Below is a conversation I had during a cold cycling session regarding how we can "improve" modern triathlon. As the workout got longer... the ideas got more interesting. My training partners and I hope you can appreciate the humor we came up with as we froze.
1) What if Ironman LOWERED the time limit? It's happened before. Originally, the race went until you finished. Folks finished in 24 and 27 hours. Now, the bulk of people finish between 10-14 hours. What if the cutoff was 14 hours (for starters)? Would people change the way they race? How would it alter the landscape?
2) What if ALL triathlons banned wetsuits until they were REALLY needed for hypothermia? (Say 65 F.)
3) What if the draft zone (for non-drafting, "pure" triathlon) was 50 meters for EVERYONE - pro and age grouper?
4) How about ONE PENALTY and you're DQ'd?
5) What do you think about TT starts for ALL races? Race by yourself?
6) How about starting pro women a full 45 minutes before the pro men and 1 hour before the amateurs?
7) Don't like the "one penalty DQ" idea? Try stiffer penalties for violations a la "Amazing Race" (a reality show I saw for the first time yesterday - it was pretty boring, sorry Jerry Bruckheimer); 15 minutes first penalty, 30 minutes second penalty. Think the average amateur would know what the draft rules would be then? You frickin' bet they would.
8) No certified helmet. No medical support. (Until you pass out and "really" need it.) Use an illegal helmet (or no helmet) and the medical team is not allowed to help you should you need anything. What do you think compliance would be then?
9) Use (or attempt to use) illegal gear **We caught 5 pro athletes trying to use illegal speedsuits in Kona. Magically, they had legal ones in reserve in case we actually checked.** Automatic DQ and three month suspension from ALL RACES.
10) No help in transition. (unless you are a CAF athlete) Find your own damn bag. Rack your own bike.
11) For my friends in the "that's not fair crowd", make everyone ride the same bike, same wheels, same feedback (HRM or Power meters).
12) Allow only 10 hours a week to train for any racer entering.
13) Weight requirements (like horse racing). All entrants in the race must carry 250 lbs.
14) Too many rules? How about NO RULES. Swim- if I can beat the hell out of you on the swim, no autopsy - no foul. Bike- no crash = no foul. Run- slowing, stopping or tackling other competitors will be legal (as long as you don't lead with your head).
15) The location of finish lines will not be disclosed. You have to find it.
16) Open water swims will be TRULY open water; boats, jetskis and other water craft will be in the race course ON PURPOSE.
17) iPod rule? EVERYONE MUST wear an iPod; except race management gets to decide what you listen to: Tchaikovsky all day.
18) 60 days before the race all racers will be co-located in a Chilean mine.
19) All athletes must wear blackout glasses.
20) Want to finish with your family? Fine. All athletes will be provided with a 80+ year old "grandmother" with a walker, purse, 1.5 liter bottle of water and sign saying "GO (your name here)"
21) When you do find the finish line, you will have to dodge paintballs and tranquilizer darts. "OH... he was winning until he was hit with diazepam! He is now in danger of a DNF because that won't wear off for quite a while! He's also going to have to hope he isn't selected for a random drug test." DIAZEPAM - is used on "aggressive" animals.