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Drafting on bikes

FiFi Posts: 31
Hi, I’m so nervous; I’m doing a sprint triathlon this weekend. I am very confused. I watched the triathlon on TV and they were drafting on the bikes. I thought you weren’t allowed to do this – or is this a rule that just applies to certain distances? I don’t want to get disqualified if I end up in a drafting scenario can anyone shed some light as there are no rules with regards to this in my race pack. The cycle route is only 14miles.

Thank you


  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    The Elites are allowed to draft. You aren't. You'll get a penalty for drafting, and possibly disqualified for repeat offences.

    Imagine a box around your bike, 3 metres wide and seven metres long. Your front wheel is in the front and centre of the box. If another competitor enters the box, even partly, then they have 15 seconds to get out of the draft zone either by overtaking or dropping back.

    You must also be seen to be making progress while within a draft zone, i.e you must be trying to overtake. You can't just pop into somebody's draft zone for 15 seconds, then out again, then in again etc etc.

    Roadside marshalls, and marshalls on motorbikes will be out on the course to police the drafting rules.

    BTA do not generally allow draft-legal age group races unless you get special permission.

    Why are Elites allowed to draft? That is a discussion for another much more shouty thread.

    Good luck!

    Official rules here: http://www.britishtriathlon.org/uploads/files/Competition%20Rules%202006.pdf

  • FiFi Posts: 31
    Thank you Bopomofo(!) - you’re a found of knowledge. So the bike section is a tactical race in terms of whether or not to over take and expend energy. In a way I hope I’m near other competitors to experience these tactics of bike racing. I’m just trying to get around but I’m thinking I’ll try and watch the better racers to look at their tactics afterwards – they are all starting a lot later than me.

  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Au contraire, in a non draft race the tactic is to go as fast as you can sustain over the chosen distance & not draft, no saving of energy via this route just by gauging your effort.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Yup. The drafting rules are there to try to ensure that your bike leg is as close to an individual effort as possible. It is a pure 'time-trial'. Also, most age-group races end up having multiple waves, and often there are multiple laps of a bike course. It would be so unfair to allow drafting.

    I agree that sometimes you end up hanging back a bit (outside the drafting zone) to see if you should pass the guy in front or if will he speed up. This happens a lot on hills when everybody bunches up.

    I, for one, am really glad there is no drafting for the non-Elites. I am not a road racer mainly because I find the tactics a bit overwhelming.
  • FiFi Posts: 31
    Thanks for the replies. I think it's a case of getting my head down and trying my best bearing in mind the drafting rule. I'm treating it as a fun event as this is my first...all trial and error.
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Exactly, Fi. Get your head down, give it your best effort, and enjoy yourself! So long as you have put everything into it you will cross that finish line with a stupid grin on your face and the determination to do more. Lots more!

    Good luck! What Tri are you doing?
  • FiFi Posts: 31
    It's in Malmesbury (Wiltshire). I think I've put in the training (although not in a structured way). I sent off for the triathlons training bible which will help in the future. I'm not sure how the actual event will go but am loving the training so what ever happens I will keep it all up over the winter and work on my fitness for the next season. I'm hoping to do London next year.

  • I am doing it too, hope to see you there - I am in the first wave at 9am if you look through the posts you will find a gps map of the route with elevation - the route out is mostly uphill and back is faster (the twice I have done it you get a negative split)

    Hope you enjoy it!!

  • FiFi Posts: 31
    Hi Iain,

    I'll probably see you there! What number are you (that's if you want to tell me) - I'll cheer you on if I see you. My start is at 10.59 but I plan to get there very early so I can watch the other competitors and how they do it! All the best for your race.


  • I am either 90 or 91 (I think)!

    Good luck
  • FiFi Posts: 31
    well I've done my Tri - thanks for the advice I did it in 1.24.54 and definately want to take this sport up. It was really good although I think at times I was a bit too cautious and casual...just soaking up the vib of the event really. Combatdwarf how did you do?
  • Good work Fi. I was only a few places ahead of you. I came in at 137.

    Hopefully I do better at the Highworth Tri in September. Are you doing that one too?
  • FiFi Posts: 31
    Tri_dot_dom, cool, 137 is brill. I would like to try and get into the top 100 next time. Highworth - I've never heard of a tri at Highworth but am new to this. Is that an open water swim? If so do you have to wear a wet suite? Plan was just to see if I liked this one and train over winter but if there are still events left over the 'summer' I could try and fit in a few more. Was thinking about finding a cycling club in the area as I'm about to join a running club tonight. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the cycling - especially bombing down hill (except the seat pains). I'd like to know more about this side of the sport. Do you know if Chippenham has a cycling club that meets over the weekend?
  • A few below you at 1:25 (placed 155) - not bad as I have have a calf injury and I really did not think I would finish the run at one point - the swim and bike were good though (shame the first timing was only at T1 exit...) and I got to try out my new Trek TTX [:D][:D][:D][:D] (only bought it the day before!)

  • paulfitzpaulfitz Posts: 67
    Well done both.

    I have the Bible and while it is fascinating, actually found it quite dificult to really set up a sensible programme.

    Can I recommend the 220 Training Application that is on this very site. Its not cheap at around £100, but once you have it, it will give you everything you need to plan a whole year's training for now and forever.

    It really gave me some structure this year and I have already got my winter programme set up. Final tri next week, a couple of Half Marathons (drunken challenge with mates) then 3 weeks off training at end of October, then the tool kicks in from November to March [;)]
  • Jelly legsJelly legs Posts: 278
    Well done all of you.

    I was looking at the results, the winner must have had wings.

    Swim 06:19

    Bike 00:35:31

    Run 00:16:36

    total 01:01:10

    and thats with a penalty of 2.00 mins

  • Fi, Chippenham Wheelers is the local club. Although I'm not a member, I've just got back from their Tuesday evening run at Castle Combe. It's only £1 and you get to ride around the race track all evening. It's great to have a big open track to try new techniques, move your saddle about and so on, without worrying about cars. They start at 5:30 and go on till you're either the last one there or you can't see the track anymore.

    I've now found out that yes I can push out a 37 minute 22K even with a head wind so I must try harder at the next event.

    The Highworth is over near Swindon. The event flyer was stuck to most cars at the Malmesbury tri. The details are at http://monkey-web.com/tri/ but the closing date is pretty soon.
  • FiFi Posts: 31
    Hey well done Combatdwarf, must have been painful running with a calf injury - hope you are allowing it to recover.

    Paulfitz - £100!!! mmm I'd need to know more about it before I spent that kind of money - is there a link (...and are you on comission, are you a secret 220 employee roping people into this package...!)

    tri_dot_dom thanks for the info on Chippenham Wheelers and the ride at Castle Combe - now that does sound fun...and all for £1...bargin. I'll see if some of my friends want to give it a try. 37mins for a 22k - that's fast - you'll definately beat your time next year (if you enter again)

    Thanks for the info and I may see you out on the circuit.

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