Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

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bmullin
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Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby bmullin » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:42 pm

I'm pretty dang excited to see that they did in fact relax the criteria and I made wave 1 for next year. I think the relaxation of the seeding criteria is pretty telling of the challenges at this year race. The previous Wave 2 criteria was 54% back. This year, the Wave 1 criteria is approximately (I'm not positive what the basis time is in terms of averaging the first X finishers etc) 59%.

Here is to a good summer of training and making the best use of that wave 1 start next year!

http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0053/8260/WAVES-2015pdf.pdf

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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby TooHeavy » Fri May 02, 2014 1:18 pm

Probably they do not want to lose skiers that think they are better than they are. 3:30 is kind of slow for a flat course like the Birkie. They would be better off starting waves every 15 minutes and subtracting at the end of the day, giving people in slower waves a chance to improve their time due to less jam ups.
Kind of like a time trial, this way people up front will not be dogging it and drafting knowing that someone in a late wave could be winning.

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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby bmullin » Fri May 02, 2014 1:43 pm

I think it had to do with course conditions this year and not about losing people. The 18" (0.45m) of snow two days before the race made for tough conditions. Ari's write-up on how much the 2014 edition varied from the norm of the previous 4 years is pretty telling. My time this year which was 11 minutes slower than last year was 436 places (45%) better. It was a tough day out there.

http://birkieguide.com/

Other than that, I agree with you that 3:30 is pretty slow for this course if the trail conditions were better than 2014. Moving up is definitely challenging with all of the traffic, though I don't think 15 minutes is going to be enough as there is already a 10 minute gap and it is easy to ski into the back of the wave in front of you.

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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:46 pm

I doubt I'll do the B but if I did...

It looks like if I skied a couple fast qualifying races that I could be seeded up to Wave 4. So say a first-timer gets Wave 4.

Say they're also fit'n'fast and game for moving up for the next year, how far up could one expect to move for their 2nd Birkie?

Say they're a skilled, relaxed skier who usually finds that they can ski easily in close quarters and move up readily and at opportune times without balking others... Usually... Is this possible at the Birkie these days? Who knows, it might be a whole diff kettle of fish and not really possible.

Are there generally better places to move up? Certain tricks for uphills, say. Maybe just bide time til halfway -- does it thin then?

Maybe a good idea for one's first B is to focus that season on doublepoling -- and plan to get to the side or to openings and just do a ton of doublepoling to move up, incl on uphills, etc. When one is really used to DP it's possible to do it up hills without much strain.

I have similar questions for the Iceman mtbike race. It's so huge now I wonder what expectations are like for moving up waves to find one's "nature" final location in the line-up. (Iceman doesn't seem to have a website policy. There's chat about them using Strava for upgrade requests for newbs.)
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bmullin
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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby bmullin » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:35 pm

From my perspective starting in wave 7 year 1, wave 2 year 2, and prepping to start in wave 1 this year...

Yes, it will thin out after about OO. Up until that point, count on snowplowing to a stop at the bottom of every incline. There is no passing on the uphills. There will be two or three "conga lines" up each hill. Your best bet is to do what I called micro double pole intervals at the top of ever hill. People seem to hang on their poles there and it is an opportunity to go by with minimal fuss. Downhills are also an opportunity to pass as you slalom between people snow plowing and crashing. Just be light on your feet and be prepared to come to a stop before the next uphill.

If you can conserve energy through the half way point without letting those micro intervals add up, you should be able to make some real hay.

I would say that my advances in wave placement also fairly accurately reflected my actual fitness levels. Could I have maybe made wave 1 out of wave 7? Maybe, but I would say that bonking was a bigger factor in not making it than the several thousand people I passed.

There have been people who have jumped from way back to wave 1 or elite wave. My first year I had some wave niner blow past me somewhere around 35k, so he must have jumped to wave 1 or elite wave. There were the wave three brothers last year who blew past me to finish 89th and 90th overall. So it isn't out of the question, but those people were obviously very very fit.

My strategy for my first Birkie was to enjoy the day, and not worry so much about making a huge jump. I knew I would move up considerably, but it wasn't going to be worth being an ass to everyone around me or not having a good day on the trail to make one more wave. But maybe I'm not hard core enough.

Ben

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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:53 pm

Thanks! Sounds good. Looks like it's possible to go with flow, to push, and to end up in a year or so in the right place. Cool.
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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby SpecialGreen » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:25 pm

Looking at the posted seeding criteria for the 2016 Classic Birkie, it appears that the cutoffs have been moved-up a bit this year, by about "3% back". It seems as though like these cut-offs are designed to "flush" a decent percent (54% to 76%) of skiers down to the next lower wave.

46% of wave 1 skiers made wave 1 cutoff
43% of wave 2 skiers made wave 2 cutoff
35% of wave 3 skiers made wave 3 cutoff
33% of wave 4 skiers made wave 4 cutoff
31% of wave 5 skiers made wave 5 cutoff
37% of wave 6 skiers made wave 6 cutoff
24% of wave 7 skiers made wave 7 cutoff

I had assumed that about 2/3 of each wave would re-qualify. The difference may be due how the 3-year-rule keeps skiers in a higher wave for a couple of extra years. Another factor is the constant addition of new Birkie skiers, being placed directly into early waves via other qualifying races.

Below is a list of waves, including the number of classic finishers from 2015, and the number of 2015 finishers who placed into that wave based on 2016 seeding. Waves one through three have the most room to accommodate new entrants (26%, 14%, 5%).

wave 0/1: was 368 skiers. 273 skiers qualified for 2016 wave-1 (down 26%)
wave 2: was 261, now 225 (down 14%)
wave 3: was 283, now 268 (down 5%)
wave 4: was 245, now 249 (up 2%)
wave 5: was 236, now 377 (up 60%)
wave 6: was 189, now 178 (down 6%)
wave 7: was 164, now 440 (if they all showed-up)

Although only 169 of the 368 wave-0/1 skiers made the wave-1 cut-off, another 104 were promoted into wave 1 from other waves (making 273). And of the 199 wave-0/1 skiers who did not make the cut-off, there may be few enough who actually get bumped down (due to the 3-year rule), to leave wave 1 at full strength for 2016.

One result of all this, is that each wave includes a wide spectrum of skiers. That could be good, if it helps each wave to spread-out quickly along the trail. Another result is that, in order to move-up into a faster wave, you need to be skiing with the top third, or so, of your target wave. You could be faster than the median skier of your "goal wave," and still not make the seeding cutoff. I got lucky on this count: I finished at the 65th percentile for the next wave up, and still only made the cut-off by seconds :alien: And now I know that I have a lot more work to do, before I will qualify for a different bib color.

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Re: Wave Seeding Criteria for 2015 Birkie Posted

Postby MN Hoser » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:36 am

You should send that info off to Ari at birkieguide.com. I believe he did a similar analysis a few years ago showing the skate waves have top end bloat. So Wave 1 and 2 were quite large, while some of the final waves are quite small. In the skate race, they needed (or need to) pair down the first few waves. It seems your numbers show that the classic waves are pretty even.

Jay


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