I’ve been on quite a burn of updating race information this week, which always makes me consider the philosophy behind this website. What is NPA, and why is it here?

Simply enough, I like to race, but being torn among multiple time obligations makes it harder than it used to be. The real killer is the full-time job, but it definitely pays better than grad school, so I think I’ll keep it for now. The original cause was money: gas prices were high, races were far away, and I was poor. Now it’s time: I can’t take an entire weekend to travel to a race. I imagine 90% of people are in the same boat.

One question I imagine people have is “why is it a map, not a list?” followed by “why can’t I look at dates more easily?” I struggle with the second one more. It’s a map because the goal is to minimize the amount of time and money spent traveling (sorry, local visitor and convention bureaus). Maps are easy to understand, and the system on other sites of filtering a list down by selecting a state/city/zip code is just dreadful when we have better tools available.

The date question? Well, mostly I don’t have a good handle on the best way to show dates on a map. I’ve considered color codes (<1 week, 1-4 weeks, >4 weeks, etc.) but haven’t implemented them. If you have an idea, get in touch and let’s develop it.

The last bit of philosophy is about the volume of information avaiable on NPA. I’ve kept it as simple as possible in order to reduce errors. The least amount you should know about a race is when it is, where it is, and where to get more information. Name and description are secondary; and type/category/discipline? That’s just extravagance.