Below are the major rules for triathlons, including those most often violated. The Gold Nugget

Triathlon is USAT sanctioned, which means we follow their rules. But here is a “light” version – with many thanks to Joe Hawkins, of Palmer’s Tri the Trails Triathlon. To see the full USAT version, go to http://www.usatriathlon.org/about-multisport/rulebook.aspx


1. HELMET – Wear it. It’s there for one reason only -- to save your life. It must be strapped and

buckled on your head BEFORE you exit the transition zone and BEFORE you get on your bike. Don’t unbuckle it unless you are 100% STOPPED and OFF the bike. This rule applies from the time you take your bike out of your car and until you put it back in.

Penalty – Disqualification/time penalty


2. NO HELP FROM OTHERS – This is YOUR race. The only help you can get is from race officials and medics. Good news is that if you get a flat, you get to fix it. Be prepared.

Penalty – Variable time penalty


3. TRANSITION AREAS -- You have a spot to call your own. Don’t mess with other peoples’ spots or stuff. Take a few extra seconds before you bike off to make sure your area is tidy. NO GLASS containers.

Penalty – Variable time penalty


4. BIKE DRAFTING/BLOCKING – You know the answer – don’t do it. Keep at least three bike lengths between you and the bike in front. Pass without dawdling – within 15 seconds. Don’t block others.

Penalty – Variable time penalty


5. COURSE – It’s clearly marked. Stay on it. No cheating. Stay on your side of the road.

Penalty – Race director’s discretion (which will NOT be pretty)


6. SHOW YOUR RACE NUMBER – Wear it on your front for the run. If you pin it to your back, finish the race running backwards so we can see your number. On the bike, your front or back is OK. Also put your number on your bike. Well, only if you want your bike returned to you.

Penalty – Variable time penalty


7. NO MP3 PLAYERS, CELL PHONES, ETC. – Yes, music makes it easier to run, but no, you can’t use them. You need to hear other racers, cars, officials, etc. But it’s OK to sing to yourself.

Penalty – Variable time penalty


8. NO ABANDONMENT OF GEAR – This means ALL your stuff needs to be either on you, with you, or inyour transition spot. You can only leave gear in the gym locker room (not the pool lockers). No water bottles hidden in the woods. No Gu wrappers that you drop and then fail to turn around and pick up. We get invited back to use the parking lots, pool, locker rooms, roads and trails because we don’t leave even a single Kleenex behind. And “we” means “you."

Penalty – Variable time penalty


9. BE NICE – This is YOUR day. Take pride in what you’re doing, have fun, and be such a great sport that you make those around you have fun. No bad language. No throwing things. Keep your cool. A typical triathlon is when something unexpected happens. A great one is when you rise to the occasion and laugh it off.

Penalty – Variable time penalty, or even disqualification. Plus, mean people really do finish last.


10. RACE NUMBERS ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE. It is better to give than to receive in most cases, but you actually can’t do either with your race number. No giving it to your best friend in exchange for baby sitting and no swiping the number from a speedy racer to boost your standing. USAT disqualifies and suspends racers for this - don't push your luck!


If you need some further reading about USAT rules, please peruse the entire USAT rule book. Or at least the most commonly violated rules.