It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Bruce Chen » Sat, 17 Aug 1991 05:02:20


Although it is traditional to run triathlons in swim,bike,run
order, a better order would be swim,run,bike.  Here's why:

Swim first - logistics dictates this. As a race director, you
don't want tired people entering the water, cramping, and causing
rescue efforts to be initiated.  You also want everyone in the water
at the same time because the swim course requires the most supervision
by both skilled and unskilled workers (skilled means having lifeguard
training) and you want to minimize the time these folks are needed.

Run second - as the day goes on and gets hotter and hotter, you want
the event that has the highest risk of heat stroke and heat
exhaustion closest to the coolest part of the day.  Most tri's are in
the morning, but swimming has to go first, so place running next.

Bike last - because of the velocity involved, heat stroke and exhaustion
are rarely problems in bicylcing, therefore place it last.

Added Advantage:

Drafting is reduced.  People are so spread out by the time the bike is
started, that it is hard to link up into pace lines.

Disadvantage:

As people get more tired towards the end, I suppose the probability of
crashes on bikes might go up.

A bike finish line is a little more difficult to administer than a run
finish line.

Any thoughts, pro or con ?

Bruce Cheney
{ucbvax,decvax,ihnp4,allegra,uw-beaver}!tektronix!tekgen!brucec

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Samuel R. Pere » Sat, 17 Aug 1991 12:40:35

Quote:
>Although it is traditional to run triathlons in swim,bike,run
>order, a better order would be swim,run,bike.  Here's why:
> ...
>Disadvantage:

>As people get more tired towards the end, I suppose the probability of
>crashes on bikes might go up.

>A bike finish line is a little more difficult to administer than a run
>finish line.

>Any thoughts, pro or con ?

>Bruce Cheney
>{ucbvax,decvax,ihnp4,allegra,uw-beaver}!tektronix!tekgen!brucec

I personally feel that these disadvantages outweigh the advantages.  I am
biased because I am much more of a runner than a biker, and so am not as
comfortable on the bike as perhaps others are.  But I know that when I'm
as exhausted as I generally am towards the end of any race, I would rather
have my feet on the ground and not be moving at >20mph!  Biking, especially
on a relatively crowded course, takes 100% concentration--it's like driving.
At that point in the race, I would rather be concentrating on pushing my
body than on traffic.  And the point about the finish line is also a major
issue--that's when you are *the* most tired, yet in many cases, it's when
you are pushing the hardest--giving that last bit of a kick.  I'd rather
be doing that on foot--and have the people around me be on foot--than be
doing that in a pack of bicycle riders.

                                                Sam Peretz

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Keith Jacks » Sat, 17 Aug 1991 21:36:29

Quote:

>Although it is traditional to run triathlons in swim,bike,run
>order, a better order would be swim,run,bike.  Here's why:

(and so on)

Quote:

>Disadvantage:

>As people get more tired towards the end, I suppose the probability of
>crashes on bikes might go up.

>A bike finish line is a little more difficult to administer than a run
>finish line.

>Any thoughts, pro or con ?

>Bruce Cheney
>{ucbvax,decvax,ihnp4,allegra,uw-beaver}!tektronix!tekgen!brucec

I think the two disadvantages you mentioned are big ones.  The finish
would be a nightmare.  Can you imagine a race like the Chicago Sun Times
with 4000 people.  You could have 50 to 100 people finishing at almost
the same time.  Even if everyone was curtious and polite across the
finish line ;-) You would have a war when the results were published
and half the field was given the 'st'.

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Keith Jackson                  |     phone: 216-433-5105 or
Sverdrup Technology, Inc       |            216-891-2946


 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Tim Sulliv » Sat, 17 Aug 1991 22:31:48


Quote:

>Although it is traditional to run triathlons in swim,bike,run
>order, a better order would be swim,run,bike.  Here's why:

        [resons deleted]

Quote:
>Disadvantage:

>As people get more tired towards the end, I suppose the probability of
>crashes on bikes might go up.

>A bike finish line is a little more difficult to administer than a run
>finish line.

        These are exactly the reasons that this should not be tried!  These
        are safety issues and should not be compromised.  Another consideration
        is that with a further spread of the field before the start of the bike
        leg, you need traffic control for a greater period of time.  That costs
        $$, and I think we are all complaining about race fees.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Sullivan

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Bruce Chen » Sun, 18 Aug 1991 01:29:23

Thanks for comments !  Although the posted comments are running
pretty strongly against this order, I have received email that
wasn't posted that pointed out another advantage: If the water
is cold, hopping onto a bike could actually lower body temperature
even further. It was pointed out that some tri's address this issue
by deliberately having a small run to the bike transition area.

