Low-Key Volunteers @ the MegaMonster (Cara Coburn)
This year we were sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, who sent us some great gel and Enduralytes and Heed. We supplemented this with an additional order of Gel and Perpeteum "liquid food". We were ready! Unfortunately in a bit of a snafu the stuff didn't make it to the checkpoints, which thus featured cookies, pretzels, and water, similar to previous versions of the MegaMonster.
Since it looks like the MegaMonster will be back for 2011, I figured it would be fun to analyze how people did on the incoming versus the outgoing leg, so next year we can see the effect of Hammer Product. Of course, wind is a factor, so a proper experiment would compare Hammer to some sort of placebo (like a noncaloric drink). But we'll live with the data we have.
In 2008, riders started with no supplemental food, and got snacks at the stops. Here's a comparison of the outgoing times to the incoming times:
I omitted the two outliers (punctures, perhaps?) then did a regression: on average, riders and teams were 5.1% slower coming back than heading out. Actually adding the outliers back in has little effect: the outliers effectively cancel.
Then 2010. Now riders had Hammer product at the beginning. They could have stocked up to carry enough for the full ride, but we'd told them they'd be able to refuel on the road. Then when they hit the checkpoints: whoops! Sorry guys -- pretzels and cookies for the lot of you! So if Hammer product is effective, you might expect a big sag in the second half. Here's the result:
So this year, riders were 8% slower on the inbound. Self-selection bias? Student t-test? P-values? Proper controls? Blahh! None of that. This is a blog, after all, not the Journal of Applied Physiology. But based on this result, like the well-intentioned scientists we are, we're going to propose a hypothesis: that in 2011, this "sag" factor is going to decrease. Just a guess. Weather permitting, of course.
Post-ride Hammer-Gel. It all ended in tears: moderation is key. (Cara Coburn)