Armchair GDR analysis

There are times when it sure is fun to *watch* a race rather than ride it.  GDR is one of those.  Lots of suffering going on out there - body aches and ills, broken frames, frozen freehubs, headtrippin' drama - the Great Divide Race has got it all this year.

I'm a visual guy - I need plots to get a feel for what's going on at the front of the race.  So, using Scott's chart data, I generated a few charts to get a good glimpse of status for the first week of the race.

The first chart simply shows distance covered at call in times.  I didn't do it for all riders...let me know if I've missed your favorite rider and I'll see what I can do.  One way to look at this chart is to notice the change in horizontal distance between points.  For instance, you can see that Matthew gained some time on Jay in the last round, since less time lies between the points at 950 miles than between 790 miles.

Here's the cumalitive average speed for the top 3 riders at each check in.  See any trends here?

This is the money plot.  It shows the average speed between call ins.  Think of this as the current momentum plot.

Clearly, as far as the start goes, Matthew is shooting himself in the foot by doing the Canadian prologue.  I just read yesterday he did 200+ miles in rough weather in 36 hours before the GDR start.  He lined up with a big load of fatigue, so was unable to hang with Jay and Pete.

That ain't the end of the story tho.  Matthew has some serious "mo" building.  Mo as in momentum, and maybe mojo...his pace is generally trending upwards!  Pete has had a triple whammy the past couple of days...and Jay appears to be slowing down.

Interesting stuff.  Time will tell...but based on Jay's aggresiveness in the construction zone, he's still burning some high octane crack.  He nailed the fast start he was looking for, in the next week we'll know if it was a good strategy.  It very well could be that some of Pete's current issues were triggered or compounded by trying to stick with Jay's hot pace - and that's what he was hoping for.  I've tried that strategy myself a few times but it always backfired :(

In the scheme of things, Jay's lead is pretty darn slim.  Given the current trends, if I was a betting man my money would be for Matthew to pull out the W.  His mo is building, he knows the route well, has finished the race multiple times...and Jay senses the hot breath on his neck.

It's gonna be a nailbiter, that's for sure!


Published Friday, June 22, 2007 5:35 AM by Dave


# @ Friday, June 22, 2007 6:58 AM

Great stuff Dave! I was thinking the same thing about Matt gaining a bit of mo' in the last two days and knowing what lies ahead has to be a huge advantage as well. Don't forget about Rick Hunter lurking just out of the spotlight of the current race leaders.
Do think the racers will begin to guard their positions when they call in for strategic reasons or simply not call in at all?

dave byers

# @ Friday, June 22, 2007 7:10 AM

I hear you about Rick - he's looking (and sounding) great. His call ins are so entertaining, I really dig his enthusiasm. He's having fun out there. The only reason he didn't make the last 2 charts is cause his most recent post (on Scott's chart) was pretty old.

Hard to say about the call ins. Jay didn't call in much the first few days, but I suspect that's cause he was too busy racing. I know in GLR the single call in was time consuming...generally if I wasn't riding or eating I was sleeping, using a phone was lower on the priorities ;)

Then we saw Pete decline to say where he was, but that could just due to his dissappointment.

I'd be bummed to see that happen (riders not calling in), but wouldn't be terribly surprised. Say whoever was currently leading had a mechanical that cost 8 hours...would he want to call in with that info? Especially if there was somebody hot on his heels...

I guess we'll find out!


# @ Friday, June 22, 2007 7:58 AM

Wow Dave, good stuff!

I'm not a geek like you but those charts are quite informative. I think Matt L should stick to his strategy. I was telling someone the other day that I thought Matt was still the one to beat because while Jay P was really slamming it, he was letting a little too much hang out there to keep it up for the long haul. We'll see. By the charts I can see that Matt is accomplishing exactly what a long distance endurance racer needs to do - steady, strong, sustainable pace that picks off the speedy jack rabbits.

Pete B has been hit both physically and mentally now. But I can see him recovering and doing well given how far they still have to go. A tough haul in many ways for him.

Rick H is really doing well! As much as I like rigid bikes I wonder how that will work out for him down the stretch?

Good luck and best wishes to all of the riders still out there - go, go, go, go!!

Great job Dave. Between you and Scott the analysis is amazing.



# @ Friday, June 22, 2007 8:03 AM

By the way w.r.t. call-ins, I'd get a lot more cagey about my locations and how I was doing if I were them and truly racing. Part of the game here is psychological and knowing where your rival is and how they feel is an advantage.



# @ Friday, June 22, 2007 9:42 AM

Nice. This armchair stuff is fun, isn't it?

I've spent the past couple of evenings feeling bummed about Pete's run of bad luck, but now I'm starting to get excited about the remainder of the race. Matt Lee does seem to have some firepower still, and there's still a long way to go. Far from over.

I hope the top riders don't stop calling in, but it is likely, isn't it? There is an advantage to mystery.