General Discussion Triathlon Talk » multi-age start wave Rss Feed  
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2014-02-14 4:38 PM

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Subject: multi-age start wave
The management of a local triathlon is considering options to allow triathletes of different ages/genders to be in the same start wave.
Would this be interesting to you?

You might like it if you are in a club and want to race from the start with folks in your club, who happen to be in different start waves. Or maybe, as things are now, because they start 6 minutes ahead, you know you will only see them once during the race, on the out and back run.

I can see some problems with it, complaints from it. Any smaller category, women for example, tend be in one start wave, and as such they all know where they stand during the race, i.e. someone shouts "1st woman" coming out of the water and you get passed by 2 women on the bike.

Or does this only concern the top 3 or 4 overall? Or only the top 3 in each age group?

What if there was an "open" category? And if you want to race your club, everyone registers in the open class and they are not racing for age group places?
Or maybe, with chip timing, they can do both - doesn't matter which wave you start in, and you're still eligible for age group awards. But does adding this option create more confusion for more people than it adds benefit for a few?

Do people like things as they are? For example, when I catch a guy in a younger age group on the bike, I know he started 3 minutes ahead, so I've got a 3 minute lead going into the run? Or knowing that every racer I catch on the bike, who has the same age group marked on his leg, started at the same time.

The question for the local triathlon is: Is there an option they can promote which would be more popular than the existing age group wave start system?

Does it matter that we mark triathletes on their legs with their age group? What is known by this mark is this racer started with all others in the same age group. How is this information useful? Does it fuel competition? Does it matter? Or is everyone 'running their own race'?

How about if the first 2 waves where seeded by (self reported) time? With chip timing, so you're still eligible for age group awards?

How about if the first 2 waves where seeded by self-selection during registration? With chip timing, so you're still eligible for age group awards? Would you choose to go in the first wave? Second wave? or an assigned-by-age-group later wave?

2014-02-16 7:15 PM
in reply to: AtlantaBill

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Deep South, Georgia
Subject: RE: multi-age start wave
That's a lot of questions there Bill.

I can speak to a couple of them. First off my preference at the local triathlon level, (the average around here is maybe 200-300 people) would be to just go with the mass start. A men's wave and then a women's wave would be Ok. But many of these age groups may only have 10-15 people in them so you really don't need all the diff waves.

My brother and I did a race recently,and it was our first time racing against each other as we live in diff states. They cut the men's division in half starting the 39 and under first and the 40 and over next. Well I am 42 and he is 38 so he went off 3 minutes ahead of me. I never saw him again except passing on the run during the out and back section. It was disappointing as we had hoped to "race" each other side by side (or at least within sight).

As to the calf numbering, yes I think we are all for the most part running our own race, but there are many of us who are there to compete against each other as well. I know for me, I am looking at calves on the run as I overtake someone or am being overtaken. If it is someone in my age group I am much more likely to try to respond to their move.
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