Statistical analysis of Cyclocross Lap times

With the new dawn to chip timing comes lap times. Much like PowerTap data, if you take the time to look deep into it most likely diamonds can be found. Colorado master ride, Dale Riley did just that and it is interesting to read the process and the outcome. In Dale's words..

Cyclocross Lap Time Analysis


I did a lap time analysis, focusing on age group & ability "progression" and have it up as a page on my blog. Similar to a previous one done by Russell at "the road to cat 1" you reported on earlier, this analysis used the Monarch High Cross times, as it seemed like a course & day that did not affect lap times over the day (Unlike Saturday's snow bowl. Wanted to do a deeper, more statistical analysis, and focus on the Senior & Masters ability progression.

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9 Comments

35+ vs open

Since this is from Monarch High, I wonder if JHK's laps were removed if 35+ and open would be even. He put the hurt on the boyz that day. Also looking at 35+ 3s compared to 45+ what are the differences, looks pretty close. Great graph and analysis...thanks for sharin...what's your blog?

Single speed "anomaly"

Nice chart. It plays out nearly as I would speculate except for one thing that I found surprising: single speed times are the 4th fastest on the day.

Not having ever watched the SS category race, can someone explain: is it just fast riders or is all that pesty shifting just getting in the way?

On a course like that 1 gear goes a long way!

I skipped that race this year but did do it last year in the SS category and given it's relative flatness (minus 2 painful short climbs) this is a great SS course!

I'm not surprised at their speeds, that field is all over the place in terms of performance.

As for do gears get in the way? Well, I'm biased since I am a common SS racer and have been for many years but on courses like this one you don't need a whole lot of gears to race fast. I'd prefer more than 1 many times but 10 or 20 as some have is way more than needed. I'm not complaining about gears, but if you switched over to SS after about 2 weeks of training you'd to might become surprised WITH SOME COURSES. Courses like Louisville... hell no, that hurts bad on a SS.

that big "tail" you see in

that big "tail" you see in the Cat 4 results? This, more than anything indicates the need for a Cat 5 in this region.

So going off this data, you can also pretty much justify combining Cat 4s with 45+, and the 35+4s with the 55+.

Try this. Switch to 40+ and a 50+ cat 3/4 field, and add a SM Cat 5. This eliminates some overlap, breaks out numbers more evenly and add a (much needed as indicated by the "tail" data) true beginner category for the slowest guys - this also has the benefit of pulling ultra slow, ultra sketchy n00bs out of the Masters' 3/4 fields where they're apparenlty getting lapped early in 'cross and/or causing havoc in the Masters' 4 fields anyhow. Once they're gone, the Masters 3/4 will show more parity.

Categories look like this for road, adjust for 'cross as necessary:

SM5
SM4
SM3
SM Open
M40+ Open
M 40+ 3/4
M 50+ 3/4
SW Open
SW 3
SW 4
W 40+ (50+ only if numbers justify)

Employ option to combine fields consistently showing 10 or fewer entries.

40+ masters is a good idea.

Speaking for myself, I am now in my late thirties and going as well or better as I was in my late twenties. Partly because with age comes experience and knowing how to train properly etc. Whilst my body does not quite recover as fast from big days as it did 10 years ago, I do not feel I am slower than other racers in senior cats and agree that the masters cat should be for 40+ riders at which age for most the body does start to feel it's age. This can be supported by looking at the results from 35+4 & 35+3 races where a large percentage of top finishers are within the 35 - 39 age group.

Growing up in Europe, the masters equivalent, VETs, start when people reach 40. It seems to work very well.