(Originally, I was going to title this post “Boys Are Mean” because in my experience, boys do not like women on “their” race course and many of the behaviors I listed below, I witness by males. However, I can admit women are bitches too I have a decent male readership and did not want my virtual face ripped off.)
Throughout this summer while racing, I have been observing some behaviors that I feel are both unnecessary and at times down right rude. Triathlon is supposed to be fun (and it is- I swear!) but some people take their racing WAY too seriously and often at the expense of one or more other racers. Let’s face it…every race is not Kona. And no race is life or death.
Here are a few things I have come up with while compiling my list this summer of ways in which you can make a race happy for yourself and for all!
- Know the course. Be informed and if possible, attend the pre-race meetings. In most cases this will answer any questions you may have and get you even more ready for race day.
- Plan to arrive early. And if you don’t want to arrive early, don’t bitch about rack spots or worse expect people to move all around so you can rack. Your failure to prepare is not the concern of any other racer.
- Don’t touch other bikes. Rack spots are FIRST come FIRST serve. This does not mean that you can just move some bikes down for the coveted end spot. You take what you get or you arrive before everyone else!
- Respect other transition spots. Your transition area should not take up to much space. Know what you need and bring it. Every accessory you own is not necessary on race day. And please don’t be the jerk who brings their trainer and rides it while others are setting up in transition.
- Respect other transition spots. Part Two. When you return to T1 and T2, re-rack your bike where it belongs. There is nothing worse than coming back to your spot to find someone else’s bike there, leaving you to find another place to rack (which will be someone else’s spot and so on and so on with the domino effect). Take the extra 20 seconds to be respectful. And if you accidentally knock over a bike while re-racking, pick.it.up!
- Be fair at the bathrooms. When there are long lines just before start time, it is simply courteous manners to allow those starting before you to go ahead in line. There is no reason while someone in waves 1,2 or 3 should be stressing out behind those in waves 9, 10 and 11. And spectators…seriously, hold it until the racers have begun and then you can have the potties all to yourselves!
- Know how to swim. I covered this here.
- Stay to the right if you are slower on the bike. As a slow biker myself, I know the importance of not getting in another cyclists way while riding. Too often slower bikers (or those unaware of how slow they really are) are in the middle of the bike lanes. This leaves the faster bikers coming behind you having to weave around you on both sides to pass. This is extremely dangerous to both you and them.
- Say “on your left” as you pass. Look, I get passed all the time. I know for some people they would be saying “on your left” for the entire ride if they did it everytime they passed someone. And I imagine how old that would get after a while. Still, saying “on your left” is the right thing to do. And I don’t expect one to say it for every single person they pass, but in a crowded situation or on a narrow path, letting someone know you are coming helps keep them out of your way. I am pretty sure it doesn’t take any time off your split to extend a little kindness on the road.
- Don’t walk in the middle of the run course. I have been known to take walk breaks. I do not feel that makes me any less of a competitor. But it does mean I need to be respectful of those who will be passing me. If you need to stop or walk, get over to the side of the course to avoid any collisions.
- Pick one friend. If you want to walk or run with a friend, great. But just pick one. Nothing is more annoying than having to dodge around friends 3-5 people wide on the race course. You can talk to them in the food tent, I promise.
- Don’t stop for water. Being that I walk through almost every water stop, I have seen some crazy stuff happen! Water stops are congested as it is and they are the worst place to stop. Oh, and it is plain rude. Don’t just grab your water and completely stop and drink in front of the area. Get out-of-the-way! Jog through the actual water area, move over the side away from the stop and stop/walk/drink from there.
- Name calling is unnecessary. If you successfully graduated the pre-school program you should know better. Unfortunately, some people are shitheads and some shitheads like to race triathlon. If this does happen, rise above. And then write about it in your blog.
- Try not to litter. I get it- sometimes despite your best efforts, the wrappers just hit the ground. But if you can avoid it, don’t trash the race course. Nothing burns me up more than going through a water stop, watching someone take a GU and then as they pass the designated trash can they throw the packet to the ground. Unless you invited your mom to come clean up after you, do your best to throw the trash where it belongs.
- Be nice to volunteers. Here are a few words racers tend to forget while racing: please and thank you. Volunteers do not have to be there- they do not have to hand you water, fight the cold/heat/rain etc or pick up after you. They do not have to cheer you on, make sure you are okay or care if your bike gets stolen. But they do. Volunteers make or break a race. Giving them a hardtime is a surefire way to make sure they never help again. As someone who both races and volunteers, I can tell you how nice it is to hear a simple thank you on the course.
- Have patience. Patience is a virtue. If you go into a race understanding that things happen, you will be much better off in the long run. Knowing that you may have the above things happen to you will help you deal with them if they do occur. It is more than likely that you will at one time or another be held up whether by a zig-zagging swimmer, a walker in transition, on a narrow road and etc. Expect the unexpected and train yourself to deal properly.
And one for the spectators: If you are going to bring your double stroller, four kids and three dogs to the race…you better have a plan to keep them in control. This is a race, not the playground. All too often I see kids running into the middle of bike/run courses or worse…families who expect the race to stop so they can cross the path. Look, I love spectators and appreciate their presence at my race, but not at the expense of someone (especially myself) getting injured. Pay attention to your kids or call a babysitter.
What do you think? Fair list? Have anything to add?