5 Graphs for 5 Races

I haven’t posted a graph since I won the 5150 New Orleans Triathlon (which was actually a duathlon). I figured if I was going to post any it would be cool to see the differences between some of the races. With the non-drafting races I feel it’s okay to crop the back part of the field because the leaders are the part that’s interesting, but for ITU the graph is intended more to see how the race played out. It would obviously be better if I really had splits from each lap of the bike and run, but since I only have total bike and run splits I have instead interpolated the data to estimate where people were in the middle of the bike and run. The first race is the Toyota Cup’s CapTex Triathlon. If you read triathlon news at all you’ll recall that this is the race where the entire men’s field was turned around by a Police boat. Andy Potts ignored the order and ended up with 3 minutes over the rest of the field out of the water. The race eventually paid extra money and points to second and third place because they realized that the race did not play out fairly. Take a look at the graph and see if you can tell why I think choosing third place to stop paying extra has nothing to do with objective fairness.*

For those of you who haven’t read my graphs before, the winner is always the zero axis so anyone below that line is behind the leader at that point and all the lines above the axis are ahead of the winner at that point. There will never be a line above the X-Axis at the finish. Below, for example, you see Potts was leading the entire race, so no line ever intersects his axis after the start (though Dye came pretty close).

*(okay, since some of you aren’t used to reading these graphs I’ll help out: take a look at the time gap at the bike start – Andy wasn’t leading the swim at the point of incident (about 500 meters in) so it’s safe to assume he would have finished the swim with the rest of us – now look at how many people (lines) have a smaller gap at the finish. Is it two? No. There are four people who finished closer to Andy than they were after the swim.)

Next up is the New York City Triathlon from last weekend. It’s probably less interesting because it’s almost exactly the same as the 5150 New Orleans graph I posted. I took the lead after the swim, extended it on the bike and then held my lead for the run. Of note is that my bike split of 58:01 was the 3rd fastest in course history, 3 seconds slower than David Thompson’s best and 30 seconds slower than Bennett’s Course record from 2008. Both of those times were on dry pavement, whereas this year was pissing rain.

New York City 2011

Now for the three ITU races I did in June and July. The first was Cartagena, where the whole race was slow due to extreme heat. There were about 70 starters and 35 finishers. The idea behind the ITU graphs is to give a sense of how the race played out. If there is separation at the start of the swim and the lines converge before the run, then the swim break was a failure, if a small separation at the start of the bike separates further then there was a break and a chase pack behind them. In Cartagena you can see there was a very large front pack, then a bunch of smaller chase packs. On the run some of the smaller chase packs managed to pass quite a few people from the lead pack.

Now here’s Guatape a week later where the bike was quite difficult. Again there was a large lead group, but the size of the chase packs seen on the graphs doesn’t account for all the people who dropped out after the bike. The first chase pack was quite a bit larger than it appears in the graph.

Finally, we have the Edmonton World Cup. Here we had two main packs, both very large. Notice the field size at a World Cup is about double that of a continental cup, and the time gaps are much much smaller, indicating much more depth.

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I do. Please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something.

Published by Ben

Ben Collins Professional Triathlete

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