This needs to be discussed until resolved

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Cloxxki
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This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby Cloxxki » Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:36 am

Every winter again, I get seriously ashamed and bothered, that women are still treated as weaklings in out beloved sport, and biathlon as well.

Women get as much as 50% shorter races, for the same event.
XC sprint courses: women are spared the extra hill. In Asiago, the men spent a full minute longer to complete their course. It took them longer than a 1500m track race (4'18). Yeah, the women would have taken close to 5 minutes, but that's no reason to make it a 3'10 race.

I know how women are less explosive (except for 2 or 3 notorious body builder types who between them win all the sprints and somehow do great at distance). So if you want to see a woman V2 up a steep hill, it will need to be a really short race. And when races get longer, the greater ifference between 1st and 30th in the women's field will make a mass start look like an interval start event and at best a handicap start.

The way women physiology works out (at least when Kowalczyk, Bjoergen and Randall take part), in skiing the distance has little effect on placement. Whereas the men have specialist at sprint who are really mediocre over distance. Great at national level perhaps, due to ability and training hours, but not like those born as distance skiers. Bjoergen and Randall just trained more weights and somehow graduated from sprinter to all-rounder.

Why do women ski half the kilometers to complete the Tour de Ski? We all know that women are badass when it comes to distance. So let them o the distance. For the women it's a bunch of sprints and short distance races bundled together. The men get to do the long Cortina-Dobiaco stage, the women do a few parade laps at the finish location. Totally different stage. Why? They might out-ski some of the men.
Why not this winter let the women do the long stage skating, the men classic? Make it more Vasaloppet style. It's not a steep hill, right? Men can double pole all the way if they dare. No steep hills for them in Dobbiaco.
It would be epic to have the women contest the long stage, albeit as a pursuit start. Lightweight climbers could try to exploit their ability before getting to the final hill.
Even though women are less sprint-specific in gender, they are made to do a pretty sprint-specific TdS.

Make it long enough, and the men's backmarkers will be "girled". Biathletes deny it, but I am convinced that top women out-ski (and out-shoot) are on level with men who rarely get into pursuits. Don't deny women to contest a full distance competition, or just shorten the men's races.
Does anyone consider the first 40km of a 50km more exciting than the first 25km of 30km for the women? Men are too closely matches to do such a long race and not stick together due to drafting advantage an sprint power near the end. It's a sprint race where you need to do a 48km controlled start. 30km would be plenty. Just make sure the course is tough enough to break the best sprinters.

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Biffbradford
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby Biffbradford » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:02 pm

Are the racers complaining? I haven't seen Andrea Henkel mention any of this on Facebook. :D

That's all I've got because we don't see ANY of this on US TV, and my internet is way to slow to watch online. You know, it's just one of those goofy "Olympic" sports that Americans have to put up with while waiting for the hockey games to start.

As long as the competition is relatively close, to keep it interesting, then I don't see any problem with it.
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Cloxxki
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby Cloxxki » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:22 pm

Biffbradford wrote:Are the racers complaining? I haven't seen Andrea Henkel mention any of this on Facebook. :D

That's all I've got because we don't see ANY of this on US TV, and my internet is way to slow to watch online. You know, it's just one of those goofy "Olympic" sports that Americans have to put up with while waiting for the hockey games to start.

As long as the competition is relatively close, to keep it interesting, then I don't see any problem with it.

Few women in sports speak out about inequality.
Back when there was an MTB Tour de France of sorts, there was no women's event. A Norwegian lay (most gender equal country?) rode the thing outside competition all by herself. Wasn't allowed a men's start though, had to do it solo.
Marianne Vos has been slightly vocal, but not much for such a game changing talent.
One can needs little imagination how bad it is for your career (also after racing) to go against the grey haired men that run a sport. Perhaps they are happy to be paid the same for fewer kms skied, and don't want to be too feminist
That said, Norwegian racers might try at home to get some equality. Demand the same media exposure, meaning equal race lengths. And to not upset time slots, men can race shorter, women longer, to meet half way.
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:35 pm

I saw an article saying that any race over (?) is basically using the same physiological system. The problem is I don't remember the distance, maybe 2 km. I think a comparison was made to track (running) and swimming events. The thing is as the distance is longer, the differences are magnified and it becomes easier to spread out the racers and pass. I believe there are more men competing than women but I wouldn't doubt they race them on the same course (e.g. a 5 km loop). So the this rationale has some holes, not to mention that I don't follow World Cup racing much, so I no idea what I'm talking about. I guess the question is, are the races fair? I have seen some mens mass start races that kind of make me wonder if they're fair. I.e., there are big packs of racers sprinting (skate) for the win at the end and winning really depends on placement and the final kick. If you're not top 3 or 4 coming into the stadium, it seems hard (to me) to win.

