BM2014: Start order and seeding

You might be wondering (or you might not) what we do at the midday meeting aside from announcing any organizational concerns, or the speeds that the racers achieved that morning. The most important part of the meeting for the racers is that we determine the start sequence for the following evening and the next morning.
Last year, we switched to this general system: at each meeting, we worked down a list of the racers, ranked in descending order of speed, and they chose which heat in which to run. There are generally three morning and evening heats, with up to five bikes in each heat. The competition for the evening heats is intense since most of the existing records were set in the evening. The prime slot is regarded to be the first bike in the third evening slot, which is a good combination of low wind and sufficient evening light. What happened was that the fastest men would crowd out most everyone else for the prime slots in both morning and evening. There was a feeling that other record attempts, such as fastest woman, were being disadvantaged.

There was a lot of discussion about this (for example in this thread), and there was an argument of how to balance two objectives: to set the fastest ultimate speed, and to regard all world records in all categories as being equally important.

This year, the organizers decided to seed people for slot collection according to their speed expressed as a percentage of the current world record in the relevant category. It is easier to illustrate this with two tables.

Here are the racers ranked by percentage (as of Thursday night)
by % You can see that if we consider who will choose the five slots in the third evening slot, we have one man, two trikes, and two women.

If we rank by speed, we get:
by_speed There are two men, one trike, and two women. So this year, there is only a fairly subtle difference between the two rankings, although this might be small consolation to those just on the borderline of being able to be place in the best heats.

In addition to ranking by percentages, we also made a few other changes. The most notable are:

  • people choose their slots for both the following evening and morning at one sitting. This does two things. Firstly, it keeps the evening meetings short which gives everyone a little more sleep. The second is that since there are a maximum of 15 slots in the evening, it gives people in positions 15+ the first choice for the best slots the next morning. This avoids the situation of last year where a small number of the fastest racers were taking the prime slots in both the morning and the afternoon. This also allows competitors in slower classes a very good shot at a fast slot in the mornings.
  • There is a minimum speed of 45 mph for the evening slots. This is because the timing of the evening slots is very tight, and that a slower bike makes it impossible to run five bikes during a 20 minute road closure.

If you want to read the full rules, they are here: startorder2014-tho1

At the IHPVA membership meeting yesterday, there was a general consensus that the new rules were working well, and there was not much grumbling from the racers. These rules will be tweaked for next year. Amoung the adjustments that were discussed were raising the speed limit for evening runs to 55 mph or above, and imposing a lower minimum speed to be able to run the 5 mile course in the mornings as well.

BM2014: Friday AM results

The all powerful organizers decreed that we should have a 7 AM road closure, and in order for it to come to pass, we had to leave the hotel at 6 AM. As a consolation for it being cold (sub 40°F), the sunrise was very pretty.

We had a short session of 2.5 mile runs before the 5 mile speed runs in order to give a couple of the slower bikes their best shot at improving their speeds. This was followed by several 5 mile heats. No pictures of bikes at speed from me as we were short staffed at timing.

First off was Teagan, who put in a solid short run at 45.74 mph. Next up was Orin in his velomobile. Unfortunately, the new big ring appeared to slow him down from Wed. Finally, Alan put in a solid run. Both Alan and Teagan were also slotted for 5 mile runs later in the AM.

After a pause for resetting start to 5 miles, we waited for what was going to be the fastest heat of the morning. Damjan was first off, and he went over 75 which was his fastest time for the past two four years. Next, Eta launched but then we heard it was off the road (they did a mid course catch), and then it was being brought back up to start. Alas, we hear that there is another spoke problem, and it was scratched for the remainder of the AM. The team assures me they will be on the road tonight

Next, Christien finally got a clean five mile run, and went just under 65 mph.

The highlight of the rest of the racers was seeing Teagan just miss a hat at 49.59 mph! She is running without the crash panels, and Tom said she would have gone faster if it wasn’t so cold out. The weather data shows it was 51°F when she went through the traps.

Here are the full results:

There was plenty of activity during and after the midday meeting this afternoon. Here, Tom is being recongnized for turning fifty.TOM

Here I am with Team Cygnus, wearing one of their T-shirts that I got earlier this year.

Al shows off the fact that Delft and Barbara are in the Guinness Book of Records.

Then it was back to the Super 8 to admire some of Greg Thomas’ bikes. His Super Brompton is really sweet. Take a look at the details on this drivetrain.

I love the multi position stem that can be changed on the fly by using the “brake lever”. These are the two extreme positions.

Of course, he and Peter are racing Completely Overzealous, still currently the fastest trike in the world. I couldn’t help noticing that it was a perfect fit.

