Lot of discussion recently about the importance of online results and both sides have made some good points but this whole discussion will soon become insignificant as online finish line results soon fade away to the past.
But before we move off in the the very near future lets talk about why so much frustration with the existing system of online results. Why are some racers so frustrated when results are incorrect, late or non-existant? Because it can be done. 20 years ago, top 5-ish results were posted and that was fine, if you were somewhere mid pack you didn’t complain because you weren't listed at 36th and that was because it was nearly impossible to place riders that deep. But today with high speed camera’s it is possible to not only place the top 5 you can go all the way to the back of the field… as long as the racer put their number on correctly. (Dive deeper into this concept of reduced happiness and the growth of choice in the Paradox of Choice TED Talk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM) There is really no reason for not being able to produce results accurately and timely with this technology, but this is the beginning of where finish line results will lose their value.
Moving into the future
Imagine for a moment that BRAC had a functioning timing system. No I’m not trying to throw BRAC under the bus here and please don’t bring up the old debate on the previous timing system, just imagine they had a system in place. With a functioning timing system in place you could know your speed and place on each lap along with all of your teammates and fellow racers. Compare your lap times to other fields, etc.
Now imagine that this timing system worked like some ski tracker devices that some ski resorts used for ski lesson. This technology could provide you with information about where you were relative to every racer every second while out on course. Now imagine what could be done with this data, like...
- You could mash this up with your powertap data and see exactly what with right or wrong at every single turn.
- You could take this data and replay the race in a simulator . This simulator could also mash up data from google maps and give you a more realistic view of how you performed on grades or corners, etc.
- Also this data could be turned into a real rider simulator like a compu-trainer and give you a even more realistic view of the race. It would be like watching a cartoon video of your entire race.
- Lastly you could, using your compu-trainer and take place in a race you never registered for and maybe even win! How crazy is that?
In addition to all of these items mentioned above the actual raw number crunching itself could be amazing, for example you could...
- track the progress of every single racer and see who is starting to peek or maybe found the miracle vitamin
- Coaches could use it to find riders who might be considered strong but maybe fade in the last 5 laps. What an amazing marketing piece that could be!
- Team captains could find a rider who’s racing “profile” fits the type of rider they are looking to recruit. Your profile could be defined for you simple by that data… as a strong domestic player, sprinter, good at long distance, etc.
So when you have so many choices of data points that happen during a race the need for just finish line results will slowly become less important than all of the other data that comes along with it. Racing will still be racing and winners will still be winners on podiums but the race and its data will become so much important for all racers.
All of what is mentioned here is very possible today, none of it is any type of cycling sci-fi fiction. Now someone, give me 6 developers and 4 months to create some impressive prototypes