Wednesday, September 1, 2010

USAT Rankings Explained by David Warden

William "The Professor" Jenks and I were talking via cyber space this week. The topic: How can one best maximize your points from each race in order to achieve the highest possible national ranking?

After trading a few Tweets and then a discussion on Facebook, I recalled David Warden doing some podcasts on just that subject. The first episode goes into the how and why of the actual rankings and the second episode actually goes into suggestions on how to maximize your points. I strongly urge you to take a moment to listen to each podcast in order to learn about the USAT ranking system. Some key points:
  • You must have completed a minimum of three USAT sanctioned tri's and two USAT sanctioned du's to qualify for USAT national ranking.
  • David feels the ranking system favors people who do a high number of sprint distance races.
  • Find a event with a high par time due to many athletes who did worse than their previous years ranking would predict. Best chance would be early season races as athletes will get better as the year goes along. Train all winter and be ready in the spring!
  • Avoid events with a low par time. These are the highly popular events that everyone is gunning for and the athletes are performing at their A-game.
  • New races draw people performing below their par-time. Thus, a new event should allow you to jump all over a higher points value and ranking.
  • Speed counts. Kill yourself through the tape. In USAT, every second counts...not placement.
Tri Talk Triathlon Podcast, Episode 66 - Episode Run time: 37:57

Description: Part 1 of understanding the ranking systems of USAT and 3 other major triathlon federations, and how you can maximize your USAT ranking through effective race scheduling and strategy. You will be weighed, you will measured, but will you be found wanting? Let's find out today, on Tri Talk.

Tri Talk Triathlon Podcast, Episode 66a - Episode Run time: 24:49

Description: Part 2 of understanding the USAT age group ranking system. How you can maximize your ranking through effective race scheduling and strategy. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth about 100 spots on your age group ranking. Today, on Tri Talk.

Not sure how to check your current ranking? First, you must be a USA Triathlon member. Then you can access your account. From there, click on the View My USAT Ranking link on the left hand navigation bar as seen below:

Once in, you'll see your current USAT score and ranking. Then you can goof around by clicking on All Rankings and filter down by event type, age group, and gender to see how you might be stacking up at this time.

My goal for 2010 and again in 2011 (new age group, 50-54!!) will be to:
  • Finish in the Top 100 overall in the male 45-49 age group for duathlons
  • Finish in the Top 300 overall in the male 45-49 age group for triathlons
Counting the upcoming Cy-Man, I will have 6 USAT tri's in for 2010. Only one event (my Arkansas tri from April) has apparently been turned in. Not sure what is taking so long with the other results. Currently I sit 519th overall with a score of 79.84212. Pretty bad. And that's for an event I won my AG! Of the 6 events, 5 will be sprint and 1 was an Oly. That's out of 3625 people who have had at least one triathlon recorded thus far, so I'm in the top14% overall. Maybe that's a better way to look at it. Try and get into the top 10%?

To date, I have competed in 3 USAT du's. I might squeeze in another in Texas in November. Only one event (again, from Arkansas) has been turned in. Currently 118th overall with a score of 83.16111. Dubuque and Nebraska have yet to be turned in. That's out of 406 people who have had at least one duathlon recorded thus far, so I'm in the top 29% overall. Damn.

So, how are we all doing at this time of year. Do we have any All Americans or Honorable Mentions in the making? Go ahead and share your 2010 rankings to date as well as your thoughts on races in which you have racked up high points and why you think that happened.

Happy racing everyone!

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