Author Topic: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls  (Read 5469 times)

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« on: September 27, 2010, 01:34:14 pm »
I was surprised to read on the YACF forum that Info Controls on new Perm events are 'verboten'.

This is an immediate issue for me as I had intended to list 'perm' versions of my calendar events which rely on info's.

Whilst the routes might be diverted to locations where regular control points can be obtained this would detract from the ride and make the route run over distance. More generally I feel it is important that the Perm version of the event is true to the Calendar.

The obvious downside of Info controls is that the questions need to be maintained, they can become familiar to riders who ride perms regularly and that in this age of Google Earth and Street View, they must be chosen with care to prevent the unscrupulous simply looking up the answers ahead of time. All of this is resolveable one way or another. Most obviously, questions can be selected which cannot readily be discerned from Google!

Against this background - and in response to demand from some members - AUK is developing the infrastructure and processes to support automated validation for events, the current 'state of the art' being the 'GPS DIY'. Validating GPS tracks immediately solves the 'No Info Control' issue for DIY perms and the suggestion has been made that this validation method could - and possibly soon will be - available to riders on 'Listed' perms as well. This will take AUK well along the path to offering automated online event validation which I welcome and applaud.

Regardless, the reality is that on the one hand the GPS Perm is the domain of the Early Adopter and on the other, well, I rather like Info controls (not too many, mind). For me they are part of the charm and tradition of Audax. Obviously, some riders prefer routes with main controls only whilst others will prefer GPS validation but, hey, "it's a broad church".

For the record, I was a fairly early GPS adopter but have yet to ride a GPS validated event; I've had no reason to, todate. However, I do have experience of GPS units failing and/or pressing the wrong button and losing tracking information. This makes me wary of depending on one to validate my ride. I'm a GPS enthusiast who always carries a route sheet!

So, lets get to the point. Whilst regulation 5.8 references use of Information Controls, there is no reference to where and how they might be used. If they are effectively being withdrawn by AUK commitee policy decision then I feel this is something which warrants wider discussion. With this in mind I'm minded to submit a simple motion to the upcoming AGM to 'confirm that information controls can be used for events as might be required by the event organiser'. This will also provide a platform to discuss the wider implications and future direction for validation of AUK events.

I am posting this on YACF and the AUK Mailing list. All comments (and seconders) welcome but be minded the deadline for motion submission is October 1st.

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2010, 02:42:26 pm »
Any event run under AUK regulations has to be approved. There is no absolute prohibition of information controls on a permanent event. However, they are strongly discouraged, and for good reason. Imagine the difficulty of maintaining a supply of questions for a very popular route.

Weirdy Biker

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 04:25:34 pm »
I'm confused.

The form one has to submit seems to imply that infos are only allowed for BP permanents where they are required to maintain AAA integrity.  Otherwise they won't be approved by the Permanent Organiser.

If this is simply an "ideal" then I'd appreciate this being made clearer on the form and possibly for guidelines to be issued.  I am currently beavering away putting together routes without infos, which inevitably results in sub-optimal compromises for grimpeur events in the South East.  No problems doing it, but it would make things "easier" if there was some flexibility.

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2010, 06:19:06 pm »
sorry but I don't get info controls on a perm;

AIUI the infos on a calendar event are there to replace a manned control, on the basis that the question is only given out immediately prior to the ride (and work very well; often adding a bit of interest and sociablity to the ride)

if the info is posted out on the brevet card (possibly months) in advance of the ride it's a complete waste of time having it as it does not provide proff of passage on the day.

I presume they have been allowed in the past for similar reasons to secret controls; but they should be phased out IMO with GPS validation or timed receipts for future perms.

FY; we were discussing infos on AAA events yesterday; AIUI infos are there to ensure distance integrity, not to ensure a rider does not long cut the hills.

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2010, 06:23:35 pm »
sorry but I don't get info controls on a perm;

AIUI the infos on a calendar event are there to replace a manned control, on the basis that the question is only given out immediately prior to the ride,

if the info is posted out on the brevet card (possibly months) in advance of the ride it's a complete waste of time having it as it does not provide proff of passage on the day.

Again we end up at the "but a receipt or a stamp in a brevet card doesn't really provide solid proof either" argument.

I've had a Perm entry for the Cheddar Gorge 300 sitting around for more than a year, if I ever get round to riding it I'll check with Nik whether he wants to update the question (he supplied one as I thought I might ride it within a few weeks of getting it). I have to let him know my intended ride date anyway, since I didn't specify one on the entry form.

