Author Topic: [LEL17] LEL Suggestions Box  (Read 31224 times)

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #100 on: August 07, 2017, 10:32:28 pm »
That central comms board that I suggested a bit back....

hulver

  • I am a mole and I live in a hole.
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #101 on: August 07, 2017, 10:49:17 pm »
That central comms board that I suggested a bit back....
Sorry, didn't mean to come across as trying to steal your idea, just adding my voice that it's a great idea. There were times when we tried to get in touch with other controls with no answer. Having some sort of messaging would have really helped.

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #102 on: August 07, 2017, 11:04:52 pm »
That central comms board that I suggested a bit back....
Sorry, didn't mean to come across as trying to steal your idea, just adding my voice that it's a great idea. There were times when we tried to get in touch with other controls with no answer. Having some sort of messaging would have really helped.
Totally agree, something like a Skype conversation between all the controls and also maybe a central person (who could have been at home rather than facing two hundred tired and hungry riders) who could check event rules, provide guidance etc. For example at Brampton we were asked by many riders whether they should take the A or B route on their GPS to Moffat. We could not ourselves find any way to understand what was A and B (we looked at the file download names on the website but that didn't help) and so I think to start with we assumed A was the favoured main road route and sent a few that way, until we wised up and just said "take the 74km option not the 71km". Someone centrally who could have supplied a definitive answer on this would have been very useful.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #103 on: August 07, 2017, 11:05:23 pm »
I was actually meaning an old skool noticeboard for within the control.  For the stuff like 'tell qwe123 that they've found their usb memory stick full of pR0n in the bogs at such-and-such control and will keep it on the control desk for them to collect southbound'; 'the vounteer partner of rider abc987 has fallen asleep under the dishwasher and says don't bother to wake them up unless abc987 is exhibiting actual tears or blood when they arrive'; 'rider xyz001 says to tell xyz002 "I looked everywhere for you and couldn't find you so am setting off hoping to find you on the road and please don't divorce me if you haven't actually left yet and were actually just locked in the portaloo"'; 'DON'T USE the 3rd cubicle from the left in the men's toilets' type things.  Or 'hi viz vests in box below - help yourself for outdoor shifts'.

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #104 on: August 07, 2017, 11:09:18 pm »
Mandatory "SHOE TAGS". NOT Joking - but only just. The mixing up of shoes was discussed before the event because it has happened before, and if you read the threads for this years event it happened again.

Maybe small shoe tags could be printed along with the  bag tags and frame numbers?

At Brampton after "shoemaggeddon" (read the volunteers tales) we imposed labels in shoes which I think helped.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #105 on: August 08, 2017, 09:23:27 am »
Eskdalemuir were selling AA batteries in the check in area. Enterprising of them and useful service for riders.
Despite being told that there would be nowhere to charge 'phones, or Garmins, several controls had made it possible to do so.
With so many riders dependent on GPS nowadays ( it does make riding in the dark much easier) can the orgs. look at having a consistent approach across all controls.
I would have cut my right arm off for a couple of AA batteries at Great Easton. Entirely my fault for not packing enough but I gave priority to lighting over GPS on the last night. I struggled on to the finish by following others and as the sky lightened, using a printed route sheet.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #106 on: August 08, 2017, 09:47:38 am »
I think there *was* a consistent approach across all controls - expect nothing in the way of charging facilities, but if some are available, that's a bonus.

I charged my phone a couple of times, but that was nice rather than essential: I've still got power in the powerbanks I took with me, and never used the spare batteries or headtorch.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
    • Fuchsiaphile
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #107 on: August 08, 2017, 09:52:29 am »
Helly I think you should rename this thread 'Hindsight is a wonderful thing'  ;)
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #108 on: August 08, 2017, 09:53:48 am »
Volunteers like to exceed expectations.  The problem is that this year's "above and beyond" (lending or indeed donating shoes/wheels/bikes/parts etc for example) is liable to become next time's expectation, e.g. last time around the expectation, IIRC, was that there'd be a workshop area if you needed to fix your bike and that volunteers would help where possible.  Some heroic volunteers slooged through the week doing nothing but fixing bikes.  This seemed to turn into an expectation of a 24/7 staffed workshop with spares for sale and a mechanic to fix your bike while you waited this time.

At Barney someone from the control team had obviously clocked at some point that there was a sensible spot in the dining room with several free sockets, and so had organised several multi-way extension leads.  We still had riders complaining (to the cook!) that they couldn't charge devices as well as a number of riders asking to plug in garmins to the control laptop to charge as they only had the necessary to charge over USB.  I took the view when I was on the desk that I wasn't plugging any unknown device into the laptop that was allowing us to check people in...

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #109 on: August 08, 2017, 10:08:26 am »
Maybe LEL 2021 should charge for charging ....

With current powerbank technology it is trivially easy do without external sources of power for that length of time.
I had a 6700mAh unit in each drop bag and both were still more than 50% at the end, and still four bars on both Garmin and phone.
Yes I'd have need more if I hadnt had a dynamo but the principle is the same.

