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Thread: Discussion on Team Points Cap and Non-regional Teams

  1. #1
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    Default Discussion on Team Points Cap and Non-regional Teams

    Fifth year riding. Here's what I think of the most significant changes in my book. Oh, this was also the first year that I was a (co-)captain.

    1. 100 mile total cap on contributing to the team points - I really liked this. It removed a significant portion of stress from my life and made it possible for me to actually have more hobbies than just riding my bicycle during the winter. Oh, and I got to hang out with my family more. It was still a struggle to reach 100 miles some weeks, but overall this is the level that I liked, personally. I could understand if people want to raise this to 150. But overall, I felt this helped to put more focus on team efforts!

    2. Non-regional teams - I didn't like this as much. Obviously I had a great team (17!), but because of weather and other conflicts I found it difficult to organize rides outside of my local area successfully. Combining this with the team points cap also affected my personal ability to organize group rides with members spanning all three effective regions. I don't think that the two rule changes mesh very well, and would prefer to get rid of the non-regional teams decision before getting rid of the team points cap decision.

    That's my take on it. I'm curious to hear what others think across the DC metro area. Cheers.

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    I was going to start a discussion on this, but decided not to. However, since it has been started I will go ahead and add my thoughts.

    I'm still not sure what the objective was, but it did seem to keep the teams closer in points. However, that being said, I do believe that Team 7 and Team 17 were #1 and #2 during the entire competition (I did not check daily, but when I did check, that's what I saw). And barring riders getting sick or injured, the trailing team could not make up the points. In the past, a team could get together to do a longer team ride and help themselves out in the standings. That was pretty much eliminated with the change. Of course, a team could still do this to be social. It just wouldn't help that much with the team standings.

    I also noticed that only three of the top 10 individuals made it on a team that finished in the top half. Two teams had two top 10 riders and finished in the bottom half. The #9 rider was the sole rider to make it on a top 5 team (they were 2nd). And speaking as one of those top 10, I was actually glad to have the new rule. Our team was so far out of it early on, there was no motivation for me to ride on a miserable day when all I would do is add 10 points to our team total. So, thank you for that. I enjoyed NOT riding those 10 days.

    The regional/non-regional team doesn't matter to me. I live where most people don't ride anyway. And I'm never up early enough to do a coffee ride (I also don't drink coffee). In the past, I've tried to participate in at least one of the group rides, but this year didn't work out since I was on the road a lot.

    I also realize that this game is meant to have fun, and maybe do some things you normally wouldn't do. Like stop at 10 coffee places in one day and get wired! Or do a ride at 3:00 am! I also enjoy seeing what crazy weather people will ride in. That always amuses me. I've also met some nice people, so that's also a plus.

    I guess the bottom line is that I don't really care. I'm certainly not going be able to retire off my winnings from Freezing Saddles! I would most likely play along no matter what the rules are. It keeps me amused during winter.

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    Default An Outsider's Perspective

    So... This is all with the caveat that I did not participate in BAFS this year, so take my opinions and thoughts for what they are worth considering.

    From a team assignments perspective, having the mileage cap makes things so much easier! Had I known that was happening, I would have done the assignments again.

    That being said, I noticed the same thing that Alan did. I think the cap needs to be higher. Maybe not even that much higher, say 120?

    As for regional teams, again, not having it makes team assignments way easier, but I noticed that there was not a lot of "smack talk" or team loyalty/events as in the past. I like the idea of regional teams for those that want them. It does tend to make things more social and creates more of a "team bond". Although, since I opted not to do the social butterfly award, maybe I just missed some of the team events.

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    All,

    I've asked Steve O if he could compile how the team standing would've changed if there was no mileage cap. Hopefully, he'll be able to report back at the HH next week. Stand by for the results/analysis.

    Casey is absolutely right that having the cap made it a lot easier to to team assignments this year. Based on expected mileage that was reported when people registered, every team was "balanced" to be within ~10 miles of each other for total team miles ridden per week. The fact that there was as wide a spread in the results as there was means that a lot of people didn't ride to their expected weekly mileage. I'm guessing that Team 7 rode to more (probably a lot more) than their expected weekly mileage. In the end, it all comes down to how many people on a team are able/willing to ride as many miles as possible.

    If we decide to keep the mileage cap next year, I wouldn't have a problem raising it. But I also don't know that it's going to make a whole lot of difference.

    I know lots of folks like the idea of regional teams. We could do that and team assignments would be relatively easy. I'd just use zip codes to figure out teams. If the idea is to make FS more social and not worry so much if the teams are (in theory) competitive, I'm all for that.

