Thursday, May 7, 2009

iPods: How Many Times Do We Have To Cover This?

In 2009, USA Track and Field ruled that iPods are OK in their races if race directors allow them. Thankfully, USAT and the WTC do not agree.

How many times do we have to talk about this?

iPods are for inside only. Believe me, I understand the long boring training events need a bit of tunes. Indoors - no problem here. I love loud music in the weight room, in the pool, on the treadmill, on the CompuTrainer. LOVE IT! Outside - NEVER, EVER use an iPod or mobile phone while training or racing.

My reasons are simple.

Exhibit A: the late Randy Cadell, two time Ironman Hawaii Champion in the wheelchair division, was killed when a driver on her mobile phone ran over Randy as he rode through Kona. I have heard that Randy had an iPod on - BUT I CANNOT CONFIRM THAT - it doesn't sound like the Randy I met. That isn't something they put on your obit. page. Either way...the driver was distracted. No ear piece. (Free in every mobile phone box incidentally.) We, as a triathlon community, lose a great guy. Lorrie and I met Randy and his girlfriend in Lake Placid in 2003. Why people who need to use their mobile in their car (everyone potentially) don't just buy a bluetooth or use the wired headset in their phone's box is beyond me. It is so easy. Uncommon sense perhaps?

Exhibit B: last year I had to deal with a racer who what run over by an SUV in a triathlon run. He couldn't hear the SUV coming out of a well hidden (trees and shrubs) side street. Lifting a body into a coroner's car is something I won't forget anytime soon. Neither will telling his parents, wife and ultimately his young children; that their son/husband/daddy is dead because he couldn't hear the big truck coming at him in time to get out of the way. I've delivered death benefit checks before but that hurt a lot.

Both are senseless deaths. What does this mean? Is a race not stimulating enough? Are up and coming athletes so devoid of self confidence and race strategy that they need constant distraction and motivation in their ears?

I believe in no iPods and plan on boycotting any race that allows iPods or mobile phones. I hope you join me in doing so as well.

Use your head. It might just save your ass.


  1. Never seen an accident, but tons of close calls. I won't draft or or pull someone wearing ear phones. I'd rather ride by myself. On touring rides, it seems a little rude, like texting at the dinner table.

    I'm convinced that the music not only reduces hearing, but also results in lower situational awareness for reasons unrelated to hearing.

  2. Ya know...on long training rides and runs I actually like the quiet. There is something to that however. I can look in the mirror and I like what I see. I am at peace with myself, my life, my actions and where I am.

    I suspect most people are not and don't like where they are.