Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cheaters on the Course

This is a photo my buddy took while at the 70.3 World Championship in Clearwarer FL last weekend. I say we look up their race numers and post them on, just as Paul Huddle suggested (at the Mandatory Race Meeting in Panama City the weekend before. remember that commment? ... and the whole room broke out in cheers and laughter?).
Yet the next day on the bike course at Florida IM, I had never seen so much cheating in any race of any length ever. Seems the drafting issue is getting worse.
On the course at Ironman I passed a girl late in the race. She was still on somebody's wheel, as she had been when she passed me hours earlier. But now I had the tail wind and with my new disk wheel was FLYING. I finally had the chance to ask if she was still planning to call herself "Ironman" tonight even though she cheated all day. OK, after almost 6 hours of watching cheaters, I started speaking up!
This picture at the World Championship tells it all. Comm's also got an article on cheating on his site today, check it out.


Bolder said...

what i think is interesting, is WHO is cheating...

jonathan (Boulder Multisport) said the same thing on his blog about seeing so much drafting, Travis too. these guys are fast movers.

we exiting the water late folks, saw NO cheating... i saw nothing like that in my race, and believe, passing 810 people, i had the opportunity!

further, why did i have a race official with me for the first 28 miles! i mean seriously, wouldn't those race officials been better put to use following those that came out of the water well before 1:30?

yes, i saw some drafting, but no one on anyone's wheel like that, and no packs... some people i was passing were riding side by side, but, they were just chatting...

i think we need to put some blame on the race officials too... clearly, they are not doing their job based on what i saw in Florida.

Flatman said...

That ain't no ironman...that's a peleton!!! Are you sure that's not france??? ;)

We need some pics of your bike with that disc on there!!! porn.

Comm's said...

I was not impressed with the amount of officiating at IMFL and in that I include SAG support on the bike course and kayaks in the water for the swim.

I passed several people on the bike as well in the BoP. It was impossible to not be tucked into someones 4 length draft area when you have a line of five cyclists in front of you. I did not however see anything like that or participated in that.

momo said...

i found the whole bike situation at imfl frustrating. riders would pass me and then tuck in front of me and slow up. i'd back off to get out of their zone, but it always seemed like they slowed up too. i ended up playing a lot of leapfrog.

Fe-lady said...

My take on this is that the courses are just too damn crowded to NOT "cheat"- even if you don't want to, you may end up doing so, because the land doesn't allow enough room to pass....

I know some race "officials"- and really, they are out there for reasons other than trying to slap on penalties...some of them are more interested in just watching the race (pros).

My 2 cents...

ironjenny said...

I don't want to be the bad guy here, but the rules are there for a reason. Drafting allows you to maintain your speed using up to 40% less effort. That's a huge advantage over the course of 6 hours of exercise. HUGE.
If you are passed, it's your responsibility to immediately fall back 4 bike lengths (not one or two). If someone else starts to pass, you have to wait and fall back behind him, too. That's just what the rule is - I didn't make these rules, but I do follow them. And yes, there is a lot of leapfrogging by the end of the day.
If everybody followed the rule, it would be impossible for packs to form in the first place. But when you are being passed by a pack, you have to let them ALL pass. (If you are a rule-follower).
Regarding riding side-by-side and chatting: that is drafting, too. Anytime you are in another bikers "draft zone" (which includes the side), you are drafting. And blocking. I saw lots of side-by-side chatters, and when other bikers would pass, they had to ride way out into the street to do so.
It's kind of a hot-button for me. If the rules are not followed, then the integrity of the bike segment is compromised. Granted, only the rule-followers get hurt. But I am one of those. And yes, it's frustrating to play leapfrog with other bikers who don't understand the rule, but I'm not going to cheat, too, just because it's crowded or just because everybody else is doing it.
At the end of the day, because I had to slow up to let so many packs completely pass, sure, I lost maybe a minute total. But that's a minute I would love to have off my net time. That's why the rule-follwers are bitching about drafting. It hinders us personally, and helps the pack riders personally, and that's not what it's supposed to be about. It's supposed to be a level playing field out on the bike course.

momo said...

i'd like to think i am a rule follower. i tried very hard to make sure that i was not drafting, which - like you - probably cut time off my overall bike split, but that was ok with me because i just wanted to finish this one - and without penalty! i guess my personal frustration comes from the people who pass and then cannot keep up the speed, causing everyone they just passed to have to slow down. i get your frustration, though, and i agree it is not fair for those of us that try to follow the rules.

ironjenny said...

Yeah - I revealed I hat a hot button ...but in the grand scheme of life, it's not enough to get my blood pressure up over!
Maybe they should just make drafting legal. Then the field is level again. I think it's illegal because of safety issues, though. Triathletes don't have our hands on our brakes like road cyclists do.
Anyway, off to take the kids to lacrosse. Life is good, even if I moved down in placement in my age group because I didn't join the pack! I'm still not fast enough for Hawaii!
Have a good night everybody!

marz_racer said...

Just just found your page and I love it. I couldn't agree more about the drafting. The photo you posted is exactly the scene that passed me at mile forty at the Steelhead 70.3. It sucks, and it really hurts the spirit of our sport.

Anyways, I am looking forward to joining the kitchen spin sessions. Hopefully after Thanksgiving i can get back into riding my bike(I haven't been on my bike for over a month).

Enjoy the holiday!!!

Zurich, Zurich, Zurich.

Robin said...

Ironjenny, I wonder if you're the outspoken gal I saw on the course. She was giving the drafters a big piece of her mind, and really made me smile. I, too, was very very frustrated at the pelotons. One particularly large group of cheaters actually ran me off the road into the grass! Fortunately, I stayed upright.

And I agree with you. I think with that many people on the course, there's going to be times when it's hard to avoid being in somebody's draft zone. But you just do the best you can to fall back and eventually re-pass if you need to. I have been doing triathlons for 20 years and I have NEVER in my life seen anything like the pelotons at IMFL. I have been in other races where people got drafting penalties for being 1 foot closer than the rule allows, meanwhile at IMFL the race officials actually drove right by about 70 riders going wheel-to-wheel in front of me and did nothing. Every penalty tent I passed was empty.

It's frustrating to think that you could easily miss something like an IM Hawaii slot for something far less than the time difference between a drafter and a non-drafter of the same cycling ability.

I've sent a written notice to IMFL about this issue. I would urge everyone else concerned about it to do the same!