Metrics, Finishes and Fun

Posted: December 1, 2015 in BMX Family, BMX racing, Uncategorized, USABMX Grands
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Long drive home from the Grands and thinking about things.


Vet Pro Semis Pro Spectacular 2015 USABMX Grands


As Brody slept (more) as we lumbered down the highway, one of those things that popped into my head was about a dad who had timed his kids at their local track and watched and timed the last few Grands on Youtube and decided that his kids couldn’t lose. Seems like an over achiever to me, I don’t even look to see what moto my kids are in, I know I’ll see them when they get in the gate or they’ll be in trouble cause that’s the very least of checking in I expect throughout the day.

I don’t know how this worked out for that family or if they raced. I’m not really sure I know who this family is. But the point I was going for as I was thinking about this was; Not all things can be measured and accounted for.

At the USABMX Grand Nationals People come from around the World, not just from within the USA. And each of these people should be thinking that they are there to race the BEST out there. The Class of riders that were there last year, may not be the one that shows up this year. Odds are they are faster either way.

2015 grands

Check out for lots of Great race action shots

All this coincides with a  TED Talk (or something like it) I just recently watched about how metrics can not always predict the out come of something, and applying that to employees. The speaker used the World Championships women’s 4 x 100m relay race in 2003. In it the USA Women were the number 1 pic to win this as they each had the fastest individual times. The French Women won. Their individual times were slower than the USA Women, but they were better able to pass the baton. Passing the Baton was not a measured metric and in this case played a role in the French win. Kinda fitting mentioning the French Women’s Relay team as Joris Daudet Won the National Title. 

There are all sorts of things in BMX Racing that can change the outcome of a race.

Just as there are many things that can affect the gas mileage in your car. As I said I was driving when this popped into my head. My wife’s car has this Instant Fuel Economy deal. I noticed as I was driving that my MPG was all over the place even with the cruise control on.


average MPH


Going downhill


going uphill

These weren’t even noticeable hills and may have gone unnoticed if you were walking. But the engine had to work harder to stay at the same speed. It didn’t down-shift while I was taking these pics on a very empty road. And I was right around the speed limit at 75MPH, for those of you with slow 60MPH highways.

I have parents ask me all the time what they should do to get their kid faster. Clinics? Sprints? Weights? Track Time? Change their gearing? All these things have a measurable metric and yet they don’t.

  • During a Clinic the “coach” tries to teach in the best way they can to show the riders what they think is going to help the rider. Gate Starts, pumping/manualing/jumping and taking turns. But all that gets changed when the next “coach” comes along and makes their adjustments as to what is best.
  • Doing Sprints is a good way to get a better spin on the bike as you focus on the pedaling and not what is coming at you. But if you’re doing these as a marathon, just trying to finish 10 or 15 and not putting 100% behind them, are you working on your Sprint or your Endurance? And yes they can be mutually exclusive.
  • Lifting Weights, they’ll make you stronger, but will they make you faster? Are you lifting in a way to make you big and muscular or toned and fast? Do you know or are you just doing 3 sets of 10 and moving on? A Clydesdale is strong, but it ain’t a race horse.
  • Track Time can mean a lot of things. For some it’s just gates to the first turn. Others it’s hanging out with friends. Then there are those that are sessioning a straight at a time. And still others that are their to socialize and ride a little. It’s rare you see Full Laps at “Race” speed.
  • Changing their gearing, this happens and sometimes it’s time and others it shouldn’t be done. What are you trying to do by changing the gear? Better Gate start, better top end speed, kid’s pedaling looks choppy?

All these can be measured in their own way. But will they win the race? We’re not racing BMX in a bubble of a time trial, well 99.99% of us won’t. So that leaves a lot of things that aren’t being measured or simply can’t be in a feasible way. When BMX Race teams start wind-tunnel testing all bets are off as to what is feasible to measure.

There are all sorts of things in BMX Racing that can change the outcome of a race. A small pebble at the right place at the right time and your chances are on the ground a foot out the gate. A manual started a split second too soon or late and oops. Another rider losing it over a jump and their bike bouncing into your way and done. These can’t be accounted for with a stopwatch. And neither can the rider’s mentality as their on the gate and in the race.

Everyone gets into BMX Racing and stays there for the FUN of it. And that can’t be measured with metrics. Sure it’s fun to be handed a 6 foot tall trophy or a $1,000 check, but the memories of the weekend and the people you were with is what you’ll look back on.

So have Fun and enjoy the ride. That might just be more important in the end than how your finished. It’s not the easiest mindset to get into with the costs of racing, but I had a Great weekend with my kids, friends and BMX Family.


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