I would like to try to refute some of the comments made:

"It shouldn't be tried because ...." - It HAS been tried (tri-ed :)).
The Texas Triathlon in College Station, TX has always been in this order.
There are other tri's run this way, too - if anyone has been in one like
this, please speak up!

"Bike finish is too dangerous" ... How do bicycle races (like USCF) end?
At a finish line, of course ! If there is anyone who is involved in
directing bike races who would like to comment on the inherent safety or
lack of safety in bike finishes, lets hear it.

"More Bike course monitors = more $$" ... From my directing experience,
bike course monitors aren't paid. They are volunteers. It would also be
interesting to pick a typical USTS event and look at the dynamics of how
people spread out in the various events to see how much longer we are
talking about.  In general, the monitor duty, whether bike, swim, or run
usually requires the monitors to be in place when the whole event starts.
If the courses are adjacent, it common to have the bike monitors move over
to the run course after the bike has finished.  They may get there just
when the run is finishing, but that's OK. The run course takes longer to
clean up than any other due to all those cups. Overall, the volunteers may
be out there a shorter time with SRB, because the run mess can be cleaned
up while the bike is going on.

"Safety" - Ask anyone who works in the medical tent what the biggest health
risk is in a tri. The answer I've always received is "heat stroke & exhaustion"
This order addressess the MAJOR safety and health risk. BTW, the highest
incidence of DEATH may be in the swim, but the majority of folks in the
medical tent are there for heat related stuff.

Bruce Cheney

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by John Walk » Sun, 18 Aug 1991 10:24:52

Concerning the order of events in a triathlon, I would like to respond
to a few of the points that Bruce Cheney pointed out. Ultimately though,
I think the decision about the order should be left up to the race director.
If the competitors don't like the order, they won't do the race more
than once. I have enjoyed swim-bike-run and swim-run-bike triathlons,
along with run-bike-run, run-bike, and swim-bike duathlons (I still
like the name biathlon better). The order does not matter as much to
me as does the quality of the race.


writes:

Quote:

>"It shouldn't be tried because ...." - It HAS been tried (tri-ed :)).
>The Texas Triathlon in College Station, TX has always been in this order.
>There are other tri's run this way, too - if anyone has been in one like
>this, please speak up!

Cambridge Triathlon - about half-Ironman distances in Cambridge, Md.
Swim-run-bike worked fine in this race, but a 1.6 mile swim and half
marathon will do a very good job of spreading people out before the
bike.

Quote:
>"Bike finish is too dangerous" ... How do bicycle races (like USCF) end?

I am not involved with directing bike races, but I have done a few.
USCF races generally just have officials to write down the numbers of
the first X competitors across the line.  Note that this requires the
competitors to wear their number in a very specific place so that it
can be seen by the official. It also requires enough room after the
finish for competitors to slow down. It would be next to impossible
to get exact placings of everyone in a pack without filming the finish
and reviewing it later.

Quote:
>"More Bike course monitors = more $$" ... From my directing experience,
>bike course monitors aren't paid. They are volunteers....

I think the comment here is regarding the police who monitor and control
intersections. I rather doubt that they are volunteers.

Quote:
>"Safety" - Ask anyone who works in the medical tent what the biggest health
>risk is in a tri. The answer I've always received is "heat stroke &
>exhaustion"... the majority of folks in the medical tent are there for
>heat related stuff.

I won't argue this one, as I have spent my time in the medical tent due
to hypothermia (and yes, I was wearing a wetsuit).

One other point, when I cycle immediately after running, I seem very
prone to calf cramps. These then seem to be the limiting factor in how
strong the ensuing bike ride is.

                                        -- John

--
----------------------------------------------------
John Walker                Metaphor Computer Systems

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

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Tim Sulliv » Tue, 20 Aug 1991 23:39:30


Quote:

>writes:

>>"More Bike course monitors = more $$" ... From my directing experience,
>>bike course monitors aren't paid. They are volunteers....

>I think the comment here is regarding the police who monitor and control
>intersections. I rather doubt that they are volunteers.

        Yes John, that is what my comment was about.  And here it is exactly
        as I originally wrote it:

        "Another consideration is that with a further spread of the field
        before the start of the bike leg, you need traffic control for a
        greater period of time.  That costs $$, and I think we are all
        complaining about race fees."

        Most of the races I participate in have major intersections monitored
        by some form of local law enforcment.  That is not a free service.
        Side roads are sometimes covered by civilians (ie., volunteers), and
        draft marshials are volunteers, but traffic control is not usually
        free.