I was quite astonished after all the warnings that so much charging was available - and that so many people were absolutely reliant upon it.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #110 on: August 08, 2017, 10:47:58 am »
At Barney someone from the control team had obviously clocked at some point that there was a sensible spot in the dining room with several free sockets, and so had organised several multi-way extension leads.  We still had riders complaining (to the cook!) that they couldn't charge devices as well as a number of riders asking to plug in garmins to the control laptop to charge as they only had the necessary to charge over USB.  I took the view when I was on the desk that I wasn't plugging any unknown device into the laptop that was allowing us to check people in...

That's amazing! Riders are expected to read the FAQs on the LEL website before the ride, aren't they? It was made clear that there was no guarantee of an available mains socket at controls, let alone a USB socket!

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #111 on: August 08, 2017, 11:21:13 am »
At Great Easton at some stage during Thursday night we lost power to the mains sockets in the dining room. Never did find the cause, all the fuse boxes were okay. Very long extension cord got the soup and toasters back on but if the usb chargers had been in that room then riders would have had to choose between  food or power.  Message being 'nothing other than best efforts can actually be guaranteed'.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #112 on: August 08, 2017, 11:40:47 am »
Maybe LEL 2021 should charge for charging ....more volunteer time needed.and how do you stop someone plugging a device into a vacant electric socket?

I was quite astonished after all the warnings that so much charging was available - and that so many people were absolutely reliant upon it. Way of the world innit? I reckon that the majority of riders were using GPS.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #113 on: August 08, 2017, 11:47:21 am »
I recommended GPS to any foreign riders doing LEL. Very few countries have routesheets as complex and with such closely-spaced turns as LEL's.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

hulver

  • I am a mole and I live in a hole.
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #114 on: August 08, 2017, 12:25:04 pm »
I recommended GPS to any foreign riders doing LEL. Very few countries have routesheets as complex and with such closely-spaced turns as LEL's.

As long as they know how to use them. Having an error in the file from Pocklington going south was a real nightmare when working at the front desk. Some people could handle it fine, but some didn't have a clue what to do. We had one volunteer who was familiar enough with the various units to be able to update some, but I think she was the only one. I didn't feel comfortable playing with a GPS I didn't know how to use and potentially doing something to kill the riders data or future routes.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #115 on: August 08, 2017, 01:11:29 pm »
Not sure if it caught anyone else out, but the return gpx from Edinburgh going all the way to Brampton (rather than individual ones between controls) was surprisingly confusing to me.

I clocked that that was the case when I was loading up the Garmin, but, in my sleep deprived state, I was very confused having gotten to Innerleithen and not having one to take me to Eskdalemuir. It wasn't until some time after Eskdalemuir that I remembered about it.

( Thanks to the kind volunteer at Innerleithen who loaded the next leg onto my Garmin for me - apparently I just needed to be smarter, but it was very appreciated :) )

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #116 on: August 08, 2017, 04:27:47 pm »
I recommended GPS to any foreign riders doing LEL. Very few countries have routesheets as complex and with such closely-spaced turns as LEL's.

As long as they know how to use them. Having an error in the file from Pocklington going south was a real nightmare when working at the front desk. Some people could handle it fine, but some didn't have a clue what to do. We had one volunteer who was familiar enough with the various units to be able to update some, but I think she was the only one. I didn't feel comfortable playing with a GPS I didn't know how to use and potentially doing something to kill the riders data or future routes.
This.
We also had one volunteer (Duncan) who was competent at sorting a variety of GPS units, and did so very well.
The issue was that there was only one laptop that would 'see' all GPS units, and that was one of the reception laptops, so there was a 'conflict of interests'.


Tapatalk puts this signature here, not me!
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #117 on: August 08, 2017, 04:34:23 pm »
I recommended GPS to any foreign riders doing LEL. Very few countries have routesheets as complex and with such closely-spaced turns as LEL's.

We finished LEL 2013 with no GPS at all, and with a very minimal knowledge of british roads. I think part of the fun of audaxes lies into navigating through unknown terrain using only the informations on the routesheet. GPS tends to spoil the fun for us  :)

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #118 on: August 08, 2017, 04:36:25 pm »
I've ridden brevets in 14 countries so far, with wide variations in route sheet convention and quality. I have both GPS and route sheet on the handlebars but GPS is the primary guide. YMMV
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #119 on: August 08, 2017, 06:44:07 pm »
But if you bolloxed up your gps in some way you wouldn't expect us on the control desk to sort it out for you, would you LWaB?  And that is what we were contending with, repeatedly.  Riders wanting assistance to charge or load files onto their gps devices.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #120 on: August 08, 2017, 07:08:28 pm »
But if you bolloxed up your gps in some way you wouldn't expect us on the control desk to sort it out for you, would you LWaB?  And that is what we were contending with, repeatedly.  Riders wanting assistance to charge or load files onto their gps devices.
You have my sympathies. I was only 100km into the route this year, but we had at least 3 GPS dramas to sort out. (I'm glad to say that all the riders were polite and patient). What it was like further north ... the mind boggles!

