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Who is Winning? It’s All About Course Time.
The most important measurement of success in this race is Course Time. The shorter the course time, the faster the team. It really is that simple.
The race is broken into four major legs:
- Big Lake to McGrath
- McGrath to Nome (North)
- Nome (South) to Tanana
- Tanana to Fairbanks
Notes about these legs.
When a Pro Class team leaves Big Lake, they are released on either two minute (2:00) or three minute (3:00) intervals for media breaks. For 2015, the Anchorage start has the media breaks, so we plan to release all teams in two minute (2:00) intervals from Big Lake.
McGrath – Hold and Restart.
Once teams make it to McGrath we reset teams on the trail based on their actual split times (or time separations on the course) by creating a “hold time” in McGrath. By creating this “hold”, the intent is to have the teams sorted by their course time and in a way that will make it a easier to know that the teams leading on the ground “should” be in order. Whoever is in front should be in the lead, but unless all the teams are moving together on the same section of trail with the same number of completed layovers, it is possible that a team could be physically ahead on the trail but actually trailing statistically due to a slower course time. This becomes more challenging to sort as teams come in and out of layovers on the Yukon River and northbound along the coast. Again, look at the Pro Class statistics and focus on the elapsed course time versus the number of layover hours to determine which teams are leading.
After work time and any other adjustments are made, the teams will be resorted by their course time. Our restart schedule out of Nome is very clear and has been published in Section 11 of the Official Rules since August 2012.
Here’s how it reads:
11. NOME RACE RESTART
11.1. Nome Halfway Release Procedures: Starting at 8:00 a.m., Thursday morning:
11.1.1. Teams one (1) through five (5) will be released on their actual trail split times not to exceed forty-five (45) minutes apart. After the release of the fifth team there will then be a 30-minute break.
11.1.2. Teams six (6) through ten (10) will then be released on their actual trail split times not to exceed thirty (30) minutes. After the release of the tenth team there will be a 15-minute break.
11.1.3. Teams eleven (11) through fifteen (15) will then be released on their actual trail split times not to exceed fifteen (15) minutes. After the release of the fifteenth team there will be a ten (10) minute break.
11.1.4. The remainder of the teams will then be released on their actual trail split times or every ten (10) minutes whichever comes first.
11.1.5. Course Times will reflect any Nome work times and time adjustments.
Once teams reach Tanana on the way toward the finish line in Fairbanks, we will again stagger their restarts on Saturday morning in an attempt to get top teams on the trail in a way that will allow them to cross the line both in course time order, but also physically so that the first team to arrive is actually the first place (fastest) team.
Even with our hold and release schedule, it is possible for a team to cross the finish line before another team, but actually have a lower overall ranking based on their course time. In fact, at the end of 2012 race we had a 4th place team come into Fairbanks before the 3rd place team. It can be confusing, which is why it is important to focus course times and not depend solely on the GPS Tracking to determine the actual finishing position of a Pro Class team.