Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time to Enforce the Rules

Drafting, outside assistance, non-racers crossing finish lines, littering - triathlon needs to take a lesson from the NBA who is under the microscope of public scrutiny for how the rules are exactly enforced.

Now, I'm not comparing the NBA to Triathlon because there is no "line" in Las Vegas on who is going to win any triathlon in the world. No proposition bets like "fastest bike split" or fun ones like "first pro DNF" or "first port-o-let usage by a pro" (put your money on Fedofsky). It is silly to even try to compare a "freak, fringe sport" of Triathlon to the NBA; however, there are still some things that bind the sports.

There are no standard rules for triathlon. You have to understand which "league" you are racing in. USAT, WTC or ITU - each have different rules for drafting, clothing (I love the ridiculous detail of the ITU clothing rules. You gotta read them! What anal retentive dork wrote these rules?)

Marshals or no marshals? How many racers is 'too many'? When is a foul a foul? When should they be called.

Did you notice that in the first four games of the NBA Finals the foul difference (home vs. visitor) was heavily slanted toward the home team? (They call that "home cookin'.) When the revelations of now admitted felon referee Tim Donahey that calls were allegedly made based on home/visitor and who the super stars were as well as TV ratings; in the last two games of the NBA Finals the fouls were mysteriously even home vs. visitor. Makes you go hmm.

Watch the lines in Las Vegas. Big casinos and sports books don't like to loose.

In triathlon, money is exchanged between age group amateur and the race organization. Which seems to mean that the everyman is also ruling the rule book. To take Elizabeth's blog to the next level, if a race organization has "hard ass" marshals and DQs people for illegal actions like running with their family across the finish line or out on the course...the money will walk. At least, that is the fear of the race organizations like WTC.

How many ITU Worlds racers finished with their family members? Makes you go...hmm.

Clean up the sport of triathlon before it gets even more silly. Enforce the rules fairly and evenly to all racers. It is clear racers cannot police themselves.

Quiet honestly...mainstream triathlon is loosing my interest on its current path of "Team your last name here" bullshit, drafting, doping, ego, entire families finishing together or my favorite the jackass dad/mom carrying his clueless newborn across the finish with the baby getting abused on the way in thinking, "Why is mommy or daddy doing this to me?"...and the "who has the longer Johnson" ego type stuff. That is all UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT. How do I really feel about it right?) Maybe I'm getting old or I've been in a toxic work environment too long to enjoy the ride. Maybe I need some Prosac, but something has to change and soon.

I want old school back. Guys in Speedos, gals in the equivalent going so hard that they bonk or puke. No "Body Glide"...wimps. Ego was defined by how many beers you could pound at the finish before your friends finished their races.

My solutions:
1) I am advocating all triathlon races to be draft legal. We won't hear bitching about packs anymore. Sure, we'll get some mighty bike crack ups but no fighting about who is "cheating". Additionally, as a faster swimmer - I'll get to draft with a pack of riders and "get away" on the bike - sounds good to me! *I am not kidding on this one.

2) Mass starts - pros and amateurs for all races. Give the pros a separate wide start area but every racer starts at the same time. Embrace the chaos. Grab a thigh and blacken an eye!

3) No aid stations - survival of the fit - est persons. Need water...go ahead and stop. Wimp.

4) Full contact races & finish lines - if you are in front of me, I can check you, tackle you, hit you. Whatever it takes to stop you from getting to the line before me.

Water polo, NASCAR and UFC (Ultimate Fighting) meet racing!

Now this is a race I might be interested in...


  1. I think that a draft legal triathlon would be the scariest thing I could possibly do... even if you remove aero bars from the equation (yes, it IS possible to race the bike portion without aero bars) it'd still be a meatgrinder clusterfuck of epic proportions. Think about the Foster Ave turnaround for the Chicago Tri.

  2. True! But think of it this way...if it was like a crit or road race and you could block and get physical all you'd have to do is out muscle people. In Chicago they'd have to increase the turn lane.