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faster pacesetter

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
In Nastar night league racing, racers win medals based on their times compared to the pacesetter's time that night. I am in such a league, which runs races every night each week during the season.

Last year the teams which raced on Wednesday nights (my team included) did poorly in overall standing at the end of the season. Only one Wed night team made enough points (based on medals) to advance to the championship race, which takes the top 30 teams from throughout the league. My team was #31.

Some of the guys speculated that the poor luck of the Wednesday night teams was because of our pacesetter.

Here's their logic. Our pacesetter (same guy on Wed night all season) gets rated at the beginning of the season against some #1 worldcupper. Then he's got some number that identifies how fast he is compared to that guy. We get rated against his runs every Wednesday. The math goes into effect and voila, we are rated against the #1 worldcupper, and win our medals and our points accordingly. So far so good.

But, and this is my team's thinking here, this pace setter of ours is a real fast racer who is training to be better, and he's getting faster as the season progresses. He's not getting rated again against the #1 guy mid-season, however. So ....you see the logic. He gets faster, we by default fall farther behind him, the Nastar math continues to be based on his original ranking at the beginning of the season. Thus it appears that we are slowing down as the season matures, our medals fall off, we don't make it to the championship race.

If we had a slacker pacesetter resting on his laurels, that would give the Wed night teams a better chance at medals, and thus help us get our spot in the championship race.

What does Epic think?
post #2 of 27
It sounds like you need to learn to go faster.
post #3 of 27
On a more serious note; What is the make-up of your team like (handicap, skill level, etc)? What is the handicap of the pace setter usually? If you race at another mountain or another time when the Wednesday night pace setter isn't there do you place better than when he is there?
Later
GREG
post #4 of 27
How did your pacesetter compare to the other pacesetters at finals? Did he kill his handicap?
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
The guys who did the figuring, which I explained above, took the pacesetter's info into account.

How's the logic in my post?
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
The guys who did the figuring, which I explained above, took the pacesetter's info into account.

How's the logic in my post?
The info that's missing is whether your pacesetter is unusual in terms of progressing over the season.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cometjo View Post
The info that's missing is whether your pacesetter is unusual in terms of progressing over the season.
Right. Got it. So you're saying the logic is sound, but if other pacesetters are also advancing we all come out equal.

I'll go back to the guys who came up with this idea and ask if they checked out the other pacesetters.
post #8 of 27
I wish someone would give the definitive math re this. Beats me.

That being said...

LF, reviewed some results. Looks like you had the same pacesetter most of the season. The last two races were a VERY fast gal and the last result was a different somewhat slower guy (fun run night). Overall it looks like your HCP improved each week until the last 2 weeks where it remained relatively stable.

By the way NICE JOB!! Improvement is what it is all about.

Overall your results, stastically, look like a steep curve stabilizing and flattening at the top as is typical for any skill. Your best result (P!)was in early Feb. Following week only very slightly worse. Throw out the last 2 weeks. Your logic would dictate higher HCPs in Feb. Not really the case according to the results.

I don't think the PC showed THAT much improvement in looking at his times versus PAR (delta being about 1 second).

Decent team late season. Lots of Gs, G+ and even a couple Ps in the late season (again contradicts your assertion). But early season shows a lot of Ss. Silvers dont getcha in the cup race.

All that aside, my results on the same hill with the same PS most nights showed no significant increase and my racing skills have been fairly constant (read FLAT) for some time. I am like the Pi of skiing ability.

Again - anybody got the skinny on the mathematics of PS performance?
post #9 of 27
There are 2 keys to the whole Nastar program- the pacesetting trials day and the pacesetter back at their local resort maintaining consistent handicaps and times. If the pacesetters day is such that they receive a higher than normal pacesetter's handicap (they used to be a 10 for the last few years and this year the best they can do is a 15 as an example) then they could come back to the local resort and be skiing back down at a 10 handicap. There is also something to say for a home slope advantage (they travel to some other resort and race for the pacesetting trials, then come home to their regular course and probably do better there.)

Also there is an issue if the pacesetter comes back as a 10 and by the end of the season they are consistently faster and skiing as say a 6 or 7. At the same time, if the pacesetter gets an extremely high handicap at the trials (over 20) then it will also be a harder year no matter what the consistency of the times through out the season. That is why they have some requalifying of pacesetters language in the rules.

If you are a consistent 10 handicap and go to a resort with the pacesetter running a 5 you have a better chance at good handicaps than if you go to a resort with a pacesetter that is running a 20 (or if the resort runs dual course and you do both courses, all things being the same you will metal higher on the course of the 5 handicapper than you will on the course of the 20 handicapper.

