ITU Worlds, what's the point of swim/bike?

Discussion in 'Triathlon' started by Chris Freeman, Jun 5, 2003.

  1. I just got finished watching a reply of a World Cup event from Japan and my thought was what is the
    point of the swim and bike? Out of about 60 men, there were about 40 cycling along in a huge pack.
    The back half were just lolly gagging along drafting the huge pack. They all came into the
    transition together. They might as well have lined them all up for a 10K and let it go at that.

    The women were a little more spread out, but Barb Lindquist kicked butt on the swim and then decided
    to simply let the rest of them catch up to her on the bike so she could draft back and forth with
    some others. Still probably could have lined up about 1/2 the women for a 10K.

    How do the officials in a non ITU even force the racers to spread out on the bike?

    chris
     
    Tags:


  2. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, chris freeman <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I just got finished watching a reply of a World Cup event from Japan and my thought was what is
    > the point of the swim and bike? Out of about 60 men, there were about 40 cycling along in a huge
    > pack. The back half were just lolly gagging along drafting the huge pack. They all came into the
    > transition together. They might as well have lined them all up for a 10K and let it go at that.
    >
    > The women were a little more spread out, but Barb Lindquist kicked butt on the swim and then
    > decided to simply let the rest of them catch up to her on the bike so she could draft back and
    > forth with some others. Still probably could have lined up about 1/2 the women for a 10K.
    >
    > How do the officials in a non ITU even force the racers to spread out on the bike?

    By outlawing drafting?

    --Harold Buck

    "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."

    - Homer J. Simpson
     
  3. I understand that in theory. Watching this race though, how would you force this? There were about
    50 guys coming out of the swim/bike transition together.

    chris

    Harold Buck wrote:

    > > How do the officials in a non ITU even force the racers to spread out on the bike?
    >
    > By outlawing drafting?
    >
    > --Harold Buck
     
  4. Jim Gosse

    Jim Gosse Guest

    Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the majority of the race is a hell of
    a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead form the whole race?

    "chris freeman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I understand that in theory. Watching this race though, how would you
    force
    > this? There were about 50 guys coming out of the swim/bike transition together.
    >
    > chris
    >
    > Harold Buck wrote:
    >
    > > > How do the officials in a non ITU even force the racers to spread out
    on
    > > > the bike?
    > >
    > > By outlawing drafting?
    > >
    > > --Harold Buck
     
  5. chris freeman wrote:

    > I understand that in theory. Watching this race though, how would you force this? There were about
    > 50 guys coming out of the swim/bike transition together.

    In an ITU race you live or die by the swim. If you're an average (in relative terms) swimmer, you
    treat it like an all out sprint because if you miss the pack by much your day is over. In a normal
    (non drafting) race you swim at your level counting on your superior biking or running to get you
    back to the front. So swimmers are coming in according to their ability and are spread out more
    intead of blowing it all on the swim to attempt to make the first pack so they can "sit in". In
    Bellingham last weekend you had a brutal (18% grades) bike course that blew the packs apart and the
    best athletes walked away with it. Funny thing though, all the top seeds still finished at the top
    like they do in the rest of the "flat & fast" draft fests.

    JJ
     
  6. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, chris freeman <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I understand that in theory. Watching this race though, how would you force this? There were about
    > 50 guys coming out of the swim/bike transition together.

    Um, you give penalties for drafting, as defined by USAT, for example.

    --Harold Buck

    "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."

    - Homer J. Simpson
     
  7. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the majority of the race is a hell
    > of a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead form the whole race?

    No. It's more exciting for someone to get run down at the finish line after getting a big lead
    on the bike.

    If all you care about is having people close together for the majority of the race, why don't you
    chain everyone together and then unlock them with 100 meters left in the run.

    What you're missing is that the draft-legal format essentially *negates* the whole idea of triathlon
    by making it easy for weak cyclists to hang in by drafting. It ends up being nothing more than a 10K
    race for people who can run and swim.

    --Harold Buck

    "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."

    - Homer J. Simpson
     
  8. "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the majority of the race is a hell
    > of a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead form the whole race?

