Many riders have been wondering what is happening with the results (some publicly) and I have fielded a few questions via email to this effect. I am sorry that this has gone on too long. I did wish to make some kind of comprehensive statement about the results - but even that looks like it would take me days to write in full. In actual fact it is never likely to be an open and closed matter. It will most likely start a lot of questions and a discussion. This discussion is happening internally at the moment and needs to do so, so that we have some clear policy on matters.
What it basically boils down to is that if you have a race with 10 rules, those rules are open to interpretation - otherwise you have a phonebook with tens of clauses and sub clauses and it all gets a bit ridiculous.
A big part of what makes the race what it is, is that it only really has these 10 rules and that so many different things can happen on the race. Clearly we couldn't have a rule for every eventuality and more than that I wouldn't want to, but we do need a clear understanding of how they should be interpreted and this should be consistently applied.
The race is continuing to grow and to evolve. It might be naive to think that just 10 rules can legislate such a race whilst being consistent and fair to everyone, so it really comes down to a choice - have a huge and stringent rule book with a specific rule for every eventuality, or have 10 basic rules, offer a good deal of guidance so everyone knows what to expect and entrust someone to apply their judgement fairly in their application.
We are learning a huge amount each year from the data that each race throws up and thanks to some very hard working and well co-ordinated dot-watchers this year we collected a lot of information and got a much better insight into what is happening on the race than ever before - this all needs looking at and considering before these fair judgements can be made, any compensations made and any more guidance given.
The long winded application process is also a part of this - it is a chance for riders tell us about how they interpret the rules before the race and this can also be referenced after the race to see if our guidance is working or if it needs to be clearer. The application process is also a chance to feed some of the issues from the race back in to target people's attention to these before they sign up.
If we are confident that the rules are well understood then they can be robustly applied and when racers can trust that they have been carefully considered and will be applied fairly then they will agree to be bound by them.
Without fair and consistent rules there is opportunity for ambiguity which may mean racers interpret the rules in different ways. This leads to different levels of risk and different levels of opportunity to take an advantage.
If we get the interpretation and communication of the rules wrong it can lead to several outcomes all of which will threaten the future of the race. The 2 major ones for me (in order) are :
1. An unhealthy and unacceptable culture of risk taking develops which makes serious incidents inevitable and the race administration as the promoter of this. It is easy to see how this ends badly, forget that fact that the race would be shut down.
2. The result is not trusted. The race becomes a cynical pantomime of superficial entertainment. A circus, if you will. Maybe you can see where I'm going with that.
My aim is to avoid these outcome at all costs, and I am prepared to walk away from the whole thing if it is not possible.
In the meantime that may mean you get a penalty, or taken out of the race classification, or maybe we don't have any results for while, or at all. You still rode your bike across a continent, maybe you saw things and did things some people would never dream of, maybe it will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Maybe you'll have forgotten it all by next week. It is after all only a bike race.
Whatever the case we're working on making it good, for what I like to think are the right reasons. Some days are more productive than others. Bare with me.