Can somebody explain “drafting” and how not to do it in a triathlon?
I am competing in my first sprint distance triathlon this weekend, and want to make sure I understand the drafting rules for the bike portion. Drafting is illegal. So how do I avoid it?
Mike Rich answers:
When you’re behind someone, you need to maintain at least 3 bike lengths between the two of you except to pass. If you attempt a pass, you must complete it, regardless of how long it takes or if the other person speeds up. They will have officials on motorcycles monitoring the bike course and they will not penalize you for taking too long to pass someone, but they will penalize you for a failed attempt. If you start a pass and the other person speeds up, just stick it out until you’re ahead of them and then let them pass you back if you have to.
Since this is your first race, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you do get dinged for drafting it’s a 2 minute penalty, but you’ll still be allowed to finish the race, which I hope is the most importaant thing for you on your first tri. Also, with this being your first race, stay to the right as much as possible except to pass so that others can pass you on your left. If you want any other advice, email me!
Congratulations and good luck!
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