Sure have, on a regular basis... it's unfortunately part of all sports... it's called calculated cheating, and it's ****... sooner or later they'll get caught, BUT the miniscule variable time penalty incurred doesn't do much to disscourage it... and after all... it's the USOC that got it started... to me it's **** because it goes completely against what Triathlon is all about: Individual Excellence, not to mention it just plain takes the swim and bike out of the picture... all the swimmer has to do is be 80% as good as the fastest swimmer, and 60% as good as the fastest biker with the addition of learning some traditional cycling tactics and throw in some hill climbing and sprinting skills not otherwise needed in Triathlon... remember, Triathlon was created as the ultimate individual endurance sport.
For a draft-worthy performance, you should've been at Ironman Canada in 2007. Starting at Richter Pass all the way through to Yellow Lake, all kinds of pelotons!
Here is another question to this same board. Would YOU draft if you knew that others were drafting? I ask everyone who reads it. I will tell you that I love the individual effort in sports. I do believe that drafting in form is useful in some rides and events, but I believe that if we enter an event after reading the rules that we as people should follow those rules. Kind of like consenting to the race's terms. So I stick with my original stance and state that I wouldn't mind trying a draft legal event, but I will not cheat myself by drafting in non-drafting triathlons
Good question Neo ~ I've been in more than one race where I had the choice to draft or not draft based on the potential justification that "everyone else is doing it" and I chose NOT to draft. I find when the stakes are higher (ITU World Championships for age groupers or Iromman qualifiers) people are more likely to draft.
If I want to participate in a drafting event (and I do enjoy the tactics of it all) I enter a cycling race.
I was on a Team USA bus ride after a World Championship duathlon event in the mid to late 90's. There were giant pelotons of athletes during the race. I was disgusted and made it known that didn't go along with the lemming theory. One of the athletes on the bus said she saw the drafting and was not going to cheat herself out of a world ranking because "everybody else" was cheating. She said she was willing to take the penalty if one came about - but she was certain she would not get caught because everyone would have been in the same situation. She felt if she didn't draft, she was penalizing herself against the field.
Some of the worst situations I've seen are when women's waves are set off ahead of some of the stronger men's waves. When the men go by, some of the the women "hop on".
I think Neo brings up a VERY good question. I think the hardest thing to do is to "go against the grain" in this situation. Just cause everyone is doing it, does it mean it is right? It is very tough to rely on your will power to fight the urge not to "cheat". We participate in a sport where the rules have gaps (or when the refs are looking the other way)
I think Karma has a way of working its way back to athletes for example Rutger Beke in Kona last year, he was not having his normal fantastic run and walked all the way to 5 1/2 hr marathon and placing 898th. When asked after the race why he did it was because it would not be fair to all the athletes out there to stop. This year Rutger finished 3rd place overall a fantastic showing. (I know it is not cheating but showing good things happen to the good people)
People will continue to cheat in our sport and it will never change, some get caught, some will not. I know I personally feel better when I perform the best I can each day without outside assist, win or lose it is on my shoulders!
Drafting is fun ... during workouts, but let's face it you're not using anywhere the same effort as you would be on your own.
I did Cancun last year, the 1/2, and at one point we were some 30 riders all clustered up. We couldn't spread out enough due to the width of the road. So finally when the officials had enough, some people dropped back. I sped up for a bit, but was caught eventually, and same thing all over.
But too many people do it as a way to a better bike split and PR, and they know they're full of it. No respect for these people. I agree, it's an individual sport so the effort should be individual.
Now the mass swim is another story...
and (sorry!) they say there are no dumb questions. To tell you the truth most of the violators I see are blocking while hanging out in the draft zone area (experienced this at USAT Oly Dist Nationals) rather than pure wheel leaching, but you bet they are out there! Take the ITU World Oly Distance Champs in Vancouver... the age group race was pure anarchy!
NO NO NO and NO. And not even for a little bit. Would you steal if others stole to "make it fair"? Would you lie to put yourself ahead of someone else? Would you take illegal drugs to get ahead? Are you honest or dishonest? I had a coach once give me a great explaination about drafting: If you are doing it for even 5 seconds it is just as dishonest as though you drafted for miles. If you stole $5.00 from the bank, is it less dishonest than stealing $50? $500? $5,000?
