cycling race brain twister
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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb cycling race brain twister

    For whatever reason a head to head bike race was set up to see which of two riders would perform best under the following simple set of rules.

    1. Stay on the marked 60 mile course.
    2. Ride half the race at no more than 20 MPH, the rest at no more than 10 MPH.

    The competitors: Hester "Mantis" Prynne on her titanium top of the line time trial bike with a Doppler radar speedometer. (She knew as autobahn truckers do that a simple gadget can disrupt GPS tracking.) She used all allowed performance enhancers and supplements and motivational techniques and wore the latest jersey and shorts covered with sponsors' logos.

    Dave Stohler rode his sister's rusty Wal-Mart huffy which he cleaned up and lubed with old oil drained from the family pickup. Dave's Mom gave him a note so he could miss sixth period. As we all know he preferred to tape his smelly gym sneakers to the pedals.

    The officials: A team of UN inspectors who, after changing all their euros into dollars, spray painted measured distances on the road and sat down in their camp chairs with their stop watches and interpreters, ordered fine New York wine, and waited. Some had measured the distances in feet, some in meters, and one in cubits.

    The CIA secretly monitored the proceedings from satellites that measured speed to the nearest angstrom per nanosecond. Impressed? You can sell anything to the CIA if you make it sound good and set the price high enough. A clearance priced bike computer from Nashbar is more accurate and, incidentally, is what Dave had on his sister's bike.

    The race: Dave watched Hester accelerate and determined she was doing the fast half first so he did the slow half of his race first. He passed her after 3.5 hours and won by 30 minutes.

    Hester cried, "Cheater!" but the UN confirmed both riders had adhered to the rules. The CIA leaked their concurrence to a congressman currently under investigation for insider trading. After much name calling and demands for the UN and CIA to be taken out and shot, Hester agreed to a rematch.

    This time she did the slow half first and watched Dave disappear over the hill not to be seen again until the finish. He again won by a half hour.

    Once more Hester screamed foul and appealed to the Secretary General who had all the records reviewed and determined there were no violations of the rules and awarded Dave the prize, his name and photo on a hand carved replica of Sri Lanka. The ceremony was held on his thirtieth birthday.

    How did Dave win?

    The moral: Read the rules with an open mind then consider all options that are allowed. That someone else may find a better way to perform within the rules is always a probability. It was clear Hester had thought with the better equipment and preparation she could not be beaten. Equaled, perhaps in this strange race, but not beaten. She never considered that half a 60 mile race might not be 30 miles!

  2. #2
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    Easy even before the hint

    Dave rode half the time at 20 mph and half the time at 10 mph, averaged 15 mph and completed the race in 4 hrs. Hester rode half the distance at 20 mph and half the distance at 10 mph, averaged 13.333 mph and completed the race in 4.5 hrs.

  3. #3
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    Too easy

    She road 30 miles @ 20 mph for a total time of 1.5 hours and then road 30 miles @ 10 mph for a total time of 3 hours. This makes here overall time a combined 4.5 hours.

    Dave road 40 miles at 20 mph for a total time of 2 hours and then road the remaining 20 miles at 10 mph for a total time of 2 hours giving him a combined time of 4 hours for the entire race. Dave used time as his guide for deciphering what half of the race meant.

  4. #4
    53T
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    Elementary, my dear Watson.

    Clearly, Dave thought he would do half the racing time at 20 mph and the other half at 10 mph. Hester did half the distance at 20 mph.

    This is a story you might think about while racing up a long hill, with an equal distance to descend on the other side. If you have only so much energy reserve, do you spend it on the uphill side, or the downhill? Where will you spend more time?

  5. #5

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    Flip Flash rides into town

    Flip Flash rides into town on Friday. He parties three days and the leaves again on Friday.

    How'd he do it?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53T
    This is a story you might think about while racing up a long hill, with an equal distance to descend on the other side. If you have only so much energy reserve, do you spend it on the uphill side, or the downhill? Where will you spend more time?
    The steeper the gradient, the better off you are putting your major effort on the uphill side since more energy is exerted against gravity instead of wind. If you are racing in a group, this is especially important. Lead up the hill, and follow down the other side if at all possible.

    If solo at the crest of the hill it is most efficient to put in a hard effort for the first 1/3 of the descent than at any other part. I can't remember the proof, but it is convincingly demonstrated in the book "performance cycling." Incidentally, the book is a great read even if you get math anxiety from physics (as I do).

    So much for the non-cycling discussion. ;)

  7. #7
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    He's riding a Bike Friday?

    If so, that'w weak.

  8. #8

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    Close enough, but

    Why don't you come up with a better one. Here's another.

    What's bigger than God,

    Worse than the devil,

    Dead men eat it,

    And if we eat it we die?

  9. #9
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    pride

    pride

  10. #10

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    Nope

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Gran
    pride
    Sorry.

  11. #11
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    my answer

    Long-time reader, first-time poster

    Quote Originally Posted by Flip Flash
    Why don't you come up with a better one. Here's another.

    What's bigger than God,

    Worse than the devil,

    Dead men eat it,

    And if we eat it we die?
    Here is the long-awaited answer:

    Nothing

    Have a nice day

  12. #12

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    Interesting factoid.

    Apparently, kindergarders etc. get this one right, but older people miss it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flip Flash
    Apparently, kindergarders etc. get this one right, but older people miss it.
    I'm only a kindergartener in spirit, my body feels like a senior citizen most days

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