Author Topic: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running  (Read 3632 times)

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #75 on: January 10, 2019, 09:20:40 pm »
AUK requires you to submit an actual route as part of the event registration process. It'd also be just about impossible to do the required risk assessment without having a route in mind.

I suppose you don't *have* to share that route with riders though...

(also, finding info controls with just the info on the brevet card may be interesting on some rides. Sometimes it's hard enough with the brevet card, the route sheet and the GPX to work with)

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #76 on: January 11, 2019, 09:43:25 am »
I've never heard of an event without either route sheet or gps. Most have both, but some still have only route sheet and on some the route sheet is very much an afterthought, perhaps created from the gps automagically and not necessarily corresponding to roads on the ground. There's an argument to be made for not making either obligatory, as JayP says, and certainly for not requiring both. Better no information than misleading information. Doubtless rider-made route sheets would start circulating for those events without oganiser-provided ones, just as gpses do.

Plotting a usable GPX file from a route sheet is an order of magnitude easier than writing a usable route sheet based on looking at a GPX file in a mapping tool. There are so many things that appear on usable routesheets that don't appear in the mapping tools (aerial photography and Google Streetview help with some but it would take a considerable amount of time to "walk" the entire route using Streetview to spot things that aren't obvious from the mapping, and streetview is not ubiquitous.)

(It's quite easy to write a bad routesheet from a GPX file though.)

I can quite easily use my GPS to follow routes that I've plotted on a mapping tool alone, but I'm far less likely to make a mistake (e.g. miss a turn) if I've plotted the route from the routesheet as I tend to remember the tricky instructions (i.e. "Left on downhill bend, very easy to miss") so when I get to that point my brain is already looking out for the easy to miss turning[1]. If I've looked at the location of almost every instruction in Google Streetview then I'm far more likely to recognise things out on the road.

Just being handed a GPX file doesn't give you all of the same useful information, and you're not sure exactly where in the route you need to specifically look. Doesn't stop it being possible, I guess a large percentage of DIY rides are ridden by GPS alone with no routesheet, or a routesheet cobbled together from just looking at mapping.

1. For example, the left hand turn to Poynings on the Ditchling Devil which is in the middle of a nice descent shortly after the Devil's Dyke info control. If you're reading the route sheet instructions you'll be prepared as it warns you that it's in the middle of the descent, if you're just using a GPS then some people will be enjoying the 30mph+ descent and not paying attention to the pink link veering off to the side.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #77 on: January 11, 2019, 10:13:33 am »
Even writing a route sheet based on looking at a GPX file in a mapping tool might be an improvement from just printing out the mapping tool's automatically generated cue sheet!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #78 on: January 11, 2019, 12:17:01 pm »
1. For example, the left hand turn to Poynings on the Ditchling Devil which is in the middle of a nice descent shortly after the Devil's Dyke info control. If you're reading the route sheet instructions you'll be prepared as it warns you that it's in the middle of the descent, if you're just using a GPS then some people will be enjoying the 30mph+ descent and not paying attention to the pink link veering off to the side.

Rookie mistake.  Even if you don't have the GPS set up to warn you of the turn, an experienced rider will be wary of this sort of thing under the "downhill is always the wrong direction" principle.  If there's a modicum of doubt, it's always worth stopping to check the route at the *top* of a yee-ha descent, whatever navigation method you're using.


TBH I don't think writing a traditional routesheet without riding the route yourself is a good idea.  The results tend to be overly reliant on road names and distances, rather than useful landmarks.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #79 on: January 11, 2019, 12:35:05 pm »
I think too many people use "GPS" as shorthand for "crappy thing with twelve grainy pixels that beeps occasionally when you're meant to do something".

There's a reason I navigate using a giant smartphone with a nice hi-res map showing a decent amount of the route ahead, including any surprise turns. It also means if you happen upon a road closure or a glitch in the GPX track you can spot alternate routes without slowing down.

mattc

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Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #80 on: January 11, 2019, 01:21:24 pm »
TBH I don't think writing a traditional routesheet without riding the route yourself is a good idea.  The results tend to be overly reliant on road names and distances, rather than useful landmarks.
Oh absolutely not! But it's fine for a first draft.

[I'm sure everyone does them differently; I've route-tested with someone who hadn't even drafted theirs, and *IMHO* it slowed us up to an unacceptable degree. That was with Dictaphone, not making written notes. ]
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

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #81 on: January 11, 2019, 02:21:44 pm »
I think too many people use "GPS" as shorthand for "crappy thing with twelve grainy pixels that beeps occasionally when you're meant to do something".