    This completely misses the point. What's exciting is to see a race where the strengths and
    weaknesses of the racers are stacked up against each other: somebody gains time on the swim, loses
    it on the bike, maybe catches up in the run, etc. This never happens if the cycling pack makes sure
    fast swimmers don't waste their energy, leaves slower swimmers far behind, and provides a strong
    disincentive for anybody in the pack to try to break away.

    Why anyone would think that non-drafting races encourage one guy to lead for the whole race is
    beyond me. Is that the best argument you can muster?

    Andrew
     
  9. On Thu, 05 Jun 2003 22:01:42 GMT, Harold Buck <[email protected]> wrote:

    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >> Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the majority of the race is a hell
    >> of a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead form the whole race?
    >
    >
    >No. It's more exciting for someone to get run down at the finish line after getting a big lead on
    >the bike.
    >
    >If all you care about is having people close together for the majority of the race, why don't you
    >chain everyone together and then unlock them with 100 meters left in the run.
    >
    >What you're missing is that the draft-legal format essentially *negates* the whole idea of
    >triathlon by making it easy for weak cyclists to hang in by drafting. It ends up being nothing more
    >than a 10K race for people who can run and swim.
    >
    >
    That may be true, but it is also true that a large, rigorously-enforced, draft-illegal event forces
    the cyclist to behave in ways that would not make sense in any other sort of race, like dropping
    back when you're in a close race with another competitor, sprinting ahead of another cyclist
    mid-race in order to get out of his "draft zone" before the time is up, etc. If you really want a
    bike event that is nothing more than an all-out individual effort, then a staggered-start time trial
    is the only way to go that is close to foolproof.

    >--Harold Buck
    >
    >
    >"I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."
    >
    > - Homer J. Simpson
     
  10. On 6 Jun 2003 15:08:25 -0700, [email protected] (Andrew Duncan) wrote:

    >"Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >> Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the majority of the race is a hell
    >> of a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead form the whole race?
    >
    >This completely misses the point. What's exciting is to see a race where the strengths and
    >weaknesses of the racers are stacked up against each other: somebody gains time on the swim, loses
    >it on the bike, maybe catches up in the run, etc. This never happens if the cycling pack makes sure
    >fast swimmers don't waste their energy, leaves slower swimmers far behind, and provides a strong
    >disincentive for anybody in the pack to try to break away.
    >
    >Why anyone would think that non-drafting races encourage one guy to lead for the whole race is
    >beyond me. Is that the best argument you can muster?
    >
    >Andrew

    I wonder what would happen if you had an elite-level, draft-legal event with a different order of
    events, such as bike-swim-run or swim-run-bike. Has this ever been done? If you put the bike ride
    first, then at least you'd have some separation on the other events. If you put it at the end, then
    hopefully, the field would have separated enough to prevent large packs from forming.
     
  11. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

    Joined:
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    Sure it looks easy on tv from your arm chair but have you you ever been in one of the packs in a world cup race? It isnt easy at all, sure at times it is but then at u-turns ect you are balls out to hang on and guys get dropped all the time. There are more tactics than you can see in edited footage.
     
  12. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    Kristian <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Sure it looks easy on tv from your arm chair but have you you ever been in one of the packs in a
    >world cup race? It isnt easy at all, sure at times it is but then at u-turns ect you are balls
    >out to hang on and guys get dropped all the time. There are more tactics than you can see in
    >edited footage.

    It's the same physics that apply to a bike race, and most of them finish together in a bunch sprint
    even though the racers are done for the day when they cross the line. If a rider who's sitting in on
    a pack can't muster the energy to grab the tail again after a corner or u-turn, he or she is truly a
    MUCH weaker rider than those doing the pulling, and would be miles off the back were it a "real
    triathlon".

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  13. Kristian <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Sure it looks easy on tv from your arm chair but have you you ever been in one of the packs in a
    > world cup race? It isnt easy at all, sure at times it is but then at u-turns ect you are balls out
    > to hang on and guys get dropped all the time. There are more tactics than you can see in edited
    > footage.

    Easy? Who said anything about easy? You're talking with voices in your own head, not the people in
    this conversation.

