Since there’s still some controversy swirling about regarding how the fields stack up against one another, I figured I’d stoke the fires once again. Some of you might recall that the Cross Crusade used chip timing a couple of years ago. Well, I asked Candi if she had any of the old results files. It turns out that she did — Barton from 2005. I’m only producing one combined picture of the data. Here are a few notes:
- I threw out the first lap results since they represent only a partial lap.
- I threw out any riders who didn’t finish within one lap of the leader for their category.
- I threw out any riders with chip data anomalies — such as a lap not getting recorded and the next lap getting the time for both laps.
- I threw out any riders whose final lap time was abnormally large. There were a few folks who appeared to know they were the last rider on the lap and turned in lap times many minutes slower than their previous times.
- The course was muddy so course conditions might have changed over the day.
The data is from two years ago but I’d bet that the actual distributions haven’t changed much. Riders certainly have moved up in categories since then but there has been a large influx of new riders to fill in their places.
What does this picture mean? The skinny bar represents the range of lap times within a category. I pooled all the lap times from a single category and took the maximum and minimum. They are real times, not averages. The fat bar represents a range of two standard deviations centered on the mean lap time for a given category. What’s that mean? Approximately 70 percent of the lap times fall within that range. That’s where the “meat” of the field lives. Those are the numbers you really want to look at when analyzing field overlap. Click on the image to get a full size version that will be easier to read.
So what do I think? I think the Cs and Bs (masters or not) overlap a lot. I think if there were to be any shuffling, it should happen between those fields. Say, the faster guys go up and some of the slower guys move down. But what do I know?