The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Is It Cheating... or Just Illegal? 

I get emails every now and then from Active Triathlete. They put together different articles about training, and fitness for triathletes and I sometimes go through it. Included in this one was the "Featured Message Board Post" asking about using iPods during a race:

I recently competed in Ralphs, Wildflower, Australia IM and Napa 1/2, at all these races I noticed more and more people are listening to music while racing. I feel this is an unfair advantage and is "cheating". I'd like to know what other people think, especially since they weren't DQ'd and some placed in top 5 in AG.

I found the responses interesting. A lot of people said that somehow this was "cheating". Several people pointed out that it is against USAT rules. However, I doubt that an Australian race was sanctioned by USAT so that's a non issue. The rules seem to read that it is considered dangerous to have a radio or similar device. One poster seemed to think this was insulting to deaf people because they can't hear and might likewise be considered dangerous. I suppose that depends on whether you think the issue is with the iPod taking away hearing ability vs. being a distraction.

Several people seemed to think that somehow it's an "unfair advantage". I just had to respond to the topic after reading that because that is stupidest thing I've ever heard. Go to a triathlon sometime, and before the pre-race meeting just walk around the transition area. What you'll see is a wide variety of bikes ranging from a $100 Schwinn to a $4,000 titanium alloy and carbon wonder bike. You'll see some people in basic swim trunks, and others wearing $300 triathlon wet suits. You'll see some people with old ratty sneakers, and others with $600 top of the line Nike running shoes. Yet somehow having an iPod is an unfair advantage?

This sort of thing occurrs in all forms of racing. Look at NASCAR or CART races for instance. They use different engines and chassis... it's not just about the driver. Actually, that is why I think IROC races are so cool. If you're not familiar, IROC races all use the exact same model car for all drivers.

So what is cheating, and what is an unfair advantage? People use technology... get over it.


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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