2011 Low-Key Hillclimbs

Scoring details

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Low-Key Scoring Department
Low-Key scoring department hard at work

Scoring in the Low-Key Hillclimbs is simple!

individual scores

The way scores is calculated was substantially modified in 2011.

First, each rider's time is adjusted by a factor determined from an analysis for series data from 1995 through 2009. Women have their times multiplied by 82.7%, hybrid-electrics have their times multiplied by 161.7%, while men keep their time.

If there's a mixed tandem, the woman has her time adjusted while the man keeps his time unchanged. This adjusted time is not what is shown on results, it is maintained internally in the scoring code only for score determination. This is also new for 2011: in 2006 through 2009, riders on a mixed tandem received the lowest (rather than the mean) score of riders on the tandem. It's become clear over the years an average is fairer. Note this is just a temporary step: at the end of this process each rider on a tandem will get the same score. That's described in just a bit.

Next, all adjusted times for the week are ranked and the median is calculated.

For each rider, the ratio of this mean time to their adjusted time multiplied by 100 is their score for the week. For mixed tandems, this will give each rider a different score, so these different scores are averaged. The result is assigned to each rider on the mixed tandem so they each score the same. As a result, a rider in a mixed tandem may appear out of place in the standings, with a time which is higher or lower than the time of other riders receiving a similar score.

At the end of the series, your overall score is calculated as the sum of your five best scores (during the series, or if climbs are canceled, it's half the climbs completed, rounded up) from the nine weeks: you get four throw-aways. These throwaways become available at weeks two, four, six, and eight, so after three weeks, for example, it's top two scores.

Those who've volunteered at least one week where volunteering caused them to not be able to climb, or who received volunteer credit for some non-Low-Key event (like a memorial ride), get to drop an extra score (assuming there's still at least one counting score, of course), and pro-rate their total score. For example, instead of 5 counting scores, they can count 4, then multiply their total by 5/4. This basically counts their average counting score for that extra dropped score. Volunteer three times or more, and you can drop up to two scores (this was new for 2008).

And of course, to get a score, you need to wear your helmet. Sorry, kids!

team scores

Team scores are calculated using the top three riders in each team for a given week. Overall team score is calculated using the same number of weeks as individual overall scores.

One complication: any team volunteers (who didn't ride) in a given week score, for the purposes of overall team score only, their median score in all weeks in which they participate as a rider. This rule, "The Heller Rule", prevents teams from being penalized for having riders volunteer. Note this is a small change from 2007, when average score was used. Note, unlike the individual scores, this potential bonus to team score is awarded every time a rider volunteers. So if I volunteer rides week 1, then volunteers weeks 2 through 9, the team score may benefit on every one of those weeks. The volunteer contribution to team score is included, though, only on the overall score page, not the individual climb results pages. The scoring on the individual result page represents the team which did the best on that particular climb, while the scores listed on the overall page are intended only for the calculation of the best overall team.

The best teams almost always get a balanced contribution from the women's category, as women's scores tend to be a bit more spread out. Recruit!

Change for 2011: teams for each week score from the riders on that team during that week. If a rider changes teams during the year, the previous team keeps points the rider contributed during weeks he or she was on the team. For volunteer points, a volunteer who has not yet ridden scores points for those weeks for the team the rider first rides with, otherwise if a volunteer has already ridden, the points go to the team the rider last rode with.

most improved rider

There will be a special category for "most improved" rider. This is determined using the slope of a regression of the natural log of the score versus the week number for riders who did at least half the climbs (volunteer credit applies), or three climbs, whichever is greater. The lowest score is discarded before doing the regression, to prevent bad luck or just a simple bad day from affecting the result (this was new for 2009). Don't take this one too seriously, but it's fun to see how we improve (or not) relative to other riders over the course of the fall. The best way to do well in this one is to come into the series way out of shape :).

most improved from last year

The most improved from last year is calculated by comparing the difference of your median score from this year to your median score from last year. So bad luck on one or two rides won't affect your result here, much. This classification will be limited to those who rode or volunteered in at least 3 climbs from both this year and the year prior (new for 2011).

most consistent rider

New for 2011, we'll again have a ranking for the most consistent rider. This is a rider who generally scores most consistently during the series, given preference for riders who've done more climbs since it's harder to keep consistent over a larger number of climbs.

The score is based on the natural logarithm of the scores. Given a set of scores, we calculate the standard deviation of the population. But since riders doing fewer rides are more likely to get a low standard deviation by luck, we add in two standard errors of the estimate of the "true" standard deviation of the riders probability distribution for the log of the scores. I thus multiply this calculated standard deviation by 1 + sqrt ( 8 / [ N - 1 ] ), where N is the number or rides for the rider. Volunteer weeks and weeks riding a tandem are not included in the calculation.

consistency score factor

endurance competition

There will be a special ranking for riders who have accumulated the most total climbing time during the series, acknowledging their superior demonstration of endurance

Mass-Adjusted Climbing (MAC) score

This is a "fun" ranking based on body masses optionally reported by riders (enter your body mass here). It is the maximum rate of climbing (VAM) for a rider in any week he/she participated multiplied by the grass altitude gained by a climb divided by the time, reported in kg m / sec. This is closely correlated with average power, but it's grossly oversimplified, so don't take it too seriously. It's just a fun ranking to give the big guys a chance to put the little climbers in their place. Riders are ranked separately by division, although divisions are combined on the same table.

Rider Rating

This is a preview of a parameter used in the scoring algorithm being used for 2012. It is the result of an iterative calculation, adjusting week scores based on how riders who participate in that week do in other weeks, to detect whether the group was faster or slower than typical. However, it's been observed that relatively fast riders who do steep climbs tend to score better here than riders doing more gradual climbs, since steeper climbs spread things out more, increasing the ratio between a reference time for the climb and a top rider's time relative to a more gradual climb.

100% club

The 100% club consists of riders who've climbed, or gotten volunteer credit for, every climb in the series. Either activity helps make the series a success. Thanks!!!


Dan Connelly