Friday, January 4, 2008

Holiday Conversation: Drafting & Cheating & ACTION!

As I'm preparing battle plans for the folks I coach, one topic keeps coming up - drafting. I pick up Inside Triathlon and there are some great letters to the editor about drafting in Kona and in Clearwater. Apparently, our entitlement culture feels that if there are no people enforcing the rules...it is ok to draft, cut the course or whatever.

At TWO races in 2007, I came out of the water in the top 5 - was passed by one or two people...and somehow finished 27th in my age group. A MIRACLE!

I must be getting old because when I first started in triathlon racers would call you out for drafting by yelling at you on the bike and then ratting you out to the first official they saw. Now...I don't see that happening.

In two conversations with athletes I coach, they mentioned that they knew two or three (respectively) who are doping. (I guess they didn't go to ITU worlds since they had zero positives.) I know of several older gals who are notorious for drafting. What do we do about it?

Here is my action plan:

1) I'm working with Jimmy R. on some new "enforcement" ideas at NAS and Ironman events.

2) I'm going to be a bike marshal at several races.

3) I'll talk to the USAT about what I see as an athlete.

4) I'll use (tactful) peer pressure to stop the cheating/drafting. (W25-29 in the FL 70.3...take note - don't draft the big guy on the bike)

I strongly encourage all of you to volunteer at a race as a draft marshal. It is fun and you are a solution to the problem. Stop bitching about cheaters and help bust them! Get three or four athletes and talk to the older gal who was sucking wheel on the way to her "Championship". Do the same for the 35-39 male who is blocking and won't let the gals pass legally.

Take ACTION!

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