Today we’re chatting about race etiquette. Those unspoken rules that should be followed even though no one may have told you they exist. Some of them you learn on the fly and other things someone may point out to you. Or you might ultimately learn via dirty look or snarky comment. Because we’ve all been there too I’m sure.
So, what are some race etiquette rules you should know?
1. Keep to your space in transition- Transition is a crowded place and when bikes are crammed into racks super tight, you’re not left with much space to lay out your gear underneath. The best way to not piss off you rack neighbor is to take a regular bath or beach towel, fold it in half the long way, then again the short way. Lay your folded towel down so it’s running parallel to your bike frame and put everything on top of it; this is all the space you get.
I’ve been in races where I’m next to someone who lays their stuff perpendicular to their bike frame, meaning they’re stuff is laid out parallel to the rack, taking up more than one space. And this is especially obnoxious in races with predeteremined rack spots. If it’s in a race where you can set up anywhere along the rack it’s easy enough to move, but in the same respect, you shouldn’t have your stuff set out in such a way that someone feels compelled to move away from you.
2. Be courteous at the mount line- I may not be a super athlete, but one thing I can do is a flying mount onto my bike. You know what’s really freaking obnoxious? When I’m running up to the mount line, ready to hop onto my moving bike, and I’m met by a solid wall of bodies at a complete stand still fidgeting with their pedals. If you need to come to a complete stop in order to mount your bike or find the right side of your clip or clipless pedals, please be courteous enough to move to the side and leave way for people who can mount on the move. Regardless of whether it’s a flying mount, someone who just knows how to mount and move along, or someone using flat pedals who requires no fidgeting. I tend to go running at the mount line like a bat out of hell and can’t really stop short on my bike cleats. It’s only a matter of time until I accidentally plow through someone standing dead still in the center of the mount line, which should be clear for those who can mount on the fly.
3. Follow the rules of the road- And when I say this, I mean on the bike. There are very specific rules in place for the bike leg of a race because there is inherent danger involved here. Some races are really good about having course officials enforce the rules, but others not so much. This means no passing on the right, say left if you’re passing someone on the left, and do not ever ride side by side. I was just heading out onto the bike course for Iron Girl last weekend hen I came upon a group of girls riding side by side by side, three wide, just cruising and chatting. I had to cross the yellow line to pass them, which you should also not do, but I was left with no choice. Even after shouting left they did not budge. I thought about saying something but opted not to. Didn’t matter though, the women behind me verbally laid into them when she also had to cross the yellow to pass them.
4. Be kind to your fellow athletes- Triathlon is an incredible community full of support and empowerment. From the elites to those out just to finish their first race, triathlon is a sport that does not discriminate. Be kind and supportive and continue to foster that community. Share your bike pump in transition, offer some kind words, or help someone out if they seem to be missing something they may need.
5. Thank the volunteers- The one thing that comes out of my mouth the most on race day is always “thank you.” Volunteers make racing possible. Without them there would be no race and there have been races before that have been cancelled because there weren’t enough volunteers to man it. I always thank every volunteer I see. Whether it’s in transition, at the bike mount and dismount, at aid stations, cops directing traffic on the bike course, the finish line catchers, everyone. Every single one. They make it possible for you to race. They donate their time, often many days or hours of it, many times having longer volunteer shifts than it takes you to complete the race, to ensure you safety and experience. They are selfless and fantastic. Thank them, high five them, cheer for them, and just make sure they know you’re grateful for what they do.
What is one racing faux pas that drives you batty?
What tips do you have to add?