far. It is an amusing pastime for the longer standing members of the forum.

    What about people for whom today, or last weekend, is their first visit? Won't they be alienated be these attitudes? Surely the purpose of the forum is to share experiences, ideas, through discussion - the asking and answering of questions - helping to break down the barriers of entry into the world of tri, to improve performances of those already in it: with discussion and sharing of experience on technique, methods, recovery, events and kit.

    My position: The strength of a sport is not measured by the quality of its elite. Think of a triangle; the elites are the small top part of the triangle; it is the broad mass of new entrants and improvers that hold up the elite that is actually the most important. Without this year's beginners, there will be no elite next year.

    To try to separate an elite from a non-elite by any other mechanism than competition at the event is fundamentally foolish and ultimately self defeating.

    I've had my hour in the pool. It feels like spring. I am going for a bike ride. Enough of these Sunday morning flames!
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    graham33graham33 Posts: 265
    Conehead - I think a novice triathlon would be an excellent idea - infact When I did my first one last year I did the Royal Navy championship and novice Triathlon 2007. But in my head I kept reading it as Royal Navy Novice championship......So I was pretty surprised when I turned up with my £90 bike from ebay, I could only do half front crawl and half breast stroke for the swim, and people were there with £3000 bike and tri suits ect!

    Luckily it was a pool swim, so no killing each other!

    But Yeah if it would have been a competition to drown each other I wouldn't have done anything else.

    But I think it's been mentioned - you'd def get the medal hunters! going for the win etc.

    Novice events - it would really help the sport too.

    Just my 2 Cents.
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    jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Novice Tri's do exist but they are few and far between.You often have to look into the race details to find them as they tend to be incorporated in the wave start times.The Terrapin tri at Market Bosworth was a well run one,the novice wave would be the last wave to start so the chances of survival would be improved,they had a wetsuit rental to try before you buy,and as it was a novice race it was shorter than the sprint distance so the competitors get a feel of whether they training was adequate tomove up to a longer distance.

    Some races do ask if it is your first open water swim and put you in a separate start wave,but looking at the finish times of some of these 'First timers' Pinochio would lose out in a photo finish edged out by a nose.

    Some people seem to be a little over critical regarding what appears to be elitist,and discriminatory,where a more realistic view is that of providing a fairer race for all.The sport needs to evolve to survive or it will stagnate.

    An example would be that in 1998/9 the BTA tried to ban open ended bar extensions from races,your option was to buy/or make an adaptor,remove the bars,or not race.The reason being was to prevent riders from being impailed in an accident.If the rule became fact it would have killed off Time Trial bikes with forward facing gear levers.Following much discussion the rule changed to that of ,bar extensions will be closed and not extend further than the brake hoods for any draft legal races.

    On an earlier thread Conehead asked who ran Triathlon in this country,it was the athletes and manufacturers that got the B.T.A. to amend its rules.

    So enjoy the debate,it may seem off putting to newbies,but most arguments stem from what seems to annoy others,in their own point of view,and just laugh.Any sport will throw up the 'better than thou' competitors,just put what you want into the sport.
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    garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    veiled snobbery


    i couldn't agree more with your post, i am excited about the sport because of the 'open' nature of it, if i thought for one minute that the sport was elitist or populated with people with attitudes of, 'get out of my way...novice idiot!', there is no way i would have ever thought of taking it up.

    Thankfully i believe the vast majority of triathletes are decent people who like to welcome more into their beloved sport!

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    pigsy65pigsy65 Posts: 25
    I have seen some areas offer a "Try a TRI" event, aimed at first timers.

    They are basicly Supersprints. and the swim is pool based.

    Treefrog: you comment on "the great unwashed getting in you way" is so funny! Made me laugh out load!

    Conehead: no nead for the flogging! you brought up a perfectly legit' question. people just have strong views..if you do get a flogging please put the video on hear!!

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    FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Perfectly reasonable idea Mr Conehead. I'd certainly consider a newbies only wave or event... having said that, my ego might prevent me from entering as I'm determined to mix it up with the big boys!

    No flogging necessary this time Mr Head.
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    50, youve only given yourself 50 lashes conehead, clearly not nearly enough...

    i only say no cos if you go into one thinking you wont be touched or put off a stroke by someone else then your in for a shock even in a so called NOVICE SPECIFIC tri, all those people in water at once we all must be mad to begin with dont we....[;)]
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    BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    All you need is a smidgen of intelligence. If you've never done a mass start before - do your first event in a pool. If (like me) you are panicked by mass starts - you can choose to start at the side. If you are arrogant enough to think that you are good enough to start at the front in your first event and get swum over - then there's a lesson learned. If you judge yourself not fit enough to do a longer distance then pick a sprint event.

    It should be about personal choice and not imposition. There are events for all and individuals should feel comfortable to pick and choose what will work for them, and not feel obliged to enter a novice event.

    Personally, I utterly loved my first ever triathlon - a pool-based sprint event - and partly because I was also competing alongside people on carbon bikes, fast runners, serious competitors. This sharpened me up, gave me something to aim for, helped to shape my goals. This aspect is incredibly important to help shape potential GB age-groupers and to spur on enthusiasts like me.


