Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by r.. » Thu, 23 Jun 1994 09:17:34


        It has occurred to me while following the drafting thread that there there are
some other problems with triathlons that could also be solved by changing the
order of the three disciplines.
        Every triathlete has their own horror story about the mass start in the swim
such as faces kicked, half drowned, freezing water and not warmed up etc.
Cycling has problems with drafting and running is a real pain after a hard
ride, but it is easier to ride after a run.
        So why not have the run first then the swim and finally the bike with drafting
allowed. This would make for all sorts of advantages.
        Firstly a much more orderly start, the field would string out a bit for the
swim and the swimmers would be warm and better able to cope with the cooler
condtions in the water and the swim would be safer.
        Finally the field would be well stretched out by the time the bike comes
around so that drafting would be less of a problem, but allowing drafting would
make for very exciting bunch sprints at the finish. Good for TV and spectators.
         Breaking the two leg driven sports (bike and run) with the arm driven one
(swimming) in the middle also allows the legs to recover and would produce
better preformances.
        This order of events would also reduce the congestion in the transitions area
significantly improving safety.

        The above are only things I have briefly considered. I am sure I have missed
other factors for and against these ideas. Lets start a lively discussion on
the issue and we may improve the sport some more???

Richard

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Richard Wraith
Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
University of Melbourne
Parkville     3052
Victoria      Australia
Tel: (+61 3)/(03) 344 7249
Fax: (+61 3)/(03) 347 8784

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Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Arthur Tateis » Thu, 23 Jun 1994 14:51:11

Quote:

>    So why not have the run first then the swim and finally the bike with drafting
>allowed. This would make for all sorts of advantages.

Well, personally, I'd love to see a run-bike-swim because I've always
liked swimming after a workout (seems to rejuvenate me and give me new
strength) and it would be nice to get the run over with first.

However, (and I read it here a few yrs ago folks!) the best reason I
have heard is for safety and economy. Having the swim first means
everyone is fresh and the time window for lifeguards and water patrols
is kept to a minimum. Lifeguards can be pretty expensive and fresh
athletes will drown less. I think athletes have a responsibility to
themselves to warmup properly. Me? I usually veer off to the outside
of the swim pack to avoid the melee. (Yeah, I know. It also means I
don't draft on the swim and swim slightly farther than I need to.) The
run is last because exhausted athletes will do the least amount of
injury to themselves and others while running. I've seen people slip
and fall on the run but nothing really serious happens.

The first time I did a tri (.75/30/8km in Orillia, ON, CAN), I was
walking to the car and saw some half ironman finishers coming down the
road for a finish time ~5.5hrs.  One guy was very eratic and at one
point staggered over to a nearby pole and started to throw up. He was
ok (only 100-200m from the finish line) but I'd hate to see him on a
bike at that point of exhaustion. After seeing that, I understood why
the swim certainly can't go last.

arthur
--
Choices don't scare me. However, a lack of choices does.


 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Todd Gerla » Thu, 23 Jun 1994 22:12:03

        So why not have the run first then the swim and finally the bike with drafting

Quote:
>       allowed. This would make for all sorts of advantages. >

I don't think this will ever happen for safety reasons but I sure like the idea
of having the swim in the middle.  That would force all of you wetsuit lovers to
put it on and take it off.  I drool over the time I would make up.      

Todd Gerlach



 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Matt Mahon » Fri, 24 Jun 1994 00:04:55

Quote:


>>So why not have the run first then the swim and finally the bike with drafting
>Well, personally, I'd love to see a run-bike-swim

No, it should be bike-run-swim.  The mass start on the bike will give
everyone the same opportunity to draft.  Putting the run in the middle
will spread out the swimmers so you don't have all the bumping and
shoving (there's enough of that in the peloton).  Of course there may
be a problem with the entire field of cyclists coming into the
transition area all at once.

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#include "disclaimer.h"                |____|

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by David LaPorte (Bioch » Fri, 24 Jun 1994 00:33:37

Quote:

>...So why not have the run first then the swim and finally the bike with
> drafting allowed....

I've participated in a couple of duathlons which ended with the bike
leg.  They worked well, but they were small events.  I suspect that the
finish area would be a dangerous place in a big event that finished with
the bike.  Exhausted people are typically not great bike handlers
especially during a high-speed finishing kick.  

Dave LaPorte
U. of Minn.

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by -ampe j. » Fri, 24 Jun 1994 03:35:36



Quote:
>I've participated in a couple of duathlons which ended with the bike
>leg.  They worked well, but they were small events.  I suspect that the
>finish area would be a dangerous place in a big event that finished with
>the bike.  Exhausted people are typically not great bike handlers
>especially during a high-speed finishing kick.  

Well, I've seen plenty of bicycle time trial finish areas, but I have
never seen anyone exhibiting dangerous behavior.  And I can assure you
that the riders were about as exhausted as it is possible to get --
after all, that's the whole point in a time trial!  The only dangerous
area in any kind of bike race is when a large pack sprints for the
finish.


 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by David LaPorte (Bioch » Fri, 24 Jun 1994 06:13:08

Quote:



>....I suspect that the
>>finish area would be a dangerous place in a big event that finished with
>>the bike.  Exhausted people are typically not great bike handlers
>>especially during a high-speed finishing kick.  

>Well, I've seen plenty of bicycle time trial finish areas, but I have
>never seen anyone exhibiting dangerous behavior....