There are specific examples I can provide from past years about the pacesetting trials anonomolies - one year AJ Kitt was the the traveling pacesetter and absolutely smoked one of the Eastern trials courses that day, every pacesetter went up in handicap in comparison to previous, even some of the Nastar program persons that traveled with AJ got their handicap raised over the same courses out West. It was a year that made it a challenge to get the same metals that were regularly obtained in previous years.

Private Message me if you want the links to the specific results I am talking about.
post #10 of 27
Think? I think your absolutely lucky to have adult racing EVERY night of the week with 30+ "teams"- to me that sounds incredible!!
We struggle locally to bring enough racers 2 nights a week, and it's consistently the same 20 something guys every week. I'd LOVE to race against a group that large- even if we raced on different nights with different pacesetters.
With that out of the way, I don't have much to offer you on your situation, sorry!!
post #11 of 27
Oct 25, 2007

Hi Liquid Feet:

How things going? Are you going to participate in the 2007 Stowe Event?

From my reading of your original post, I'm assuming that you are racing at Wachusett every Wednesday. In particular, you are racing what is noted as the Night League Wednesday Nastar course (it seems that on some Wednesdays, they have something set up called the Daily Nastar, which I assume, even if you did run it, the results would not count towards your teams standing in the League).

It seems that for the nine (9) Night League Wednesday Nastar events, you had Rich Grange as the Pace Setter except for week 6, which Caitlin Healey was the PS (handicap of 5.57). Rich started out with a handicap of 4.0 until week 4 (Jan31) his handicap was lowered to 2.56. So it seems that your area does try to keep the PS handicap current. Did Rich improve even more over the year at a faster rate than the other PS, is the unkown piece in the puzzle. I sympathize with you, since we also complain about our PS down here in the banana belt. However, as Racer256 stated so eloquently, as long as you are improving, that's all that matters. I'm actually regressing::.


Think snow,

CP

PS: You're orginal argument is correct if and only if Rich had improved at a faster rate than the other PS in your league.
post #12 of 27
Note. Richs PS HCP drop (after last years PS trials) resulted in overall 1-2 pt HCP drop for me - also netting me my first ever Ps. Ditto for some of my team mates.

As for his personal improvement over the season. Rich has skied that course approximately one Brazillian times ("How many in a Brazillian?" -GB). Suffice to say he is pretty consistent.

Pace setter problems are not one of our major complaints at Wawa. They are all pretty legit.

PS. Are you SURE you cannot ski with us Tuesdays?
post #13 of 27
If each night of the week there is a different pacesetter (sounds that way) then the only other test that could be done is a mid season run off of all the pacesetters. The times and handicaps should all be about the same if they all ran the same course as compared to the earlier pacesetters times and handicaps. IE if the Wed night pacesetter runs a consistent 5 and the Tuesday night pacesetter is a consistent 4 then they should be 1 handicap or so away from each other head to head throughout the season.
Only other variables at that point in time then could be things like wax, etc. for big swings (or injuries or other things that could cause "bonus days" or the opposite effect on everyone for a league night.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJB View Post
Think? I think your absolutely lucky to have adult racing EVERY night of the week with 30+ "teams"- to me that sounds incredible!!
We struggle locally to bring enough racers 2 nights a week, and it's consistently the same 20 something guys every week. I'd LOVE to race against a group that large- even if we raced on different nights with different pacesetters.
With that out of the way, I don't have much to offer you on your situation, sorry!!
Last year there were 102 teams with 6 people on each team racing at Wachusett, MA, in its night league. Yes, we are very lucky indeed. Or we could move out west, enjoy 250" of snow each season instead of mostly home-made, and go ski on high mountains above tree line and forget all the racing. Back to realitly ... I think that league is filled because it's the only game around here in the winter. I do love it.
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
Pace setter problems are not one of our major complaints at Wawa. They are all pretty legit. PS. Are you SURE you cannot ski with us Tuesdays?
Actually, I posted this question because I remembered my teammates' complaints about the pace setter from last year. I was thinking about finding another team for this year because of scheduling difficulties, and got reminded that only one of the 25 Wed night teams made it to the championships. That seemed odd. Thus I posted.

My memory, Racer 256, is really bad. Our team was not #31, we were #34 out of the 102 teams (I did keep the last-of-season tally sheet). You must have kept ALL those tally sheets in a handy file, if you can figure out all my stats so cleanly. And no, I can't race on Tuesday nights. It's gotta be Wednesday. Sorry.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Oct 25, 2007 Hi Liquid Feet: How things going? Are you going to participate in the 2007 Stowe Event?
Don't think so. Wish I could. It's that, or 10 Wednesdays in a row. Which would you choose?
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
Don't think so. Wish I could. It's that, or 10 Wednesdays in a row. Which would you choose?
Oct 25, 2007

Hi LF:

Putting it that way, your choice is obvious.

Makes me recall fondly the "Wednesday Night Race Training" down here in the banana belt, $67.00 for 4 weeks in a row. This price however, does not include lift tickets. Two and a half hours of race training and gate practice.

