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rec.sport.triathlon FAQ

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Version: 1.01
Posting-frequency: monthly
Copyright: (c) 2002 James Goddard
Archive-name: sports/triathlon
URL: http://www.ewl.com/rst/rst-faq.html
Last-modified: FRI DEC 20 11:39:00 CST 2002
Maintainer: James Goddard <rstfaq@earthwarelimited.com>
Disclaimer: Approval for *.answers is based on form, not content.

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Answers to rec.sport.triathlon frequently asked questions.
James Goddard
<mailto:rstfaq@earthwarelimited.com>rstfaq@earthwarelimited.com


Subject: 1. Introduction and Intent This posting contains answers to frequently asked questions posted to rec.sport.triathlon plus interesting and useful information for triathletes. If known, author's name/email address are given. The original FAQ for rec.sport.triathlon was maintained by Osmar Za=EFane= and last updated by him in 1994. In 1996 Larry Chapman updated the links/addresses to Osmar's FAQ. No maintenance has been performed since then. Send me, James Goddard=20 <<mailto:rstfaq@earthwarelimited.com>rstfaq@earthwarelimited.com>, any=20 corrections, updates, suggestions, or proper info of sources or holder's of copyright. This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the author/maintainer/contributors <take your pick> assume(s) no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
Subject: 2. Table of Contents 1. Introduction and Intent 2. Table of Contents 3. Aboutrec.sport.triathlon 3.1. Introduction? 3.2. Where can I get a copy of this FAQ? 3.3. What is rec.sport.triathlon? 3.4. The rec.sport.triathlon Charter 3.5. Posting Etiquette 4. General Information About Triathlons 4.1. What is a triathlon? 4.2. What is a biathlon/duathlon? 4.3. What are the distances for triathlons? 4.4. Is triathlon an Olympic sport? 4.5. What are the governing bodies for triathlon? 4.6. What are the rules of triathlons? 4.7. Where can I find a triathlon in my area? 4.8. Where can I find more information on triathlons? 5. The Swim 5.1. What strokes are permissible? 5.2. What are the rules about wetsuits? 5.3. Should I buy a wetsuit? What kind of wetsuit should I buy? 5.4. Where can I find a place to train? 5.5. Where can I find information on swim training? 6. The Bike 6.1. What is drafting? 6.2. Why is drafting bad/good? 6.3. What is blocking? 6.4. Should I buy a road bike or a triathlon bike? 6.5. Should I use 650c or 700c wheels? 6.6. Where can I find information on bike maintenance? 6.7. What's the best kind of trainer to use in the winter? 7. The Run 7.1. How do I avoid cramps during the run? 8. Glossary 9. Contributors
Subject: 3. About rec.sport.triathlon
Subject: 3.1. Introduction In recent years there has been a significant increase in the popularity of triathlon and as such, more and more people are discovering rec.sport.triathlon. This FAQ is an effort to make the group as efficient as possible by answering the most commonly asked questions and provide guidelines for posting. This FAQ is considered a work in progress and will continue to evolve with both the newsgroup and the sport itself. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should be sent to the maintainer.
Subject: 3.2. Where can I get a copy of this FAQ? The original HTML version of this FAQ can be found at <http://www.ewl.com/rst/rst-faq.html>http://www.ewl.com/rst/rst-faq.html.
Subject: 3.3. What is rec.sport.triathlon? rec.sport.triathlon was created August 6, 1991 by Tim Rigg because: "The only related groups are rec.running and rec.bicycles. There is no group to discuss swimming and there is no group to discuss the interactions between the three events." It is a newsgroup devoted to all things triathlon. Anything even remotely having to do with the sport is considered a valid topic of discussion. Threads about events, equipment, tactics, tournaments and personalities are all welcome. Postings for the sale of triathlon gear and advertisements for related commercial ventures are also acceptable if some general guidelines are followed (See Section 3.5).
