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Cyber Racing

Online Performance Tracking Systems Gain Steam

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By Greg Culver

Race today and see your results by the time you get home. Did you beat your buddy’s time? What’s your area ranking? Or better yet, how are you doing nationally?
Technology has merged with competitive racing and it has created a form of social media that is gaining steam.
One example of this is NASTAR (National Standard Race), a program that has been around since 1968 and brings grassroots racing to the recreational skier.
Holiday Valley has been participating in NASTAR racing for 27 years. Through its standardized racing system, skiers can compete, record their stats and then compare their results with friends and family, wherever they may be.
Since 1997, NASTAR has made its system virtually live by creating an online system that keeps track of results on racers’ personal “Race Records.” Participants can check times and rankings on their smart phones, computers or other devices from just about anywhere.
Other industries have gotten into this concept, too, of course, and there is now a plethora of gadgets, apps and Web sites all geared at tracking performance, times, health and habits.
Strava® is a program where you gather information on a GPS device, smart phone or bike computer. Simply upload your data to Strava.com and you can see how you compared to other registered users who have covered the same routes. Segments can be created and used to add races within races. For example, if you track a 26-mile road bike ride, you can see how fast or slow you were on different parts of the ride. The online system keeps a log of your activity and you can set goals for the week, month or year.
Fitness bands are also gaining popularity. These bands look like your average sports watch, but they track your movements throughout the day and also keep track of your sleeping habits. Again, these devices link to your smart phone and ultimately online so you can track your performance against your friends or your own personal goals. Fitbit® is a popular brand that offers a few different band options with basic or premium features.
So whether you’re keeping score of your own victories or how you matched up this week against your brother in Denver, there are many new devices and online services to keep track of it all. This new direction seems to have jacked up the intensity and focus of our recreational play time.
Online Olympics in 2020? Gosh, I hope not.

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