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Fairness of Triathlon
CREATED: 03/29/12 by conartist REPLIES: 13
conartist's ravatar conartist    JOINED: 1/31/12    POSTS: 54
Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 12:31 PM

Just copied and pasted this from online story about Usain Bolt. I wonder if most of us train accordingly??

"Barrow also turns his attentions to the newest sport in the Olympic Games - the triathlon - which consists of a swim, a bike ride and a distance run.

Barrow wonders whether the relative lengths of the swim, ride and run stages are really fair. And after analyzing the results of women's and men's triathlon medal winners at the Beijing Olympics, he thinks not.

"As the rules stand, the winning man spent a mere 16.7 percent of this total time swimming, 28.3 percent of it running, 0.8 percent of it in transition (going from one sport to the next) and a whopping 54.2 percent of it cycling," the mathematician writes in his book, concluding that this shows there is far too much emphasis put on cycling performance.

Asked what should be done about it, Barrow proposes what he calls an "equitempered triathlon".

"If it was sensibly constructed there would be an equal amount of time on each of three sports," he told Reuters. "That would be much fairer.""

bad ford's ravatar bad ford    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 184
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 1:08 PM

Hmm,

I don't know if I could swim for six straight hours. Ironman might be a little dangerous.

AndyJB444's ravatar AndyJB444    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 401
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 1:27 PM

Seems to me, Barrow needs a better understanding of draft-legal triathlon race dynamics.

morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 702
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 2:49 PM

Yes, and should be more of a weighted average of energy spent divided by time. More exertion on the swim then the bike for sure and perhaps for the run?

I know after an hour 1/2 swimming I am pretty spent. After an hour 1/2 biking, I am just finding my groove.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 682
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 3:25 PM

who ever said that the olympic distance of triathlon was ever "fair" (define that anyway you want) to any specific discipline?

afterall under this guys rule , maybe you should do extra things in transition like assemble your bike from scratch so that the time spent there would be equal to the rest of the triathlon disciplines... come to think of it that would be quite funny and cool to watch. imagine 3000 people in the nations tri trying to put together their bikes from a bucket of parts.

conartist's ravatar conartist    JOINED: 1/31/12    POSTS: 54
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 3:33 PM

I think it shows how a guy like Lance (granted he has a tri background and is obvi a world-class athlete) can potentially win in Kona in his first tri b/c his bike is sooo strong. It makes sense that biking would be the longest, but it's the disparity that seems a bit obscene. I think it's why the best Americans, who are really good swimmers, can't podium as easily in the Iron distances. Anyway, it's not like it's gonna change but it would be nice to see a bit more parity in effort-per-sport.

AndyJB444's ravatar AndyJB444    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 401
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 3:43 PM

Sure, but the quote pertains to Olympic, draft-legal, triathlon specifically. His analysis is ironic and incorrect, because typically in draft-legal triathlon its actually the strong swimmers and runners who dominate.

novasupra's ravatar novasupra    JOINED: 12/3/09    POSTS: 70
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/29/12 8:16 PM

most races aren't won on the bike, they're won on the run. Ask Chris Lieto. It's also why Lance didn't drop the hammer in Panama and was able to lead the run for most of the race.

Plus that analysis doesn't take into the cumulative effects of each discipline and how much effort it takes to complete the run after swimming and biking.

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 459
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 7:17 AM

Triathlons may be won (or AG awards) on the run, but they are lost on the swim. Trust me... I know!!

karlaj's ravatar karlaj    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 201
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 12:00 PM

I see what the author's going after, but the current setup is 100% fair. The distances are posted beforehand, and everyone trains for them. It would also be fair w/ any modification of distance, as long as everyone knows it.

At the same time, I'd love to see more non-standard distance races out there, like what this guy's proposed. Think 5k swim/ 40k bike/ 16k run (all ~ 1h for the pros). The real problem is who'd sign up for that, other than Andy Potts and Sarah McLarty? Especially given many a triathlete's aversion to swimming long distances...
-Jason

vkanders    JOINED: 7/4/11    POSTS: 44
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 12:39 PM

I'd sign up for 5k swim/40k bike/16k run. For that matter, I'd sign up for 10k/10k/10k but I'm probably an exception.

vkanders    JOINED: 7/4/11    POSTS: 44
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 12:40 PM

Also, I agree that it's 100% fair. Nobody makes you sign up for a tri in the first place, and we all know the distances of each leg in advance so that we can address our weaknesses.

conartist's ravatar conartist    JOINED: 1/31/12    POSTS: 54
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 1:17 PM

I still don't think it's particularly 'fair' even if it's posted. I'm unsure how decathlon is scored, but it would seem unfair if the 1500m was weighted 30% more than the 100m (maybe it is actually, I'm not sure). In that scenario it would favor the mile runners much more, regardless of the ahead-of-time posting of the rules.

In any case, I'm relatively new to tri and since I don't have a particular strength, I just think it would be 'better' (in my opinion) if races were a bit more equal-per-discipline. Swim seems to be an after-thought b/c as was mentioned, the race is won on the bike/run. Maybe I just want the swim leg to have some love haha. Not like anything is gonna change, and of course a small percentage of races do mix it up, but it seems the sport as a whole dramatically favor cyclists/runners. Who's up for a brick?

novasupra's ravatar novasupra    JOINED: 12/3/09    POSTS: 70
RE: Fairness of Triathlon
POSTED: 3/30/12 9:33 PM

The challenge in triathlon is doing the 3 sports consecutively, not necessarily the individual distances... that's the whole point of the sport. "Most" participants can do each sport on it's own but running a marathon after a 112 mile bike ride and 2.4 mile swim is another animal that even some elite runners can't do, much less do at a level to be competitive in a tri.

So i don't get where people think it's unfair. Even if you're a strong cyclist, nothing says that you are going to be able to get a good run in afterwards, or if you're a strong runner, you may not be able to push hard enough on the bike to stay in front on the run. I think triathlon is a great equalizer, it really shows your weaknesses and if you're a good athlete you'll know how to exploit the weaknesses you see in others. The distances could be anything, your training and how you attack the race would adjust accordingly.

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