Author Topic: [LEL17] LEL Suggestions Box  (Read 31216 times)

mattc

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #150 on: August 11, 2017, 07:13:00 pm »
I've been on a UK event where an (inexperienced) UK rider expected to be driven 80 miles back to HQ. That's the expectation we want to avoid - travel advice (and a soft shoulder) is perfectly reasonable :)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

mmmmartin

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #151 on: August 11, 2017, 07:32:53 pm »
the expectation we want to avoid
Danial's mobile rang at Loughton and was answered by a volunteer to be told by the Indian chap on the other end he had packed, was outside Thirsk and he wanted us to send a car to pick him up. A diplomatic answer was provided.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Phil W

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #152 on: August 11, 2017, 08:06:35 pm »
You can also access WhatsApp via a desktop PC.

A number of the school network firewalls blocked anything that wasn't browser or email traffic. Some like Great Easton blocked any social media network and most search engines. At Loughton the PCs Danial had couldn't connect to the wifi / network as it used a modern enterprise authentication method they didn't support. So I convinced their IT guy to give us some of their just built laptops to use for the week. These laptops were locked down.

So whatever you propose realistically needs to be browser based. Great Easton appeared to be an Essex wide school block from what the network  tools on my iPad told me. So social media block unlikely to be lifted even during the event.



Phil W

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #153 on: August 11, 2017, 08:26:00 pm »
In passing, this soshul meeja stuff seems to me to be more comprehensive this time than last, and no doubt will be more so next time. For instance, the OMM, a mountain marathon, a few years ago had live streaming of the finish line and that was from the middle of nowhere in central Wales. Attention to this doesn't really improve the rider experience, IMO, and is a "nice-to-have" rather than "must-do". But asking one volunteer at each control to do some social media stuff would increase the profile of the event, and help relatives who are tracking riders.

I remember discussing live webcams placed at interesting places in controls with Danial at some point in early 2017.  A nice to have we never got to.  But having seen some the Internet challenges a few of the controls had, you'd have to choose a few of the better connected ones with a friendly school IT team.

Phil W

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #154 on: August 11, 2017, 08:37:42 pm »
the expectation we want to avoid
Danial's mobile rang at Loughton and was answered by a volunteer to be told by the Indian chap on the other end he had packed, was outside Thirsk and he wanted us to send a car to pick him up. A diplomatic answer was provided.

Thirsk was one of the easier ones to get back from. When I was waiting at Thirsk station to return south on Monday I met an American who had DNF. I helped him book his bike for the leg from York to KX. That's relatively painless as they have a good travel centre at York if you know what you want. He was on the train to KX within 35 mins of us arriving in York

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #155 on: August 11, 2017, 11:32:30 pm »
At Carlisle station, when I was returning from a stint at Moffat and Eskdalemuir, I spotted a high-end bike with a rider who exactly matched the Auk demographic. I strolled up to him to ask if he'd just packed on LEL and needed advice. He looked at me as if i was mad.

At that point it struck me that somewhere, in another world, other cyclists had been just riding their bikes to the shops. Not doing LEL. Came as a shock to me, I can tell you.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #156 on: August 12, 2017, 01:12:54 am »
Sometimes the stereotyping pays off, mind. I rode to give blood on Thursday. When I was done, one of the Donor Carers (I think that was what his badge said) came over, and before pulling the needle out looked me up and down.

"Hmm. SPD sandals, and a Carradice. You look like you know what an audax is."

We exchanged notes on LEL, discussed his impressively consistent RRTY, realised we'd ridden some of the same events, and agreed our paths would probably cross again soon. He does seem to have a distinctly non-audax approach to training, mind ...

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #157 on: August 12, 2017, 02:24:52 am »
Bloody Hell, John: I give you the last of my EPO at Eskdalemuir and you give it away!

("Next year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone better.")

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #158 on: August 12, 2017, 07:48:24 am »
EPO? Is that what it was? I thought the pinprick sensation was just your squadron of trained midges.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #159 on: August 12, 2017, 10:44:45 am »
Danial's mobile rang at Loughton and was answered by a volunteer to be told by the Indian chap on the other end he had packed, was outside Thirsk and he wanted us to send a car to pick him up. A diplomatic answer was provided.

I ended up making such a phone call (on behalf of someone else) and it was the result of three very tired people in a gateway convincing each other a recovery service of some kind existed (partly inspired by the broom symbol on the brevet card), and I probably came across as a pushy arsehole (sorry Danial) because I was trying to figure out for the other person exactly what was available.

I've just dug up the relevant FAQ from the website and it covers exactly what I'd have needed to know (I had read it before but completely misremembered what it said!). Has there been any thought to making some kind of info sheet / Rider's Handbook for riders to carry with them with this sort of info on it? It might save a lot of hassle during the event.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #160 on: August 12, 2017, 11:20:43 am »
Distressed rider rings HQ.

