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TriAthy - complaint by proxy

PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
Did anyone do this at the weekend?

Only asking because my mate did his first ever tri, the sprint race and did a very good 1:14 but was gutted when told he had to take a drafting penalty, one of only ten handed out on the day (versus none last year). He says the whole experience has been ruined for him as he has never cheated in anything in his life. He said there were peletons all over the place and as he was acutely aware of the rules he did everything to avoid breaking them.

He said he has tried to appeal but nobody has got back to him.

I'm gutted for him. He says he is now not going to do his first OD race, in his home town in West Cork in the summer. I've been banging on for years how great this tri lark is and how great a sense of fun, achievement & cameraderie it generates and he has seen none of it.

If anyone did this race I'd be keen on hearing your thoughts on how much drafting there was and how well it was policed.


  • garyrobertsgaryroberts Posts: 869
    that sucks. at my last race i was approaching another bike on a climb which meant i wasn't flying past! i deliberately and thoughtfully went wide as i approached but another competitor coming in the other direction shouted something as they passed. i don't know what they said but i couldn't help but feel they were shouting about 'drafting'......

    .....i felt a little pissed off.

    i don't cheat.
  • willieverfinishwillieverfinish Posts: 1,381
    I have always wondered about overtaking someone else.

    If I a going flat out, I have all the power down and can go no faster and I am gaining on someone albeit slowly - at what point am I drafting.

    I am making an effort to overtake so what's the problem ?

    It makes me not want to overtake incase I get thumped with a Disqual

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Its normally a 7m by 2m box from the front wheel, so approx 5m behind the rider you are supposed to move out to beyond about a metre or so. I drafted a bus in a competition once, apparently thats also not allowed, it wasn't really my fault as they thing pulled out in front of me, but I wasn't caught so all is good.
  • I think this whole drafting bandwagon is just ridiculous - it's putting people off competing in triathlons! Triathlons are supposed to be fun to participate in but looking at the OP's post, the fun has gone out of the sport!

    A message to race organisers and officials - cut the bullshit and lighten up a little!!!

  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Allow me to take the opposite view.

    Every sport has rules, and, before you undertake them, you need to understand what they are. Rules are there to promote competition, to enable fair play. I'm pretty sure that most judges/marshall's give the benefit of the doubt in most cases. Offenses have to be pretty egregious to get a DQ. It's a lot harder than you think, and it is unpleasant to have to DQ or penalise somebody. You're very aware of the how upsetting it is to a competitor, and how disliked you will be.

    Of course, no one here knows the facts in the case, so it's pointless to speculate. Of course, it would be interesting to see if there were an unusually high number of penalties awarded, and if by one particular judge.

    However, more to the point, if your friend wasn't on the podium, winning an age group, then they've not lost out much! They know what their own time was, after all. They've not been banned from other events. Yes, it is annoying, but, in they just need to take a step back, and think of their own performance, and how it can be improved. If they were truly "unlucky", then, like lightening, it's unlikely to strike in the same place, again. I quite sympathise with him wanting to find out what the evidence was - so that he can understand and learn from it.

    There are going to be all sorts of challenges and obstacles to overcome - dropping at this first, and very slight hurdle, might just mean that they don't really have the mental toughness for the sport that is required.

    My advice: Take it on the chin, learn from it, and be more prepared to cope with adversity in the future!

    "No Drafting" is a challenging rule - the hardest one to understand and cope with, and I am all for as much education in pre-race briefings etc, pointing out pinch points in the course, and where people are likely to bunch together, making clear how the marshalls/judges are going to police the event. But I think "no drafting" is better than having a road race. If for the only reason that it makes for safer events.

  • jibby26jibby26 Posts: 261
    I think the drafting rules are fair. Personally I find it annoying when I see people blatantly drafting one another without getting any penalties. According to the rules you have to be seen by a motorcycle marshall once, or static marshall three times before you get a 2 minute penatly and have to be spotted another time by either before you get disqualified. You sign up to these rules when you enter, they've repeated them in the briefs at events I have entered, so if I got a penalty I'll be annoyed but I figure there was enough warning out there.
  • PC_67PC_67 Posts: 196
    I told him to let his conscience be his guide - he knows what happened and what his real time was. Sport is full of dedicated volunteers but there are also always overly official twits. My mate's main gripe was that he thought there were drafting infringements all over the place and at times it was unavoidable.
  • JulesJules Posts: 987
    I'm all for the drafting rules. You can see how elite OD races, which allow drafting, are a slightly different challenge, with bike ability counting for less than in a non-drafting race. I wouldn't want to race like that in my races.

