General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Slowing down through aid station? Rss Feed  
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2013-09-15 8:08 AM

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Expert
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Oklahoma
Subject: Slowing down through aid station?
Last year I did my first 70.3 and I ended up slowing down through every aid station even if I didn't need anything. With all of the people lined up on the road and a few people pulling over to the side to take a handoff I wasn't sure how safe it was to blast though. Next week I'm doing my 2nd 70.3 and was wondering what protocol was on going through an aid station when you don't need anything?


2013-09-15 8:17 AM
in reply to: EKH

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
Have to admit I have never stopped at a bike aid station in a tri of any length, up to and including HIM. I have two bottle holders on my bike (and can put a third on the aerobars) that can hold 750ml bottles, and I prefer to carry my own drinks and nutrition. I just ride around if people are stopped or slowing. It should be okay as long as you don't violate race rules, such as crossing the center line. You do need to anticipate them and realize that people will probably slow down in front of you, and be ready to go around them. I don't know what others do but I would probably come out of aero as I approach them, just in case. Then again, my longer races ( a HIM and a du with 40 miles of biking) have been pretty small, just a few hundred people, so it was possible to ride around the slow-down without doing anything dangerous. Maybe it wouldn't in a bigger race.
2013-09-15 8:51 AM
in reply to: EKH

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Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?

Use good judgement.  It's usually unsafe to fly through an aid station at 30 mph.  Someone could accidentally swerve while reaching for a bottle, or drop a bottle that rolls in front of you, or any number of other unexpected things can happen that could cause an accident.  You don't lose any significant time by slowing down and riding cautiously in the congested area.

2013-09-15 8:54 AM
in reply to: EKH

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Veteran
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Morgan Hill, California
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
I think you are wise to slow down, even if you don't need anything. Going through the aid station you are likely to see people swerving in and out, bottles rolling around, people stopping or slowing suddenly, etc. You should be prepared to avoid being taken out by any of these predictable occurrences. Be ready for anything, then get back on the gas. Better to slow down for a brief little bit then be taken out in a race ending crash.
2013-09-15 8:56 AM
in reply to: EKH

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Champion
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Knoxville area
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
be as far left as is safely possible.
2013-09-15 11:06 AM
in reply to: Leegoocrap

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Extreme Veteran
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Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
Originally posted by Leegoocrap

be as far left as is safely possible.


THIS! and use good judgement on speed upon entering aid station area as mentioned above as well.


2013-09-15 11:14 AM
in reply to: mdougc

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over a barrier
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
I ride left and no aero bars, I don't want a stray bottle taking me out. I want as much control of the bike as possible.

I don't worry about slowing, since everyone has to scrub a little speed.
2013-09-15 12:43 PM
in reply to: mdougc

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Master
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Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?

Originally posted by mdougc
Originally posted by Leegoocrap be as far left as is safely possible.
THIS! and use good judgement on speed upon entering aid station area as mentioned above as well.

With regard to slowing down: I've seen a lot of problems at aid stations when less experienced riders slow down on the far left more than they need to, and bozos bomb through screaming "on your left! on your left!! on your left!!!!"   So make sure that you're not blocking when you're slowing down.  It's a judgment call, and can be hard to get right. 

And then there are people wobbling like crazy leaving the aid stations, trying to stash bottles, drink something, unload trash, etc.  And if it's an out-and-back section of the course, you have oncoming traffic at full speed.  It can be downright dangerous.

Sometimes inexperienced volunteers can cause problems.  At IM Los Cabos this past March, no matter how far I went left, the teen-age volunteers ran out to try to meet me.  Bike or run, it didn't matter - I went left they chased me out, I went further left, then chased me further out, often getting in the way of other runners and cyclists.  I learned had to enter every aid station shaking my head left and right super visibly, saying "no gracias, no gracias" over and over.  They were super eager to be super helpful, and that's OK but there are limits.  I've seen volunteers chase people out rather than hold their line, but nowhere as much as IM Los Cabos. 

2013-09-15 2:24 PM
in reply to: EKH

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Champion
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Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Slowing down through aid station?
Great question: As others have said, come out of aero and keep a watchful eye. Remember, we are talking about 100m at most here. So not very long.

It does kill me to see people stop to get something at an aid station because they have not practiced this skill in training. But if I see this happening, it's easy to spot, I get a bottle from later on down the aid station.

Side note: I get something from EVERY aid station I encounter. I carry all my own nutrition but never pass up an aid station because if nothing else, you can grab a bottle of water to cool yourself down with.

Executive Summary: Be smart and keep your eyes open.
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