Thursday, November 01, 2007

Poll Result - Are you for or against drafting races in Triathlon and Duathlon?

First of all sorry about the typo - I do know how to spell triathlon really but once someone has cast a vote I cannot edit the poll.

The results were: -

For Drafting 3
Against Drafting 15
There's a place for both 3
I don't know what drafting is 3

So the overriding consensus is that drafting is taboo. In fact a 5:1 majority are against drafting. I actually voted that there is a place for both; this surprised some people as I'm always at a disadvantage when I struggle out of the swim only to see the packs of average cyclists (but good swimmers) pulling away from me in a triathlon (the bike is my strength).

My answer to anyone, like me, who is a crap swimmer is "Get better, train more and stop complaining". So there!

In a perfect world there definitely should be no drafting but it doesn't matter where you go in every non-drafting race there are packs riding around together. Policing these things is tough and very resource intensive.

When I did Hawaii Ironman (lottery entry I may add) I saw 10 and 10's of people being pulled up for drafting and every last one of them was a very harsh call - the road was full of bikes so it was always difficult to stay totally away from other riders. Having said that we all saw the marshals pulling people up and I wasn't prepared to get a penalty so I was super careful not to put myself into a position where I'd even get looked at.

I've only ever got one warning and that was in a duathlon. I generally spend half the race shouting abuse at people for drafting/cheating. As it happens there was arider of similar ability to me and we kept swapping places albeit well out of each others draft zone. At one point when he was ahead the road narrowed and some of the cones had been knocked over. He slowed and I was all of a sudden in his draft zone. A few seconds later I got a warning!!!!

Fair enough, marshaling these things is tough and although I think the warning was uncalled for it kept me miles away from the guy for the rest of the race. Where these things break down is when the marshals give a warning, and then another warning, and then a 1 minute penalty, and then a 3 minute penalty and then disqualification. This IS NOT THE ANSWER.

The answer is simple give a verbal warning and then if caught again instant disqualification. Print this all over the race literature, announce it at the briefings and 30 seconds before the start. No one can then say "Oh I didn't realise".

In the past I have also suggested executions at the prize giving but some have suggested that this is too much to expect the race organisers to do. Perhaps they could outsource it? Or maybe fellow competitors could stone the perpetrators to death with cans of Red Bull. Think of it, an added bit of fun, fair punishment and a great sponsorship opportunity with Red Bull. Perhaps this can be a future Poll.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

i voted for no drafting as i consider triathlon to be a pure performance sport, with no place for tactics or teamwork, but of course if people organise draft legal races and people choose to take part thats fine with me. i think that allowing bike drafting in an A to B race made up of 3 segments with unequal drafting effects creates inequalities e.g. a strong swimmer will lose their advantage by having to cycle alone and be caught by a bunch. thats what happened to Kimbeley in S'pore this year. weak cyclists can take advantage of drafting.

btw have you been cheating in my fergie/halle poll?