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Editorial!


What if we really had to solve a problem...really.

In the Texas Cross Country Racing Association, we have some absolutely great races, some great people, & some great fun !

But as with any club we have to be organized. And that means we need to make ourselves some rules, & choose some ridin' buddies, to administer these rules. 

But what if an established rule no longer fits, or as the club & technology grows, comes under question, then what?

What follows is just a taste of what goes on during a day in the 'Pit-Stop', an online news group we use to comunicate with our fellow racers in the great State Of Texas.  It has to do with The difficulty in creating a fair re-classification rule.

 

Hello Everyone,

  What an interesting day here in the Pit-Stop, eh?
Very informative. Very constructive. Very...Very... Pit-Stop !!!
  This is truly one of the greatest assets this club has going for it by a
long way. Though there are others ( assets that is ), to be sure, but
there's no doubt that the information super highway runs right smack through
the middle of north Texas.
  As most of you know, I'm generally right here with you, in the Pit-Stop,
day & night ( yes, I need to get a life ). And generally, there's never more
than 2 or 3 posts in my Pit-Stop file before I read them, stick my nose in
your business, & ...get involved.
   Today, though, things were a little different. With the exception of one
post that caught my attention ( I'm big on sportsmanship, & Girl-Racers with
an attitude...they're cool ) I did my best to sit & read, & not get
involved...'course, I noticed that someone else injected the typical
PSNP...that's uh...'Patman Sedge way Notification Post'. I laughed a bit on
that one as well.
  Anyway, why so interesting to me on this day? 'Cause, I firmly believe
that the intelligent exchange of information, whether in line with, or
contrary to, my own opinion, is absolutely invaluable. Think about it.

  I'll give you a second.

  Since I was in my twenties, I've been entrusted with the power to make big
decisions. Very Big decisions. Sometimes, Life & death decisions. In those
cases, I'm not allowed to be wrong. Ever. ...Ever. In a situation like
that, I want every shred of intel...er uh...information, I can get my little
hands on, BEFORE, I make that call. I've told my team before, "we don't
have to do it MY way, but we do have to do it the BEST way". I want input
from everybody that has contact with the current operation. THEN, I'll
figure, as best that I'm able, what action to take.



  The stuff we talk about on Pit-Stop, though not all 'million dollar
questions', are nonetheless, very important...to someone out there. Today
proves it.

  I thought about, & learned from, all the posts today. Yes, I did. Every one
of them sheds light, no matter how small, on one situation or another. There
is a certain personality to the news group. Everyone has their little 'pen
names' as do I.
  Everyone has an opinion that they might not ever allow to be heard in a
'real life' forum. Some are shy. 'Stage fright' & all that don't cha know.
Others in the news group have a certain...uh...frankness, sometimes
bordering on volatility, that may keep them from being heard in a real life
forum...over the ensuing bar-fight, I mean. And everyone has the
opportunity to THINK about what they're sayin' before they hit the 'send'
key.
  They all have the ability to decide whether what they offer is information,
accusation, or defamation.

  That all being said, perhaps we could, perhaps, see if we have the intel to
solve a problem of two. Here. Now. Before we loose our nerve in front of the
crowd. Before the bar-fight. Before the Rules meeting.

  So. What if we absolutely had to solve the ...oh say the bump issue to
everyone's satisfaction. What if we were locked in a room & couldn't pee
until we did so? What if we REALLY wanted to solve a problem?

  Well we'd establish a base that we can all agree on & go up from
there...Here, I'll go first.

  See if you can argue ( intelligently, remember, everybody's watchin' ) these
points.

  The club would not be a club without the membership.
So far so good? Let's go on. We all agree? Good. A base.
 Without the membership, there would be no pool to draw from, for ( or need
of ) the officers.
 OK?
  The membership decides the rules.
  The membership decides who will administer the rules, and in what fashion,
and with what results.
  So then, ultimately, in a macro kind of way, the membership IS the "Boss".
     At all times. In all situations.
 This is fact.Is it not?

 Think first before you type...then think again before you hit 'send'.

