...And The Law told me to shove it. I lost my appeal with the USAT regarding my Breath of Life cycling penalty. It wasn't even close. Here's the full explanation, in all its glory, courtesy of the head race official. At least my appeal made its way to the top of the food chain short of the USAT Protest Committee itself.
#906 Male LA Tri jersey - Observed entering passing zone from rear. No pass attempted after 40 second count. - 5.10a - Drafting - 2:00 penalty
Explanation: After an individual enters the passing zone from the rear, they have 15 seconds to complete the pass. A complete pass is when the individual's front tire passes the front plane of the front tire of the person being passed. I observed this particular violation on my second lap of the course on W. Gonzales Road, most likely your 2nd bike lap as well. As observed and recorded, the assessed penalty for violation of Competitive Rule 5.10a will stand."
I tried in vain to explain that the guy on my right was steadily veering left, forcing me a wider passing angle that would require me to circumnavigate the orange cones -- which would also be a penalty. Unfortunately, the appeals process doesn't work that way. Unless there's a factual mistake, these kinds of appeals rarely are overturned. Here's why, and thanks once again to the race official for explicitly pointing this out:
10.1 Proper Subject of Protest. No protest may be filed with respect to matters which were observed by or previously ruled upon by a race official. No person may file a protest which requires a judgement call. A "judgement call," as used in these Rules, means the resolution of a dispute involving one or more material facts which cannot be determined with certainty solely through the production of tangible physical evidence. The term "judgement call" shall include but shall not be limited to a resolution of:
(a) any purported violation of the cycling position foul Rules (including alleged drafting violations);
(b) allegations of blocking, obstruction, or interference; or
(c) allegations of unsportsmanlike conduct.
Any protest filed in contravention of this Section shall be summarily dismissed under Section 10.4.
10.4 Summary Dismissal of Protest. With respect to each protest filed, the Head Referee shall make an initial determination as to whether the protest complies with all of the provisions of the Article and whether the protest is factually sufficient to support a ruling by the Protest Committee. If the protest is improper or deficient in any respect, the Head Referee shall summarily reject and dismiss the protest and shall not be required to submit the matter to the Protest Committee. If the defect is curable in the opinion of the Head Referee, the Head Referee may allow the protest to be resubmitted within a reasonable time, even if the time period in Section 10.5 has already expired.
...And with that, my last gasp for Breath of Life glory was extinguished. Coldly. Impersonally.
Of course, those precious few of you who read my blog every day know that I essentially brought this on myself by joking the day beforehand that I'd be drafting during the race.
I hate being right...especially in this instance. Especially when I went out of my way not to joke about it!
Oh well. Breath of Life is officially over.
Helllloooooo Vineman 70.3!
(Now where is that darned visor I just got in the mail?)
142 days and counting.