I sent a very lengthy email just the other day to the folks at Timberline and USAT giving my views on the subject. I feel that I gave a constructive argument outlining some of the fallacies in their reasoning. I've only received a response from Tim Yount. His response basically said that they were more concerned about leveling the playing field within each age group. I brought up the exact point you mention about first waves as well as a couple of other examples specifically Vineman a couple of years ago where an age grouper won the entire race after starting well behind the pros. The disgruntled pros stated that a definite advantage was gained by starting later since the water was broken up (like drafting) and there was the ability to slingshot past people on the bike making for a faster bike split and run split, the very reasons USAT gave for the exculsion of some elite waves.
I was also curious as to how many compliants they had regarding the inclusion of elite waves, and it'd be nice to know how many complaints they receive from folks (like me) who don't recieve their full ranking due to a race not being counted. I raced in the elite wave at the CapTexas tri last year and received a '0' instead of '93' and lost 4 or 5 ranking positions. I don't know how difficult it would be for RDs to just submit an overall listing of results, with chip timing not too difficult, but that would fix the issue.
In all honesty, it doesn't really matter to me. I race for the competition and until I see a good reason to either turn pro or back down into the age group waves, I'll stick with the 'elite' waves. Anyone else?
Brandon Marsh - Website | @BrandonMarshTX | Cervelo | RokaWetsuits | 1stEndurance | ATC Bikeshop |