  Pit-Stop is not "the membership".
  Pit-Stop is not the majority of the membership.
  Yet, in every Quality Assurance Sampling Program in the world, we two
hundred plus, are an adequate cross sample of the membership", for an
accurate analysis of any opinionated situation. ( except for the question of
the worth of the internet maybe)
 Yet there is also no doubt, that the wider the sample, to approach 100%
then it would no longer be a sample ) the more accurate the results of any
test, experiment, or question.
   This is fact.

   I'll give you engineers another moment to digest...Will.


  Any eleven hundred member club would be crippled without administration of
direction...er, that is to say leadership.
The membership has chosen from within itself, those friends, relatives,
ridin' buddies, and "brothers & sisters in off road racing", that it ( the
membership ) wishes to become an officer.
In our club, The TCCRA, the officers administer the rules that the
membership has chosen.
Within' the latitude that "the membership" allows. Or accepts.
   This is fact.



  Further.
  A portion of the membership, has decided that there are some issues to be
addressed. Which means it's important to a sample group. Enough of a
percentage of the 'whole' to talk about it.
Some have been discussed here today. With some posts being more
informative than others, but all a part of the 'feeling' of any given
situation just the same.

  If we were to use this web thing, this Pit-Stop, as a tool we could glean
an awful lot of facts about any situation. Then, if it happened that we were
to put the " best way' method into play an answer will ALWAYS follow. Not a
grid lock. Why? Because Every 'issue' is an issue because of it's own
characteristics...or in some cases problems. The more characteristics we
define of any situation, like widening the Sampling Program, the better we
can arrive at a suitable answer...that is, one that suits the majority of
"the membership". Which is to say, 'most' of the problems associated with
any given issue can be dealt with, if we define the most problems.

  An example?
Can we agree that this is a competition club? Yes? OK let's continue.
Can we agree that we all want that competition to be fair? Not just to
me or my son, but to everyone. Yes?
Let's move on.
Can we all agree that unless we all have identical equipment, using
identical skills & capabilities, under identical circumstances, that the
competition will never be completely and totally 'fair'? Think. OK?
So then it's a given that in no problem, are we going to get it perfect.
Not for everyone. Not with out eleven hundred classes. But that there are
varying degrees of fairness, and we should within reason, strive for the
attainment of the 'most fair' within the limits of sanity.
Agree? Let's go on.

  Some issues have arisen. Lets look at one.
Darren explained in enough detail, I think, how the 'bump issue' is handled.
It, currently, is not totally fair. Remember to think first.
Some feel a change could be made. Some of 'the membership' feels a change could be made. Which is to say that 'the boss' feels a change could be made.
Or at least examined. Honestly. And openly.
Still with me?
We don't want the change to be LESS fair.
We want no one person to have a DISTINCT advantage.
We don't want to unjustly PENALIZE any one person, or group of people
either.


  Still OK?  Anyone wish to penalize, give a distinct advantage, or be less
fair?  No?  Nobody?


 Then let's move on.
  During the "drops" conversation, the proposition was put forth that it takes
many things to win a Cross Country event. More than just speed, More than
just the mechanical ability to keep the bike running over harsh terrain for
extended periods, more than just endurance, and, as was learned in the
"drops" conversation more even than Just perseverance. In fact however, if
any of these traits are missing chances are you are a threat to no one's
championship title.
Right or Wrong? Think about it before you type.
Yet if one possess all of these traits, you are truly a Cross Country Racer
Extraordinaire...provided, that you have the perseverance to make it to all
the races...come hell or high water.
In fact, you may be able to place high in your class...think about that for
a moment.
At this point you MAY become a threat to fair play in your class. If Clay
TCCRA # 1 ) were in my class I would expect him to be bumped. Thirty people ( me included ), would have no chance against his speed,
equipment, endurance, and over a period of time, his perseverance. Unless he broke a gearbox...then he wouldn't have it 'all', & even I could beat
him...this day.


  So fast lap times without the ability to keep your equipment functioning makes you 'not a threat' to the class title.
As would fast lap times without endurance. Or fast lap times without the ability to avoid...well, trees for instance.
Still with me? Do we agree so far?

