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scientific lunacy(20 posts)

scientific lunacymr_spin
May 28, 2002 1:31 PM
I came across this article which is absolutely laughable to anyone who follows bike racing. For some reason a scientist has decided that cyclists sticking together in packs is bad and race organizers should stagger the start times to avoid pack formation, so the "most skilled" rider wins. Obviously someone who has no concept of bike riding, and obviously a guy who discounts tactics as a skill.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/10/1001_packformation.html
Nice..... I think it wasbob_vanderhaus
May 28, 2002 1:48 PM
Obviously written by a fed up 130 pound climber with a grad degree who can't time trial or survive breakaways very well.
Isn't that called...Slowclimber
May 28, 2002 2:02 PM
A time trial?

I'm also guessing that the writer of this article never bothered to read the rules of cycling. There are different cycling events for different types of racing.

There are lots of types of racing that takes place where the strongest rider wins. Time Trialing and Track riding (at least some events) are the most obvious.

It sounds like a disgruntled cyclist that has no pack riding skills and kept loosing races because he had no sprint and no idea of what to do and when to do it.
Also, citing triathlons...Brooks
May 29, 2002 8:16 AM
in which drafting (pack-riding) is not allowed. Something like a three foot bubble around each competitor to discourage drafting.
that's just stupidDougSloan
May 28, 2002 2:10 PM
So why don't we also reduce football to a "punt, pass and kick" competition with some 40 yard sprints thrown in?

The guy doesn't get it. Road racing is what it is on purpose, not due to some scientific theory.

He also seems to confuse "skill" and "fit". Nonetheless, even in a time trial, the most fit rider won't necessarily win. You gotta use your brain, too.

Doug
alllllllllllsooooDougSloan
May 28, 2002 2:13 PM
Does this guy think the cyclists are out there with compasses and maps? He seems to be stuck on orienteering as his model for cycling.
Actually ...Humma Hah
May 28, 2002 3:07 PM
... I've done that. Orienteering on a MTB in the desert can be kinda fun. In the eastern woods, I much prefer doing it on foot, as the spokes keep getting caught in the blackberry bushes.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.bikedodger
May 28, 2002 2:16 PM
The two scientists who did this study obviously did no research on bicycle racing. They started off with the assumption that packs are unfair in racing and must be eliminated. They should have read the rules of road racing before making any assumptions.

Mike
crapola ; a colossal waste of time and paper...Djudd
May 28, 2002 2:31 PM
what the heck is this "scientist" doing and who funded this stuff
Comparing orienteering and cycling is just dumb! nmrideslikeagirl
May 28, 2002 2:40 PM
he's dis-oriented nmDougSloan
May 28, 2002 3:05 PM
Wanted: psychologist to defend "pack behavior"... [nm]jagiger
May 28, 2002 3:47 PM
re: scientific lunacyfretking
May 28, 2002 7:03 PM
These are the same social engineering types that brought us scoreless soccer leagues for our children
I disagree with you completelyPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
May 28, 2002 9:07 PM
Now I only read that the rider who wins isn't always the most talented but its absolutely correct. So I agree with it.

Anyway I'm tired so I don't feel like argueing.

Cheers,
Nick Corcoran
PodiumBound.ca
So full of S#$t I couldn't finish reading it.hayaku
May 29, 2002 3:40 AM
People looking in from outside need to make more of an effort to understand things before they voice an opinion. That goes for all aspects of life. Yawn.
M.
re: scientific lunacySteveO
May 29, 2002 3:54 AM
I didnt read that 'sticking together in packs is bad'. Nor did i read that race organizers 'should' stagger times.

What I did read is that he concluded pack racing fosters an enviroment in which a person, who otherwise would not have a prayer of winning an event, can win. Good or bad, this is entirely true.

Take triathlon. I feel it's silly to allow packing in triathlon. Unlike (what you and I understand) bike racing (to be), triathlon is an INDIVIDUAL sport of complete fitness. Events are generally planned to eliminate technical expertise and group dynamics, and focus entirely on individual speed.

Enter the olympics, media coverage, and spectators. TT format tris are 'boring' and hard to cover. Solution? Allow packing. The logistical problems of TV coverage are now accounted for, but race stratagey has completely changed; Now, lesser athletes have more of a chance to win. What good is developing a 10 minute lead during the swim, only to be swallowed up by a pack 30 minutes later?
How can the superior marathoner, who happened to have a 'bad' swim (1 minute off) ever compensate for the 45 minutes he lost by 'missing' the pack?

Whether this guy 'has no concept of bike riding' or not, he has an accurate perception of the effects of packing. He's not (necessarily) trying to change the sport (unlike what was puposely done to tri by people who 'have no concept'); he's merely trying to provide solutions for organizers who want to focus on individual speed, rather than 'traditional' biking strategy (having said that, i wish someone clued the guy into TTs and drafting penalties).

so whats the problem? His 'wasted time and paper' was probably time better spent than hanging on a message board debating 'am i a poseur?', or 'what ridiculously overpriced bicycle should be my next?'.
re: scientific lunacynym
May 29, 2002 3:56 AM
It seems to me that their study was focused on orienteering, not cycling. As I read it, they were using cycling as an example of the "pack" behavior so that the concept, as respects orienteering, would be more plainly obvious to those not familiar with the sport of orienteering (talk about a sport even more obscure to the general public than cycling). Seeing as the article was written in painfully simple language I can hardly believe that the writer did any real research other than reading the mentioned Nature article.
Actually, the best example is a "Hare & Hounds" event.Spoke Wrench
May 29, 2002 5:32 AM
In a hare and hounds event the hare leaves sometime before the pack of hounds. The hare leaves markers at intervals along the course.

At each intersection, the hare may have taken one of three routes, so the pack of hounds sends out "scouts" in all three directions. The scout who finds the next marker shouts "On, on." and the rest of the pack follows until they eventually reach the hare's ending place.

What happens in real life is the fastest hounds tend to sacrifice themselves as scouts and have to chase to catch up with the somewhat slower pack. A "sandbagger" can jog with the pack all day and sprint to the finish, but that won't earn you any respect from the rest of the pack. In a perfect event, everyone would be equally tuckered at the finish.

It's actually kind of a social interval work out.
Why do I work so hard for so little? I bet this guy eats...Kristin
May 29, 2002 5:46 AM
...steak every night. Does National Geographic actually pay John Roach? Gosh, I've always dreamed of getting a photography assignment with NG. Now I realize that my talent is slight, my skills slim and I have absolutley no training; but if I could just get an interview with Mr. Roach's boss...

I'm waiting for the follow up article, "NFL Tackling: Does it create an unfair advantage?"
Total misunderstanding of bicycle racingMel Erickson
May 29, 2002 7:55 AM
The author totally misses the point that cycling is a TEAM sport, that there are TACTICS, that teams have riders with different SKILLS to take advantage of different courses and that different teams have different GOALS in each race, that there are multiple RACES within each race (KOM, stage winners, preems, etc.). This misunderstanding causes a misapplied comparison to orienteering and other sports where pack riding is, by rule or tradition, discouraged. National Geographic needs more astute editors for their online publications.