If you thought Joe Dubay was a big deal, this is bigger. (Okay, not really.)
I am in a tricky position. If anyone gains a place in to the top 200, I fall to 201st and I am relegated from the Elite Wave. So, I check the results more than anyone, I’d bet. I was copyediting my race report today and decided, well, what the heck, let’s check those results. And here’s what I found:
That’s right. The unthinkable had happened. Now, instead of making the Elite Wave by 1.5 seconds, I had missed it by half that much. I promised a full investigation on Twitter and Facebook—I wanted to find out who had been inserted in to the results three weeks late. I have the finishing data which shows me at 200th, and compared that to what’s online. I looked at 100th in that data, and that skier had moved to 101st. So I looked at 50th. 51st. 25th? 26th. 12th? Twelfth place was still in twelfth place. So I started reading down. And something stuck out.
The 14th place skier only shows up in the online results. But that’s not what sticks out. Apparently, this skier made it in to 14th place with a four digit bib number. Now, it would be conceivable that a First Wave skier could go out and only have to pass a handful of Elite Wavers and have a hell of a race to 14th. Possible. I doubt it’s ever happened. But from the Fifth Wave? To finish in that kind of time, they’d have to pass, give or take, 2500 other skiers. That’s one every 20 meters. Or one every three seconds. A fifth wave skier would have to somehow get through congested feeds and up bunched hills—and still ski only five minutes slower than the best skiers in the race.
Maybe Petter Northug could do that. Maybe. But a 50-year-old from Latvia? Doesn’t pass the sniff test. (Here’s a picture of him finishing next to a Second Waver who finished in about 3:10, which would validate his 2:39 finish time if he indeed started with the fifth wave but—see below—he seems to have mistakenly started in Wave 2. This would also explain why he was in first place at Timber Trail and OO) Want more? 5342 has no wire start time, so someone put the wrong time in for his start, and he jumped up in the results. I guess. I plan to let the Birkie know about this, so if you finished between 14th and 350th and wondered why your position changed, it should change back.
Either that, or Rosie Ruiz jumped off the trail at the Power Lines and got back on the lake for an almost-victorious ski in to Hayward.
(Okay, it’s a clerical error most likely, no one cheated or wore the wrong bib. And we can not complain about a minor error in a race of 10,000 people where all the timing equipment is buried in snow. But it’s fun to throw around hyperbole, right, 75 commenters about Joe Dubay at FasterSkier?)
Update: I have it from another Wave 2 skier that:
As I waited for the start, a guy with a purple bib [someone who’d skied more than 20 Birkies] tapped me on the shoulder and said I should tell the guy beside me (a 5th waver) that he was in the wrong place. I told purple bib guy that he would be a little more authoritative than me, so he approached him. After realizing he spoke no English and had traveled a great distance to participate, [he stayed] and start[ed] with wave two. There really wasn’t an alternative as the start was less than 30 seconds away.
which makes perfect sense. And that means the Birkie should assign him a start of 8:45 (well, probably 8:46 to account for the minute to the line) which would put him finishing in 3:10. Which is exactly an hour slower than the issue above. In other words, someone must have typed “9:45” instead of “8:45” for his start time, and that got the whole snowball rolling. Okay, for me it’s a snowball. For everyone else, no one cares.