by Faris Al-Sultan (after the Frankfurt City Triathlon)
With great expectations I travelled to Frankfurt. I was looking forward to start racing again. But already the start was far away from perfection: I forgot the PowerControl, autograph cards and casual shoes. That was my fault!
Race day welcomed us with drizzle. Before the competition the race marshals made clear that they are the chiefs. Under pain of a penalty they told me to leave the transition area through the check-in not somewhere else. Sometimes it does not make sense. Especially if 2000 want to enter and 50 want to exit at the same gate. Anyway it was ok. I am happy that my Aero 2 cannot easily be taken out.
At the race start the officials failed completely. 90% of the athletes just started to swim without any start signal. And the race marshals did not do anything. As I did not swim with them I decided to start with the women. I tried to push as hard as possible and finished the swim course with a subjective good time. In the transition area I had to congratulate the officials for their great performance at the swim start. It was the first time in my career as a triathlete I did that. Completely confused I tried to start the bike already in the transition area. But a marshal showed my the right place to do so. At least I was riding. But 15 km later I had a flat tire. What a day! I had no spare with me so I had to run back barefoot.
Personal conclusion: I does not matter how relaxed you approach a race the equipment has to be checked. General conclusion: we have a race marshal problem! There must be rules e.g. clear access to transition areas of drafting control. I am happy to be instructed if I do something wrong. But these guys who do that need to take their job seriously. It does not work if they have no clue what is going on and if their main indention is command other people on the weekends. There are great race marshals but there are not that many of them.