Think snow,

CP
post #18 of 27
Our designated setter was a fellow in his 40's .... the problem was that he never came.

His substitute was one of the quicker J-1''s .... :

This skewed the times and tossed the curve way off. When you are aware of what is happening it's no big deal if you are running for fun.

However ... for members of the general public who would have scored that "attaboy" bronze, they probably just gave up and never came back thinking they didn't have a prayer. Hisssssssssssssssssss Booooooooo! NASTAR was all about bring gates to the general public and sending folks home felling inferior was not the intent.

Other problem with NASTAR .... and a big problem I as I see it, was the total lack of maintenance of the course.

Those of us in the know would run behind the setter to log our best times when the snow was fast and smooth.

Afternoon runs done in the slush and ruts ... ok .... it was a pain and you were slow ... but (for us it was also free) ... so no issue. But, again, the paying public was measuring their performance now with two strikes against them .... "a ringer for a setter" ... and .... slush and chop.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Our designated setter was a fellow in his 40's .... the problem was that he never came.

His substitute was one of the quicker J-1''s .... :

This skewed the times and tossed the curve way off. When you are aware of what is happening it's no big deal if you are running for fun.

However ... for members of the general public who would have scored that "attaboy" bronze, they probably just gave up and never came back thinking they didn't have a prayer. Hisssssssssssssssssss Booooooooo! NASTAR was all about bring gates to the general public and sending folks home felling inferior was not the intent.

Other problem with NASTAR .... and a big problem I as I see it, was the total lack of maintenance of the course.

Those of us in the know would run behind the setter to log our best times when the snow was fast and smooth.

Afternoon runs done in the slush and ruts ... ok .... it was a pain and you were slow ... but (for us it was also free) ... so no issue. But, again, the paying public was measuring their performance now with two strikes against them .... "a ringer for a setter" ... and .... slush and chop.
The beauty of the NASTAR system is that if run properly, it doesn't matter whether you have the hotshot J1 "ringer" or the 40 year old. Lets say that the 40 year old had a 15 handicap and the J1 had a 5. Yes, the J1 is 10% faster than the 40 year old, but theoretically, when they run the course, and you subtract 5% from the J1's time or 15% from the 40 year old's time, you should arrive at the exact same par time.

The problem comes when a pacesetter isn't skiing to his true handicap. If the race crew enters a 15 for the 40 year old, and he skis as fast as a 10, alot of people are going to be disappointed.

The super low guys are always the most accurate. They aren't usually going to kill you, handicap-wise, because they ARE very good, and probably aren't going to get CONSIDERABLY faster throughout the year. BUT, also because they are good, they aren't likely to tank a run and give out ridiculously low handicaps either.

For example, a 20 handicap pacesetter is mediocre, and is likely to get better throughout the year. I don't think it would be out of the question for them to get 5 to 7 points better as they progress throughout the season. The problem is, week after week, 20 gets entered in the computer and people are wondering why they are getting "slower". On the other hand, as a (relatively) high handicapper, they could have an off night and give away tons of low handicaps.

Hopefully this makes a little sense. We use the same system for our league. Trust me, the better the pacesetter, the more accurate the handicaps will be.
post #20 of 27
All the info is online, Liquid. (I still cut and paste to keep a record for my team) I don't keep stats for everyone. Just my gang and potential draft pics.

Just teasing - I know its Weds or nuthin.
post #21 of 27

Pacesetter handicap improves - handicap point adjustment

One way to think about the improving pacesetter is to look at the point change in handicaps (assuming handicaps are a straight % off zero par time).

For example if you have a pacesetter that starts the season with a 15 handicap and improves to a 10 handicap after pacesetting trials/other calibration event, that is a handicap point adjustment of -5.

a) Would adding the handicap point adjustment (-5) to your team members' handicaps would move any of your team members into a higher medal range for each race that the pacesetter had the higher handicap?

b) How many extra points would your team earn with the handicap point adjustment for the relevant races?

c) Would that point difference allow you to qualify for the championship race?

d) If your pacesetter also sets the pace on some other nights, those relevant races with the same pacesetter handicap would have to rescored in this scenario to have a fair comparison of the potential effect of the handicap point adjustment.



MATH

Here is an example of the math with numbers rounded off.

Pacesetter actual time 30 seconds

Scenario A Calculated par time with 15 handicap = 26.09 seconds (30/1.15)

Scenario B Calculated par time with 10 handicap = 27.27 seconds (30/1.10)


Competitor actual time 32.72 seconds

Scenario A competitor handicap is 25

Scenario B competitor handicap is 20

In this example, would the handicap point adjustment (-5) move the competitor into a higher medal range?