I was based in Yorkshire 4 years ago; I can't recall any such queries. (we had a few peeps charging their devices). GPS takeup has grown enormously in 4 years; who knows how fast GPS competence has grown?

This obviously leads into your other comment:
Volunteers like to exceed expectations.  The problem is that this year's "above and beyond" (lending or indeed donating shoes/wheels/bikes/parts etc for example) is liable to become next time's expectation, e.g. last time around the expectation, IIRC, was that there'd be a workshop area if you needed to fix your bike and that volunteers would help where possible.  Some heroic volunteers slooged through the week doing nothing but fixing bikes.  This seemed to turn into an expectation of a 24/7 staffed workshop with spares for sale and a mechanic to fix your bike while you waited this time.

At Barney someone from the control team had obviously clocked at some point that there was a sensible spot in the dining room with several free sockets, and so had organised several multi-way extension leads.  We still had riders complaining (to the cook!) that they couldn't charge devices as well as a number of riders asking to plug in garmins to the control laptop to charge as they only had the necessary to charge over USB.  I took the view when I was on the desk that I wasn't plugging any unknown device into the laptop that was allowing us to check people in...
Very true.


(at the risk of digging up the other hoary topic ... would riders familiar with long AUK events  be more prepared to manage without high levels of support at controls ... maybe ... ? ... )
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

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #121 on: August 08, 2017, 07:12:39 pm »
And the solution is?

Riders will use GPS devices, some of them will fall over, some riders will not be able to repair the problem themselves. LEL could deliberately make no provision at all for repairing riders' bicycles (self-sufficiency, of course) but that seems a little harsh.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #122 on: August 08, 2017, 07:17:30 pm »
^ The point being that you need a back-up plan - as a non-gps user I had these options:

1] Use the route sheet.

2] Carry my Barts maps - three sheets covered LEL and were referred to, if just to confirm that I couldn't be bothered to do the A19 alternative to the Howardian Hills.

3] Hook up with some one who knows where they're going - didn't need to do this, but our ACME peloton took a few off route on the main road way from Cambridge and guided others with gps or other navigation issues.

Some riders semed to hope to get by with a sketchy plan A and a lot of finger-crossing...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #123 on: August 08, 2017, 07:29:45 pm »
Yes and sketchy Plan A riders are going to continue to sign up to LEL. It is part and parcel of relatively inexperienced riders taking part. Surprisingly to me, riders who'd ridden serious distances overseas did not have a back up plan. I guess things had never previously gone wrong for them before when there were so many possible route choices.

Regardless, this problem is going to continue. Are we prepared to smile and wave goodbye to these riders as they disappear off-route and time-out?
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Phil W

Re: LEL Suggestions Box
« Reply #124 on: August 08, 2017, 08:04:56 pm »
I recommended GPS to any foreign riders doing LEL. Very few countries have routesheets as complex and with such closely-spaced turns as LEL's.

As long as they know how to use them. Having an error in the file from Pocklington going south was a real nightmare when working at the front desk. Some people could handle it fine, but some didn't have a clue what to do. We had one volunteer who was familiar enough with the various units to be able to update some, but I think she was the only one. I didn't feel comfortable playing with a GPS I didn't know how to use and potentially doing something to kill the riders data or future routes.


Time stamps in the Pocklington - Louth track caused problems in Edge units. Any hiking type unit such as Etrex , GPSMap had no issues what so ever with the track. All test rides using that track of which there were about a dozen were done on hiking type units and had no issues. Website route pages had no issues with displaying that track correctly. So I had no reason to suspect there was a problem or look inside the supplied GPX tracks I'd been passed to put on the website route pages.

It only became apparent Edge units had an issue with that track during the event.  Which indicates not a single Edge user had actually checked to ensure everything worked correctly with the official tracks till the very last minute. Or if they had had issues they didn't think to let the LEL team know. Whilst we were able to remove the time stamps and load a new GPX track to the website. It wouldn't be practical for everyone to access that and get it on their Edge units. We did pass a message to Pocklington. The obvious thing for a GPS user is to reverse and use the northbound Louth Pocklington track already on the GPS.

You see the same issue with GPX tracks supplied on much shorter Audax UK events. One or two I've had to adjust and give feedback to the org so they work on my GPS correctly and aren't truncated etc. 

I've also seen a FB post where someone claims the LEL Route took them down a bridle way between Spalding and St Ives. As the LEL GPX is a track only it indicates they were trying to navigate as a route and let their GPS determine which way to go, not following the pre determined GPX track as supplied.

As always it just showing a greater level of GPS use and also inexperience amongst riders.

1. Using a GPX file you didn't create? Check it meets your needs on your unit, and the way you use it, and look for any issues, well in advance. If you find any let the organiser know and adjust  as necessary.
2. Have a back up in case you missed something in 1. I remember on one Audax I'd forgotten to load one of the GPX tracks. Backup route sheet came out and I finished off the ride.