    Excuse me for bitching, but your objection comes up EVERY time in discussions about drafting in
    triathlons, and it's hard not to think that there's some sort of insecurity and defensiveness
    motivating it. I'll do you the courtesy of assuming that's not the case with you. (Think I'm
    exaggerating? Google's newsgroup search confirms it.)

    The point here is not easy or hard, its competitive balance. I can come up with lots of difficult
    things we could force athletes to do (stand on their heads, play the banjo while riding a unicycle,
    etc.) that just have no place in a triathlon. So what if it's technically challenging to ride with a
    fast pack? That has nothing to do with the positions stated in this discussion.

    Andrew
     
  14. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

    Joined:
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    Andrew

    Harald Buck said, or implied it was easy "guys just lolling about joking at the back of the pack"

    Drafting is here to stay. I can't understand why people continue to argue the point of it being sooooo unfair when these same people que up at the start line to get on better swimmers feet, and dont bat an eye at it. Drafting and non drafting are quite different sports. If you are a super strong cyclist that can't swim, you dont belong in drafting races. If you do want to race them, shift your focus to swim and run. I can't get over the hostility that fellow triathletes address one another. We both compete in the same sport. For the sake of media coverage etc ITU races are draft legal. That's the way it is. Crying about guys sitting on won't get you a world cup spot, so you just have to do what it takes to be the best athlete you can be given THIS format.

    So, what am I insecure and defensive about?
     
  15. Kristian <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > Harald Buck said, or implied it was easy "guys just lolling about joking at the back of the pack"

    I certainly don't see that quote anywhere in this thread. But then if you can't spell his
    name right...

    > Drafting is here to stay.

    This is about the weakest argument anyone can muster for anything.

    > I can't understand why people continue to argue the point of it being sooooo unfair when these
    > same people que up at the start line to get on better swimmers feet, and dont bat an eye at
    > it.

    There's a very simple answer to this: people start the swim AT THE SAME TIME, and have equal
    opportunity to find or not find a draft. (For what it's worth, if we could eliminate drafting from
    the swim, I'd be in favor of it.)

    By contrast, people start the cycling leg AT DIFFERENT TIMES, seeded by their swim times. By
    swimming faster than the average, you actually decrease your chance of finding a draft, and increase
    your chance of being caught by the bulk of cyclists, who will start behind you.

    > I can't get over the hostility that fellow triathletes address one another. We both compete in the
    > same sport.

    Plenty of people (myself included) have busted our butts in the water, only to be passed by groups
    of drafters (this in races where drafting is illegal). It's the sort of thing that pisses us off.

    It doesn't help when people come on a newsgroup, make up quotes, and accuse their opponents of

    > Crying about guys sitting on

    The irony is that there are more reasonable arguments for making drafting legal, but you haven't
    even come close to them.

    > So, what am I insecure and defensive about?

    I said explicitly in my previous post that I was *not* accusing you of this. Do you really still not
    understand why people get annoyed when their arguments are distorted? You could come out and say
    "You say you're not accusing me of being insecure but I think you are doing that", but instead --
    very ironically -- come back with a jab that sounds defensive.

    For the record, when many people (not you, OK?) argue about this topic, they often convey the
    impression that the skills they have developed through hard practice (pacing with a pack, breaking
    away, paceline strategy and tactics) are being belittled and held valueless by triathletes. Not the
    case. Consider the fine, exciting, and very difficult skills needed to play soccer. They're great,
    but have no place in the triathlon run leg. Water polo skills have no place in the swim leg. (Not
    that they don't get used...but that's another thread!)

    Andrew
     
  16. Kristian <[email protected]> wrote in news:3ee31039$1_4 @news.chariot.net.au:

    > Drafting and non drafting are quite different sports.

    Exactly. Only one of them is called triathlon. That would be the non- draftfest. Yes, I know people
    draft on the run and the swim, but that was the way the sport started. I resent the bastardization
    of the sport that came about for the olympics (the folks who brought organized crime to sports
    besides boxing) just to "jazz up" the sport for spectators.
     