HQ: "RTFM"
Rider: "Que??"
HQ: "It's on your phone, as a PDF."
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #161 on: August 12, 2017, 11:31:56 am »
the broom symbol on the brevet card
That should not be there next time IMO.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #162 on: August 13, 2017, 03:54:09 pm »
Talking of signs. This is only a very minor one, but could the 2021 banners have a picture of a bike/cyclist on them as well as the event logo and name please?

While I was marshalling outside of the main bulge coming through, I had a lot of people come up and ask what sort of event it was

And not have a large arrow pointing to the right at one end!  50% of the time that was the wrong way.  I know it wasn't intended to be an arrow (part of the logo) but that's exactly what it was.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #163 on: August 13, 2017, 04:00:08 pm »
Yes the arrow confused me a few times, but I put it down to my muddled brain and didn't want to say anything to anyone in case they put me in a dark room and locked me up.

Planet X Paul

  • The Green Machine
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #164 on: August 15, 2017, 10:58:43 am »
Without trawling through all 8 pages of posts I do not know if this has already been mentioned, but my suggestion, which would have really helped me, is to be actually woken up at the time I requested rather than being left to sleep and wake up naturally several hours later than planned  :facepalm:

mattc

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #165 on: August 15, 2017, 12:27:29 pm »
Interesting post Paul. Having been on the rider's side and organising side of this, I don't completely agree.


Without trawling through all 8 pages of posts I do not know if this has already been mentioned, but my suggestion, which would have really helped me, is to be actually woken up at the time I requested rather than being left to sleep and wake up naturally several hours later than planned  :facepalm:
This gets mentioned after every LEL/PBP that I can remember. I suppose if a wake-up call is promised (and alarms are banned) then an expectation has been set, and complaints (or suggestions) are inevitbale; but let's look at this - did it really affect your ride negatively?

Let's look in more detail:
Started at 1045.  Good first day and gained time on my schedule.  Arrived at Pocklington at 0455, had food and went to the sleeping hall at 0530 with instructions to wake me at 0745.  I came to at 0915 !!
[my bold] So you "lost" 90mins. Now that really isn't a massive deal on a 116h ride. But let's move on:

Quote
I left pre-dawn on the leg to Brampton.  Due to getting no sleep at Eskdalemuir, on the stretch from Longtown to Brampton, the sleep deprivation really hit me and I couldn't keep my eyes open.
It's pretty clear that it was LACK of sleep that did for you, not getting 90mins too much!


So let's look at (probably)  the main cause:

Quote
... but arrived at Eskdalemuir freezing cold and decided to sleep there.  WRONG DECISION.  I had to go 1 Km back up the road to the village hall, where I was shown to a mattress, but there were no blankets.  Due to being damp, I spend the next 2 hours shivering and getting no sleep.


I think a better suggestion would be:
"
can we give riders the best possible chance of getting adequate sleep to finish this event safely. We don't want them wet-and-shivering for 2 hours without a blanket, then DNFing due to sleep deprivation.
"

I've had crap rides because the sleep facilities were inadequate - sometimes it's beyond the Org's control, but often it's not. It leads to a miserable ride, possibly a DNF, possibly a dangerous experience on the public highway. Not good.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #166 on: August 15, 2017, 01:07:39 pm »
I have PM'd Paul about this but got no response. 

I must defend what happened at Eskdalemuir.  I was the person who ended up "running" the OVERSPILL sleep stop.  It said in the pre-ride info about the controls that E'muir had 30 beds.  It did.  These were in the central control and they were provided with blankets and the building was warm.  There was NO MENTION (I think) of the OVERSPILL provision up the road.  We didn't have enough blankets for the spare beds we put out.  But the control was swamped and I was totally embarrassed by the situation all night.  I gave one rider my coat and spent the midge-infested night in my t-shirt.  It is, admittedly an easy thing to put right for next time (there were blankets last time).  I don't know why there were not enough blankets this time.  I think it may have been expected that some were going to be dropped off but it didn't happen.  Once again, there was no requirement for this OVERSPILL to have been provided.  It didn't help that many riders arrived at E'muir already absolutely soaked (we couldn't control the weather) and/or having misjudged their own capabilities.  I suggested riders go down to the official control, where they could at least be warm but often this was decided against.  People make up their own minds.

I'm really sorry people had a hard time.  But most who used the OVERSPILL control finished, although Gordon had a bike fail, which ended his ride later.

Peter

Planet X Paul

  • The Green Machine
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #167 on: August 15, 2017, 01:17:20 pm »
I'm not saying that not been woken at Pocklington was the sole reason for my DNF, but it was a contributing factor as this put me behind where I felt I needed to be, and therefore put me under more pressure.

