Andrew L
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Blenheim Race Days Rules - some advice from the Experts

Andrew L
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24 Apr 2014

BTA Referees Duncan Hough & Sarah Taylor give a few tip to help you on race day

I've asked my good friends and club mates Duncan Hough and Sarah Taylor to put a few words of advice together regarding basic rules you need to know come race day. Both are past British Triathlon Referees of the Year, officiated at the Olympic Games and have been selected for the Commonwealth Games, so they know what they're talking about!

Duncan on Cycling.
"You will be briefed by the race day Official before you start, so make sure you attend and listen closely as hopefully it will answer any questions you have and many that you didn't think about. The most important aspect of a triathlon is to keep you safe when cycling on the road. Most triathlon cycle sections are on open roads with traffic and the rules of the road to observe. Luckily, Blenheim is on closed roads, but you still must observe some basic rules to keep safe!
Firstly, there will be a broad mix of abilities on the bike section. Speeds could range from 12mph to 25mph +. You need to be aware of what's happening behind you as well as in front.
Don't ride 2 abreast. When you're overtaking someone do it as quickly as possible then move back into the left of the road. The rules for BTF sanctioned events are that you may not draft off the cyclist in front (it's cheating as you are saving 30% effort). You must remain 7m away from the cyclist in front and if you overtake him you should aim to do it in 15 seconds. When someone overtakes you, you must ease back to give them a 7m gap. But don't worry, this rule is aimed at the fast guys who are looking for an advantage. If you find that due to the number of cyclists on the road it's difficult to achieve this the draft busters (motor cyclists normally) will understand. If you do follow the wheel of a cyclist for an extended period you may be penalised. When you have overtaken the cyclist in front, pull into the left hand side of the road.
Whenever you do overtake, take a quick look behind before pulling out to make sure there's not an uber-cyclist coming up on you - Andy may be racing, and he's pretty fast on his Zimmer frame, however you should hear his stabilisers from a distance away ;-)  Remember if you want to overtake easily, so will others behind you, so act as you hope others will act when you want to overtake.

Sarah on transitions.
"Leave Andy alone Duncan!
The main point to remember in transitions is whenever your bike is out of its rack your helmet must be on your head with straps done up! That is, when you come out of the swim and you've taken your wetsuit off, you must put your helmet on and secure its strap before you take your bike. Conversely, when you return from the cycle leg you must rack your bike before you remove your helmet.
The other point to remember is the mount/dismount line. The marshals will be telling you when to mount your bike- after the line, and when to dismount your bike- before the line! We are looking to help you rather than penalise you, so don't worry too much. We know the difference between someone doing their first triathlon and Jonny Brownlee over stepping the dismount line at the Olympics! And, before you ask, it wasn't me or Duncan that dished out that famous penalty!
One final piece of advice. Remember where you have racked your bike. Make a mental note of where you bike is as you come out of the swim AND when you return from the cycle leg. It is so easy to 'loose' your bike spot!. You are not allowed to mark your spot in transition by scattering talc on the floor, especially in the shape of an arrow (I did that at our club aquathon last year – claiming that I was new to triathlon and didn’t know!  – Andy), or by having something hung on the racking like a balloon or jacket. If you do these will be removed and will confuse you even more trying to look for something that is no longer there. However there is an easy and simple way around this, and try the following. A colourful towel and lay it on the floor under your shoes, this then looks like its there to wipe your feet on, as you can use it to take off debris from your feet picked up from running from the lake, but cunningly acts also as a easy thing to sight and find your spot, so the more unusual colour the better plus it cheers up the Officials at the race seeing who has the zaniest towels. Its also useful that you can roll up all your kit in it after.
Good luck all and enjoy!"