REAL NUMBERS

To look at some real numbers, here is some data from Wachusett Mountain NASTAR race results http://www.nastar.com/index.jsp?page...28&year=200 7

Wednesday night pacesetter Rich starts the night league season with a 4.00 handicap, and then after regional pacesetter handicapping trials against AJ Kitt at Mt Sunapee NH on 1/29 http://www.nastar.com/index.jsp?page...99&year=200 7 his handicap drops to 2.56 for the 3rd week of night league racing.

Then on 1/31 the local Wachusett pacesetters are calibrated against pacesetter Rich
http://www.nastar.com/index.jsp?page...03&year=200 7


Since this Wednesday night pacesetter Rich is extremely fast with a low 2.56 handicap it will be increasing harder for pacesetter Rich to get a significantly lower handicap (handicap point adjustment) which would significantly affect handicaps and medal ranges.

...In general, a bigger pacesetter handicap may allow for the possibility of a significant handicap point adjustment but the likelihood of significance depends upon how close to the next medal range each of your teammates are. I would rather compete in a league with a super low handicap pacesetter to reduce the potential pacesetter handicap variation.

Are points calculated solely based on the number of platinum, gold, silver, bronze medals earned by the top 4 folks on each team or are there other factors like handicap finish order across all the races from a given week, etc.?



Another way to handle improving pacesetter handicaps is to have multiple pacesetters run the course. In my league we usually have a minimum of 4 and up to 6 pacesetters run each course and then we take the tightest middle grouping of 2-3 times to calculate the zero par time. This helps to eliminate the outliers of a really good or bad day for a given pacesetter and keeps thing fair for everyone.
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
Here's a plug for Wachusett Night League Racing (MA).

It's cheap ($289.00 for a race ticket for 30 races, and the championship race should your team place, plus a season pass.) After that, all you have to do is find a team and show up.

The races are run with great panache. The course is set up around 6:30. You have lots of time to view the course. Then you do your two runs, whenever it suits you. A guy in a snowmobile collects pants and coats and delivers them to the finish corral about every 8 minutes. It's wonderful how efficient he is. Afterward you complete your two runs, you collect your team mates and do a few fun runs on the mountain. Once most of the racers are pretty much done, you can do some more gates just for training purposes, if your legs have not given out yet. By then it's 8:30 or 9:30, and 20-15-10 degrees outside, probably. You strip off your speed suit, and it's time to meet your team at the well-appointed restaurant/bar upstairs, viewing the video of all the racers while you recount your runs and commiserate with each other. The raffle follows, with stupid (did I say STUPID?) prizes for winners, then supper finally arrives, and you get to go home totally exhausted around 10:30.

Oh, I forgot the best part. At some point while you're sitting there at the table, the race coordinator brings around sheets of paper with the race tallies, including all the numbers for everyone. You can study it (while assuming a posture of non-interest, very important) to see who you beat and who beat you.

It can't be beat. Wonderful way to spend a Wednesday night.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post
Are points calculated solely based on the number of platinum, gold, silver, bronze medals earned by the top 4 folks on each team or are there other factors like handicap finish order across all the races from a given week, etc.? Another way to handle improving pacesetter handicaps is to have multiple pacesetters run the course.
As far as I know, everything is calculated on the medals. Points are awarded and added up according to what four highest medals each team captures. Racer 256 can correct me if I'm wrong. There is only one pacesetter each night. She/he skis twice, as the first person to ski the course, and again later in the middle of the night once the course is rutted up.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkierScott View Post
Another way to handle improving pacesetter handicaps is to have multiple pacesetters run the course. In my league we usually have a minimum of 4 and up to 6 pacesetters run each course and then we take the tightest middle grouping of 2-3 times to calculate the zero par time. This helps to eliminate the outliers of a really good or bad day for a given pacesetter and keeps thing fair for everyone.
Oct 25, 2007

This is the best method to "smooth" the Pacesetting handicap to arrive at a zero par time that I've come across. Wonder if there are other ways to achieve the same goal of eliminating "outliers"?

I also like the idea of having PS set up a zero par time after the course has been "rutted", as mentioned by LF.

Actually, sometimes if you're lucky and have "good racers" cutting the ruts, riding the ruts (when they still aren't too deep) will actually improve your time, since the "ruts" will be a good line.

Think snow,

CP
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
Here's a plug for Wachusett Night League Racing (MA). It's cheap ($289.00 for a race ticket for 30 races)
Whoah. Just caught this big typo and it's too late to edit it. There are 10 races, not 30.
post #26 of 27
That sounds like an awesome league. Every league has room for improvement, but it soulds like everyone involved has a real passion for the sport and are well-organized. I'm jealous.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Hi Liquid Feet: How things going? Are you going to participate in the 2007 Stowe Event?
One more thing which I wish I had said way back. I'd love to go to ESA Stowe. Just can't make it happen right now. Choices, choices. But one day I hope to meet and get to know the eastern bears who post here.
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