Monday, October 26, 2009

Cross Crusade #4 Washington County Fairgrounds, by Greg

Cyclisme had a skeleton crew for this one. Just me and DeyShaun rolling out from Portland to Hillsboro. DeyShaun was excited, as he heard that this was a really flat course and he could use his power.

After signing in and riding a lap with Mike Mann the rain started to fall lightly. We went back to the car for last minute prep and warm-up. We rode to the starting area to find that my group, lucky number 6 was slated to start as the next to last group. Again. Only Eric had it worse, his group was dead last.

Someone with more time and math skill than me did this figuring (revised 10-27-09):

Week 1 there were (10!) lineups possible. Weeks 2-4 there were (9!) lineups possible. This gives 10!*(9!)^3 lineups that could have occurred.

The number of lineups where a PARTICULAR number is in a fixed configuration of spots over the 4 races is 9!*(8!)^3… provided that particular number has never landed “in the beer” (which is true for the cases we’re looking at here, and doesn’t change the overall number of possible lineups. For example, if someone lands “in the beer”, instead of having (8!) ways for the other groups to line up for EACH of the 9 possible slots (2 thru “beer”) said group could fill had they NOT landed "in the beer", said group can only line up in the first slot, with (9!) ways for the other groups to line up. Either way, there are (9!) lineups possible the next week.)

So, if there are 9!*(8!)^3 ways for a PARTICULAR number to wind up in a fixed non-beer configuration over the 4 races, let’s look at how many fixed configurations are as bad or worse than two 9th place and two 8th place starts:

1) All 9th place: this happens only 1 way for each group: total # lineups = 1 * (10 groups) * 9!*(8!)^3 lineups as described above.

2) Four possibilities that have three 9th place starts with one 8th place start: 8999, 9899, 9989, 9998: total # lineups = 4 * (10 groups) * 9!*(8!)^3 lineups as described above.

3) Six with 2 of each: 8899, 8989, 8998, 9889, 9898, 9988, so 6 * (10 groups)*9!(8!)^3 lineups, but 2 groups could be getting screwed at once here (i.e., whenever one of the groups is 8th, the other one is 9th), so there has been some double counting— there are (10 choose 2 = 45)*(6 configs)*(7!)^3 lineups where this happens, so we must subtract them out.

So overall, we have (10!)*(8!)^3 + 4*(10!)*(8!)^3 + 6*{10!*(8!)^3 – 45*(7!)^3} ways for at least one group to get a “whine-inducing series of lineups” as we’ve described.

Dividing by the total number of lineups, which is 10!*(9!)^3, we have 0.015089… about 1 in 66, which is significant by most standards.

Not nearly as rare as a lightening strike--but, sadly, more evidence than the FDA or Big Pharma are made to provide...

I don't buy into a conspiracy theory, but that's some damn bad mojo to get the lousy start places 4 times in a row.

Anyway, we were off, with all of 4 racers behind me. Eric crashed in front of me near the middle of the first lap but was quickly back up. I crashed a couple laps later and was also quickly back up. I was run off the course (nearly into Tireless Velo's firepit) by some hack who couldn't steer his bike. I still managed to pass a bunch and finish in 33rd from my starting position of about 113th.

Photo by

DeyShaun also crashed, and managed to finish in the points with a 14th place finish. Our buddy Mark Ontiveras of our sponsor River City Bicycles was ecstatic after his race, with a strong 12th place finish in the Master 50+ field.

It was the funnest race so far due to an excellent course layout that made the most of a flat landscape, and some mud to make things slippery and interesting.

Eric will get a good starting position in Astoria this coming Saturday, so I expect we'll see him in the points. I'm going to miss the Saturday race, but will hopefully get a good start slot on Sunday. The forecast shows that it will be a muddy race, wooo hoooo!

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