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Thread: Existential Thread: Or What is Freezing Saddles Really All About

  1. #101
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    I'm a first year participant and like how "the game" is structured. I rode zero miles in the winter last year. I've ridden 660 this winter. I now think 40 degree weather is "pretty nice" for a bike ride.

    I've met some awesome people like Tim Vandish and Teresa Armundson who are two of the nicest people I've ever met; Ian Fingerman who changed my life as I was wallflowering at the initial happy hour by telling me that all you have to do is talk about bikes; Cynthia Palmer who is the cutest person that I have ever met; Sara Lappano, who will never do more Hains Point laps than me; and Mary Gersemalina who takes the best pictures on her rides.

    Although I'm motivated by points and data, I don't really care that my team isn't going to win the overall points. There is enough data available that you can pick something else to win. My team is currently "winning" Hains Point laps. I'll consider us victorious as long as we do more than Team 3 this year.

    I think the system works the right way and is simple. Riding a mile is good. Riding more than a mile is extra good.

    As far as side bets and pointless prizes, I haven't really participated other than a little Beerneuring. Some of them are so complicated that my eyes glaze over after the first few sentences.

    In sum, pipe down old timers, the new kids still find it fun and are happy to meet you especially since many of us lurked on the boards and on Strava before joining Freezing Saddles this year and at least in my case might consider you to be a biking idol.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob James View Post
    It's been very competitive for Team 11. We've been battling between 3rd and 6th place for weeks. It's every bit as challenging and rewarding as battling for 1st place. Go Team 11.

    Competition - the act or process of trying to get or win something (such as a prize or a higher level of success)
    I agree. The Fourth Awakens has taken great pleasure in going from thirteenth to eighth place.
    Last edited by cvcalhoun; 03-03-2016 at 06:30 AM.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob James View Post
    It's been very competitive for Team 11. We've been battling between 3rd and 6th place for weeks. It's every bit as challenging and rewarding as battling for 1st place. Go Team 11.

    Competition - the act or process of trying to get or win something (such as a prize or a higher level of success)
    I agree. The Fourth Awakens has taken great pleasure in going from thirteenth to eighth place.
    Last edited by cvcalhoun; 03-03-2016 at 06:29 AM.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    I'm going to follow up my own question with my opinion.

    I like B)

    vvill recently suggested a "gnarly weather" metric that might more accurately capture the "spirit" of Freezing Saddles. Similarly, if we believe a significant part of the "spirit" of Freezing Saddles is beerneuring and N+1 and London Bridge and photos on Instagram & the website and ridiculous coffee challenges and happy hours and the FSLNHPP, etc., then why not include those in the rankings? Currently we give points for days and miles, so, as any dismal economist would point out, that's what people care about. If the rankings included points for the social aspects--as many here have emphasized, an important component of the "spirit" of Freezing Saddles, then it becomes integral to the game rather than ancillary.
    As someone who's worked as a recruiting consultant for social organizations in a past life, I just wanted to say that I've found this thread especially enlightening and heartening. I've personally witnessed many of these same existential conversations amongst organizational founders at their precipice of either exponential growth toward more socially inclusive recruitment, or re-focused principles toward the ideal perspective that the founders' intended.

    I whole-heatedly appreciated getting to play this year. My team was a never ending source of Kudos and motivation for this first-timer, and I needed it. I wouldn't have ridden nearly as often, like most of my non-BAFS riding friends (thus, I feel at least somewhat converted). I really enjoyed my lone team meetup, and hope to make it to the closing HH.

    While I may have approached BAFS an initial "Type A" perspective, I now have far greater respect for what "Type B" could be, and I hope to join y'all for the ride.

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  6. #105
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    Default a thought or three

    I'd like to revive a thought that came up earlier in this thread: what if you could just sign up to compete individually, and those of us who want to play reindeer games can sign up to be on teams? That way folks for whom coffeneuring or beerneuring isn't at all engaging can still get out there and kick ass with their time and miles in the saddle.

    I really like it not being about the points, but the points are definitely what makes me get out there for 1.1 miles at 11:30pm just to get it in. I didn't find this year's games engaging, which was disappointing, but they change up each year. Something that made it really difficult to use the forum (and I gave up on that in week 3) was the team discussions. I don't really care about another team's discussions, but I struggled to find the games and side bets in the mess of the forum.

    Also, this thread has been particularly awesome. Sometimes though, when new folks want to get involved or help improve things, those suggestions get shot down by "we've always done it this way", for example, when I suggested that our happy hours NOT be on a weekday, so that those who are non-commuters or don't work in the city can still come (and thus, increase our community connections). So, food for thought.

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  8. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammyiam View Post
    I'd like to revive a thought that came up earlier in this thread: what if you could just sign up to compete individually, and those of us who want to play reindeer games can sign up to be on teams? That way folks for whom coffeneuring or beerneuring isn't at all engaging can still get out there and kick ass with their time and miles in the saddle.

    I really like it not being about the points, but the points are definitely what makes me get out there for 1.1 miles at 11:30pm just to get it in. I didn't find this year's games engaging, which was disappointing, but they change up each year. Something that made it really difficult to use the forum (and I gave up on that in week 3) was the team discussions. I don't really care about another team's discussions, but I struggled to find the games and side bets in the mess of the forum.

