This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Monday, January 9, 2012

100 miler points

Fair warning - you probably don't care if you aren't an AERC rider.  You probably don't care if you don't ride 100's.  In fact, I can't think of a whole lot of people that are going to care about this post.  But I care and it's my blog, so you'all get to suffer.  

I was disappointed to see that AERC has reverted back to 1.5 point/mile for 100’s, from 2 points/mile in the 2010/2011 season. 

In 2010 there was a focus on how to support and encourage people to do 100’s.  Several new programs were implemented, including recognizing equines completing their first 100 in the EN, and celebrating a certain amount of 100 mile completions by establishing “bronze”, “silver” and “gold” levels.  Among the changes was an increase in the amount of points you could earn for completing a 100.  While 1 point per mile is awarded for completing a 50, 2 points (an increase from 1.5 points) was awarded to those completing a 100.

I felt that this was reasonable.  If you ride 100’s, you can’t do as many rides.  1-2 100’s is the max for most people riding one horse, and 3 is considered a good year.  Considering that your chance of getting pulled at a 100 compared to a 50 is much much greater, the increase in points rewards both the risk and the reduction in overall mileage for choosing 100’s. 

I never would have been in the point standings in 2010 for the western region if it hadn’t been for the point change.  As someone who focuses on 100’s with a single horse, I’ll have to have nearly a perfect season - or switch to 50’s and mutidays - if I want to be in the point standings again.  Or race for top 10. 

Assuming no top 10 finishes, here’s an example of a season between a 50 and 100 mile finisher and the point values.  This assumes that you give a horse 6-8 weeks off after a 100 and don’t do a 50 more than 4-6 weeks before the 100, and that you are able to do 1 50 or multi day a month, and gave the horse a month or two off here and there. 

50 mile finisher, 1 point per mile
Jan - 50
Feb - 50
March - 50
May - 50, 50 (2 day)
Jul - 50, 50,50 (3 day)
Sep - 50
Oct - 50
Dec - 50
Total: 550 points (attended 8 rides)

50 mile finisher, assume got pulled at one ride
Total: 500 points

100 mile finisher, 2 points per mile
Feb - 100
Apr - 50
May - 50
Jul  100
Oct - 50
Nov - 50
Total: 600 points (attended 6 rides)

100 mile finisher, 2 points per mile, with one non-completion at one 100 miler
Total: 400 points

100 mile finisher, 1.5 points per mile
Total: 500 points

100 mile finisher, 1.5 points per mile, with one non-completion at one 100 miler
Total: 350 points

There’s a couple things you should notice.
1.  I consider both competition schedules comparable. 
2.  At 2 points a mile, while the pay off is really good if you finish both 100’s in a season, if you get pulled at just one, the person that did all 5o’s will beat you. 
3.  At 1.5 points a mile, it doesn’t matter whether you finish both 100’s or not - the person doing 50’s will beat you. 

The best way to insure I’m in the point standings is to never take a risk of doing a 100.  The payoff now for doing a 100 is so little at 1.5 points/mile, and the risk for the loss in points so great if I get pulled (and the chances of being pulled at a 100 are much higher than a 50), that if I’m doing 100’s, it’s for the love of the distance.  There’s little else to motivate me. 

It was fun being in the point standings.  I won’t deny it.  I don’t think it’s necessarily something that will be my goal for a season - but I won’t deny that every time I wear my vest, I feel a sense of pride for what me and Farley did that year. 

Some might read this post and say that I’m mad because it puts me at a disadvantage for winning, and if I want to win, than I need to play by the rules and just do 50’s.  BUT, me being (or not being) in the point standings is NOT WHAT UPSETS ME.  It’s what AERC appears to be prioritizing. 

100’s struggle to get enough riders.  While Tevis boasts 200 riders or more, most 100’s I’ve done have been 20 people or less.  Often it doesn’t matter whether you top 10 because there weren’t 10 people that finished the ride.  By increasing the point count, AERC was telling endurance riders that 100’s matter, and supporting 100’s is an integral part of our sport.  When AERC increased the amount of points for finishing 100’s it changed the way you had to ride your season if you wanted to be in those standings.  Either you did substantially more 50’s, or you added 100’s to your ride schedule. 

There are a number of us (the crazy people!) that are going to continue to ride 100’s because that is the distance we love - points be damned.  However, there’s another set of riders that are chasing points, that won’t because the risk is too much and the reward is too little.  And we will continue to reward riders who chose the safe route, as they rack up the points 50 miles at a time. 

Of course there’s a 100 mile award -  a single award that’s awarded on the national level regardless of region or weight division (don’t even get me started on weight divisions….). I’m not sure - but I highly doubt that 10th place for the 100 mile award gets an embroidered vest.  I believe only the winner (and maybe the runner up?) gets recognition. 

Does AERC support 100’s or not?  Why is it possible to win in points if you ride lots and lots of 50’s (and get pulled once or twice), but not if you chose to do 100’s? 

I can think of a few reasons:
1.  Those riders used to winning based on lots of 50 milers moaned and complained enough
2.  AERC makes more money if people ride more rides, and if they ride 100’s, they ride in less rides. 
3.  AERC determined that increasing the point value did not substantially increase the participation in the 100 mile distance, and so decided to cater to numbers 1 and 2 above.  Thus foregoing a show of support for the distance that started it all, and one that is a real physical accomplishment for both horse and rider. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.