Mechanical Doping (Iain)

When you’ve been overtaken by a runner, have you ever checked their shoes and thought that’s why their quicker than you? I bet the answer is never!

Occasionally, when running, I get overtaken by another runner. (Andrew will claim this happens more than occasionally). When this occurs I barely give it a second thought. That runner was simply running faster.

Occasionally, when cycling, I get overtaken by another  cyclist. When this occurs I do give it a second thought. I check their bike to see if its better than mine. If it was, was it the bike or the man that’s faster?

If the man has a better bike than I call this ‘mechanical doping’ – buying a better  performance through buying a better bike.

To test this, I bought a new bike. I did a route over a hill and back again that I had done the previous weekend. My time should have been pretty similar to that attempt as my fitness hasn’t changed in any meaningful way. I beat all the Strava records I had for the course.

Which is why I don’t consider triathlon a pure sport. I think a pure sport is one where the best athlete wins. In a running race, the fastest person wins. At a triathlon, a man on a TT bike will always beat a man on a road bike if they both have identical fitness. That’s not a fair sport.

I have a solution: at the end of a triathlon weigh everyone’s bikes in pounds. Take this weight off the athlete’s time. A heavier (cheaper) bike would give an athlete a bigger boost than a light (expensive) one.

If a race was close then the better athlete would be the one on the worse bike.

Although there’s one thing I’ve noticed at races – the most expensive bike is owned by the middle aged men with the most expansive belly.

Todd’s rule of triathlon – the price of a bike is inversely proportional to the size of your belly!

Maybe the solution should also include weighing the athlete and taking that off too!

Then I’d have a chance of winning.