2015 Races

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Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:15 am
Organization: Spirit
2nd Organization: SDC
Graduation Year: 1988
Real Name: thomas felmley
Location: near Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2015 Races - why so slow? TL:DR: IT WAS THE WEATHER

Post by felmley »

So I was at all but one freeroll this Spring. People keep forgetting that there were only 5. 5 DAYS. Or else they don't know how important practice, or lack thereof, is.
Buggy is an incredibly complex event. If it were easy they'd do it at Pitt. (Yes, I know they had something like buggy. where is it now?) Why only 5 days? Because weather. (Yammer all you want about Spring Break, lack of commitment, then look back. 3 of 4 would have been cancelled.)
Cajoling, threatening ordering people out at 5am is difficult. Doing it when it is on average 10 degrees colder for this March, even more so. Now put running a team all together for Race Day. Easy, peasy? Driving is hard to learn, driving at speed more so. Now get up to speed in 5 days. that's ~15 rolls. Oh, and one is a pass test (if you're lucky). Oh, and bag your first roll. Pushing is awkward. Outside the normal learning curve of the biomechanics, you've got mechanical issues with the teams learning/relearning there buggies. Sometimes the buggy rolls fast...and sometimes it doesn't even come around.
Now it's midnight in Pittsburgh. In March. and it's raining. Again. Check the historicals. We had minimal Push Practices, usually also weather related. The only way to learn to push is to push. Not weight training, stairs, etc. The Hill times can be there, but if the exchange isn't good, there goes a second here, a second there. Even teams who have in the past, of course, practiced off campus (gasp) would have been screwed. It was that nasty this year. [Another pro-tip: Xootr-type wheels SUCK in the wet. Even in the "moist". It's the Urethane. That's why the decision to race early in the a.m. this was so disastrous, and avoidable.]
So, kudos, IMO, to teams for NOT blowing up their wheels to warp speed, and then pushing as well as they did with minimal practice.
how the mighty have fallen
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Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: 2015 Races

Post by shafeeq »

Looking at the tape confirms the opinions on Hill 2 pushers - PiKA & Fringe get their buggy into the freeroll with the most speed. SDC's is the worst, but at least he partly redeems himself by covering the hill the fastest. I think that's pretty much enough to explain SDC's slow freerolls. Fringe goes into the chute as fast, but loses all their time there, which is rather un-Fringe-like. In addition to the push, PiKA still has less drag than everyone else - they didn't hold back on the prep. SigEp used to be up there with or ahead of them, but now they're clumped in with SDC/Fringe/CIA, so they're the only ones who visibly backed off.
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:36 pm
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Graduation Year: 2013
Real Name: Ben Hauser

Re: 2015 Races

Post by hauser »

I think the disappointing times in the men's races have been pretty well covered; the pushers were slow and the teams didn't get much practice. The only thing I'll add is that the official time for PiKA's Hill 1 doesn't match the time I've gotten from repeated viewings with a stopwatch, so the pushers are actually a bit more disappointing.

This doesn't really explain the women's times, though. On that side, the pushers were actually stronger than they've been in recent years. Last year, the best 5 pushers were all on the same team, so the winning time was better. However, the fastest pusher on every hill this year was at least as good as last year's fastest, and there were 7 orgs (CIA, PiKA, Fringe, SDC, SigEp, Apex, Spirit) whose A push team could have won a trophy last year. I know last year's times also weren't that great, but the top times would have been competitive for a trophy every year since 2009.

A lot of the things slowing teams down weren't the pushers' responsibility. SDC took a poor chute turn during the finals (that can probably be blamed on the lack of practice), and that cost them about 3.5 seconds vs. the prelims between the chute flag and the end of Hill 3. Spirit spun in the chute on we pavement, so we didn't get to see their A team on the A buggy. Apex seemed to have mechanical issues with their A team, but they had a good time with their B team buggy during the finals.

The disappointing results are the ones that were easily preventable, though. The weather and lack of practices aren't to blame for SigEp not getting a buggy to the line. The better part of that push team had what would have been a fourth place time, 0.3 seconds out of third, with a B team buggy, so that team would have competed for a trophy. PiKA had the best Hill 5 and the second best Hill 4 during the prelims, but neither of the pushers was present during the finals. The team lost over 9 seconds on those hills, which is the difference between second and fourth place.
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