  17. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    Kristian <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    > Harald Buck said, or implied it was easy "guys just lolling about joking at the back of the pack"
    >

    Dear jackass-

    1) Spell my name right.

    2) Do NOT put words in my mouth, nor make up implications that are not there. I have read articles
    about draft-legal races where people refused to take a pull. I think it was one of the top Aussie
    women (Michellie (sp?) Jones?).

    --Harold Buck

    "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."

    - Homer J. Simpson
     
  18. Jim Gosse

    Jim Gosse Guest

    Getting back to the original posting, you could apply that same to every sporting event in
    the world.

    Since the Stanley Cup Final has come down to a seventh and deciding game, wouldn't it be just as
    well for them to play a one game, winner takes all? Or maybe in games 3 and 4 that went into
    overtime, maybe they should have just skipped the first three periods, and started off with sudden
    death. Or maybe Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park could have just skipped four rounds of golf at the
    LPGA Championship this weekend and started with one hole sudden death.

    Get the point?

    "Harold Buck" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>,
    > "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Don't you guys think that a large group of racers together for the
    majority
    > > of the race is a hell of a lot more exciting than one guy in the lead
    form
    > > the whole race?
    >
    >
    > No. It's more exciting for someone to get run down at the finish line after getting a big lead on
    > the bike.
    >
    > If all you care about is having people close together for the majority of the race, why don't you
    > chain everyone together and then unlock them with 100 meters left in the run.
    >
    > What you're missing is that the draft-legal format essentially *negates* the whole idea of
    > triathlon by making it easy for weak cyclists to hang in by drafting. It ends up being nothing
    > more than a 10K race for people who can run and swim.
    >
    >
    > --Harold Buck
    >
    >
    > "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."
    >
    > - Homer J. Simpson
     
  19. "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Getting back to the original posting, you could apply that same to every sporting event in
    > the world.
    >
    > Since the Stanley Cup Final has come down to a seventh and deciding game, wouldn't it be just as
    > well for them to play a one game, winner takes all? Or maybe in games 3 and 4 that went into
    > overtime, maybe they should have just skipped the first three periods, and started off with sudden
    > death. Or maybe Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park could have just skipped four rounds of golf at the
    > LPGA Championship this weekend and started with one hole sudden death.
    >
    > Get the point?

    BUT...there are no rules in hockey that guarantee that the standings will be closer near the end of
    the playoffs. Is it so hard to understand the arguments that I and others have put forth repeatedly
    -- that in triathlon, draft-legal cycling compresses the field, both in swimming (by providing a
    disincentive to be too far ahead or behind the main body) and in cycling (by making it harder to
    break away and easier to hang on)? Really, this isn't rocket science.

    Andrew
     
  20. Harold Buck

    Harold Buck Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Andrew
    Duncan) wrote:

    > "Jim Gosse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > Getting back to the original posting, you could apply that same to every sporting event in the
    > > world.
    > >
    > > Since the Stanley Cup Final has come down to a seventh and deciding game, wouldn't it be just as
    > > well for them to play a one game, winner takes all? Or maybe in games 3 and 4 that went into
    > > overtime, maybe they should have just skipped the first three periods, and started off with
    > > sudden death. Or maybe Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park could have just skipped four rounds of
    > > golf at the LPGA Championship this weekend and started with one hole sudden death.
    > >
    > > Get the point?
    >
    > BUT...there are no rules in hockey that guarantee that the standings will be closer near the end
    > of the playoffs. Is it so hard to understand the arguments that I and others have put forth
    > repeatedly -- that in triathlon, draft-legal cycling compresses the field, both in swimming (by
    > providing a disincentive to be too far ahead or behind the main body) and in cycling (by making it
    > harder to break away and easier to hang on)? Really, this isn't rocket science.

    Looked to me like Mr. Gosse was SUPPORTING your point. He's saying "If all you want is for people to
    be close together far into the race, why don't you have one-game playoff series instead of 7, since
    then you can't have a 4-0 sweep, etc."

    --Harold Buck

    "I used to rock and roll all night, and party every day. Then it was every other day. . . ."

    - Homer J. Simpson
     
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