You're right about time trial finish areas.  However, I think this would
be different.  Riders usually don't enter time trial finish areas in
bunches.  They're started at intervals (usually 1 min.) and there's
seldom more than 200 participants.  In contrast, a big triathlon can have
over 1,000 participants and the finish chutes can get pretty crowded when
the mid packers come through.  

It might also be noted that time trialists are usually full time bike
racers and have well developed handling skills.  In contrast, triathlons
attract a wider range of particpants, many of whom are not as experienced
on the bike.

Dave LaPorte
U. of Minn.

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Pat Br » Fri, 24 Jun 1994 23:19:18


Quote:




> >....I suspect that the
> >>finish area would be a dangerous place in a big event that finished with
> >>the bike.  Exhausted people are typically not great bike handlers
> >>especially during a high-speed finishing kick.  

snip
> In contrast, a big triathlon can have
> over 1,000 participants and the finish chutes can get pretty crowded when
> the mid packers come through.  

> It might also be noted that time trialists are usually full time bike
> racers and have well developed handling skills.  

Ok, I've done several bike finish tri's and here's what the race directors
have done to slow people down.  1) Longer chutes, 2) cones strategically
placed so that only 1 bike can pass and you need to ride in a "S" pattern,
and 3) even small psuedo-speed bumps.  Even at the largest race (500+ I
believe), there was NO accidents.

--

Pat Brug, Ph.D.  
Los Alamos National Laboratory
"Home of the TriATOMICS"

compuserve:  72410, 3372        

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Bruce Chen » Sun, 26 Jun 1994 02:15:35


Quote:

>I've participated in a couple of duathlons which ended with the bike
>leg.  They worked well, but they were small events.  I suspect that the
>finish area would be a dangerous place in a big event that finished with
>the bike.  Exhausted people are typically not great bike handlers
>especially during a high-speed finishing kick.  

The order should be:

1. Swim - for safety
2. Run - to help spread out to prevent drafting
3. Bike - for health/safety reasons. The overwhelming cause that puts people in
the medical tent is heat stroke and exhaustion. Biking at the end provides a
natural cooling effect.

So far the arguements against this order seem very weak. If bike racing is so
terribly dangerous, how is that the United States Cycling Federation holds
hundreds of races a year without the dire consequences predicted for triathlons.

"Conservatives of Order" (ie. those who like the current order and desparately
attack any other notion) will usually then claim that a bike finish would be
expensive, because of the extra timing equipment required.  This arguement also
falls flat on its face for the same reason given above.  USCF seems to be
able to execute bike races safely and a reasonable cost.

I have yet to hear an arguement against this proposed order that stands up
to a reasonable analysis. Defining a reasonable analysis should include
examining any claims compared to how the primary bodies of an indvidual
sport handle the issue. (ie. US Master Swimming, USCF, Road Runners Club of
America, etc.)

Bruce Cheney

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Edward Asht » Sun, 26 Jun 1994 03:18:46

I have done a couple of swim-run-bike tris and I can tell you that, although
I never saw a serious wipe-out, the finishes were a little hairy.  If you've
got real cyclists it's not a problem, but the people being passed coming into
the chutes tend to be the great runners & swimmers whose bike handling skills
are so-so or worse.  I'm not saying swim-run-bike should be dismissed out
of hand, but safety here is a legitimate concern.

                                        --Ed

 
 
 

Drafting - Why not change swim, bike, run order?

Post by Mark Copela » Sun, 26 Jun 1994 04:41:45

Quote:

>The order should be:

>1. Swim - for safety
>2. Run - to help spread out to prevent drafting
>3. Bike - for health/safety reasons. The overwhelming cause that puts people in
>the medical tent is heat stroke and exhaustion. Biking at the end provides a
>natural cooling effect.

I think that a race with this order would be interesting...and it could work.
The main problems that I see would be logistical problems for course
directors.  First, putting the bike leg last moves it later in the day....
traffic picks up...this could make obtaining a premit more difficult.
Second, spreading the race out on the run also means that the length
of time cyclist would be on the road increases...another race directors
problem.

Quote:
>So far the arguements against this order seem very weak. If bike racing is so
>terribly dangerous, how is that the United States Cycling Federation holds
>hundreds of races a year without the dire consequences predicted for triathlons.

We need to stop comparing tri's to bike races!  The sports are
sooo different.
USCF crits are raced on closed courses, road races usually have
a rolling enclosure around the main pack...normally of less than
100 riders...also USCF races are catagorized. THERE ARE NO AGE
GROUPS!!!  Also, the first one accross the line wins....and
that is that.  

Quote:
>"Conservatives of Order" (ie. those who like the current order and desparately
>attack any other notion) will usually then claim that a bike finish would be
>expensive, because of the extra timing equipment required.  This arguement also
>falls flat on its face for the same reason given above.  USCF seems to be
>able to execute bike races safely and a reasonable cost.

I don't understand comparing timing equipment and USCF....the only bike
races that I know of that are timed are Time Trials.
And why would putting the bike leg last change the current timing
systems?
Quote:
>I have yet to hear an arguement against this proposed order that stands up
>to a reasonable analysis. Defining a reasonable analysis should include
>examining any claims compared to how the primary bodies of an indvidual
>sport handle the issue. (ie. US Master Swimming, USCF, Road Runners Club of
>America, etc.)

The order should be decided on by the race director...different
orders could work in different situations.  We can learn from
looking at the US Master Swimming, USCF, Road Runners Club of
America, etc. but remember Triathlon is a sport in itself...
not a combination of three sports.
Karen Copeland