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WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
CREATED: 06/19/13 by HappyRunner REPLIES: 6
HappyRunner's ravatar HappyRunner    JOINED: 1/15/11    POSTS: 281
WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/19/13 10:52 PM

I did the Raleigh IM 70.3 a few weeks ago. On the bike course, I seemed to be in one of those "back and forth" duels with another guy in my age group. Problem was, he spent the whole time locked within inches of a young guy's back wheel, almost like they were riding a tandem. When the young guy backed off to coast, eat, or drink, so did the guy from my age group. Most intentional drafting I've ever seen.

After 40 minutes of this, I heard a motorcycle next to me and the official spent quite some time watching the guy draft. The official then went up and showed the guy the penalty card.

I felt vindicated for a few miles until I watched with amazement as the guy just blew by the penalty tent. The guy beat me off the bike and placed 2nd in our age group.

After the race, I emailed to get a copy of the scorer's report just to confirm my observations, but the Ironman Technical Director responded that the list of penalties is "not publicized" although "not confidential." He referred me to the head referee, who indicated that while I could not see the penalty list, if I provided a specific bib number, he could check to determine whether a penalty was assessed.

As it turned out, my observations were accurate and the guy had been DQ'd for not stopping at the penalty tent. But here's the thing: the guy appears in the official standings like nothing happened. I asked about that, but no one seems to care.

Obviously, there's no prize money involved, but someone who was trying to finish in the top 10, but came in 11th has no idea that they actually achieved their goal. More importantly, what's the point of having penalties and disqualifications if they don't count in the standings?

I'm not sure whether this is an isolated incident or WTC/IM policy to not remove athletes from the standings who are disqualified. But if its the latter, no wonder you often see people drafting -- penalties assessed don't have to be served, at least at WTC events. And why shouldn't penalty lists be publicised? That should be a no-brainer, but I have no idea how to pressure WTC to change their policy.

kev7's ravatar kev7    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 470
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 7:16 AM

It may just be a problem at some IM events. At Eagleman, a friend got a 'yellow card' and did stop at the next penalty tent. However for some reason the penalty tent list was not processed correctly and he was DQ for not stopping & removed from the official results on He had to coordinate with the race officials & head referee to get his results added back.

jbrez's ravatar jbrez    JOINED: 1/30/11    POSTS: 303
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 7:18 AM

Really sucks to hear that happened to you. It doesn't surprise me that WTC doesn't care about the people paying them money.

ceangell    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 40
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 12:04 PM

For what it's worth - I had a similar situation as Kev7's friend - I was improperly DQ'd from Eagleman because they didn't record my stop at the penalty tent and had to work with them to get the DQ reversed. I'm still not up on the results. All of which is to say that sucks about Raleigh and it doesn't seem like there's any consistency here.

Also, as a general public service announcement - it's not just drafting - positioning is also a penalty and is much more subjective (if anybody can make heads or tails of the USAT rules on positioning short of going across the yellow lines, I'd love to hear it).

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 1:37 PM

Chris, were you docked for rule 5.10.f?

"5.10.f. Position. Except for reasons of safety and when no advantage is gained, all cyclists shall keep to the right of the prescribed course unless passing."

Race officials have stated the rule at every IM mandatory meetings that I've been to over the years. They emphasize that once the pass has been made, you need to go back to the right hand side or you will be docked for either a position foul or obstruction/blocking foul.

The way that I understand the rule is that you should always ride on the right side of the road, except when passing. Once you've made the pass, you need to go back on the right side of the road. You can't, for example, pass someone and then stay on the left hand side because there is another cyclist that is 100 yards in front of you that you are attempting to pass. You must go back to the right hand side after the pass so as to free up room for perhaps another fast cyclist that might want to pass you. The rule is in effect whether there are 100 cyclists in your vicinity or 1.

The pros have a more strict version of this rule. When they make a pass, they have to be outside of the draft slipstream and draft zone. Age groupers can legally use the slingshot maneuver to do a pass, but not the pros.


ceangell    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 40
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 1:52 PM

Yes - that's the one (I think).

My only comment is that they were enforcing selectively. I'm sure I drifted out at some point, but not necessarily to the point where I thought it made a ton of sense, especially given how full the roads were.

Anyway, I wasn't (and am not now) arguing, but was rather annoyed that they DQ'd me wrongly.

dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: WTC/Ironman's Dirty Little Secret?
POSTED: 6/20/13 2:01 PM

Every sport has it's subjectiveness/selectiveness. Imagine explaining a holding call in football, a blocking call in basketball, or the strike zone in baseball to a non-sports fan :)

If it makes you feel any better, I was pulled over by a cop with lights and siren in Rock Creek for not enough hugging the shoulder enough, at 6:40 AM on a Sunday. I didn't get a time penalty, but was warned that if he sees me doing that again, he'll give me a ticket.

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