Then it was time to go back out to the track for more racing. Unfortunately, it was a very windy evening, with many people choosing not to run, and with no wind legal runs. Because of the difficult conditions, no one improved their best times for the week.

Greg through the traps.CO

Todd in Eta. This picture was so blurry that I didn’t realize that the bike had been stickered up.

Post run, I got a better look at the stickers.

Here are tonight’s results. Kudos to all those who chose to run despite the wind.

Everyone is hoping for better wind conditions tomorrow.

One of the new toys that we have at timing is a Kestrel weather station. It is interesting to look at some of the data it has collected thus far.

For example, one of the major items of interest is wind, since a speed run is not legal unless the wind at timing is less than or equal to 328 feet per minute (= 3.7 mph = 1.67 m/s).

Over the years, there is a lot of anecdotal information about what the wind does during both morning and evening sessions.

Let’s look at some data:

Firstly, wind speed in the mornings for Tues, Wed, and Thurs.
AM wind

You can see that these three curves conform to varying degrees with the accepted wisdom that “the wind starts picking up around 9 am”. You can see Tuesday morning was great for running (green curve) and miserable today (blue curve).

In the evening, people say that the wind dies right around sunset (which this week is just after 7 pm)
PM WInd Sure enough, on two out of the three evenings, the wind goes below the allowed maximum around 7 pm.

Even more interesting is asking the question as to why people ran so fast on Monday and not so much last night. This is a plot of headwind (for which negative values mean a tailwind). You can see that there was a tailwind on Monday, and a headwind on Wednesday.
PM Twind

For those who want access to all the data, go here (Updated Friday AM)
I will update this file with weather data as the week proceeds.

Thanks to Annette Wielemaker for her excel wizardry with respect to the date formatting on this files.

BM2014: Thurs AM results

We had the prospects for some really exciting racing this morning, but there were a lot of scratches. Notably, Aerovelo was down for running in three heats with all three riders, but they neglected to tell anyone that they weren’t showing up. Additionally, Christien was slated to run, but Velox4 started developing problems with their viewscreens, and so they had to scratch.

Here is the wind meter tripod, now held together with duct tape and a c clamp. Bill, we need a new tripod!

Deb and Annette fixing a broken flag.
annette and deb

Delft has said that bugs on the shell have been limiting their speed, so I wonder how these bugs are affecting my gas mileage.

Tom, racer, builder and blogger, was hanging out at timing for his 50th birthday!

Damjan was able to post his fastest time of the week thus far at just under 70 mph, but the wind was not legal.

There were two runs from 2.5 miles, which were put after the 5 mile runs, and as a result, the wind was very high. Both Teagan and Alan were able to improve their speeds, even with a brutal crosswind. Alan was using the entire road, and his wind reading of 1165 fpm (13 mph) was a record for the week thus far.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Aerovelo was finishing up rebuilding their wheels.

Here are the results:

BM2014: Wednesday PM results

It was a better session than yesterday evening, with some legal winds during the last heat.

Fast guys were Rik at 75.84 mph (but slower than Monday)

and Jan Marcel at 72.08 mph, his fastest so far in the new bike.

Gareth also improved his fastest to 70.76 mph, but winds were not legal.

Aerovelo was scheduled to run Eta three times, twice with Todd and once with Trefor, but they heard a broken spoke after Todd’s first run. Here the team is discussing how to deal with this failure with bike guru Steve Nash of Team Varna.

Weather looks good for the rest of the week. Let’s hope for more good racing.

BM2014: Wednesday AM runs

It was a pretty good morning, with mostly light winds. Most people went home happy, especially the new qualifiers, although the session was not without drama. There were two qualifying heats, and two 5 mile heats.


During the first heat, Barbara qualified the Varna Tempest, and immediately announced that she would do a 5 mile run later that morning.

Then Alexei qualified in Tetiva, the first of a pair of Russians.

Then it was great to see Alan in Slippery Slug make it down the course in style.
sslug He will be doing a run tomorrow at the 2.5 mile distance to get more used to the bike.

During the second heat, Vadim (Russian 2) qualified in Tetiva 2, and then Orin did another run in his velomobile. He went screaming through the traps, or perhaps that description could be misinterpreted so I should say that we all heard various vocalizations while he went past timing. He sounded happy, and he was, with 40.89 mph, legal wind.

Then it was time for a heat of fast 5 mile runs. Barbara pushed Varna Tempest to 72.29 mph to move up in the rankings for seeding. Unfortunately, Christien crashed in Velox4 at about the two mile mark. She did not know what happened, but the team suspects some of the gouges that are in the pavement at about that point in the course. She was OK, and basically only the shell of the bike was damaged. The team assures me that it will be good to go for two runs tonight.


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