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    BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    If I thought for a second that the original suggestion was to make ALL 'novices' compete in a novice specific event, then I would say a resounding no, butI do believe there is a place for them, for the not so brave, for the unsure, for the tryouts, so why not.

    A while ago in the US triathlete mag someone wrote in claiming that unless you had raced at Kona you had no right to be calling yourself an Ironman....you should have seen the replies to that!....Thats what I call elitist.
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    clarkey30clarkey30 Posts: 270
    Im in complete agreement with Conehead, its not a case of saying youre a novice so get in there as many so called novises will spank me at every event i enter this year, however if the option of a novice wave or event was offered it may well encourage more people to take up the sport!

    And as for swim starts the reason i was drawn to triathlon was the whole event! the thought of swimming up the river thames in a so called washing machine before getting out and running down a path im usually satggering up drunk at the weekend was what appealled to me....

    Lets face it the first event is always a scary experience maybe this would help take some of the scare out of it
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    jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Instead of a smidgeon of intelligence for each competitor (i take it would be a written test prior to entering the water),it should be more of accepting some swimming ettiquette in the water,tapping peoples feet so as to tell them you want to overtake(a novice competing in their first pol based event would not be aware of this a think the tapper is just being an annoying a...hole).

    some swim based events have wave starts for time others for age groups,just because I am old doesn't mean I am slow,Patrick Barnes was competing into his 80's in his own age group start and was generally overtaken by next 3-4 waves,he kept to the inside and didnot get swum over in the open water events,I remember passing him on his bike which had the most enormous saddleback attached to the saddle,a right proper canvas one.
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    BlurredgirlBlurredgirl Posts: 292
    @Conehead - you seem to think I was implying that you personally are 'thick'. Not at all. I believe you have written a book and that alone makes you very not thick in my book. I have two points to make:

    1.The application of a little common sense, as well as doing some research prior to a first triathlon would surely ensure that novices choose the right sort of event, place themselves in appropriate start positions, don't get all muddled and rushed in transition etc. That's what I did, and that's what a lot of people using this forum is doing right now.

    2.I truly believe that beginners should NOT feel obliged to enter in novice-only triathlons, in the same way that I don't like the idea of female-only events. As soon as you introduce the concept of separate events for different types of people you introduce the concept of elitism and the idea that individuals must only enter races deemed to be appropriate for them by someone else.

    And just because a person is a triathlon novice doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to perform poorly by default, or be spooked. Many triathlon novices turn out to have innate talent, or have trained particularly well, or have a brilliant race for whatever reason. Many novices who have spent time training in a swimming pool will have already learned about foot tapping for example. A novice-only race is only going to hold a person like that back, and yet at the same time they may feel obliged to enter that race, or excluded from the 'real' one.

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    BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    Butting in late here but good thread!

    I was going to sign up for a novice event this year for my first TRI but the distance is to small. Its a 200 swim, 12K ride and 2.5 k run. Now the idea of a novice Triathlon is a good one but will never suit all athletes how are starting as they will come from different fittness levels and expericence. from complete beginers to athletes how are just changing sport.

    If the distances matched say a sprint or OD then I would have definatly considered it m ore. But as I am fairly fit I went for a sprint.
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    I like the idea of novice races or waves…as it’s my first season of Olympic length Tris or longer I’m really worried as I will start with all the other 30-34 aged group people (I think), who to be honest, will absolutely destroy me.

    Would I rather start in a wave of people approx my speed (and hopefully experience), regardless of age or sex…..YES!!!

    Having taken advice from this forum and club mates, I will be starting at the back or side (or both) in my first open water swim, I intent to swim FC, but if training at the pool has taught me anything, it’s that I often get overtaken my BS swimmers after I loss my form @ about 200m..
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Conehead wrote:

    Yep - no-one is suggesting 'enforced novice-ism', I thought I was suggesting an already existing option which happens at some events.

    Ahh! I thought your were just trying to be controversial. Please accept my sincere apologies if I have ruffled your feathers. Nothing personal was intended at all.

    In my defence, I must admit though, that trying to spark controversy by stating something that already takes place... isn't.. well.. controversial. So I kind of assumed that your were floating the idea, all be it as devil's advocate, that all novices were to be banned from all races. And only allowed in special kindergarten ones.

    I am extremely happy for an event to be targeted at Novices. Maybe this thread would be better targeted at what would a novice event be.

    I would be quite interested in a 25M swim, 42Km cycle, 10Km run, for example.

    Alternatively, I would quite like a full blown Time Trial for the swim and run, as well as (what essentially happens now in non-elite races) the cycle ride.

    Thoughts on that one people!
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    GGBGGB Posts: 482
    Novice races are a great idea for people like me who have yet to compete in a triathlon - they could give extra information .. i.e. take longer over and go into more detail at the briefing - this might give more confidence to those novices - doing your first event is a scary experience, especially when you have the red lycra clad, cervello riders near by ;)

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    jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    for a novice tri,try the Terrapin Triathlon, 28/06/09.Novice wave plus female only wave(sexist ????).


    camping facilities,close by B and B.Also for the novices a coach is on hand to answer questions and provide conflicting advice to what you have already read.
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