2008 US Nationals Proposed Racing Format

general rules, special-tight-giant rules

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Jack Smith
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Post by Jack Smith » Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:07 pm

Too much time has been spent getting our timing systems and spread sheets to do what we the racers felt was important to simply through it out the door because Wesley decided to announce the double elimination format now.
And there are still problems with the timing systems, information input and the spreadsheets at virtually every race.
Everyone has noticed the new blood coming into the sport over the last several years. Sure not as much as we'd like but we are growing in numbers and the fields are getting faster and more competitive.
It's nothing more than a trickle. I do agree the fields are faster, amazingly fast.
The double elimination system was used a lot in Sweden back in the days when Corky was a judge at many events, so he was certainly just giving an example when saying "crazy format". I like the double elimination system, but you need time to do it, and I'm not sure the audience understands much of it. Thus I personally have some doubt for the larger events. Wasn't there a long discussion on other similar race proposals a couple of years ago. Some of which were made to create more equal races and remove the need for 1-16, or even worse 1-32 to meet. These runs normally have little, or no, value.
Actually using the DE system, combined with the Max Cone DQ and False Start DQ ideas described in the US Nationals thread, would take much less time to run than the current system. Racers would also not have to wait as long between runs, due to less calculating and information input into the spreadsheet.

I feel both the racers and audience would find it much easier to follow that the current system.

As for 1-32, I agree. At a National or World Class event their should be no more than 16 racers in the head to head, I would prefer to see 8 racer finals.

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Post by Hans Koraeus » Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:18 pm

I'm personally not against the DE system and as Jani said I'm very familiar with it since we used it all the time in the vert events in Sweden during the 80's.

But it's not the the DE system that makes it easier for the audience. It's the fact that you can see that the first one over the finish line is the winner. This works well in snowboarding where they go one time in each course with automatic gates and no cone count (or max 1). (But man, the racers still looks like crap. They should go for skateboard paralell slalom instead of snowboard. But big business rules...).

With such a race system (first over the line wins) we can't have cones touched beacuse you gain so much by criddling. And with 0 cone limit we have to do easier courses and racers will be far less aggressive wich is a pitty. And we have to solve the starting procedure if going once in each lane. Automatic gates is one solution but a dangerous one. People get hurt. I saw it last on TV during a snowboard event. The gate did not open the racer got stuck and had to be taken away with ambulance to the hospital. If they can't make the gates 100% safe then we won't. You can't use start signal because it will be confusing for the riders hearing two start signals. You could use light though. Like in Formula 1 racing.

Not using a timer is good for amateur races at a low level when its all about fun and getting people interested. Or for the "Country team races" we have done on some events in europe using the "First over line" method. But for me the times is a big part of slalom racing. Without times you loose a lot in my view. And when doing small events you will often go single lanes and then a timer will be needed anyway.

The cone counting issue does make our sport more complicated for the audience and take some more time but it's a very fair race system. And with a good team of cone judges the problem is not that big. The problem is big when you have no good strategy for it and anybody around that comes by will hold up cones to be counted.

(Sorry Wesley did not see your post;-) Maybe som adm can move the posts to where they belong...

Jack Smith
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Post by Jack Smith » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:32 am

The 2008 Nationals are on.

After a week of sleepless nights and a headache from banging my head against the wall (at my age I should know better), I have decided to go forward with the event. The points level will be prime. THe "double elimination" format will be used in the tight and hybrid events.

I want to thank Pat Chewning for keeping open a line of communication. However, the other two members of the sanctioning committee did not return email or private messages.

So onward with the organizing of the event. I will be looking all over the central coast in an effort to find the best venues possible. So there is a chance that all of the races won't be held in Morro Bay. I do plan to keep the Super G on Turri Road, site of the 2004/2005 Super G.

There is a chance that there will be a bonus flat (well almost) single lane event on a new bike path that runs right along the bay in Morro Bay.

More soon.

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Post by Colin Beck » Tue Feb 12, 2008 11:10 am

Last year we ran a double-elimination slalom race in Canberra, Australia. Each racer ran both courses in each round, so it was a looong day. Too long, so if the course is identical enough a single run would be better.