Subject: 3.4. The rec.sport.triathlon Charter The following charter was included in a post to news.announce.newgroups approving the creation rec.sport.triathlon as a newsgroup. The first draft of the charter was submitted by Tim Rigg and refined during the discussion period to produce the final result: rec.sport.triathlon is for the discussion of all multi-event sports including triathlons, biathlons, duathlons, and all other events. Valid topics include equipment questions and suggestions, training ideas, race results, athlete profiles, race strategy and similar topics. In an effort to minimize cross posting, specific questions should be posted to other groups when there is little impact from the multi-event nature of the sport (for example, "Help, my triathlon bike makes a strange clicking sound" should be sent to rec.bicycles)
Subject: 3.5. Posting Etiquette It is acceptable for people to post "classified ad" type messages informing the group of gear you have for sale or auction. However, it is requested that the prefix "FS:" or "FA:" be added to the subject header (FS =3D For Sale, FA = =3D For Auction). The FS:/FA: prefix allows people to either skip over the message or use a filter to find, file, or ignore the posts. The use of such prefixes is a generally accepted practice on all newsgroups. The posting of commercial advertisements for a company has been a much debated topic. Nearly everyone dislikes "SPAM" and many people consider commercial advertisements, even triathlon related ads, junk mail. But since the group is not moderated it is nearly impossible to police such posts. Therefore it is it is strongly suggested that a post of an advertisement for a commercial organization have the prefix "AD:" added to the subject header. This allows people to either skip the message or invoke a filter. People who looking to buy used gear should post a message with the prefix WTB: in the subject header (WTB =3D Wanting to Buy). Be sure to include your contact information in the body of your message so sellers can contact you directly.
Subject: 4. General Information About Triathlons
Subject: 4.1. What is a triathlon? A triathlon is an athletic contest in which participants compete three events in succession. Usually these events are swimming, bicycling and running.
Subject: 4.2. What is a biathlon/duathlon? A biathlon/duathlon is an athletic contest in which participants compete two (or three) events in succession. Usually these events are bicycling and running. Basically a biathlon/duathlon is a triathlon without the swimming. The general distinction between a biathlon and a duathlon is that a duathlons often split up the run so as to be a run-bike-run event.
Subject: 4.2. What are the distances for triathlons? There are no set distances for triathlons. Many triathlons use various distances that conform to the land/water available to them. There are, however, a few "common" distances: Name Swim Bike Run Sprint .75km 20km 5km Olympic or International 1.5km 40km 10km Long Course 2.4m 112m 26.2m The terms "short course" and "long course" generally refer to distances less than and greater than Olympic distance respectively.
Subject: 4.4. Is triathlon an Olympic sport? Triathlon made its Olympic debut at the Summer Games in Sydney in 2000.
Subject: 4.5. What are the governing bodies for triathlon? The international governing body for triathlon is the International Triathlon Union <<http://www.triathlon.org/>http://www.triathlon.org/> (ITU) The U.S. governing body for triathlon is USA Triathlon <<http://www.usatriathlon.org/>http://www.usatriathlon.org/> (USAT)
Subject: 4.6. What are the rules of triathlons? Triathlon rules vary by race and governing bodies. For individual triathlons, check the race packet for rules for the race. For ITU races, the rules can be found at <http://www.triathlon.org/rules/index.htm>http://www.triathlon.org/rules/ind= ex.htm For USAT races, the rules can be found at <http://www.usatriathlon.org/Frames/fs_rules.htm>http://www.usatriathlon.org= /Frames/fs_rules.htm Even if your race is an ITU or USAT event, you should still check the race packets for changes/exceptions to the rules.
Subject: 4.6. Where can I find a triathlon in my area? There are several online resources that list triathlons by location: Timberline Timing=20 <<http://www.timberlinetiming.com/calendar>http://www.timberlinetiming.com/c= alendar> Active.com= <<http://www.active.com/triathlon/>http://www.active.com/triathlon/> CoolTri=20 <<http://www.cooltri.com/calendar1.htm>http://www.cooltri.com/calendar1.htm>
Subject: 4.7. Where can I find more information on triathlons?? Try the following links: TriNewbies.com <<http://www.trinewbies.com/>http://www.trinewbies.com/> USA Triathlon <<http://www.usatriathlon.org/>http://www.usatriathlon.org/> International Triathlon Union=20 <<http://www.triathlon.org/>http://www.triathlon.org/> HulaMan <<http://www.hulaman.com/>http://www.hulaman.com/>
Subject: 5. The Swim
Subject: 5.1. What strokes are permissible? Any stroke is allowed in triathlons as long as you are not using an artificial means to propel yourself through the water. The most common and efficient stroke is freestyle. Breaststroke, however, is often performed by people who either have trouble with freestyle or are resting.
