Every year the USAT, the official governing body of triathlons in the U.S., issues a ranking. It’s kind of a weird ranking system, but still better than the BCS! Each race that you do has several “pace setters”. These pace setters give USAT a “par time” for that particular race. Therefore, every race has a unique par time, depending on who is competing and the race conditions. This is a better system than just giving a ranking based on race time since every race, even if they are the same distance, is different. The pace setter is determined by the rankings from the previous year. A calculated time is determined for each pace setter. This is calculated by taking their overall score from the previous year and dividing it by 100, and then multiplying that number by their finish time for the current race, which is converted to minutes.
This means that if Johnny Tripants is a pace setter and he finished a race this year in 1:30:00, they can find his calculated time for the race. If his final overall score from last year was 95.234, they would divide it by 100 to get .95234. Then, they multiply that by his finish time, which would be 90 minutes. 90 x .95234 = 85.7106
Par time is calculated by dropping the top 20% and bottom 20% of all the pace setters – only the middle 60 percent is averaged together. If there are 100 pace setters in a race, the top 20 and bottom 20 pace setters are not included, and the remaining 60 pace setters’ calculated times are averaged together to equal the par time.
After the par time is calculated, the time of every participant in the race is compared against the par time. If the par time of Johnny’s race is 80 minutes, and he finished in 90 minutes, his score would be 88.888 (80 / 90 = .88888 * 100 = 88.888). It’s a lot of math, I know.
Your top three scores are averaged to find your final score for the season. Everyone’s scores are entered in and then the rankings are released. Here’s what my season looked like:
Shelbyville Tri #1 = 82.03973
Shelbyville Tri #2 = 78.94914
Shelbyville Tri #3 = 79.14953
Shelbyville Tri #4 = 78.05374
Rev3 Knoxville = 79.08295
TriFest Sprint = 78.24364
TriFest Olympic = 78.65230
So. Indiana Tri = 81.15078
Buckead Border Challenge = 77.94462
Tom Sawyer Tri = 79.77182
Landsharks Tri = 77.31515
So my top three scores were from Shelbyville Tri #1, Tom Sawyer and Shelbyville Tri #3. But overall, I was pretty consistent, so it really didn’t matter what races they used. My official score for 2012 was 80.9767
This ranked me at 598th out of 3738 in the Male 30-34 Division (including Pros). That’s top 16%.
In 2011, I was ranked 1567th out of 5897 in my Division (top 26%). I was ranked 1539th in 2010 out of 3133 (top 49%). My 2011 score was 78.53, and 74.47 in 2010. So my score and ranking has improved each year, which I guess means I’m doing something right!