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Cloxxki
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby Cloxxki » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:53 pm

Classic 50km is not much different I am afraid. Double poling finishes as they're never really uphill.

The women's races are fair, but they are at times an entire different discipline of racing. The Dodiacco example, they get to do 3x3.km or so on the XC race course while the men do an A to B over a significant hill with a hugely long decend, and THEN the local race lap to the finish line. Seems totally sexist to me to not let the women take part in the epic point-to-point stage. The only that makes it worthy a "stage" denomination.

A distance specialist of sorts won the men's "sprint" in Asiago. That's what you get if you let them contest 4x 4'20" or so over the course of a short race day. Indeed the effort didn't seem much different from 10km races. You saw races forced to pace themselves.
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby JeffOYB » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:26 am

So do different distances result in (much) different finishing orders? It kinda seems like it doesn't. But I suppose there are marathon specialists and such. For our regional racing it seems like finishing orders over the last 20 years are always about the same, plus or minus a few spots.

Maybe this relates to what Jay said about every event beyond "x" distance uses the same physio system. So, really, we could spare everyone the suffering and save time and make all the races shorter and not be unfair.

We do something fun with our local Potto Raid singletrack ski marathon that I've mentioned here many times before, but it seems to apply to this dilemma. We break our event up into several "stages." Otherwise the you don't see anyone until it's all over and we all finish in the same order anyway so why not stop a few times along the way to enhance the R&R?

We have a regroup before a big technical descending section and another regroup afterward so we'll have a winner for descending. Then there's 5 miles of flattish hammering followed by a regroup -- that gives a "doublepole winner." The last 5 miles has a lot of uphill so the winner of that section is our climber. Breaking it up gives different folks at least a chance at coming on strong in their area of expertise. (Normally the best descender really isn't going to move up in overall placing over 3 hours. But because good descending is admirable we like to acknowledge it with a 'race within the race.')

Since the finishing order tends to stay the same anyway, why not call a truce at various points to admire the scenery? And to reduce suffering. It doesn't affect the outcome and it adds to the fun. The World Cuppers could do it, too! Maybe it's time for more amateurism and style and less seriousness. (Ha. Just a thought.)
Last edited by JeffOYB on Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:39 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Cloxxki
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby Cloxxki » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:35 am

Sounds like a great format Jeff!

Indeed, men's races might simply be reduced to be equal to the women's. There is no other need for the men to race longer other than to put the other sexe in her place. It doesn't effect the outcome. Over 5km, it's either Northug or a Russian. And under 5km, same story :-)
The longer men's course in sprinting seems to only serve to give the womenlonger recovery for a shorter race. Quite degrading. And this may actually efffect the winner, as a distance skier is at an advantage this way. She can't give all in 1km, and thus will recover better.

Broadcasters would be most appreciative, and the increased action density might get more races on the broadcast roster. And with that, sponsorship.
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Re: This needs to be discussed until resolved

Postby JeffOYB » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:51 am

I wonder what you'd have to do to get the finishing order to change much.

I suggest that a "mt-biking" version of XC skiing would create a whole new talent line-up, compared to the "road biking" format that XC racing uses today. That would be the easiest change you could make to give the greatest change in results. ...Change from a wide, easy, groomed course to a technical singletrack trail. The up's, down's, and cornering would all be more extreme, just as mtbiking is more extreme in those ways compared to road biking. A whole different cast of characters and talent would rise to the top. (I know that WC courses do have steep up's and down's as it is, but putting an emphasis on technical skills would give a different looking course.)

If you wanted to mix things up yet again ultramarathoning could do the trick. Put more emphasis on multi-day self-supported events (like the Arrowhead or Iditaski) or 100km+ events in general. I'd guess that older skiers would finish higher in such events than they do in 50k and shorter events. Women might also finish higher in the overall in ultra's.
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