To Short Chute, Or Not To Short Chute?
What is a Short Chute? How come certain athletes are covering slightly less ground than others? And what is this bringing to the Super League Triathlon (SLT) party?
Well – you asked, so here is the definitive rundown on what the Short Chute is, and how it came into being.
The Short Chute does exactly what it says – it creates a slightly shorter route around the race course for those athletes who earn one, basically giving a time bonus, but in real time! We don’t wait until the race is over and retrospectively add time bonuses for stage wins or tweak the result sheets based on time losses, we want you, our audience to see the race unfold in front of you!
“It is great for spectators, and it adds another exciting element to incentivise leading in disciplines.” Vicky Holland
How do you earn a Short Chute? Simple – you win one of the early Stages/Heats on a Championship Weekend – this not only ensures you progress through the weekend without the danger of being eliminated, but it also earns you the Short Chute to use later in the race.
In the final race of the day the athletes who have earned Short Chutes can decide when they deploy their advantage, there will be several athletes who have a Short Chute to use, so it comes down to a tactical battle to decide when best to take it, and when your opponent may take theirs!
“I thought to myself, he played his card, so now I will play mine.” Vincent Luis – he outplayed Jonny Brownlee in Mallorca when they both had a Short Chute to use!
Win a stage. Get a time bonus. Use it in the final race. Could the racing in SLT get any more audience-friendly?
As well as an earned benefit, in certain formats, the Short Chute is employed by the race organisers to the entire field. Every athlete is given one Short Chute to use at any point in the format, and it is their choice when they take this advantage and use it against their competitors. This again gives the athletes another layer of tactical thinking when they approach the race, both in terms of when it would best suit them to take their Short Chute, and also when will their competitors take theirs?
This is no free ride, and if you want to take full advantage to this innovation then you better be right at the front from day one!
90 Second Rule
90 seconds, that’s not very long, is it? About half the time it takes to boil an egg? Well, that is how close you have to stay behind the leader in SLT race if you don’t want to be eliminated.
Another innovation we have added to SLT is the 90 Second Rule, eliminating athletes that fall more than 90 seconds behind the leader. People ask us why this rule is in place, what does it bring to the racing, and how does it add to the experience?
Well, SLT is all about close, intense, and exciting racing, we plan these races over tight courses to both increase the tension, whilst also providing the best possible audience experience. So the 90 Second Rule has two functions:
- Firstly, it enhances the audience experience by forcing the competitors to race all the way down the field if they want to avoid being taken off the course. There is not only a race at the front of the field but also a race further down the field as those behind fight to stay within 90 seconds
- Secondly, it provides a much-needed safety enhancement, as on these smaller, tighter courses we don’t want to risk injury by having faster athletes going full speed on racing bikes whilst others are still running. By insisting on the 90 Second Rule we clear the race course as the race progresses, ensuring no harm comes to anyone lagging behind
The 90 Second rule is always enforced at the dismount line – 90 seconds after the leader of the race has crossed.
So – the question is, what could you do in 90 seconds? Go for a run, bike, or swim, and measure how much ground you cover in 90 seconds, that’ll give you an idea of how dialed in these competitors have to be. There is no room for error, no room for not being up to scratch, and no room at all for a lack of desire. The fight for the front is savage, but the fight at the back is equally as competitive. Total racing from the gun with nothing left to chance.
We are not afraid to challenge the status quo, push the boundaries, and make triathlon greater than it currently is.
SLT will keep innovating, keep pushing the boundaries, and keep looking to develop the audience experience beyond anything you have seen before. It’s going to be one hell of a ride!