Race Registrations are Live

It’s early, but Northern Plains Athletics is officially hosting online race registration for Bikecicle 2015.  If you’re in the Grand Forks/East Grand Forks area in February, you should check it out.

Some details and history: Although this is a first for NPA, I’ve been running online event registration for two organizations since January of 2013: ENDracing and Ground Up Adventures (including GUP subdivisions Northern Heights Rock Gym and Boathouse on the Red).  This isn’t necessarily to brag or even try to sell you on using NPA for online registration–just to reassure you that I know what I’m doing.  That being said, these are all in addition to a “regular” job–and so handling (many) additional race registrations at this time would detract from the quality of service I’m able to provide.

I’m providing online registration for Bikecicle as a way to help out the Northern Star Cycling Club, and because I think some of the other online registrations end up charging more than small events want to handle.  Doing this as a hobby, I don’t have to worry about overhead as much, so I can charge a little less.

New Preprint: Comparing size of morphospace occupation among extant and cretaceous fossil freshwater mussels using Elliptical Fourier Analysis

A new preprint of some of the work from my Master’s thesis is now available at PeerJ, authored by myself and my MS and PhD advisor, Joseph Hartman.  We’re looking for honest, science-y feedback in order to improve the paper before publication, so please check it out!

Burton-Kelly M, Hartman JH. (2014) Comparing size of morphospace occupation among extant and cretaceous fossil freshwater mussels using Elliptical Fourier Analysis. PeerJ PrePrints 2:e626v1 http://dx.doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.626v1

Selecting Wells without a Zone in Techlog

Open the Zones Inventory (under Quick Data Mining).  You’ll get a list of zone names.  Find the one of interest.  The two columns “Wells where present” and “Wells where absent” are magic–if you right-click, you can filter (“Project filter”) to show (in the Project Browser) only the wells listed in those cells.

An additional tip is that the Zones Inventory is dynamic with the Project Browser, so if you filter in the Project Browser to only show one group of wells, then click the Refresh button the Zones Inventory window, you’ll get results only from that group.

Productive Echo Chambers

Do they exist?

Thinking about the idea of repping/upvoting comments (Streetsblog, for example).  If someone gets enough upvotes on an insightful comment from the “echo chamber” community, is this a) positive reinforcement and b) likely to get them to move outside the echo chamber and engage other people to cause change?  Or will this person become habituated to the praise he or she receives in the echo chamber, to the point where criticism from outside is either ignored or taken very personally?

See also: Participation awards.

Petrel exporting/importing in Rescue format

Usually done to open a grid in Petrel 2011 so you can export to CMG without errors.
Before exporting, make sure your porosity and permeability values are all non-zero.  Use the calculator to replace zeros with a very small value such as 0.0001.
Petrel 2014:

Right-click grid in model pane, export, rescue.

Petrel 2011:
New project
Model pane, right-click, import
Select rescue format
Right-click model, export


Race Report: ENDracing Double Feature

This is a race report by Auralee Strege that was previously published at Northern Plains Athletics, a site I used to run.

Auralee is a runner who lives in Grand Forks, ND.

END-TOMBED: 12 hour mountain bike race at Turtle River State Park. Do as many loops around a 10 mile course that you can in the 12 hour time limit.

END-TRAILS: 12 hour trail run at Turtle River State Park. Do as many loops around a 6.2 mile course that you can in the 12 hour time limit.

UNDEAD HALL OF FAME: Complete 100 miles on the mountain bike and then run 50 miles the next day within the time limit.

Day 1

I went out at a relatively easy pace for the 1/2 mile loop run before reaching the bikes; I stayed with the mid pack runners and let the other experienced mountain bikers sprint ahead. Once I reached my bike I clipped on my helmet and slipped my running shoes into the strapped pedals on an Ellsworth Evolve 29er mountain bike. The beginning of the course began near the river on loose sand, single track, and a few twisting turns. It continued onto some more open trail with a few gentle rolling hills and enough room for bikers to pass alongside me.

The next part of the course for me was one of the harder sections; single track with several climbs and descents with not much room for error; there were several tree trunks I needed to stay clear of and keep the bike on the narrow trail to avoid falling down a hill. My first lap I did my best to figure out what speed was safe enough for me to maneuver my way through without crashing into anything or making any of the riders behind me upset for going too slow. I did brush my handlebars against a few trees and slipped out of my pedals a few times, but by the middle of the day I think I figured it out and made less mistakes. There was one steep hill on an old road the led up to a grassy open pasture; whenever I’d reach the hill my quads, which were already burning from the single track section, got another blast of pain on the way up.

Photo by Wes Peck.

Eventually as the day wore on, the lactic acid or whatever it was that caused the pain didn’t seem to bother me as much. As bad as this sounds, I actually was grinning from ear to ear during the beginning laps, relishing in the speed and scenery flying by – I was having a blast! After the pasture I went down the hill and continued on some more single track. This led to a section of the park on road, gravel, and then bumpy single track in the woods. This section was another challenging part as the day wore on, mostly because I always needed to stand and pump the pedals hard, which is challenging on tired legs, and when I’d try to sit in the saddle it made for a sore ride.

After the bumps there was a descent towards a river crossing onto a very narrow bridge with no sides. I think this part of the course was the most scary for me – I kept thinking I was going to fall off the bridge and into the river, so I was extra alert and did everything possible to keep the bike steady. This never got easy for me, but I managed to stay on the bridge and not go into the water on all 10 laps. The course continued on some more road with a hill, then grassy trail, and down a rough windy bike path descent with one sharp turn that knocked me out of my pedals a few times leading back up again. From there it was on the road again through the camp ground and a few grassy trail sections before coming to the end of the loop.

