|How did CP tracker not think this through?
Nationals is over! Team Yogaslackers crossed the finish line 20 or so minutes behind the first team and nearly two hours ahead of the next one and had a nearly flawless race, suffering at the end only because I bonked hard while biking up the final 4000 climb in the middle of the night and had to be towed by Daniel. We were pumped to have done so well and kept up (almost!) with the group of truly remarkable athletes that made up Team Osprey. The high lasted a little more than 12 hours at which time race organizers summoned the captains of each team (Travis Macy of Osprey and Jason Magness of Yogaslackers) individually into a meeting where they were informed that 6 hours worth of penalties would be levied. When Jason gave us the news over an hour later, we assumed he was kidding. He wasn't.
Travis wrote a good description of the race and resulting controversial decision on his blog, here. Jason from Yogaslackers wrote a similar letter from our point of view, which included even more compelling evidence as to why the penalties were inappropriate. As of late it has even come to light that the teams that initially filed the protests which led to the penalties that ultimately moved them up into podium positions are equally disturbed by the outcome and wish that Osprey remained in first place with Yogaslackers in second. It's deeply troubling and confusing to consider or question what reasoning/logic CPtracker's decision is based on. There have not been satisfactory replies or explanations offered to any of our emails or questions at this point.
While things will continue to unfold surrounding this matter, it has made me acutely aware of several things that are needed if the 'sport' is going to continue to evolve to a point where something like a national championship is meaningful. The most pertinent of these is transparency and impartiality in decision making. As i mentioned in an email to Paul Angell (head of the CPtracker organization and one of the principal folks responsible for deciding to levy a 6 hour penalty), if the same decision had been made by an unbiased committee of folks presented with all the relevant information i still would have been disappointed but would have at least had faith that the mechanism producing the decision was the right one. As it stands, it's quite clear that ALOT went wrong in this case, and it seems as though the CP tracker 'advisory committee' believes that a show of strength and solidarity is more important than making the right decision, or even getting a second opinion. As a race director and event planner, i'm only too aware that i may one day be in a similar situation to the one faced last weekend by the CP Tracker folks. I'm not looking forward to it at all. I do hope, however, that when it comes, i will be able to deal with it with a bit less hubris and a bit more humility.