    PC_67 I have a lot of sympathy for your friend if there was a lot of drafting going unpunished. On hill sections in particular getting bunched up is sometimes hard to avoid. Plus if you are on open roads it may be dangerous to stay 1M wide of another rider for too long, due to oncoming traffic.

    Did your friend get told where his offence was meant to have occurred, or just that he was drafting at some point?

    I presume this was an officially sanctioned BTA or TI event? It might be worth your friend writing to them to complain about inadequate/inconsistent marshalling and application of the rules. That might mean the race organisiers get contatcted by the governing body at least to query the issue. If The race organisers don't respond to his appeal he should mention that too.

  • shadowone1shadowone1 Posts: 1,408
    I appear to have been taught some schoolboy lessons today.

    I knew what drafting was but didn't realise the extent to which it applied. Now I do and from that it seems I've drafted a few times especially on my first tri.

    Now I know the rules I shall be keeping a watchful eye
  • md6md6 Posts: 969
    My (limited) experience is that whilst I was aware that drafting could be an issue, I quite honestly couldn't tell you how far 5m is from my bike so i tried to stay wide of peoplewhen coming up behind them. Also I seemed to break later into corners and carry more speed through than a lot of people on sunday, and found that quite often would get quite close coming out of a corner without being able to pull wide of them. if i had of been done for drafting I would have been devastated (although my bike time was bad enough without) particularly as at least half the time i was slowed down by people i would have been 'drafting'.
  • danny_sdanny_s Posts: 235
    That really sucks for your friend if they were incorrectly penalised. However, deciding to give up the whole sport out of protest is just over the top. If they had a good race, and did everything by the rules... why get so worked up?

    I hate seeing teams of people drafting off each other, it really does make a different race for those who follow the rules vs those in a 6 man group taking turns pulling. I hope your friend hears back about their appeal soon.

    As far as passing people though, if its a crowded course, there's really no way to avoid being in the 'draft box' for a while. I never intend to get pulled along by anyone in a race but when there's a literal queue of people all along the course like you'll see in Blenheim this weekend... well don't even consider the draft box otherwise you'd be better off waiting til the last wave leaves and have a bit of space on the course.

  • handangeohandangeo Posts: 32
    I did it last weekend - at the race briefing the organisors were very specific about the rules for drafting.

    Yes there were peletons on the bike section and a number of them. It was so hot that it was hard enough

    go past people to worry about drafting!

    Was a great well organised event and would recommend it to anyone.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Drafting,I am afraid is unavoidable,especially in the larger races,with 1000+ entrants.The referees,and draft marshalls,who have been on courses cannot be in all of the places at all of the time,they will give you the benefit of the doubt unless it is obvious that you are drafting or more specifically taking your time when overtaking.The IM races now issue you with your penalty on the spot,which must be taken at the next penalty box,miss that penalty box and fail to stop at the next then it's a D'Q.

    Drafting,like speeding,we do it without noticing,it is down to time compression and expansion depending on the circumstances.You think it is only 5 secs that has passed but it is more like 20 secs,as we are too busy concentrating on the race.

    ''I didn't do it'' Bart Simpson.

    ''Hell no,I'm innocent'' most of the prisoners in the Shawshank Redemption.

    I suggest it to be a learning experience.

    Drafting is inevitable,but verbal abuse should not be tolerated,and I am happy to say that more athletes are Dq'd for that than drafting.
  • Hi I did the race - I sympathise with your mate but there did seem alot of drafting going on especially on age 30-34 wave starters, I was in the wave before them and when I was out on the run a huge peleton passed me about 1.5k from T2. In the breifing they specifically noted drafting, its a funny one as I can't see how they call it as the marshalls are not moving and therefore can't really make a call unless its obvious.

    Don't let it spoil his enjoyment of the sport and next time just make sure he just blasts past any other bike !
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    somebody like conehead will know for sure but I seem to recall it isn't as simple as being >1m wide of another bike as you overtake... there is also a rule about blocking, where you cannot take up road space indefinitely to the side of another competitor. It obviously to stop two or three competitors taking up all the available road space and so preventing others from passing.

    here's a (US) website that explains it all (?)

    http://www.triduo.com/articlesPage/draftingrules/drafting.htm (for RIGHT read LEFT of course ;-)


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