I think its wild that you mentioned people taking advantage of the draft for PR sake. Is it really a PR if you draft? I don't think so! I like your answer alot so thank you... I just hope Ms. Gale doesn't doesn't mind me "drafting" my question onto her post!
Awesome philosophy. I agree that cheating is cheating. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, sometimes grouping happens due to turns or even U-turns in a course, but if a person intentionally held on to a group a little too long then they just "stole" that time, not from the guy/gal in front but more from their own efforts.
Well, the biggest draft issues I've seen have been in the bigger races... The smaller races are a lot more honest... and sometimes more fun... especially when it didn't cost 1 1/2 to 2 bills a year in advance to do it.. I just got done with the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 in Texas and there were no "pelotons" per se... but there were several 2 and 3 person draft pairs... mostly on matching bikes etc. etc that were obvious cheaters. The officials may or may not have caught up with them... but there should be better officiating in those situations... and hope they got through the photos and fix what they can as the results are officialized. It's just wrong.... there is SO MUCH time to be stolen from drafting it's rediculous. I average 23-27 mph on hard rides of 50 miles or less depending on terrain, but when I go out with the local group rides we go 27 to 32 mph... that's a LOT. There are situations where I find myself in a race where you have the guys on the right of the course who are not in the mix of things while those of us who are going hard are bogged down by a rider coming out of the right side to pass... now these cases you wind up in someones draft zone for longer than you should be because you also are supposed to follow the rules of the road and not pass across a solid double line... but if you tried to drop back you also have a back-up behind you so then where do you draw the line. Me personally, I make the call to sprint out of it usually... and not at zero cost to my overall time because. The only fix I can see for that is to race in the elite wave... too many races they have the absolute slowest group or two going immediately after the elites... that's a huge problem and changes your whole race because you have to basically sprint by hundreds continually in order to avoid drafting under the rules because of people's inevitable human nateure to speed up when you go to pass which means you have to pass them quick enough that they don't have time to play the speed up/slow down game. anyway... there's enough to chew on for a while...
Drafting saves time and energy most importantly. I agree completely that in the larger races 70.3 series etc, Lifetime fitness series, you get more people aggressively going after their time goals at potentially whatever cost. Yes the elite wave it is a great way. Lifetime Fitness in MN thr elite wave was great because we had wide open course and were able to race against the other elite athletes without too much interference. Chicago Tri is another story because for the elite wave it is after all of the sprint course athletes are on the course. Myself and a few other elite guys had to do the slow down speed up game cause the officials were like hawks to us. (i thought I had my own personal motorcycle guide for 10 miles of it)
I agree if you pass an athlete you have to complete the pass and they have to yield, but how many times can you remember the athlete not yielding and coming up next to you during your pass. They should be penalized but since you are the one doing the blocking an official might give it to you.
Cheating is cheating no matter if it is 1 minute or 30 minutes or 5 buck or 100 bucks (well put on the previous post) Maybe some athletes PR's should have an asterick after their results
Hey Neo ~
In this situation drafting is accepted and encouraged.
Here's a wild idea for you techies out there...since the race marshals can't be everywhere and racers seem to behave better when they hear a motorcycle...since the speeding camera applied to drafting might be impractical...how about doing something with timing chips?
Since racers are all wearing timing chips anyway, add another feature to the chip and that tracks when said racer has been too "close" to another race number for too long. "Close" would have to be defined since the current draft zone isn't a circle...but then we would have automatic notice of who cheats and who doesn't. Penalize according to the number or time total of infractions?
How about it techies - posssible?
Not a techie, but I don't think they will do what you are suggesting. The chip registers when it crosses over a sensor under the mats in the transition area. They don't have GPS capability. The chips the riders have on the Tour de France also require a transmitter attached to the bike. I'm guessing the price would be a lot higher. A cheaper suggestion and more low tech, place some officials on the side of the road with a good view and a pair of binoculars.
Yeah... that wouldn't necesarily work... the way timing chips work is that they are magnetic with a moving piece inside the capsule that moves by the electromagnetic field created by the mat in order to 'energize' the chip (which produces the internal electricity needed) so that the number can be transmitted and read at the mat. Pretty ingenius actually...