||USAT most common penalties described - Triathlon is an incredible sport of endurance, persistence and individual training. Many athletes spend months training for a great weekend and have the race of their life. Only to discover at the finish line that their overall time had been increased by a few minutes or in some cases disqualified due to a penalty on the course. We at Tri-California would like to help everybody avoid this unpleasant situation, so the following is a description of a few of the most common USAT penalties.
Tips for a safe and penalty-free race:
The USA Triathlon Competitive Rules address a number of different issues, and can be found at www.usatriathlon.org. However, there are some specific rules that will be receiving particular attention at this race, in particular those dealing with crossing the centerline, bike position, drafting, being overtaken and unauthorized assistance.
1. Crossing the centerline. In California, you may cross a broken centerline to pass only when it is safe to do so. Because of the high speeds and many turns you will encounter on the course, it will never be considered safe to cross the centerline under any circumstances during this race. Crossing a centerline, either broken or solid, even for a moment, will certainly result in a time penalty and possibly disqualification.
2. Bike position. Ride to the right, pass to the left. You can only pass other cyclists on the left. Except when passing, you must ride as far to the right as possible. You have 15 seconds to complete a pass, and once it has been completed you must return to the right hand side of the road. If you are out on training rides at Lake San Antonio, we ask that you also observe this rule, as we are sharing the road with vehicles.
3. Drafting. Keep three bike lengths of air between you and the cyclist in front of you, unless you're passing. If you try to pass someone, you have 15 seconds to complete the pass.
4. Being overtaken. If another cyclist passes you, you must immediately drop back behind that person, far enough so that you're out of the draft zone. This rule is hard to follow sometimes because your racing instincts will tell you to challenge the person who just passed you. However, it's required. You can only re-pass someone after you've dropped back out of the drafting zone.
5. Unauthorized assistance. You can only receive assistance from official race volunteers and staff. Friends and family cannot give you any food or drink, or provide any help with equipment problems. Once the race begins, everyone competes on the same basis, with the same on-course support. Also, friends and family cannot be on the course with you, and in particular cannot pace you while you're running.
6. Illegal Equipment. Any participant who at any time wears or carries a headset, radio (MP3 player, Discman etc), headphones or any other item prohibited in Section 3.4(i) shall be subject to a time penalty. It is unsafe and unfair for participants to listen to any type of music or device that will impair their hearing and awareness during the bike or run portion of the event.
Referees don't give warnings out on the course, and don't tell you if a penalty will be assessed. Infractions are documented by referees and race officials, and are reviewed by the head referee, who then decides if a penalty will be assessed.
Penalty Reports Posted at Results Stations
A list of penalties will be posted as soon as possible, at the Results stations . This is the same place that the preliminary results are posted. Once all the infraction reports have been reviewed and all the penalties determined and posted, the head referee (he or she is the person in the black and white striped shirt) will be visible and available to answer any questions or address any concerns about the penalties. The head referee will remain available until after the awards ceremony.
Contesting a Penalty
If you're concerned about a particular penalty or situation, the best (and usually only) thing you can do is talk to the head referee. He or she is the only person on site at the race who can assess or rescind penalties. Race management does not assess penalties and cannot change anything if you receive one, however much they might want to help you.
It is best to talk to the head referee about any concerns while you're still at the race site. Although head referees are happy to try to help in the days and weeks after a race, it's much easier for everyone to address concerns while memories are fresh and all the information is close at hand. 10.5 Time for Filing Protests: All protests must be filed in writing and submitted to the Head Referee with sixty (60) minutes after the person filing the protest has completed the event.
Appealing a Penalty
Under certain, restricted conditions, penalties may be appealed to USA Triathlon headquarters. In general, only matters that can be determined with certainty through the production of tangible physical evident can be appealed. Judgment calls cannot be appealed, and violations of the bike position rules are specifically defined as judgment calls. In other words, the only person who can do anything at all about a bike position or drafting penalty is the head referee.
If you believe an appeal is appropriate, the head referee can provide you with the proper form or you can get it at the USAT triathlon web site. A $100 filing fee is required. If you win you get your money back.
Questions About USAT Rules and Regulations
The best time to ask questions about the rules is before the race. If you have any questions, please ask a referee. USAT referees will be wearing either red uniform shirts, or red, white and blue uniform jackets, or a striped uniform shirt. Believe it or not, we're there to help. Good racing!