    Also, this thread has been particularly awesome. Sometimes though, when new folks want to get involved or help improve things, those suggestions get shot down by "we've always done it this way", for example, when I suggested that our happy hours NOT be on a weekday, so that those who are non-commuters or don't work in the city can still come (and thus, increase our community connections). So, food for thought.
    The question is what the purpose of this game is. In large part, it's about two things: getting people to realize they really can bike all winter, and increasing the sense of community. Neither goal is fostered by having nonteam players. Someone who has not biked before is unlikely to see any prospect of doing well in an individual challenge; it's the team balancing that gives them a chance to be on the winning team. And the teams are what provide a lot of the social interaction.

    At a time when we are going to have to limit participation, anyway, I see no point to including people who aren't really interested in the goals of Freezing Saddles anyway.

  9. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDCist View Post
    As someone who's worked as a recruiting consultant for social organizations in a past life, ... I've personally witnessed many of these same existential conversations amongst organizational founders at their precipice of either exponential growth toward more socially inclusive recruitment, or re-focused principles toward the ideal perspective that the founders' intended.
    So... any advice for figuring it all out from a voice of experience?

  10. #108
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    My additional three cents:

    1) Let's not kid ourselves that the overriding goal of Freezing Saddles so far has been a competition. The degree that participants are competitive varies, but it remains a competition nonetheless. Otherwise, there would be no reason to count points earned. This competition does foster other goals, such as increased riding in the winter and enriching the bicycling communities. While these valuable benefits are directly the result from Freezing Saddles from being a competition, they are not the overriding goal. Of course, the overall of goal of Freezing Saddles can be changed. I do not how how we would achieve agreement/consensus on this. The use of polls that was tried earlier this year did not seem to work very well and sometimes the polling results were ignored. Another possibility is creating another winter bicycling event that is not competition based.
    2) We need to recognize that there are people who sign up for Freezing Saddles who ultimately show no interest in however the goal of Freezing Saddles is defined, whether it is as a competition, increase winter riding or enriching the bicycling community. I think that we need to consider how to handle such people.
    3) In deciding how to structure Freezing Saddles in the future, the focus should be on what is needed to maximize the value and positive experience of Freezing Saddles for the participants overall, including those who are already invested in Freezing Saddles through past participation. I am worried about the willingness to not adopt a suggested approach solely out of the perception that it might cause some unknown person to possibly not sign up. If a policy preserves or increases the value and integrity of Freezing Saddles overall for the majority of the participants, then it should be adopted regardless of whether it may hypothetically cause one or two people not to join.

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  12. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    My additional three cents:

    1) Let's not kid ourselves that the overriding goal of Freezing Saddles so far has been a competition. The degree that participants are competitive varies, but it remains a competition nonetheless. Otherwise, there would be no reason to count points earned. This competition does foster other goals, such as increased riding in the winter and enriching the bicycling communities. While these valuable benefits are directly the result from Freezing Saddles from being a competition, they are not the overriding goal. Of course, the overall of goal of Freezing Saddles can be changed. I do not how how we would achieve agreement/consensus on this. The use of polls that was tried earlier this year did not seem to work very well and sometimes the polling results were ignored. Another possibility is creating another winter bicycling event that is not competition based.
    An analogy might be getting together with your friends to play poker. The goal of the poker game is to win money, but the purpose of the poker game is to be with your friends.
    Likewise, the goal of Freezing Saddles, the competition, is to win (or move up the standings at least). The purpose of Freezing Saddles is broader than that, and is the reason for this whole discussion.

    The more the goal and the purpose are aligned, the more the purpose will be achieved. Hence, suggestions to include points for things that help foster community and suggestions to be selective about including people who are not really interested in the purpose.

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  14. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvcalhoun View Post
    The question is what the purpose of this game is. In large part, it's about two things: getting people to realize they really can bike all winter, and increasing the sense of community. Neither goal is fostered by having nonteam players.
    While I don't disagree with your intent, I don't totally agree with your view of teams. This may be because we've had different team experiences. This year, I was on sammyiam's team. Though our captain made a valiant effort, we did almost nothing together. And much of what we did do was because I already knew sammyiam from #FridayCoffeeClub. My enjoyment of FS was almost entirely internal. Obviously I've done this before, so my experience will be different from a new person. But being on a team doesn't automatically make you enjoy and appreciate FS.

    Maybe we change guidelines on choosing teams. If we collect a few important data points in the survey, I can write a program to randomly assign the teams based on the data. Please note that I VERY MUCH appreciate the work that's been done to choose the teams up to now - I know it's a huge effort and Sunyata did an awesome job.

    If people make a guess about mileage, we can distribute more or less evenly. Then I think each team needs a veteran captain who has opted in to leading the team (organizing events, going after side bets, whatever the team is up for). I would be in favor of ditching the localized teams - it sucks for us in DC where no one commutes more than 3 miles each way, and it doesn't automatically make things more social. Us city folk tend to be good about riding every day but not about distance.

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