Subject: 5.2. What are the rules about wetsuits? The wetsuit rules change by race and governing body but the general rules for ITU races are: Elite athletes in the Olympic Games and ITU Events: Swim Length Forbidden above: Mandatory below: Maximum stay in water 1500m 20 deg. C 14 deg. C 30 min 1500-3000m 23 deg. C 15 deg. C 1 h 40 min 3000-4000m 24 deg. C 16 deg. C 2 h 15 min Junior and Age Group competitors: Swim Length Forbidden above: Mandatory below: Maximum stay in water 1500m 22 deg. C 14 deg. C 1 h 10 min 1500-3000m 23 deg. C 15 deg. C 1 h 40 min 3000-4000m 24 deg. C 16 deg. C 2 h 15 min And for USAT races are: "Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wet suit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees, but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wet suit at their own discretion, provided however that participants who wear a wet suit within this temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Age group participants shall not wear wet suits in water temperatures equal to or greater than 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The wetsuit policy for elite athletes shall be determined by the USAT Athletes Advisory Council."
Subject: 5.3. Should I buy a wetsuit? What kind of wetsuit should I buy? Whether or not to buy a wetsuit is a personal decision. If you are not sure you may want to check local bike/run/tri shops in the area to see if they have one you can rent. If you live in a warm climate there may be no reason to buy one, however if you live where the waters are often in the 70s or colder you should probably consider one If you are going to buy a wetsuit, make sure you get one that is made for triathlon. A dive/jet ski/etc wetsuit will not give you the freedom of movement you need to swim effectively. Triathlon wetsuits generally range from about $100 to over $400 depending on the type and quality. There are several types of triathlon wetsuits on the market: TypeDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantages Shorty: No sleeves with short legs Cheap, easiest to remove in transition Least exposure protection and speed improvement Farmer John: No sleeves with long legs Improved warmth over Shorty without sacrificing range of motion Less speed improvement than a full suit, slower transitions than Shorty Full Suit: Full sleeves with long legs Fastest suit with best exposure protection Arm movement somewhat restrained, slowest transition, most expensive
Subject: 5.4. Where can I find a place to train? Most suburban areas have pools available for lap swimming. The YMCA and health clubs are a good place to start. Many areas have city recreational centers that also offer lap swimming. Often local high schools or colleges will have a lap pool, call and ask if they allow public use.>/p? If you don't know about any in your area, US Masters Swimming offers a searchable list of swim locations at <http://www.usms.org/placswim/search.php>http://www.usms.org/placswim/search= .php.=20 A great international list can be found at=20 <http://www.swimmersguide.com/>http://www.swimmersguide.com/. Finding a place for open water swims in your area can be more difficult. Many areas have lakes with public beaches but the swim area is often cordoned off to a small, easily life guarded space. The best bet is to ask other triathletes in your area where they train.
Subject: 5.5. Where can I find information on swim training? The best bang for the buck is probably to find a masters group in your area. For information on masters swimming in the US refer to US Masters Swimming <<http://www.usms.org/>http://www.usms.org/>. Many people have had tremendous success with Total Immersion <<http://www.totalimmersion.net/>http://www.totalimmersion.net/>. The=20 general consensus is that if you are not already a good swimmer who is just looking for refinement, TI is a good place to start.
Subject: 6. The Bike
Subject: 6.1. What is drafting? The ITU defines drafting as: The technique of riding in a pack during the cycling event. They define draft zone as: An imaginary area approximately three bicycle lengths long and six feet wide surrounding each competitor during the bike segment. Basically drafting is a method to increase your speed or decrease your effort by lowering your wind resistance.
Subject: 6.2. Why is drafting bad/good? Drafting is a hot topic of debate among triathletes. Those that are against drafting often list the following reasons: Drafting takes away from the individual competitor nature of the sport. Drafting is less safe/causes higher insurance rates. Those that are for drafting often list the following reasons: Drafting evens out triathlons which often are weighed to longer times in the bike leg. Drafting is more spectator friendly.
Subject: 6.3. What is blocking? Blocking is basically riding in the wrong part of the bike course. Most commonly the right side of the bike course is for riding while the left side is for passing. Riders who camp out or overextend their stay in the passing lane are blocking. Blocking is a violation in most triathlons.