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    Anecdotally, the mileage cap made a lot of people ride less, which was not the intention. And it didn't make for an exciting finish to the competition, which WAS the intention.

    In theory I like regional teams. However, they work much better for people who live further from DC. I was on a DC team one year and we all had like 3 mile commutes. We did well in terms of having a lot of people riding every day, but we weren't even close to competitive overall.

    As to calculating the scores if we didn't have the cap - that's going to be misleading, as many people stopped riding once they hit 100 miles. Probably still worth figuring, but I don't think it will tell us a whole lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post
    Anecdotally, the mileage cap made a lot of people ride less, which was not the intention.
    Except if your name was Bob James, of course.

    I liked the cap personally (it allowed me to only lose the one point for missing a day when I was in Vermont skiing), but it could be raised a little. However, I don't really care and will just ride my bike no matter what the rules are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    However, I don't really care and will just ride my bike no matter what the rules are.
    This is mostly true for me, too, although I didn't manage to hit the cap once this year. That's mostly due to a combination of being busy at work and being in peak "the kids have lives now but can't get anywhere on their own yet".

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    I didn't mind the cap, but agree it could be a little higher. It actually got me to bike bit more on a few weeks--my mileage from just commuting is only ~45 miles, so it pushed me to do a few extra weekend rides when I may have otherwise stayed at home. I don't think it helped keep things much closer though--the top few teams pulled away early on and no one really ever got close.

    I HATED the lack of regional teams. To the point if they aren't brought back, I'm not sure I plan to do FS again next year since it really seemed to reduce the number of happy hours and other local rides that made FS fun for me to participate in. It was also really hard to figure out team rides and events when people are scattered all around the DMV. I don't know if we ever really had a good team ride for my team, or a happy hour...which is sad since in prior years all my teams did. We can always scatter DC people among the arlington/alexandria/close in MD areas if they want to be part of teams that earn more points. They're close enough making it out into VA or MD wouldn't be too tough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrenaut View Post

    As to calculating the scores if we didn't have the cap - that's going to be misleading, as many people stopped riding once they hit 100 miles. Probably still worth figuring, but I don't think it will tell us a whole lot.
    It's also going to be misleading in that, as Chuck said, the cap influenced the team assignments; without the cap, someone who is a high mileage rider would have to be matched with a larger number of low mileage riders (or at least people expected to be) to keep things balanced. Since that wasn't needed this year, in addition to simplifying team assignments, looking at it that way would be skewed. (The same would be said of looking at last year's standings and applying the cap - to the extent that the rules influence the team assignments, it's a long road to take any analysis from "interesting" to "useful")

    Notwithstanding what Steve O may be compiling: I'd already pulled together a file comparing folks' "team miles" with their individual miles through 3/17 for the purpose of the "Keepin' it 100" pointless prize, so it should be pretty easy to update for the final data. I know from what I've already looked at that there were about 10% of this year's participants who hit the mileage cap each week through 3/17 and rode every day. What's hard to say how many of those people rode less/more/differently because of it (e.g., I'll push myself to get to 100 this week to hit the cap rather than just stop at 90 and make it up with a longer ride next week). In any event, I have that file at home, so can run a few numbers tonight and share anything of interest with folks here for the good of the debate.

    I'll also echo what Emm and others have said about the "regional" teams - it seemed that this year FS was less social than past years because of the lack of more localized teams planning smaller/more impromptu events.

    And - last bit of two cents I'll throw in this morning - to hope to get more-balanced teams, it's probably the combination of mileage and riding frequency (days) that may need to be considered in the future and asked for with the registration form. (Acknowledging that reality can vary from expectation quite a bit, but both factors apply.)

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    As Chuck mentioned, I do plan on crunching some numbers when I get a chance. Even before I do it, though, I am totally flabbergasted that the standings were still just as spread (or almost as much) as prior years. The hope was that the cap would make the Days/Miles part of FS more competitive. It was also intended to help encourage newbies and more tentative winter riders to do more riding, since their contribution to their team's point total would be greater. I don't know if that happened, but if the standings had been closer and there had been more team kinship, it might have.
    in my mind, the best part of FS isn't having all the people like me who already ride a lot ride even more, it's to bring new people into the fold and encourage the daily ride a bit more than the weekend century. That was a big part of the reasoning for the cap.

    Not just here, but also in conversations, I've heard a lot of support for regional teams.

    If there were a way to "handicap" regional teams in a way that would also create Days/Miles competitiveness, I think a lot of people would like that. I know I would.


    Doing team assignments is evidently an impossible task. For seven years three different people have done their best to create evenly matched teams, and it's never even close. When I've done the numbers in the past I've found that it's barely better than random assignment. I find this extremely bemusing.

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