SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

CB300 - Analysis #1 - Passing & Run-Times

If you’ve ever gotten frustrated trying to pass a bunch of slower vehicles on a two-lane road, you probably have some idea about how Allen and Aliy are feeling right now.

You might roll right up on the back of the vehicle ahead of you, but that doesn’t mean you can immediately get around it. The same is true with sled dog racing. You can chase down a slower team ahead, but you’re likely to have to wait a while before the trail offers you a place to pass.

I make this point because Allen has passed 14 teams in the first stint from the Start to Chistochina. After starting in 25th position, he was 11th into Chisto. That’s a remarkable accomplishment, but the “passing delays” have definitely affected his run time.

If you multiply 14 passes times a few minutes each, you can easily account for the extra 39 minutes it took him to run the stint than the leader Nicolas Petit. That’s not meant to take anything away from Petit. His time was very fast, almost exactly the same as Allen has run that stint in his previous CB300 victories!

I’m confident making this assessment because several other top-level competitors (e.g. Brent, Hans and Aliy) who started right around Allen also reached the checkpoint in virtually the same order as they started. Bottom line: It’s a bummer “luck of the draw” to start in the middle of the pack and have to lose time passing!

If we re-sort the data so far for speed, you can see that Allen's 11th place arrival is the result of having the 8th fastest run-time.

I've spotlighted run-times because, quite frankly, in the CB300 run-times are everything! Crossing the finish line first requires that you run the course in the shortest time. There are 18 hours of mandatory rest during the race, but all the competitive teams will take only that amount of time. So, whoever runs the stints fastest in between the same amount of required rests will win.

I'll write more about run-rest strategies in my next post, but for now I'll leave you with what I hope is a reasonable understanding of what's happened so far: Mid-pack starts require a lot of passing which slows you down, and run-times suffer accordingly. Allen and Aliy are keeping pace with other top teams, but they've got some ground to make up over the next few stints... Stay tuned!


Anonymous said...

Lauri in California:

Thanks for the update! Passing does slow one down, it is so frustrating. Team SP Kennel keep up the great work.

Linda Toth said...

Hi Mac,

I was just positing that the trail seemed to soften up after the first mushers as well, but Melinda Shore disagreed. My second theory was your analysis.

Nessmuk said...

Wow...the whole passing thing really stinks when you explain it like that....but it makes sense. On the good side of things the Teams are getting some good conditioning to the ole racing routine....there's no better training for racing than racing! Let's hope for more chances to pass quickly as the Teams make their way down the CB trail!!

Anonymous said...

When will they make up the start differential?

marilyn cozzens said...

Thanks Mac, for such greatanalysis. I know how frustrated I get trying to pass slow pokes. I can feel for Allen & Aliy.