hvincent wrote:What do you mean by "historically fastest"? Do you really expect a course record set every year? Just because no one beat last year's first place time doesn't mean everyone went slower; if you're just looking at the fastest run as an indicator of speed, I think you're missing part of the picture.
2014 Women's top 4 average: 2:44.04
2015 Women's top 4 average: 2.42.49 (-1.55)
2014 Men's top 4 average: 2:13.35
2015 Men's top 4 average: 2:13.04 (-0.31)
I think what you're actually observing is that a previously dominating team has lost some ground this year, and the rest of the pack is closing the gap. The top times are objectively faster overall than last year (regardless if this is happening in freeroll or pushing), and the difference in those times is smaller.
Sam Swift did a excellent data analysis of historical data (I don't have a link handy for the slides at the moment), and I am pretty interested to see how this year affects the dataset. One of the thoughts I had was to try and break it down further between freeroll and pushing, but I'm not quite bored enough yet to sign up for watching a ton of race footage to get those numbers.
I have pretty mixed feelings about this year. On the plus side, it's great to see an exciting race day and it's even more exciting to see organizations make breakthroughs (CIA, SAE), but on the flip side, it's disappointing to see a 2:10+ winning time on a day where the weather was simply perfect.
It was obvious from the get go that SDC was not rolling all that well. I'm not sure the heat offhand but I distinctly remember SigEp pulling away from them on the downhill. I don't have the data in front of me, but I'd be shocked if any time freerolled better than CIA - which is sort of amazing.
My other observations:
The driving wasn't all that strong, but it sure was exciting - multiple chute passes and crash avoidance. Sure, the drivers could have avoided by having better lines, but it made for an exciting day in the Chute.
Pushing was abysmal. No excuse ever
for pushbar DQs - and there were multiple - and generally, no singular pusher appeared to put up an impressive performance bar Spirit's Hill 1. Not sure if it's related to a track meet on Raceday or what, but just it was just generally poor pushing, particularly given the weather.
Great commentary by Connor, Bordick, and Will. It seems thankless so I don't want to take their effort for granted - they deserve kudos because they did a great job, particularly Connor.