At the Olympic Distance National Championships, there were a number of crashes and “near misses” at the Bike Dismount zone (see biker in photo). The course had been set up with bicyclists making a sharp right, downhill, and then being told to get off their bikes immediately before the red dismount line or be disqualified. Because the cyclists could not see the red dismount line, many had to brake hard, going downhill out of their shoes, or even side-saddle !
Doug Landau saw several bikers fall to the ground, others lose equipment and a number of “near misses.” When a racing cyclist drops a shoe, water bottle or other piece of equipment, they face penalties for “abandonment.” So, running back to retrieve equipment not only cost National Championship triathletes precious time, but created additional safety concerns as they were going “against the flow of traffic” or standing still in the narrow bike dismount area. Luckily, for the Sprint race the next day, where the bikers speeds could create even more danger and increase the likelihood of crashes and injuries, the race officials moved the red line up to the straight-away. This action not only improved safety and bike race injury prevention, but probably improved times as well by removing dangerous congestion at the beginning of the second Transition area.