by Jacob Sisson
With less than six months remaining until the open of the cyclocross season, I’ve already put together much of the (primitive) workings of the 2009 Cyclocross Magazine Fantasy Cyclocross game. Following up on some personal feelings from last year’s game and some valuable input from some of our forum members, I’ve made some pretty big changes to what went down last year. Things, however, are not finished yet! I want you to help me tweak, improve and restructure some of the things that will make 2009 Fantasy Cyclocross better than ever. Below is a list of the major and minor changes I’ve made to the game’s structure, as well as some changes that I made last season that may have flown under the radar. None are final – that’s why we need your input and suggestions.
New Rider Picking Options:
Last year’s game was set up with a total of 11 riders that you could select: 6 elite men (1 from the previous year’s UCI top 3, 4-6, 7-10 and 3 others) and 5 elite women (Same structure as above, but with 2 others). For 2009, I have changed that structure around somewhat. Your team will now consist of 12 riders, with 5 elite men, 5 elite women, 1 espoir and 1 junior. Teams will still select 1 rider from the UCI top 1-3, 1 rider from the UCI top 4-6, 1 rider from the top 7-10 and now 2 each from the top 11-50. Thanks to the emergence of Philipp Walsleben as one of last year’s top points scorers, each team will select one espoir and one junior, who will each score points in their own race, if there is a designated U23 race, or will score points from the elite races they participate in, should they finish high enough to score points.
Last year’s game was mainly confined to UCI C1 races, since those races were where the majority of international talent would be racing. After one year, I decided to expand the game to a number of C2 races, in order to count some of the larger races in the world that did not achieve C1 status. Many of the GvA trofee races are not designated C1, and the same goes for much of the NACT trophy and the USGP. The schedule now has grown to include the World Championships, World Cups, Superprestiges, GvA Trofee races, the NACT, the USGP and any other non-affiliated C1 races.
I made this change during last season, but did not make mention of it until after I had already counted the points from Nationals. Since the competition at nationals is not on the level of an international race, I decided I could not leave just a flat score for winning a national championship. That said, I assigned a flat value of 25 points for first, 7 points for second and 1 points for third. This would be the going rate for the most competitive national championship. To determine this, I consulted the UCI National rankings from the previous year. Turns out (surprise, surprise) Belgium was the highest ranked, and was thus assigned the highest point value. From there, I decided to assign a rudimentary competitive variable to each nation on the list. Belgium, getting 25 points for first, was assigned a value of 2.5. The Netherlands, second on the year’s UCI rankings, was assigned a 2.4. The Czech Republic, third on the year’s UCI rankings was assigned a 2.3, and so on. I took all the relevant countries, assigned them values, and multiplied that value by the points assigned to the country with a value of 1.0 (Japan) and devised a scoring system. Now, if you win the US National Championships, you get 18 points, since the US ranked 8th on the UCI rankings, and was assigned a competitiveness value of 1.8. Confusing? Maybe because it makes more sense in my head than it does on paper.
I like the idea of bonus points. I have a number of bonus metrics that are already a part of the game. Each week, the top scoring individual at their position (UCI 1-3, 4-6, etc.) make their way to that week’s All-star team. This individual gets 1 bonus point. Each series had its own bonus scoring as well, with the World Cup winner taking home 100 points, Superprestige and now GvA taking 75 points a piece and the USGP and NACT netting 50 points. This year, team that scores the most points in each series will receive 20 points bonus as well. Each week, if an individual is on the year-long All-star team, they will receive a 1 point bonus. It will pay huge dividends to pick someone who stays on that list for a long period of time.
Winning cool stuff is always fun, right? And at least it’s a semi-level playing field. Fancy equipment or genetics don’t help you here. We’re working on it always open to more sponsors. Contact us if you want to get involved.
Obvious Logistical Changes:
More care will be shown to keeping a more up-to-date list of teams and their riders. One way to do this will be to funnel the entries directly into a database of teams that will show up directly on the Fantasy portion of the website, so that each person can see what they are up against. I also would like to install a method for individuals to be able to trade riders, but at the moment I’m not sure of a streamlined way to do such a thing, as I am not blessed with overly spectacular programming skills. I also would like to create a set of head-to-head leagues and and year-long tournament system, but that may be a long time coming. The head-to-head leagues would just be in terms of raw score, while the tournament would be a week-by-week knockout tournament.
At the moment, that’s all the stuff I’ve changed and all the stuff I am would like to change if I’ve got enough time to do it. I’m also knocking around a sort of team-allegiance portion of the game, where you select your favorite team for the year and your team choice scores you points. Obviously, ways to balance out the teams (maybe a modifier that makes larger teams like Fidea more on the level with smaller, but highly competitive teams like Sunweb and Landbouwkrediet) will be included, but that metric is still a prototype and is not about to be implemented soon.
Either way, I would like for anyone who has any ideas on how to make the game stronger to let us know, this is as much about you, the player, as it s about the game. Drop your thoughts, comments, suggestions, complaints in our forum discussion.