The best thing about the double elimination was that everybody got to race against more people. The loser's bracket races typically featured racers of a more similar standard than the winner's bracket races. The racers loved it for this reason. More excitement, and more scope for personal rivalries to get played out.

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fore runner

Post by Lynn Kramer » Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:08 am

In ski racing they account for different courses by sending fore-runners. They use 4 of them in some leagues, and they are consistent racers, not always at the top, but always consistent. That way they know how fast a course is, and can apply handicaps.
A possible solution to differing courses can be to adapt this idea. Either: Have 4 very consistent people run the courses the night before to find time differentials in the two lanes. OR: Use the top 4 qualifiers as time indicators, and scoot the start or finish line an appropriate amount after qualifiers are over to account for any average time differential.

I think that it is good for Jack to think outside the box. This sport needs to grow. There should be 16-20 women in the larger races. It is apparant that we need to do something, whether or not this is it. Just because we are not used to the format doesn't mean it is confusing. And, as that 15th place finisher they were talking about, it would be nice to have a second chance after getting whooped by Pirnack.

Some parts of this format will stick. I like the DQ on the jump-start. I have worked it into my timer system (if I can get my husband to do the debugging). I don't particularly like the no cone penalty, but that's cause I like math. I think this can be offset by extremely low cone maximums before DQ, if it doesn't cause the organizers to make really really easy courses. Sometimes the fun of slalom is not only how fast you can make it, but if you can make it at all. Some will disagree. That's ok.
Lynn

Jack Smith
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Post by Jack Smith » Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:00 am

The race in Morro Bay will now be called the International Championships of Skateboard Racing...damn that was easy.

Wesley Tucker
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Re: Barker is correct.

Post by Wesley Tucker » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:54 am

John Gilmour wrote:In Dual racing..what you are actually doing is racing a SINGLE COURSE- just 1/2 a course "at a time" with two starts. We add the times to get the time for the "SINGLE discontinuous course". This makes it more fair. And allows us the "illusion of head to head" racing for the spectators,..... and ourselves.
I've been thinking about this and I knew there was a flaw in this reasoning and today it came to me.

According to John we in essence race ONE course totaling (White Lane)+(Red Lane). If it's a 50-cone course then according to him we actually race a 100-cone course and compare times.

On the face of it this makes sense but this analogy fails if the truth of running a race is examined closer. The problem is even when thinking of a race course as one lane plus the other lane, the two racers STILL race TWO DIFFERENT COURSES.

How can this be you might ask? Because when we race one racer runs the course
(Red Lane)+(White Lane.)
The other skater runs the course
(White Lane)+(Red Lane.)

(White)+(Red) is different than (Red)+(White)

So even if the combined courses are considered one course it's STILL two different courses for each racer. In order for both racers to run the same combined course they would also have to race the same combined course in the SAME ORDER, which is impossible and defeats the purpose of switching lanes. The mere fact, however, of one skater racing in one lane FIRST and then another lane SECOND is opposite of his opponent means they still aren't running an identical course.

So, racers racing in just one lane with lane choice is no different in that the racers will face each other and race on two different courses. The only real difference is the elimination will take half as long.
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Wesley Tucker
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Post by Wesley Tucker » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:32 pm

OK!

I asked in Jack's race forum and I'm asking here: how was the format? What was the response and feedback?

So far on Jack's Skateboard Journal blog Judy and Cat have posted a response with favorable opinions of Double Elimination racing.

Anyone else?

After all the discussion it would be nice to hear how it turned out.

GIB? I haven't forgotten YOU started all this. What did you think?
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Jack Smith
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Post by Jack Smith » Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:36 pm

Wes, I'm running around returning stuff today, so I'll make it short for now.


Great!

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Re: Barker is correct.

Post by Joe Iacovelli » Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:12 pm

Wesley Tucker wrote:[.

How can this be you might ask? Because when we race one racer runs the course
(Red Lane)+(White Lane.)
The other skater runs the course
(White Lane)+(Red Lane.)

