Monday, May 27, 2013

Man Card: Part II

The original Man Card post received a lot of feedback, primarily on forums and social media sites such as Slowtwitch, LinkedIn, etc. Thanks for all of your comments. I thought the argument would be roughly 50/50, and was surprised by how one-sided the consensus appeared to be. In summary, supporters and sympathizers greatly out-numbered those calling for Man Card revocations. Some people made funny remarks, while others got a little defensive. Some offered practical reasons, such as helping road rash heal and the post-race massage, whereas others cut to the chase and said it was a vanity thing, "chicks dig it," and there's a mental benefit of "feeling fast." Clearly the popular opinion, however, is that in the world of triathlon, men shaving their legs is not a Man Card violation. It appears, as many noted, that the triathlon world is regulated by its own set of unwritten rules. In other words, what would usually warrant at least a call to the Man Card police (in this case shaving one’s legs) does not constitute such a violation of what I'll call the “Tri Card,” which applies to both men and women. 

So this got me thinking… surely there are actions that constitute a violation of said Tri Card, right? Here are a few of my thoughts to get the ball rolling: 

Rack Hog – With triathlon becoming increasingly popular, transition area is a crowded space, with a population density rivaling that of Hong Kong. Most people make an honest effort to keep their stuff compact and at a minimal level, yet inevitably there’s that guy or girl who has all kinds of crap spread out like an all-you-can-eat, country-style buffet. This is annoying and potentially dangerous. 

Penalty – 1 corner snippage of Tri Card 

Drafting – Unless you’re an elite uber-biker, the following is a common occurrence, especially at popular, sold out races. You’re gritting your teeth and pushing hard on the bike. You’re aero. You’ve got the eye of the tiger. Then, you hear it... is it a freight train? A pack of wolves? Before you can think of a third thing, you’re swallowed up by a Tour de France style peloton, disc wheels humming and blowing by you like your mom trying to guard Dwyane Wade. Sure, eliminating drafting 100% in big races is unrealistic, but the blatant offenders warrant Tri Card citations. Although it’s not rare for someone to blow by me on the bike, drafters are downright aggravating. Come on people, ride your own race! 

Penalty – 2 to 3 corner snippage depending on blatancy 

break it up, fellas

Water Fighting – The triathlon swim is rightfully referred to as a “washing machine.” There’s always some level of contact with other competitors, most of it accidental and benign. The fact of the matter is, however, that everyone is pretty anonymous out there. Just like on internet message boards, an increase in anonymity can lead to an increase in anger. Case in point: at Vineman last year, Triple Threat team member Russell Memory had unfortunate encounters with two angry walruses. One guy grabbed Russell’s wetsuit cord and yanked down hard, completely unzipping his suit. In a separate encounter, someone grabbed ahold of his ankle and ripped off his timing chip. Are you kidding me?? 

Penalty – minimum 2 corner snippage of Tri Card, depending on the crime 

it's hard enough as it is

Being a (fill in your favorite word here) – I love racing for a lot of reasons, from the pre-race buildup to analyzing the results. It’s the time to put your training to the test. The competition aspect is fun, the atmosphere is electric, and 9 out of every 10 people you meet are really cool. Unfortunately that leaves 1 out of 10, who is typically full of him/herself and acting like the reigning King/Queen of Kona at the local sprint. It’s tough to pinpoint the specific characteristics, but let’s just say you know it when you see it. You also know it when you don’t. 

Penalty - 4 corner snippage (complete revocation) for extreme offenders 

Is there anything I missed?


  1. You pretty much nailed it, but we have to expand on the AssHat. He (I very rarely see women doing it) is the guy touting his achievements even though he has never qualified for Kona and is not much more than a mid-pack racer. Yet he has aero helmet, disc wheel, a new bike every year, the most expensive equipment and focuses on the look as opposed to the engine.

    1. lol yep Jason, I've seen 'that guy'... add it to the list!

  2. Along with the Rack Hog you could add the newbies that feel it's appropriate to take photos of each other in transition. This is especially stupid when it's a waved start where other 'athletes' are running through. Then the ones that arrive without a helmet or just forget to put it on or take it off early or ride through transition... What should we call them? Rule Raiders? Just read the F in rules!

    1. taking pictures in transition during the race? yep, that's an infraction