General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Drafting/Position questions Rss Feed  
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2013-06-09 9:34 AM

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Subject: Drafting/Position questions

Couple of quick questions on drafting and position penalties after riding the course and rereading the rules.

1) Drafting.  The rules state: The term "drafting zone" shall refer to a rectangular area seven (7) meters long and two (2) meters wide surrounding each bicycle. The longer sides of the zone begin at the leading edge of the front wheel and run backward parallel to the bicycle; the front wheel divides the short side of the zone into two equal parts.  As I heard it explained once, keep 3 bike lengths between you and the bike in front of you unless passing.  There's a specific exclusion for 90 degree turns, but what happens in the case of a steep hill where bunching up can easily occur as those of different hill climbing abilities can close up?  You may have better hill climbing technique/strength than other riders, but because of the hill still cannot pass in 15 seconds - but still can pick of rider after rider on the way up.  There's no drafting benefit, do the marshals enforce a drafting penalty here?

2) Position.  So you can avoid a drafting penalty if you stay 1 meter to the inside of the cyclist ahead of you, right?  Thus it sounds like you could be one bike length back and 1.5m to the left or right at the same speed.  But then the position penalty becomes a possibility.  This one seems quite a bit less black and white: Except for reasons of safety and when no advantage is gained, all cyclists shall keep to the right of the prescribed course unless passing.  So in the real world, you cannot cross the center line (DQ) but you have a 5 meter wide lane in which you can ride.  Sounds like there's plenty of room to slowly close the gap on the rider on the far right by staying inside him, not violating the 1 meter space, and leaving room for another rider to pass you on the inside (avoiding a blocking penalty).  Or if you are riding behind someone who slows briefly and unexpectedly and you are about to enter the no-fly zone but have no intent to pass, can you just (safely) drift a little left momentarily until the guy in front of you regains momentum?  What really is the intent of and enforcement of the position penalty?

3) What other nuances are there to be aware of, and how much is based on the marshal's perceived intent (were you trying to draft) of your actions or do they really strive to keep it as a black and white interpretation?



2013-06-09 9:44 AM
in reply to: TTom

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
First of all, it's a judgement call my the marshall. If he/she feels that you are staying within the zone to gain an advantage, you get a penalty. If it's because of the terrain or to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, they'll let it slide.

There's a small benefit to drafting even on the climbs, but I've never heard of anyone getting a penalty due to not passing within the 15 sec on a climb... again, a judgement call.

The position is designed so you can't ride next to another cyclist and gain an advantage (this will happen predominantly in cross winds). BTW, you should ALWAYS pass on left. Passing on the right (I believe) is a potential penalty.

Basically the box is (as you mentioned) 7m long and 2 m wide. Stay out of this zone or pass through within 15 sec and you'll be fine.
2013-06-09 9:48 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Generally is seems like officials don't look for drafting as much while riders are climbing, but I would still try to make the pass within 15 seconds. It's not going to be a big deal if you're already riding faster than the person in front of you.

You can not ride within the drafting zone but slightly to the side. Also, the best practice is to stay right unless you are passing or the road is dangerous on the right (i.e. potholes.) As long as you move back over as soon as the potholes are gone you should be fine. I think the officials look for people riding for extended periods in the center or left hand side of the lane.

edit: AudioJan beat me to it. What he said.

Edited by wbattaile 2013-06-09 9:50 AM
2013-06-09 12:56 PM
in reply to: wbattaile

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
So here's my question: can I be in that box while passing (or with intent to pass)? IE, can I approach someone from directly behind them, move over enough to get by once I'm within a bike length or so, then move back in front (and to the appropriate right side of the lane) once I've gotten by? In this scenario, I will gain a brief benefit of draft as I approach, but will be there for less than 10 seconds. Essentially, is it OK to be in the box if it's clear that I'm passing?
2013-06-09 4:48 PM
in reply to: rdailey1

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
I believe you have to get out to the left before entering the 3 bike length zone. You can't ride up to someones back wheel and then swing out. I actually believe that is considered dangerous riding and you can get penalized for that... If if you don't get a penalty, you might get an earful of choice words...

Either way, to make life simple, pass on the left, do not enter the 3 bike length distance directly from behind and pass within the 15 seconds. The rider you pass is obligated to drop back 3 bike lengths as soon as your rear wheel passes the passed riders front wheel. Also, don't pass just to show that you can and then explode... nothing more annoying than having someone pass you just to drop the pace instantly...
2013-06-09 8:11 PM
in reply to: audiojan

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by audiojan

I believe you have to get out to the left before entering the 3 bike length zone. You can't ride up to someones back wheel and then swing out.




It's perfectly legal. It can be dangerous depending on how good the rider you are trying to pass is at holding their line. As always, it is the responsibility of the person passing to do so safely.


2013-06-09 8:52 PM
in reply to: tri808

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
To the OP...

7 meters is 23 feet. Your average bike is about 5.5-6 feet long from the front of the back tire to the back of the back tire. So I don't know where the 3 bike length rule of thumb comes from...because that's only 16.5-18 feet. 7 meters is AT LEAST 4 bike lengths.