(White)+(Red) is different than (Red)+(White)

So even if the combined courses are considered one course it's STILL two different courses for each racer. In order for both racers to run the same combined course they would also have to race the same combined course in the SAME ORDER, which is impossible and defeats the purpose of switching lanes. The mere fact, however, of one skater racing in one lane FIRST and then another lane SECOND is opposite of his opponent means they still aren't running an identical course.
I don't get it - so 2+3 does not equal 3+2? I see what you say that it would be more logical if you raced in the same order, but how does that really affect the outcome?

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:02 pm

Joe,

I'm going to wait until we get some actual feedback from the real racing in California this week.

No need to be academic when there is now real experience with the format.
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It went great

Post by Marty Schaub » Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:46 pm

I'm still lagged from getting home at 1:30am last night, but I'll cast my lot with the format. It went great and I believe from the comments I heard all weekend that the rest of the racers enjoyed it too.
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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:29 pm

I vote an emphatic YES...not just because of my results, but because it is FUN. You get a second chance if you have one mediocre run, the lane choice thing is a bonus if you quali in the top half (thanks to Paul Price for telling me what to study in the lanes to determine the better one!), in the brackets you know where you stand against your pair ALL THE WAY down the course AND at the finish so the in-course strategy (especially if you have cones to "give" near the end) is really interesting. Very cool!
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Wesley Tucker
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Re: Barker is correct.

Post by Wesley Tucker » Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:52 pm

Joe Iacovelli wrote:I don't get it - so 2+3 does not equal 3+2? I see what you say that it would be more logical if you raced in the same order, but how does that really affect the outcome?
Joe,

It took me a while but what I was trying to remember from a college Logic class finally came to me (good to know all that tuition didn't go to waste!)

Yes, 2+3 does equal 3+2.

BUT

3 apples and 2 oranges

is different than

2 oranges and 3 apples.

Same number of items but the altered order means they are not the SAME..
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Post by Colin Beck » Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:55 pm

Here in Australia we ran a head-to-head race last weekend with these features:

* double-elimination
* single-run (higher qualifier chooses the course)
* 0.1 sec cone penalty (old-style)
* False start penalty (2x, ie, old-style)

So it was a mix of the "traditional" and the new. It worked great.

I'm a big fan of double elimination, especially in our races in Australia where there is a big variation in the standard of racers. With single-elimination the slower seeds get knocked out very quickly and have no encouragement to come back to the next race. With double elimination they have the experience of racing against a real fast guy, and then a second chance against a slower guy.

And for the faster guys the eventual placings seem to fall out with an uncanny sense of fairness. For example,

* the 2nd place guy got beaten by the 1st place guy twice
* the 3rd place guy got beaten by the 1st and 2nd placed guys
* the 4th place guy got beaten by the 2nd and 3rd placed guys
* the 5th place guy got beaten by the 3rd and 4th placed guys
* the 6th place guy got beaten by the 2nd and 3rd placed guys
* the 7th place guy got beaten by the 4th and 6th placed guys
* the 8th place guy got beaten by the 1st and 5th place guys

When you get beaten by two guys who place above you it's hard to argue with the result. And looking at the above makes you see how double-elimination creates closer races than single elimination. The first races in the above list are the winner's bracket races, and the second are the loser's bracket races, and the loser's bracket always has the closer races. Better to have those closer races than to simply have another run of the more lopsided race in the winner's bracket.

As for differences in the courses...I think it's overstated. Set them as identically as you can, and reward the higher qualifier with the choice.

So, is there a "Dan Gesmer-style" spreadsheet for single-run double-elimination?

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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:23 pm

Colin Beck wrote:So, is there a "Dan Gesmer-style" spreadsheet for single-run double-elimination?
Get a old of Jack Smith and ask what spreadsheet we used at the Nationals this year. Not sure if it can account for cone/start penalties.

Great recap/explanation of the advantages of double-elim - I really enjoyed it in Morro, although we did not count cones there and a false start was a DQ. It seems adding the cone penalty and false start penalty would go a ways towards making the system more popular.
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