On Saturday November 7th, I attended Ironman Florida to cheer and support several team members racing. I have attended two full Ironman races in the past, but this race introduced me to a new way to watch the bike portion of the race as a course marshal. On Friday, I attended a meeting discussing the rules of racing and how to enforce them during the race. Each course marshal rides on the back of a motorcycle and does his/her best to keep the race fair and everyone safe while on the course. Each marshal was given a book to write down penalties of athletes that were trying to gain an unfair advantage or were not being safe. The book contained a yellow card for minor penalties and a blue card for major penalties. The major penalties include drafting and littering. I wanted to write this blog to tell everyone what I saw on the course.
Top 8 Ironman Bike Race Tips that Can Save Your Race
Drafting is problem.
Do your best to keep your distance and pass in the allotted time or you risk receiving a penalty if you are viewed doing one of these things. The majority of the penalties given out during the race were for drafting.
Do not block other racers around you.
Sometimes you feel as though you are riding faster than the rider ahead of you and start to make a pass and realize you are not faster. Other riders behind you may be trying to pass you and it can create an unsafe situation if you stay outside and block the people behind you.
Be careful when throwing water bottles and other trash in aid stations.
I noticed several volunteers get hit by water bottles thrown at them. I understand that no one did this on purpose, but be careful.
Learn how to take a water bottle from someone standing still before race day.
It is dangerous to you and others around you if you drop the bottle. The more practice you before the race the more likely you are to have success grabbing it during the race.
Do not take outside assistance.
I knew people took outside assistance on the run, but I did not realize how many people took outside assistance on the bike. All racers know, or should know, that outside assistance is an automatic disqualification. Plan your day accordingly and you will not need the help.
Carry tubes, co2, patching kits etc.
I noticed several people that did not have the tools necessary to fix a flat.
Practice changing a flat.
The more times you practice the easier it will be on race day. You may not flat, but being able to change a flat quickly will benefit you during your race.
I noticed several racers who were not being safe with the way they were riding. No reason to be in such a hurry to be unsafe. These are a few of my thoughts from my day on the back of a motorcycle. It was very satisfying knowing that the course marshals made a difference in helping to keep the race safe and fair. I look forward to volunteering in this capacity again in the future.