I stopped after each lap only for a few minutes to grab something to eat from my car or go to the bathroom in the lodge before taking off again. There were a few other women doing the race that were much more experienced in mountain biking than me, and I didn’t see much of them since they were always ahead of me. I finished my 10 laps I think near 6pm and didn’t have to bike in the dark at all. Originally my goal was to just do 100 miles and be done for the weekend; I didn’t intend to run 50 miles the next day, but Andy and Tammy convinced me to give it a shot.

Day 2

My legs had a different kind of soreness to them in the morning – mostly around my quads and knees and it felt uncomfortable to walk some, but I could still manage to do a slow jog. I heard that I may get saddle sores, but I was out of my saddle so much during the bike course the day before that I didn’t feel very sore on my seat.

I chatted a bit with Lisa Thompson, another woman going for the Undead-Hall-of-Fame goal who had completed 11 laps the previous day about how she felt, mountain biking, and just other random stuff on the first lap of the run course. It was fun to meet someone who was just as adventurous and driven as me to complete the race. She had run a 50 miler before and other ultra race distances, so I was listening in on any advice she had to share. We ran the first lap mostly together before I decided to pick up the pace just slightly faster than her. The run course was almost identical to the bike course except for a different section of single track which I had run previously on other visits to the park. The challenging part of the course was the beginning single track for me; I had to walk and shuffle/jog my way through as the day continued on very sore muscles. Some things that kept me going were mantras others have shared with me and just being able to push past pain. I was enjoying the day – the temperature was comfortable and running in the woods kept the wind minimal.

Photo by Wes Peck.

Lap 7 was the hardest for me – my energy just shut down and I had to walk for several minutes before trying to shuffle/jog before I eventually started to feel better towards the end of the lap and be able to run again. I crossed paths with Lisa on a part of the course where we see other racers, and I thought she was close behind me (which I eventually found out she wasn’t), but this gave me some extra motivation to pick up the pace and kick it in on my last lap around. I think my last lap I was my strongest and I gave everything I had. I don’t know what my time was since my Garmin lost reception at mile 20, but I finished before it was dark again, and this time was able to enjoy eating the free meal given to racers. I had a great time visiting with other runners and hearing about their race experiences.

I did enjoy both events, but it was the hardest thing I have ever done. When I got home on Sunday, I exclaimed to my husband, “That was harder than giving birth, and I did that naturally!” The races gave me the opportunity to figure out what I was made of and how far I could push myself – and I think I reached that limit. ENDracing is extraordinary and something that makes living in North Dakota a bonus. I’ve never biked/run so far in my life and would probably never have discovered this if it wasn’t for these types of unique races. Thank you for everyone who volunteered and organized the event.

NPA is Now Ad-Free and Tip-Supported

Update: Gratipay is no more. We’ve moved to Liberapay.

Instead of Google Adsense to help offset the costs associated with this website (primarily hosting), I’ve opened an account at Gratipay, which let’s anyone “tip” the website–anonymously–on a weekly basis.  Click here to read about Gratipay’s philosophy.  If you find value here, whether it be in the event listings, the map format, the exclusive race reports, or even the Twitter interactions, feel free to tip.  Even $0.10 a week will buy me a fancy coffee every year.  Receiving a total of $2.14 per week in tips will cover hosting and domain fees.  At least 1% of tips will go back into Gratipay.

Contributions are never expected, but are always appreciated.  As always, if there is a way you think I can improve the website, please let me know.

– Matt

P.S.  Although I am attempting to avoid network ads, I am still open to hosting ads from regional races or businesses where appropriate.  NPA will only share aggregate information (pageviews, etc.) with advertisers, and will never share your email address or profile information with third parties.

What Makes a Race?

There has been an explosion of nontraditional athletic events over the last few years.  Mud runs, zombie runs, color runs, sweater runs, gran fondos, festivals, etc..  As popular as they are I don’t think of many of these events as races (or competitions, if time isn’t a factor; see climbing comps).  My criteria are simple:

  • Is there a winner?
  • Are the results recorded somewhere?

If you can’t answer “yes” to both of these questions, you’re not in a race, and you probably aren’t listed here at NPA.  That being said, I won’t stop anyone from listing an event that doesn’t match these criteria, as long as it has an athletic component to it–and if your mud run or sweater run has results, that means someone cared enough about the sport to compile them.  Some of these races are even completely subjective experiences for each participant (see: zombie runs, collaborative mud run obstacles, etc.), but as long as everyone is happy with the schema, the results are real.

Notice how I don’t care about free events–if you have a free event with results, it’s a race.  If you don’t even have prizes for the winner, it’s still a race, and the prize is just bragging rights.  In this vein I’d argue that town-line sprints could be races…if you keep track of who won.  If you and your buddies meet up on Thursdays to run a trail loop and see who wins, you should call it a race (heck, I’ll even host your results).

Competition shouldn’t happen just because you want to make money, or create awareness for your group–although these are acceptable outcomes–it should be organic, because you like to compete, because your friends compete, because you want to create something bigger than yourself (or be subsumed by it).  Let the festivals of spirit (or colored powder) pass you by, and race for racing’s sake.

Image by Michael Hicks, used under a Creative Commons-Attribution license.