        What to do about the problem of head exhastion?  Why not earlier start
        times.  Instead of starting an international length race, which may
        last three hours for many competitors, at 9am, start the race a 7am.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tim Sullivan

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Chris Murp » Wed, 21 Aug 1991 05:44:52

Quote:

>Although it is traditional to run triathlons in swim,bike,run
>order, a better order would be swim,run,bike.  Here's why:
>Swim first - logistics, [saftey in numbers and less fatigue early on]
>Run second - ...you want the event that has the highest risk of heat stroke...
>closest to the coolest part of the day.  
>Bike last - because of the velocity involved, heat stroke and exhaustion
>are rarely problems in bicylcing, therefore place it last.
>Disadvantage:
>As people get more tired towards the end, I suppose the probability of
>crashes on bikes might go up.
>A bike finish line is a little more difficult to administer than a run
>finish line.
>Any thoughts, pro or con ?

I think biking before running is more safe.  One reason for the swim-bike-run
order is: if you get exhausted swimming, you risk drowning; biking, you risk
crashing at ump*** mph into a stationary object or moving vehicle--maybe
serious injury and death; if you get exhausted running, you simply fall over.

I was once a spectator at a run-bike biathlon (oops, du-athlon...:-).  The
finish line was very chaotic, what with the sprints and all, and it was
definitely not safe.  There were several near crashes in the finish chute,
and several bikers had to be grabbed by spectators and officials lining the
chute.  There were a couple of scary moments when a couple of competitors
tried to sprint for the one-competitor wide chute entrance.  The race
officials had made a big deal during the pre-race briefing about safety at
the end of the race, and officials constantly yelled, "Slow Down!", as
competitors neared the finish.  You can imagine how many competition-crazed
age groupers gently coasted into the finish area.

Perhaps events with a bike finish can borrow finish line protocols from
bike racing time trials or road races, but I still think a run finish is
safer.  Besides, with a bike finish, we wouldn't have been treated to
Paula Newby-Fraser's ecstatic leap when she smashed the women's record at
the 1988 Ironman!


Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon USA

 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Todd Bor » Wed, 21 Aug 1991 14:59:44

Quote:
>"Safety" - Ask anyone who works in the medical tent what the biggest health
>risk is in a tri. The answer I've always received is "heat stroke &
exhaustion"
>This order addressess the MAJOR safety and health risk. BTW, the highest
>incidence of DEATH may be in the swim, but the majority of folks in the
>medical tent are there for heat related stuff.

>Bruce Cheney

*** As a EMT volunteer for the 1990 USTS Bud light series, and the Med. Coord.
    for the Danskin All-womens Tri,  I will agree in part that in almost
    all tri races, I tended to several cases of heat stroke, cramps, and
    exhaustion.  Although I found that serveral of the other types of
    injuries to be just as common.  These would be abrasions, heat-related
    shin and quad splints (run) .  Your comments on the bike saftey issue
    is in tune with my general feelings that, unlike fullcomp tri races,
    the half-tri and fun tri events tend to have more injuries from
    weekend jocks (no rudeness intended).  Its great to see more people
    spending time in the great event, although as an avid biker myself, I
    sometimes feel hairy in a crowd of others. Point in case being that
    the majority of the injuries in the Danskin '90, were bike-related.

    I couldnt say with any authority the a s/r/b scenario would work any
    better, but lets look at injury stats for the Texas Tri scene and to
    the major tri setup now currently in place for USTS (s/b/r)  could
    we draw new conclusions with that data??  food for thought...

    todd born (Silicon Graphics, Mt. View , CA)


 
 
 

It should be: Swim,Run,Bike !

Post by Douglas Gu » Wed, 21 Aug 1991 23:56:21

Well, there's a club up in the north of Scotland who run a series of
winter races (Jan/Feb/Mar). Sprint distance 400m/8m/4m in the order:

        run - bike - swim.

The rationale is primarily safety (_you_ try leaping onto a bike, soaking
wet in a vest and a pair of swim trunks when it's 3 degrees below zero), but
it makes for a fabulous race. The runs always used to be _very_ fast.
Run-bike was never any problem (much less than bike-run anyway :-) but
leaping into the pool (yes, yes I know, _real_ triathletes(TM) melt
the ice in the open water with the friction generated by their bow wave)
was always quite an experience. Chewed string is a phrase that leaps
to mind when I remember how my arms used to feel.

Personally, I always liked that order -- mainly because on a good day,
you could enjoy the luxury of an empty pool. However more generally, I think
run first is quite a good idea as the main congestion comes
in the activity which can best cope with it. I'd miss the "thrill" of
the mass swim start though ....

Doug Gurr