Subject: 6.4. Should I buy a road bike or a triathlon bike? You don't need a triathlon bike to do triathlons. Modified road bikes are very common in triathlons. If you already own a road bike or plan on doing other types of riding you may be better off with a road bike with clamp on aerobars. The advantages of a triathlon bike are in the posisitioning. They are setup to keep you more comfortable when in the aero bars and to work the quads less, saving them for the run. Often triathlon bikes are more aerodynamic than road bikes.
Subject: 6.5. Should I use 650c or 700c wheels? Both wheel sizes have advantages and disadvantages. 650c wheels accelerate and climb faster, but they also decelerate faster. 700c wheels are more comfortable and are more readily available if you need a tube on the road. The only people who should be really concerned about wheels sizes are particularly short or tall people. 650c wheels work much better with shorter people, especially on triathlon bikes where the geometry prevents the use of 700c wheels on smaller bikes. Tall riders should stick to 700c wheels.
Subject: 6.6. Where can I find information on bike maintenance? Sheldon Brown has a great website devoted to bike maintenance and other bike related issues at=20 <http://www.sheldonbrown.com/repair/index.html>http://www.sheldonbrown.com/r= epair/index.html.
Subject: 6.7. What's the best kind of trainer to use in the winter? There are two common types of trainers available: stationary trainers and rollers. Stationary trainers clamp on to your rear fork and provide a rolling mechanism for your rear wheel. Resistance is offered by wind (a fan attached to the roller), fluid (a fan incased in oil attached to the roller) or magnets. Wind units tend to be the cheapest. Fluid resistance tends to offer the smoothest ride. Magnetic units often have adjustable resistance. If you get a stationary trainer you should also get a block for the front wheel to keep the bike level. Stationary trainers have the following advantages/disadvantages: Pros: Excellent for spin/muscle/aerobic training Easier to ride/learn Cheaper (usually) than rollers Some have computer interfaces to simulate road conditions More options for resistance control Cons: Do nothing for balance and form Allows you to coast Cause a lot of wear on the rear wheel Causes more stress to the frame of the bike Requires no thought so can be mind numbing Rollers provide 3 tubes two of which are connected by a belt. The front wheel rests on a single tube and the rear rests between two tubes. The belt from the front rear tube to the front tube causes the front wheel to spin with the rear wheel. Resistance is offered by friction and gears (smaller tubes offer more resistance) or a fan unit attached by a belt to one of the tubes. Rollers have the following advantages/disadvantages: Pros: Excellent for spin/muscle/aerobic training as well as form and balance Ride is more true to actual road riding Do not allow you to coast Force you to concentrate on your workout Less stress/wear on bike Cons: Harder to learn/use More expensive than basic stationary trainers Less resistance options The big reason most people avoid rollers is that they have a steep learning curve. The common fear is that you will ride off the rollers and hurt yourself. You can't actually ride off rollers like you might imagine, the only thing you can do is drop the front wheel off of the side of the roller which can cause you to loose your balance and fall. The best tip for learning to ride rollers is to start in a doorway so if you loose your balance you can just stick out your elbow to stop your fall.
Subject: 7. The Run
Subject: 7.1. How do I avoid cramps during the run? Two good suggestions to avoid cramping when you start the run: Stay hydrated on the bike. During the last couple of miles on the bike stretch your calves by standing on the pedals and dropping your heel down.
Subject: 8. Glossary aerobars a handlebar extension enabling the rider to use a more aerodynamic position bonk running out of energy during a race a.k.a. hitting the wall buoy a float used to mark the swim course blocking riding in the passing lane brick a bike/run workout drafting the technique of riding in a pack during the cycling event lemming start a triathlon start where the competitors start one at a time mass start a triathlon start where all of the competitors start at the same time instead of in waves roadie a cyclist that does not to triathlons and hates triathletes RST rec.sport.triathlon split the time taken to complete an individual leg of a triathlon transition the period/area between legs of a triathlon where participants change equipment/clothing for the next leg T1 the swim to bike transition T2 the bike to run transition wave a group of triathletes starting together as opposed to a mass start
Subject: 9. Contributors Mark Cathcart <mailto:>mailto:<mark_cathcart@uk.ibm.com> 5.4 Swimmers Guide ------------------------------

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