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2018 SLMM Controllers’ comments

Congratulations to everyone who took part at the weekend. Conditions were really tough, given the heat and very light breeze. Ironically this was the first year we had an official set of pre-planned bad weather courses…

Congratulations also to Nev, for planning a set of courses which provided a good mix of route choice and detailed navigation.

We attempted to be more scientific in working out appropriate course lengths this year. We analysed results from the last 12 Saunders MMs, taking into account the actual distance and climb on the “best” route (rather than those given on the descriptions), to come up with a variant of “Naismith’s Rule for the top teams on each course. This was then used to check that the planned courses would give the required winning time.

Judging from the results and competitor feedback, it would seem that we got it wrong for the Wansfell, Harter, Carrock and Kirkfell courses, while Klets, Bowfell and Bedafell were about right. Also we expected the winner to just about get all of the controls on Fairfield which proved to be the case.

We’ve attempted to understand the reasons in the hope of improving things in future years. We think there are three main factors involved:

  1. The heat clearly slowed competitors down. It also created a larger range of times than usual as the longer you are out the more effect the heat has.
  2. We were aiming for winning times close to those given in the course details on the website whereas, historically they have, generally, been significantly shorter. The result was that this year’s courses were intentionally tougher than in recent years. With hindsight, we probably should have mentioned this in the preliminary details. Apologies.
  3. This year’s courses had proportionally more climb than average, which is inevitable in this part of the Lakes. Our calculations didn’t fully take into account the “non-linear” effects of climb (i.e. the more climb you do the slower you get at climbing). We will do some further analysis on this.

We add our apologies to Nev’s regarding the control on the bridge at the start of day 2. We’ll remember this for the future.

Hopefully see you next year.

Dan and Karen Parker

Controllers 2018 SLMM

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