2013-06-09 10:24 PM
in reply to: tri808

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by tri808To the OP...7 meters is 23 feet. Your average bike is about 5.5-6 feet long from the front of the back tire to the back of the back tire. So I don't know where the 3 bike length rule of thumb comes from...because that's only 16.5-18 feet. 7 meters is AT LEAST 4 bike lengths.

Jason, the draft box is measured from the front of the lead bicycle. So in essence it is 4 bicycle lengths.

2013-06-10 9:13 AM
in reply to: audiojan

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions

Originally posted by audiojan I believe you have to get out to the left before entering the 3 bike length zone. You can't ride up to someones back wheel and then swing out. I actually believe that is considered dangerous riding and you can get penalized for that... If if you don't get a penalty, you might get an earful of choice words... Either way, to make life simple, pass on the left, do not enter the 3 bike length distance directly from behind and pass within the 15 seconds. The rider you pass is obligated to drop back 3 bike lengths as soon as your rear wheel passes the passed riders front wheel. Also, don't pass just to show that you can and then explode... nothing more annoying than having someone pass you just to drop the pace instantly...

You most certainly can do that!

2013-06-10 9:19 AM
in reply to: msteiner

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by msteiner

Originally posted by audiojan I believe you have to get out to the left before entering the 3 bike length zone. You can't ride up to someones back wheel and then swing out. I actually believe that is considered dangerous riding and you can get penalized for that... If if you don't get a penalty, you might get an earful of choice words... Either way, to make life simple, pass on the left, do not enter the 3 bike length distance directly from behind and pass within the 15 seconds. The rider you pass is obligated to drop back 3 bike lengths as soon as your rear wheel passes the passed riders front wheel. Also, don't pass just to show that you can and then explode... nothing more annoying than having someone pass you just to drop the pace instantly...

You most certainly can do that!




+1 , Every pass I make, I stay in the zone on their wheel as long as I legally can, then complete my pass, unless I'm moving significantly faster where I just zip by
2013-06-10 9:23 AM
in reply to: running2far

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by running2far

+1 , Every pass I make, I stay in the zone on their wheel as long as I legally can, then complete my pass, unless I'm moving significantly faster where I just zip by


Agreed; and since I rarely do any swimming any more, this has become an even more important part of my race strategy.

Shane


2013-06-10 10:00 AM
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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions

Originally posted by gsmacleod
Originally posted by running2far +1 , Every pass I make, I stay in the zone on their wheel as long as I legally can, then complete my pass, unless I'm moving significantly faster where I just zip by
Agreed; and since I rarely do any swimming any more, this has become an even more important part of my race strategy. Shane

I'm working on my "get in their draft for a second or two as they pass me" strategy.

that was supposed to be in sarc font but that doesn't seem to work anymore



Edited by axteraa 2013-06-10 10:05 AM
2013-06-10 10:07 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by axteraa

Originally posted by gsmacleod
Originally posted by running2far +1 , Every pass I make, I stay in the zone on their wheel as long as I legally can, then complete my pass, unless I'm moving significantly faster where I just zip by
Agreed; and since I rarely do any swimming any more, this has become an even more important part of my race strategy. Shane

I'm working on my "get in their draft for a second or two as they pass me" strategy.

that was supposed to be in sarc font but that doesn't seem to work anymore




That can techincally be a penalty, you are supposed to immedietly drop back once passed.
2013-06-10 10:08 AM
in reply to: dmiller5

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by dmiller5
Originally posted by axteraa

Originally posted by gsmacleod
Originally posted by running2far +1 , Every pass I make, I stay in the zone on their wheel as long as I legally can, then complete my pass, unless I'm moving significantly faster where I just zip by
Agreed; and since I rarely do any swimming any more, this has become an even more important part of my race strategy. Shane

I'm working on my "get in their draft for a second or two as they pass me" strategy.

that was supposed to be in sarc font but that doesn't seem to work anymore

That can techincally be a penalty, you are supposed to immedietly drop back once passed.

Yes, I am aware of that.  Hence the (poor) attempt at a sarc font.

2013-06-10 10:11 AM
in reply to: axteraa

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
ahh, I posted before the edit!
2013-06-10 10:23 AM
in reply to: dmiller5

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by dmiller5

That can techincally be a penalty, you are supposed to immedietly drop back once passed.


Dropping back doesn't mean you need to slam on your brakes to get out of the draft zone though; keep pedaling at your previous effort and as you are passed, you will get some benefit as well. Even at 10m there is still a pretty big benefit so, assuming they don't blow your doors off, you can then sit at the legal distance.

Shane


2013-06-10 10:53 AM
in reply to: TankBoy

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Subject: RE: Drafting/Position questions
Originally posted by TankBoy

Originally posted by tri808To the OP...7 meters is 23 feet. Your average bike is about 5.5-6 feet long from the front of the back tire to the back of the back tire. So I don't know where the 3 bike length rule of thumb comes from...because that's only 16.5-18 feet. 7 meters is AT LEAST 4 bike lengths.

Jason, the draft box is measured from the front of the lead bicycle. So in essence it is 4 bicycle lengths.



*face palm*...is there a back door to this thread I can sneak out of??? LOL

Probably a good thing I overestimated, but it usually doesn't come into play for me anyway as the people that bike around my speed get out of the water much faster. Maybe if I swam more like Arend and less like a drowning T-Rex I'd have more situations where I have to think about the actual draft box distance.
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