There's a reason I navigate using a giant smartphone with a nice hi-res map showing a decent amount of the route ahead, including any surprise turns. It also means if you happen upon a road closure or a glitch in the GPX track you can spot alternate routes without slowing down.

I think too many people use "GPS" as a shorthand for "complicated navigation tool that the user hasn't learned to use effectively".

There are strong arguments in favour of both the powerful general purpose computing device with the high-resolution screen and the robust power-frugal navigation device, as well as various ways of using dead trees in combination with magnets or primitive counting devices.  There's even an argument for the buggy training aid for racing cyclists with the rubbish battery life. :)

The important thing is that the user is aware of and makes allowances for the limitations of whatever they're using.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

JayP

  • You must be joking
Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #82 on: January 11, 2019, 05:46:01 pm »
AUK requires you to submit an actual route as part of the event registration process. It'd also be just about impossible to do the required risk assessment without having a route in mind.

I suppose you don't *have* to share that route with riders though...
I've never heard of an event without either route sheet or gps. Most have both, but some still have only route sheet and on some the route sheet is very much an afterthought, perhaps created from the gps automagically and not necessarily corresponding to roads on the ground. There's an argument to be made for not making either obligatory, as JayP says, and certainly for not requiring both. Better no information than misleading information. Doubtless rider-made route sheets would start circulating for those events without oganiser-provided ones, just as gpses do.

Well,  I've scrutinised the planner, (although I've used it many times before), and the fact is that there is no requirement to make a route sheet/ gpx track available to riders in order for an event to be published. There just isn't!
The route Grams refers to is the 'google walking'  route, generated by the controls, needed to assure the integrity of the nominal route distance  and in fairness, as Grams remarks, is not guidance for riders.
Surprisingly it's actually easier to give risk 'control measures' for  an event with no specific route. You just make general statements. Something like ' Riders are reminded of the need to plan their routes carefully, anticipating likely hazards, and  ensuring that they are able to navigate'

Of course AUK has embraced new technologies and  these days our expectations are such that  a calendar event with no route sheet or gpx available (not to mention TLC) would get very few, if any, entries.
For a glimpse into  the past tho', take a look at some old established perms, The Cambrian series .. Andy Corless' hardriders series ... thousands of kilometres of breathtaking cycling and not a single routesheet or gpx in sight. I used to look at these and think 'what bloody use is this - there's no info why even bother'. These days I see them differently. there's a sort of austere purity about it. Like riding fixed maybe but more so. Getting back to the OP I can well imagine  those tough Welsh Fell runners seeing themselves and their events this way and fearing that new tech will trivialise them.



 

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #83 on: January 11, 2019, 06:05:31 pm »
The AUK organisers handbook says you have to give the events secretary a copy of your planned route. Nowt to do with google maps. Whether or not the computer enforces this process isn't really relevant.

(I'm not at all familiar with how this works in practice - I can well imagine AUK processes are based on trust to the point that you could get to event day without ever sharing a route with anyone. Whether you would still be around at the end of event day is another matter...)

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #84 on: January 12, 2019, 12:03:28 pm »
I had a spell getting to grips with GPS in the early 2000s. It was something new to master, and went hand-in-hand with photography, video editing and desktop publishing.

My generation had embarked on a journey to master a number of emerging technologies, spread across a number of novel devices. Activities such as Audax provided an outlet for those skills, especially through social media.

Much of the interest lay in the learning process, as much as in the results. But the fact that the results were visible in the public realm, as magazine articles, validation records and online videos acted as a strong reinforcement, especially if they collected 'likes' on the way.

As time passed, the various devices combined into a single device, which does the job well enough for most purposes. So the learning aspect diminished and was replaced by convenience. We can now learn about rides, download details of the route, navigate around the course, record and upload the experience, and assess the reaction, all on a 'smartphone'.

In the early phases of the technology-shift, the learning curve gave status to those who had acquired useful skills. Once the technology is mature, the intermediate phases have no value, as use becomes more intuitive.

In fell-running, the mastery of navigation is one of the core skills, and initially the mastery of new technologies was an analogous learning process. Once an accessible device is available which de-skills navigation, then it's inevitable that use of that device will be questioned.

All of this is irrelevant to newcomers to an activity, who have grown up with GPS/Smartphones. Why would anyone not want to use them?

My answer is that my interest was sustained by the novelty of the various technologies, and the challenge of getting all the disparate components to work together. The easier that gets, the less interesting it is.

With no innovations, innovative people get bored, and move on. There's sometimes a retro counter-trend, as we see in hipster reaction to digital photography. Perhaps we'll see a return to routesheets produced on a Roneo machine, which opens up the possibility of organising a ride without electricity, as they can be hand-cranked.

