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2013 Gatineau Loppet Report #2 - 55km classic Gloppet Analytical Report
By:   Steven Paradine   (2013/02/19)

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Editor: Most loppet racers only use time to determine if they improve in the Gatineau Loppet from year to year. Far to often we hear "I was 10mins slower this year, boy I'm out of shape!" Unlike in running or swimming time is a poor performance indicator in cross-country ski races. The snow conditions can add or subtract great amounts of time in a ski race regardless of your fitness or effort. How your effort felt is a better indicator than the time it took, but there are analytical methods as Steve will examine.


This report will focus on numbers to start, and specifically how I used those numbers to evaluate my race. I have entered the classic race five times in the last ten years and here are the some stats for those years

 

Year

Distance

(km)

Place

Time

Speed

(km/hr)

Winning Time

 Speed % of Winner

Phil Shawís Time

Speed % of Phil Shaw

2013

55

51st

3:27:46

15.9

2:41:52

77.9%

2:55:40

84.5%

2009

53

61st

3:06:45

17.0

2:25:27

77.9%

2:25:30

77.9%

2008

53

44th

3:33:13

14.9

2:43:06

76.5%

2:49:54

79.7%

2007

53

71st

3:51:14

13.8

2:53:59

75.2%

2:53:59

75.2%

2006

51

61st

3:18:10

15.7

2:30:47

76.1%

2:30:47

76.1%

 

So, which year is my best race?

 

Placing: By placing 2008 looks to be significantly the best race. However, there can be different competitors each year and 2013 was an especially competitive field as the race was sanctioned by Cross-Country Canada. So placing isnít the best measure of performance for those of us not at the front of the race.

Time: By time 2009 looks to be the best significantly the best race. However in cross-country skiing each race is completely different due to snow speed and conditions, temperature and race course changes and distance. So time, isnít the best way to determine the best race.

Speed: By speed 2009 again looks to be significantly the best race. It evens out the different race distances, however once again the snow speed and conditions, temperature and race course make it difficult to compare the races.

Percent Speed of Winner: By this measure 2103 and 2009 are tied as the best races. This eliminates snow conditions, temperature, race course and distances issues. However, as the winner could be a much faster person in different years this isnít a perfect measure either.

Calculation: Winning time / my time * 100

Percent Speed of Phil Shaw: By this measure 2013 is significantly the best race. It is ~4.8% better than 2008 (84.5 vs 79.7), 6.6% better than 2008 and 9.3% better than 2007. The only issue with using this is that Phil may have had good years and bad years racing himself. But this is a good start.

Calculation: Philís time / my time * 100

 

Percent Speed of Other Skiers:

I then compared my percentage speed with other racers who have raced in the same races. This method of comparing races, by comparing racers eliminates the variability in comparing times, speed, placing or comparison against only one other person.

My speed relative to other skiers

Skier

2013

My % speed

2009 

My % speed

2008

My % speed

2007

My % speed

2006

My % speed

Phil Shaw

84.5

77.9

79.7

75.2

76.1

Skier 1

96.0

87.2

91.4

84.3

 
Skier 2

96.5

  82.6

   
Skier 3

96.9

  96.2

   
Skier 4

101.7

88.1

     
Skier 5

91.7

83.7

  79.2

79.4

Skier 6

87.2

81.4

   

76.7

Skier 7

93.6

  86.0

84.1

84.6

Skier 8

101.4

91.9

94.2

   
Skier 9

101.9

89.6

93.1

85.0

84.7

Looking at the table above you will notice that my percentage is higher in 2013 than any other year. The table below lists the improvement. E.g. Phil Shaw in 2013 vs 2009 is 84.5-77.9=6.6

 

My Improvement in 2013 relative to other skiers in previous years

Skier

Improvement from 2009 to 2013

Improvement from 2008 to 2013

Improvement from 2007 to 2013

Improvement from 2006 to 2013

Phil Shaw

6.6

4.9

9.3

8.5

Skier 1

8.8

4.6

11.7

 
Skier 2

  13.9

   
Skier 3

  0.7

   
Skier 4

13.5

     
Skier 5

8.0

  12.5

12.3

Skier 6

5.8

    10.5

Skier 7

  7.5

9.5

8.9

Skier 8

9.4

7.2

   
Skier 9

12.2

8.7

16.8

17.2

Average improvement

9.2

6.8

12.0

11.5

These numbers show very clearly which race is the best one: 2013!!!

2013 is ~7% better than 2008 and a whopping 12% better than 2007.

 

Let us make a comparison to demonstrate the improvement. I run 5km in ~ 20 minutes. If I improve by 6.8% I would drop down to 18:39, and if I improved by 12% I would drop to 17:36!!! Those are huge improvements.

 

 

 
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