Thursday, November 26, 2009

Strategies for Mid-Week Warefare

Let's imagine for a minute that a group of die-hard CX racers are on a cross-racin' cruise along the coast of New England. Somewhere along the way their ship sinks and 20 of them cram onto a life raft with their bikes and the ships cook who had already stockpiled the raft with food. As it turns out they all happen to be cat 3 racers, and many days pass where they banter about cross and their ranking. Eventually, they end up stranded on a deserted island full of Oak trees, and set about creating a cross course to pass the time until they are rescued:

Island Cross Course

Without the trusty internet, they decided that they'll start afresh with their cross rankings, using pure linear interpolation to distribute points. Since the cook was impartial and had no good excuse he was elected to keep track of the points. A picture was drawn to show the cook how to calculate points for each race:

Scored points via linear interpolation

The last 10 races were averaged, dropping the highest and lowest. To get the numbers rolling everyone was given 400 points to count the first race.This would then be dropped and only 'earned' points would be kept.

Living the life of monotony that exists on a deserted island, the finish order was extremely predictable. In fact, you could have written down the exact order of finishers even before each event began. After a year of weekly races, the group planned to hold the first annual Fried Acorn CX party to celebrate bike racing, relive the glory, and review their cumulative results. Unfortunately for the cook, the instructions on calculating points were decidedly vague - depending on who he set as the 'middle finisher' the points either trended towards zero, infinity, or finite, non-zero values.

Points trending if the average of the points scored for the 'depth' members is higher than their points average before the race

Points trending if the average of the points scored for the 'depth' members is equal to their points average before the race

Points trending if the average of the points scored for the 'depth' members is lower than their points average before the race, these are the results that the cook gave to everyone

Being the crafty and diplomatic fellow that he was, he set up the awarding of points in such a way that everyone's points were lower than where they started and in a generally downward trend over the course of the year. The way he did this was as follows: he selected a group of people in the middle of the race, averaged the points they carried into the race and called it 'depth'. He then assigned the first racer after the 'depth racers' the depth score and followed the schematic for linear interpolation shown above. Everyone was elated with their points; the consistent winners' points were lower than everyone else, and the last place finisher was also 'getting better'. [note for the interested reader: there are other ways to accomplish lowering most of the racers points while excluding only those at the back of the field]

This went on for another year and the points kept rolling. At the second annual FACX party, the racers started noticing a trend and getting suspicious about how the cook was handling the points. The winner was a little unhappy that his margin to last place had shrunk over the year. Based on the linear interpolation model, they thought, the last place person should be doing 'worse' every week.

Two years of points trending for selected racers

In order to avoid being slowly beaten to death by a bunch of scrawny armed bikers, the cook's only remaining hope was that the PV cell he had been working on while everyone else was racing would provide enough juice to power his smart SAT-phone and let him get in touch with the man to check his method against the real deal.

While waiting for the painfully slow dialup, the consistently last place finisher took the cook aside. "I heard that a similar group of Cat 2s were stranded about a mile from here on another island, what would have happened to my ranking points if I had gone over and raced with them for the year? I wouldn't expect to finish anywhere but DFL, but I feel that 'Catting' up would have really raised my game." The cook obliged and showed that indeed his points would have significantly decreased after a year of racing with the Cat 2s, even if he finished in the same spot.

 The benefits to the last place finisher had he 'Cat'd Up'

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NJ JV Hospitality

A couple of us were talking over the weekend thinking that it would be fun to take up Jess and Vinnie on their offer of team housing for Mercer. Judging by this it sounds like we missed some wicked hospitality. I heard after the weekend their crossresults points dropped a few notches without explanation.

Further probing of the internets put a small damper on the Mercer expectations, but maybe Team JV will throw some positive spin at it and get us all stoked up for next year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekend off

So no racing this weekend, which meant a weekend at home. The quality time with the family turned up this little gem. Apparently Annie has been observing the other Penguin racing fans more than the racers. Annie named her doll Oliver and began claiming she was Raina. We weren't sure whether or not to find this weird or cute. We're leaning to the cute side for now, but Raina should guard her identity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Putney & Northampton photos

Putney and Northampton photos are posted on the team photo gallery. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Abrahamsen family chillin after the Putney race

George getting some air over the RR tracks at the second day of Northampton

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Noho course was an improvement over last year with the start finish on the lower section of pavement rather than the upper section. Much of the course was similar to last year - the barriers were moved down into the lower field. The start chute was a bit nerve wracking, but manageable.

Julee and Adelia at Noho

Raina, Oliver, Julee (Raina's sister who was visiting for the week), Adelia (Julee's 16 mo daughter), and I all loaded into Julee's rental car (Kia Rio), because it was the only vehicle we had that would fit 2 car seats and 3 adults. It felt like I had to pull the bike apart to the tubes to get it to fit into the trunk. John was kind enough to bring my trainer and spare wheels in his car since there wasn't any room left. We headed out early to cheer on new teammate Molly H. In the womens 3/4 race. She had a good showing and was able to move up consistently with a solid 9th place finish, though I think her bike is holding her back.

Molly moving up with 2 to go

Since I missed a verge point by one place back at green mountain I wasn't going to get a call-up - bummer. With 125 pre-reg'd, a call-up would have been pretty nice. As it turns out John, George and I all managed to be staged in the same start row on Saturday. Right from the whistle I felt pretty good. The bottle neck at the curb and the bottle neck at the run up were a bit of a drag on the first lap, but other than that I felt like I was doing a good job passing folks, picking good lines, and conserving energy where I could. In the end Greg Brown and I were battling it out for the last couple of laps. After the bell he got ahead of me going into the sand but ran into a rider on the ground. I was able to make a pass and hold him off for 42nd spot. I was hoping for/expecting a better placing than that.

Me working on dropping an RPI rider

George mixing it up over the tracks

John headed towards the barriers

Sunday started with a crash in the start chute right in front of me. I managed to escape unscathed by the hair on my chinny chin, but the front half of the field was riding away from me. I managed to re-connect with a couple guys at the curb hop, but I wasn't moving up nearly as well as day 1. It was like de ja vu all over again with Greg breathing down my neck during the last couple of laps, only this time I was able to keep him firmly behind me on the last lap. Day 2: 49th, not as bad as I thought I was doing.

Elite men had a nasty crash, I don't think the one in the 3's was quite as bad .


Friday, November 6, 2009

Paradise CX Frenzy pictures

Pictures from the Paradise CX Frenzy on Oct 25 are posted on the club site

Molly, Eric, John & George all raced. Raina helped with the race registration and results.

Congrats to Molly for a first place finish in the Womens Open race!

First Post Jitters

on my whistle....

15 seconds...

Have a safe race!