Racing by the Rules!

author : Michael
comments : 0

If you are going to do a triathlon, you need to know at least some of the basic rules that can keep you from getting hurt or hurting someone else.

If you are at Beginner Triathlete, chances are that you are new to the sport, but this article really isn’t just for the beginner.  If you are going to do a triathlon, you need to know at least some of the basic rules that can keep you from getting hurt or hurting someone else.    

All the rules should be obeyed, but it has been my personal experience that some race officials are very picky about certain rules.  In September, I had never had a race official pick apart my transition area, but he did and everything that he told me and made me abide by was in the rule book.  At a race in August, it was evident that the officials were really tough on the drafting penalties.  I received a warning at that race, because when I was passed, I didn’t immediately drop back three bike lengths. 

I recommend that you read the official USAT rule book when you have the opportunity.  However, here are a few of the basics that every triathlete should know:

TRANSITION AREA: All of your equipment must be placed in the transition area. Bike must be placed in an upright position on the bike rack and must be replaced in the same position on your return to the transition area. You cannot interfere with another competitor's equipment or impede their progress in any way and no glass containers are allowed in the transition area. Transition violations will usually get you a time penalty, but a glass container will usually result in disqualification.

HELMET: Make sure you have an approved helmet. Your helmet must be on your head and chin strap securely buckled before you depart the transition area or mount your bike. It must not be unbuckled until you have returned into  the transition area and dismounted from your bike.  No helmet - no race. If you unbuckle the helmet while on your bike you’re disqualified.

DRAFTING: Don’t draft on the bike. If you ride less than 3 bike lengths behind the person in front of you unless you are passing them, then you are drafting. If you are passing the person in front of you, you must complete the pass within 15 seconds or drop back out of the 3 bike-length zone. If you have just been passed, you must drop back to allow the 3 bike length gap between you and the bike who passed you. First 2 violations are time penalties, 3rd violation is a disqualification.

ASSISTANCE FROM OTHERS:  You cannot accept assistance from anyone except a race official, volunteers, or medical personnel. Accepting any kind of assistance from spectators is not acceptable.

BAD BEHAVIOR: Foul, argumentative, or abusive language or unsportsmanlike conduct directed at competitors, spectators, race officials, or volunteers is forbidden.  Penalty can be a time penalty but could result in a disqualification.

HEADPHONES: Headphones, Walkmans etc. are forbidden during a race. Usually results in a time penalty.

RACE NUMBERS: Competitors are required to wear race number tag on the run. Number must face front and be clearly visible at all times. Number may not be altered in any way. Usually results in a time penalty.

I once was told by a Police officer that ignorance is not a defense.  Gain the knowledge of the rules in our sport and you will have a successful tri season.

Still Tri’n,


Copyright When Big Boys Tri 2004



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date: September 2, 2004


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