In hindsight, and particularly reading Phil Whitehurst's recent post on FB concerning the probability of finishing against the time in hand at Thirsk, then yes, this incident did have a negative effect on me.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #168 on: August 15, 2017, 01:51:24 pm »
Hello Peter, I heard your greeting on the way into the control but by that stage, I was running on fumes and a little lacking in social niceties (which is quite unlike me).

I kipped on the dining room floor at Eskdalemuir, as did quite a few other riders. It was plenty warm enough and I was well-fed and happy. Given the number of beds available, I knew that the floor was my only option. Riding a couple of kilometers the wrong way for a bed wasn't going to happen. The number of beds available at each control was known before the start and Eskdalemuir was always going to be a zoo regarding sleep. Happily the food and the volunteers more than made up for it.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #169 on: August 15, 2017, 01:56:35 pm »
Thanks, Dave.  No worries - you gave a quite distinct "G'day!".

mattc

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #170 on: August 15, 2017, 02:51:51 pm »
I'm not saying that not been woken at Pocklington was the sole reason for my DNF, but it was a contributing factor as this put me behind where I felt I needed to be, and therefore put me under more pressure.
It may have changed how you felt about your situation, but in reality - when you look at the bigger picture - it may have actually done you some good. I doubt very much that it did you any harm.

Your body needed rest - you were almost certainly faster after reducing your sleep deficit. Sometimes our bodies know best :)
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

mmmmartin

  • BPB 1/1: PBP 0/1
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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #171 on: August 15, 2017, 03:59:52 pm »
I spent a couple of days at Eskdalemuir, and with Peter some of the time. To prevent Plant X Paul and others suffering in this way in future, I suggest:
The organiser of LEL needs to point out to riders that in Scotland, sometimes it rains. And is cold. Decent waterproofs are a good idea. Carrying warm clothes on the bike is a good idea.

In general this time the sudden storms on the way north tended to encourage riders to shelter in controls rather than ride through so many were behind their plans and arrived at Edinburgh in the evening, rather than around lunchtime or afternoon. So they pressed on, as would anyone, but by Eskdalemuir they were, every single one of them, wet, cold and tired. Hence many decided to stop for a rest. Many I saw that night, some leaving fairly late, finished in time. An example is the Trotts, the US tandem couple from Indiana, who were really on their uppers at that point and had 10 minutes lying on the floor outside the loo upstairs. He slept for 10 minutes, she didn't. But they persevered, and did it with 90 minutes to spare.  So it was possible, even with the headwinds on the fens (which were there last time as well).
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.

Planet X Paul

  • The Green Machine
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #172 on: August 15, 2017, 04:35:44 pm »
Just like when I used to do fell races, I would run cold.  I could be wearing 2 long sleeved base layers, a windproof jacket and gloves and be just about warm enough, whereas other runners would just be wearing a singlet.  Similarly, on the descent to Eskdalemuir, I was wearing a base layer, a short sleeved jersey, arm warmers, a long sleeved jersey, a gilet and a Goretex waterproof jacket and still arrived there feeling bitterly cold. 

I think it's a bit too simplistic to suggest wearing more clothes.  If I had been under-dressed, I could understand criticism, but you can only carry so much kit.

CrinklyLion

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #173 on: August 15, 2017, 04:50:47 pm »
[...] but my suggestion [...]

isn't actually a suggestion, it's a complaint.

The system in place is that a rider books a wake up call and gets woken up at that time.   I wonder, out of over 1400 riders and 23 (I think, if you count them northbound and southbound separately) dormitory stops how many times the system failed?  Clearly that system failed for you, and I understand why a rider would feel the need to complain when a system failed for them - just like the riders who were let down by the catering shortcomings at a couple of controls northbound. 

But a suggestion would be offering a way in which this system could be made more foolproof or what failsafes could be implemented.  Phrasing a complaint as a suggestion just sounds a bit passive aggressive to me.

For what it's worth, bed booking was the one job that I said I really wasn't prepared to do this time - and swapped a shift part way through in favour of cleaning or something to avoid in 2013.  I strongly preferred kitchen prep/washing up/pot wash/bog cleaning duties because bed booking is complicated and hard and thankless and far too easy to get wrong.  It requires a skillset and aptitudes that I don't have.  My personal contribution to getting beds right was to say out loud that I learnt last time that I am not competent at it.

The only suggestion I can come up with for improving it is to put an unfair and disproportionately large amount of it on the rotas of those volunteers (and there were a fair few, thank deities) who manage to be competent at it, if they can bear it - and maybe to ask _them_ what systematic changes could be made to help prevent errors in future!

mmmmartin

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Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #174 on: August 15, 2017, 05:19:01 pm »
what systematic changes could be made to help prevent errors
Tell riders that alarms are banned: suggest they put their mobile phone in a pocket with the alarm set to silent/vibrate. And that if participants ride cold they wear more clothes.
Besides, it wouldn't be audacious if success were guaranteed.