OK I have been doing tri's since I was 18 (20+ years) and have never heard of this rule (posted for the Eageman tri... see below) I have seen people do it and always assumed they just wanted to be ready for the run.... Is this a new rule?
Be sure to note the USAT rule that during the bike portion of the race, every athlete MUST wear the race bib number (the same one that will be worn on the run portion) so that it faces toward the back. A race belt is probably the best / easiest method of accomplishing this since the same number must be worn on your front during the run. For the swim, you will be body marked with your race number. For the bike, you will have a bib number on your back, helmet number, and a bike frame number. For the run, you will have a bib number on the front.
So I downloaded the rules from USAT: http://assets.teamusa.org/assets/documents/attached_file/filename/9319/2009_USAT_Competitive_Rules.pdf
I found this mention of race numbers:
"3.4.f. Race Numbers. Participants shall plainly display their race numbers at all times, and shall maintain the race
number in an unaltered, unobstructed and readable state at the start and finish gates, in the transition areas, and
on the course. Any violation of this Section shall result in a variable time penalty."
It doesn't specifically state that the race number must be worn, just displayed, which it would be on your bike. However, I have heard that it is up to the race whether you have to wear your race number on your body during the race.
It's not a new rule. In the race packet they give you one bib to wear for the run, one bib for the bike, and a sticker for bike ride. If you have a race bib then obviously you can wear it for both the run and bike portions.
It may be a race director specific but in the either athlete's guide or inside of the race/bib pamphlet for both of my previous Ironman 70.3 branded races (Ironman Longhorn 70.3 and Ironman CA 70.3) they specifically stated that you should wear the bibs in the run and on the bike. They even have verbiage in there that says that the bib on the bike should be worn on the back so that it is visible. They also verbiage saying that failure to do so can result in a disqualification. Again, this may not be explicitly state in the USAT rule books but the race directors had the rule implemented for both of my races.
I believe this is a rule that only WTC follows (ie. 140.6 and 70.3 trademark races)...its a dumb rule if you ask me, but I guess it might help them denote those with penalties while on course. Otherwise, are they unable to read your number off your legs/arms/helmet/bike?!
yes... stupid rule since you already have it on your helmet, bike, arms, and legs. I think Andy is correct in that it is WTC-specific. Most races I've done have not required it, however New Orleans 70.3 (a WTC race) did. WTC also has wacky draft zone rules (which are longer).
Last year before the race started the race director made an announcement saying that you did not need to wear your race number on the bike. However the prerace email stated you did. I would just plan on wearing it until otherwise informed. The other two WTC event I did last year required you to wear your number on the bike. I agree it is a dumb rule.
i'm going to buck the trend here a bit.
i have to agree to an extent that its a bit of a redundant rule, meaning if you were to wear your run number the entire time even if its on the front of your jersey it should be good enough, however, WTC being WTC always does things differently and can whatever they want. Hey they are Mdot races so if they required people to sing karaoke before the swim people would do that in a heartbeat.
that being said the rule does make sense in a way. probably none of you have officiated a race. and trying to get a a person's number on the bike i can say is one of the toughest things when you are on the back of a motorcycle all while traveling at 20-30 mph.
the numbers on your arms and legs always wear off by the bike, ie, sunscrean and sweat take them off to make them illegible.. the race number on the bike, if it rains they fall off and even if it doesn't most people can't stick them on properly, that goes for helmet numbers too that tend to fall off from water or such and they are also the smallest numbers to read, ie impossible to read while moving at speed... so taht leaves the race number on yor bak, which if done correclty should last the entire bike ride and be easiest to see.
good luck with the race.