It's that time of year again. The SPK teams are on the road to Glennallen for the start of the Copper Basin 300, and I've been asked to offer you some guidance about how to analyze the race this weekend. Deja vu all over again!
For those of you who want to take a deep dive, here are quick links to my similar articles over the past four years: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
For those of you who don't want to read that much or only want a quick refresher course, here goes:
The only thing that really matters in the CB300 is cumulative run times between checkpoints!We all know how exciting it is to click the tracker's refresh button. Our brains faithfully give us a tiny shot of dopamine every time we click and see the pins move. Yes, indeed, refreshing the tracker during sled dog racing season is as addictive as email, texting, Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, etc., all combined!
1) All teams run the same course and distance.
2) All teams have a mandatory minimum 18 hours of rest in checkpoints (and top teams will only take that amount of rest).
3) Whichever team runs the fastest between all the checkpoints will be the winner. Period. Full stop.
Until all the required rests have been taken, however, position on the trail is not an accurate indicator of actual race position. A team which takes more rest early on may appear to be far behind a team which has taken little early rest. The reality may be that they're actually far ahead due to shorter run times. I fully encourage you to enjoy clicking the refresh button, but rely on run-time data for the real story.
If you don't feel like doing all the math yourself, fear not. I will endeavor, as usual, to provide you with updates on cumulative run times at a few points during the race. They will look something like this chart from 2015:
Let's get ready to rumble… Go SPK teams!