I don't see the problem with them as long as the organiser is careful to make sure the same rider doesn't get the same one, and they're updated/checked frequently (this can be a struggle for organisers themselves, but maybe AUK or YACF can help given that there's probably at least one member relatively local to every possible info control rather than the organiser having to schlep out to each location).
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Weirdy Biker

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2010, 06:44:17 pm »
I quote from the permanents proforma:

"Permanent event routes should not require Information Controls, except for grimpeur events of less than 200km where they are necessary to maintain AAA integrity. 3 Questions and Answers should be provided for each and be used in rotation"

I am under the impression that "should" has effectively been replaced with "must".  I'm not criticising this, as I appreciate some take the view that these are "weak" proofs of control.  I would, however, like clarity about what I am allowed to do.  I've previously emailed JW on this point twice in the past but suspect the question was lost in the noise of the surrounding text and so wasn't answered (it was part of a emails covering a more than one proposed route).

Personally I am in the "allow infos" camp.  Paul - I would second a motion to confirm that they can be used in all events, even if it was with the proviso that they should be avoided where possible.  At the very least to get a statement at the AGM what the current policy is (it is possible to get too hung up on regulations).  I suspect my non-attendance at the AGM means I can't actually second, if that makes sense.

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2010, 08:23:17 pm »
I quote from the permanents proforma:

"Permanent event routes should not require Information Controls, except for grimpeur events of less than 200km where they are necessary to maintain AAA integrity. 3 Questions and Answers should be provided for each and be used in rotation"

yes I've read that too; it still doesn't quite make sense though;

when you submit a calendar event you list the controls and whether they are info checkpoint or control; the regional sec goes through to make sure the distance between them passes muster. If it's an AAA event you also send a contour count / gpx etc and the route (sans controls) to the AAA Man, who confirms the climbing. He does not know where the infos are and unless he has a lot of time on his hands is not going to go looking on Streetmap to check if the hills can be avoided;

it does specifically mention "less than 200km" though, which infers that the only acceptable proof of riding a BR perm is receipts or a gpx.


Again we end up at the "but a receipt or a stamp in a brevet card doesn't really provide solid proof either" argument.

agree; as has been pointed out you could do the whole route in a car stopping for a very leisurely tea / lunch stop at each control, but AUK prides itself on validating distances ridden and recording them in perpetuity so we ought to make sure as much as poss that rides are ridden to the validated distance

one thing I'd like to see admissable in lieu of infos / receipts is a photo of the location; or short gpx track

scottlington

  • It's short for, erm....Bob!
Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2010, 08:59:40 pm »
Paul - as discussed yesterday, seconded. I too will not be at the AGM to physically second this but it seems emminently sensible. If, for example I want to ride the Anfractuous as a perm cos I cannot make the Calendar running I don't want to ride a bastardised version of it because you as the organiser are not allowed to use info controls on a non-calendar event.

Whilst, with the rise of things such as Streetview, there must be some due diligence with regards to how an organiser uses infos we should not lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of riders would not, and do not, cheat. Presumably we want to make it easier for people to ride and organise rides, not harder?

Weirdy Biker

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2010, 09:20:50 pm »
Paul's post is specifically about permanents.  I don't think calendar events come into this.  Likewise the possibility of GPX validation, which is not an option for those without a gps unit.

As a related (but completely irrelevant) aside, I've come across an issue in one of my permanents, where one rider has order a large number of cards with the intention of riding them in one season (certainly more than 3).  Although not confirmed with John, in that case I've implicitly agreed with the rider that I will need a gpx track with his brevet in order that I can use it to support validation of their claim with John W.

Some guidance on the general acceptability of GPX files on non-DIY by GPS permanents would be appreciated, as the current policy is not entirely clear to me.

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2010, 09:26:32 pm »
Paul's post is specifically about permanents.  I don't think calendar events come into this.  

Some guidance on the general acceptability of GPX files on non-DIY by GPS permanents would be appreciated, as the current policy is not entirely clear to me.

I think calendar events are relevant; as they are presumably the basis on which infos are allowed; I have no idea why and when they were allowed on infos.

AIUI the current policy on non-DIY by GPS permanents (and DIYs) is that they require a stamp; signature or receipt at each control, unless an info is specifically allowed; no other proof of passage is acceptable.

Weirdy Biker

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2010, 09:35:00 pm »
Thanks Martin.  The rider will fill in the infos provided, but obviously these will be largely irrelevant after the third return!

Does the "current" suggest that a change is on the cards?

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2010, 09:56:36 pm »

Does the "current" suggest that a change is on the cards?

not specifically to do with infos AFAIK; but the whole process is in a state of flux; so yes any suggestions to the AGM welcome (I'll be there)

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 12:29:37 am »
.... but the whole process is in a state of flux; so yes any suggestions to the AGM welcome (I'll be there)

As will I! And yes, I could not agree more, hence the OP.