  Would it then be fair to say, that maybe we should look at considering a few
other things before we 'bump'?
Of course. And perhaps we do.
Is there more we could do? Could we get to a higher level of 'fairness'
without going backwards?
I think so. But to at least one ( in the above example of Clay in my
class ) it would mean less...easy pickings!
Now, Clay would have to race against others with the endurance, speed,
equipment, perseverance, and yes, lap times, comparable to his own. And
loose any chance, through lost points, for winning either class. Currently.

 Perhaps we see now that lap times are not as important if a racer can't
finish a race without stopping on the last lap for a beer...or Gatorade.
This is, after all, cross country, where you have to have all the elements
to be a title threat.

  But if he wins the first three races of a season, should he be automatically
'bumped'?
How could we tell? How could we be fair? The 'most' fair? How could we be
sure he wasn't just at the top of his class? ...someone has to be there.
     Lap Times. The way we do it now.
And if we decide to move this rider, to the next higher class, under the
current system then he must have been able to run with the top five. True?
Is it then the 'most fair' to not give him sixth place points. Is it the most
fair thing we can do, to strip away the points from a 'winner'.? Is that
what we're all about here? He just wasn't ridin' at the same time as his
peers. But he did do the job.


   It's a mess. But it's what we " the bosses" will accept, or tolerate.
Currently.

 What too do?
  This.     Devise a mathematical formula that that takes into account all the
things it takes to be a threat to fair competition in any single class.
Make it as simple as possible, and as repeatable as possible.
It's ok if it's slightly complicated...slightly. We all have a calculator
within a few feet of us right now. We have the minds to make a formula.
Let's call on them now. Today. If john can do it, then fine. I don't have
the mathematic background to build him a formula for being the 'most' fair
in a 'bump' situation. But some of you do. Fellow bosses. Call 'em out.
have 'em figure us a formula for our points officer, and for our future
points officers.


     What would it look like?
  I'm no engineer, but some of you are. Perhaps the difference in the
'subjects' ( the guy being considered for re-classification) lap times from
the rest of his current class, or his closest competitor. Factor in then,
the average lap times of the higher class'...oh, say, number four rider.
Enter in his fastest lap times. And the number four guys ( from the higher
class ) fastest lap times. THEN factor in also his finishing position ( in
some way...weighted I would assume ) as this is what really counts,. If a
guy is fast as stink for two laps then falls out ( as our MX cousins often
do ) then how is he a threat. Try to use as much of what it takes to be a
threat as possible without using the CRAY. If we can prove that he can hang
with the upper classes top five...then he's reclassed. Boom. And if not.
Then not. No personal involvement. Math. math for you. Math for your son.
Math for me. No guessing. This formula should be able to tell us ( are you
engineers taking notes ? ) where exactly he would have finished each race in
the higher class, if indeed he would have finished at all ( again, he may
have had a fast average lap time, but has flatted in two of three races
causing a sixth place finish in both and one win. Maybe that's not good
enough for a fifth place in the expert class where they use fatty inner
tubes )

   Next.    How many points is the 'most' fair to carry with him. Well that's
obvious if he really deserves to be moved, based on the formula, which wont
lie, then he earned the points. He just started a few rows back that's all.
If the formula say's fourth then give him fourth place points. He would've
been there anyway. In fact he was...just a few rows back. The guy in the
upper class in fourth will have to understand that the re-classed guy earned
those points just as much as he. Only from a few rows back. If the
re-classed is that fast he'll have a battle on his hands to stay
fourth...sounds like fair competition. If he can't hang, then he'll drop out
of the top five. All will be fair. If the formula works, then he will battle
for fourth all season.

   Fair Competition. That's what we want.
Show us the formula on pit-stop. Explain it to us ...several times if needs
be. Let us kick it around. Let us try it on some models during the off
season. Maybe we'll have to change it a bit. to be more fair. To be more
Simple. But Make it happen, in enough time to experiment with it for a few
weeks BEFORE the bosses meeting.

  Don't spring it on us at the meeting. We won't understand it. We'll be
afraid of it . It will be another good idea. failed.


   Take the finished formula to the rules meeting.
Make sure everyone understands it and agrees on some form of it that is fair
to all or at least ACCEPTABLE to all.
Propose it to the rest...academic.

  Vote it in. Problem solved.

                                        
Next issue.   Let's talk about why we don't promote some of our own races.

 

 


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