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Saturday, January 14, 2017

CB300: Analysis -- Start Time Discrepancies

A couple of our eagle-eyed fans have noticed that a few of the start times on my worksheet do not match the start times on the CB300 website. I'm aware of that and it's because of some problems at the start that I'm not convinced have been fully sorted out on the CB300 time sheet.

If you were listening to the start on the radio, you probably noticed that several teams were not ready to start at their designated times. The CB300 rules are very specific about how this is to be handled:
"Teams will leave the starting line at two-minute intervals. Any musher who cannot leave the starting line in the order drawn will be started after the scheduled departure time of the final team."
Instead, what actually happened is that teams were slotted into the starting flow as they became available. That explains why the starting order doesn't match the bib order. The problem I see is that the CB300's worksheet shows teams starting at steady 2 minute intervals, even though that's not how it actually happened. Instead, as I heard it happen while watching the clock, it looked to me like several slots were missed altogether and some of the later mushers (including Aliy) were pushed back from their designated times due to others being slotted in.

So, for example, the steady 2-minute start gaps on the CB300 worksheet shows Aliy starting at 10:54, her designated starting position was 11:00 and by my clock-watching at the start, she actually started well after 11:00. Considering how precisely the SPK teams time out their pre-race routine, do you actually think Aliy's Red Team was standing around at the start six minutes early? The dogs would be going nuts. To the contrary, I believe they approached the line exactly on time and still had to wait.

I pointed out the problem to our handler team at the start, and the response to their query was "We don't think it will matter for the teams that started late." Meaning, I think, that they are not competitive teams and their actual times won't really matter in the final standings. That may be true for the teams that missed their start times, but it isn't true for Aliy, Ryne and others who were started late. We've all seen the CB300 come down to minutes between top teams.

Although starting time discrepancies won't affect run times, they will affect the amount of time teams should take for start differentials. I think the race officials will need to take another look at this, and I won't be surprised if we see changes to the actual start times and differentials soon. Meanwhile, I'm going to stick with the scheduled start times according to bib numbers, mostly because that's how my worksheet is set up and I don't want to rework the whole thing until the issue is sorted out.

If this has been a useful explanation, I'm happy. If it hasn't been, just pretend you didn't read it and enjoy the race... Go SPK!


Anonymous said...

Hopefully they will adjust the time they need to rest, according to their actual start time.

Anonymous said...

Yes you are right Mac.keepyour eagle eye on this.its not the first or last race this has happened. Padee Fairbanks

Linda Toth said...

I actually called after my last post about the differences - they are under staffed and often are on this race. GlenAllen is a very small community putting on a very big race for everyone. I have volunteered at race central and it is a lot of hard work - especially without the numbers they need to keep it accurate.

I should be down there helping instead of up her calling them, probably.


Nessmuk said...

Thats interesting....I recall hearing some skips in the race start but didn't compute the actual times those towards the end started....I'm sure they will adjust accordingly....like Linda says, a very small community putting on a very big race filled with logistics....and math....lots of math!

Lourdes, VT said...

Hope everything gets sorted out!!! Thanks Mac!

Anonymous said...

The good news is that few of the 4-legged team members, except perhaps lead dogs, care about the numbers.

They just want to run run run!!!



Barb, CO said...

Thank you Mac and everyone who helps us to understand. Good thoughts to Sissy and Aliy and Allen and all who help SPK to be such winners.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, M.,
and I agree that the "levelling" of start time should be towards the actual reality of the clock, not a time-sheet bib order. It'll mean though: very fast work for the volunteers to announce the difference and actual minutes to be added to the front teams mandatory time in time and not confusingly: a challenge! As some have already left the 2nd checkpoint, it might be too late to create a little more justice - or a true determination who will be winner. It shows how important a start and the preparedness for plan B and C is, how many small and large tough situations a race marshal faces.
Meanwhile : following closely every move on the tracker as well as looking @ great pictures and reading your blogs: a lot to do!
Thank you very much indeed!

Anonymous said...

Wish Sissy is o.k.! I'd love to take care of her next to see her run in Aliys team again!
Best wishes to musher and dog!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update! Very interesting but I don't believe it's fair to those that were ready at their designated time. Hope the officials make it right. I have been a fan of SPK for the last 5 years or so. GO SPK!!

Marilyn cozzens said...

Thanks,Mac for info. I don't think it is right to make teams like Aliy and Ryne wait to start when they were ready at their designated start times. Hope CB300 officials make it right. Go SPK. Hope Sissy is okay.