Seriously, there has been a huge amount of development this last twelve months, with the introduction of GPS DIYs, ECEs, new AAA schemes and event administration processes, etc., and it does seem there is some catching up to do.

My concern is that in moving too quickly - and dare I say it (I dare!) - too dogmatically - there may be a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  AUK is a broad church; let's make sure it remains as open and inclusive as possible.

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2010, 10:19:04 pm »
there's been the usual flurry of replies to this subject on the AUK list; is it really true that infos were initially allowed as a last resort on "undermanned" calendar events?

that's not how I see them at all; IMO they complement the regular manned and fed controls by ensuring the route keeps to distance and on the recommended roads,

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2010, 11:32:56 am »
there's been the usual flurry of replies to this subject on the AUK list; is it really true that infos were initially allowed as a last resort on "undermanned" calendar events?

that's not how I see them at all; IMO they complement the regular manned and fed controls by ensuring the route keeps to distance and on the recommended roads,

Willesden events are generally of the 'Ride HQ' variety with manned controls the exception rather than the rule, riders collecting stickers, receipts and Info's along the way. Most events have an Info or two and with the demise of the Battle & Back none carry AAA s. None of the them are exactly flat, mind. The use of "Info Controls" is fundamental then if these routes are to be offered as perms.

As Martin say's, Info's are not used as major controls but rather to tweak the route, gain that extra couple of KM to keep the route to distance and keep riders off the main roads, so (for non-AAA events at least) there is little to be gained by 'cheating' on Info's.

On registering a perm the org has to supply 3 or 4 sets of questions. The org then rotates the questions issued to each rider. Until recently (IIRC) perms could only be ridden once a year which meant that managing/replenishing Info's was not much of an issue. Removing the restriction on the number of times a perm could be ridden per season changed that.

Clearly Info controls are not designed for riders who want to ride a route every month or even every day (shudder). In this case some alternate provision is required, and this where we get back into the debate about using photo's etc., which I'd like to avoid here. In this case it would seem simplist for the Org to simply say 'No', you've seen all of the info questions this year, you need to do something else", in which case our Keen Type has the option of taking a 'long cut' to obtain a receipt from the next village along, supply a GPS Track for validation or switch to some form of DIY (in which case he will not have the pleasure of seeing xxxx Perm on his list of rides, simply an anonymous DIYxxx). However the 'repeat offender' is the exception, not the rule.

It does seem that the trend is away from Info Controls towards GPS Tracks and other forms of electronic evidence (Geotweets anyone?) and Info's represent an admin burden one could do without but I believe they still have a role to play. Should Info's on Perm's be discouraged? Probably. Banned? I believe not, at least, not yet.

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2010, 01:05:08 pm »
I'd like to see the item on the agenda but not sure if just allowing infos on all perms is the way forward; I still think in their current format they are too open to abuse and thus mostly useless at validating distance.

there are several alternatives to both infos and regular controls available; unfortunately not all are suitable for both rider and organiser. Hopefully it will be a livley discussion; when will it be on the AGM agenda; towards the end?

personally I'd like to see some new perms available as pure gpx routes (validated the same way as DIYs or by old fashioned means if applicable) but this discriminates against the digitally challenged. I've even devised one as I don't have time to go up to the area and compile a proper route sheet in order to make it a regular perm.

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2010, 01:15:08 pm »
personally I'd like to see some new perms available as pure gpx routes (validated the same way as DIYs or by old fashioned means if applicable) but this discriminates against the digitally challenged. I've even devised one as I don't have time to go up to the area and compile a proper route sheet in order to make it a regular perm.

What's to stop you publishing the GPX as a suggested route, and let people enter the ride as a DIY by GPX? No need for it to become an official perm at all.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Martin

Re: Reg. 5.8: Regarding Info Controls
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2010, 05:53:05 pm »
personally I'd like to see some new perms available as pure gpx routes (validated the same way as DIYs or by old fashioned means if applicable) but this discriminates against the digitally challenged. I've even devised one as I don't have time to go up to the area and compile a proper route sheet in order to make it a regular perm.

What's to stop you publishing the GPX as a suggested route, and let people enter the ride as a DIY by GPX? No need for it to become an official perm at all.

Nothing (I already have http://www.egcc.net/display-items.asp?intTypeID=90&intItemID=579 )  it's also available as a standard paper based DIY; the only thing that's missing is a route sheet.

just that it would be nice to have it listed as a perm on AUK website otherwise how are Audax people going to find it?

I'll see if I can use Streetview to make some directions