Edit. I found an interesting article about the adoption of technology, mentioning duplicators. It suggests to me that nearly universal use of smartphones opens up previously niche activities to 'normals'. One implication is that 'special' activities then lose their 'special' appeal. It also give me the chance to squeeze Mahatma Gandhi into the argument.

Quote
The Roneo machine was a wonderful example of what Mahatma Ghandi called "appropriate technology". It enabled careful typists to run off multiple copies of agendas, news-sheets and programmes, instantly, and at low cost. The machines were often hand-cranked, not electric powered.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28292650

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #85 on: January 12, 2019, 01:38:01 pm »

Rookie mistake.  Even if you don't have the GPS set up to warn you of the turn, an experienced rider will be wary of this sort of thing under the "downhill is always the wrong direction" principle.  If there's a modicum of doubt, it's always worth stopping to check the route at the *top* of a yee-ha descent, whatever navigation method you're using.


TBH I don't think writing a traditional routesheet without riding the route yourself is a good idea.  The results tend to be overly reliant on road names and distances, rather than useful landmarks.

Is it not a truth universally acknowledged that any downhill substantial enough to be worth zooming down *WILL* have a 90° turn, or red traffic light at the bottom. And if the hill itself doesn't then the sadist^WRoute planner will invariably chosen to take a turn half way down it... That's just basic laws of cycling surely?

And even if you have been careful enough to plan your route to not have any such turns, or traffic lights, then Murphy will arrange for you to have a headwind. I had this on my way to Hell. Having got to the highest point of the trip, I was looking forward to what should have been 60km of descent. Only as the valley narrowed, the anabatic wind meant I was now having to pedal downhill, just to make progress. I was not impressed...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
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Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #86 on: January 12, 2019, 02:36:11 pm »
The WFRA complete ban is in contrast to the (English) FRA revised policy where individual organisers can decide to allow GPS or not. And on those events which proscribe the use of GPS, a runner is at liberty to carry one. But if used, perhaps in an emergency or for any reason, that runner is required to declare themselves non-competitive.
I wonder how any of that is policed.
The obvious way would be to seal any GPS-capable devices in a black plastic bag at the start, and say no time if the seal's broken at the finish.
Be a bit unfortunate if you unsealed the bag to answer a phone call, but that's what dumbphones are for.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #87 on: January 12, 2019, 05:44:19 pm »
My one foray into long distance fell running (Dartmoor north to south) I doubt there would have been reception most of the way for the thing to ring. 

I do take the point about over-reliance on tech.  If I'm going up a hill in bad (or forecast bad weather) then I will have a piece of card tucked in a dry pouch with the key bearings and distances for getting off the hill safely.  But I guess I was taught things the old way before satellite navigation and smart phones were available and I'm well aware of how tricky the new devices can be to use in the cold wet and dark when touch sensitive means next-to-useless.

Thanks JP for the plug on the Cambrian Series, although as their creator Peter Coulson points out, in most cases there isn't much choice of route in mid Wales, it's either up the endlessly unforgiving steep hill into the wind and rain, or down the crazily surfaced steep hill dodging sheep.
Eddington Numbers 122 (imperial), 167 (metric) 511 (furlongs)  110 (nautical miles)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #88 on: January 12, 2019, 06:43:36 pm »

Rookie mistake.  Even if you don't have the GPS set up to warn you of the turn, an experienced rider will be wary of this sort of thing under the "downhill is always the wrong direction" principle.  If there's a modicum of doubt, it's always worth stopping to check the route at the *top* of a yee-ha descent, whatever navigation method you're using.

Is it not a truth universally acknowledged that any downhill substantial enough to be worth zooming down *WILL* have a 90° turn, or red traffic light at the bottom. And if the hill itself doesn't then the sadist^WRoute planner will invariably chosen to take a turn half way down it... That's just basic laws of cycling surely?

You do get the odd exception.  They sometimes come with a "Probably best if Kim goes at the front for this bit."[1] prompt from the ride leader.  Sometimes they come with unexpected cows...


[1] ©2011 Crinklylion
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: GPS ban for Welsh Fell Running
« Reply #89 on: January 18, 2019, 01:52:59 pm »
When I'm following a line on a Garmin I am less aware of where I am than when I'm using a map.

Agreed.  Routesheets are even worse, in this respect.

What you need is a route sheet with map sections - one of the many formats I supply for my events. Easily created when you know how to use RWGPS. The route notes are also used in FIT & TCX files by devices that handle them, or spoken to you via the RWGPS app so you don't need to look at a screen.