Vertfest is fast approaching, and plot-planning precedes performance, or something like that. Vertfest is an annual ski-mountaineering race held at Alpental and other venues. Alpental is closest to home, and most consistent. The race is split into roughly two divisions: a recreational route that goes to the top of the mountain and back down, and a race route that makes a second lap up and down a nearby knoll.  Am I fast enough to avoid the cut on the race route? Don’t know – experiment is the arbiter of truth.

But first, an overview:


Age is largely irrelevant. Gender doesn’t matter much either. Savvy skills are the way to go fast.


This is the main plot – speed on the first lap correlates strongly with speed in the second. It takes me 70-80 minutes to tootle up Alpy, so I ought to be able to hang with the race crowd.  2012 was an interesting year – the leaders were forced to break trail, so the very fastest times were compressed significantly. Once the track was broken, the rest of the field was just as fast as the previous year. Year-to-year comparisons of the second lap are challenging; the course moves a little every year.

A couple more plots, because they’re easy to make. 2011-2012 comparison:


Few women enter the race division, which is a bummer – looking at the chart above, quite a few women are fast enough to avoid the cutoff. For comparison into past years, the three-time winner Monika Johnson, for whom the race is now sadly named, averaged 63.5, 60.5, and 77 minutes/lap (no splits from those years) in 2010, 2009, and 2008 respectively.


More women should race the long course!

For comparison with the very first plot, here are the single-age marathon records, from :


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