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How much is luck?

Posted: 22 Dec 2017, 14:17
by TeamHelsinki
After a lot of so far purely theoretical planning, I found myself wondering how great a part in an FNC completion, let alone a fast time, is played by luck -- I mean specifically good luck and not "not-bad luck".

Allow me to explain. By "not-bad luck" I mean avoidance of closures, cancellations and delays and other things beyond your control that would harmfully impact your performance, whereas by "good luck" I mean unexpected things that actually work in your favour: a crucial train being a couple of minutes late so you can catch it instead of waiting for 10 minutes, or a train diverted to where you wanted to go in the first place, avoiding the need to change. (Digression: If a train is diverted, say a service from Edgware Road sent to Richmond instead of Wimbledon, do the rules allow it to be used? Does it sill count as "scheduled public transport" re the stations to Richmond?)

It seems clear that "not-bad luck" is very important for being able to get a completion within one operating day, and absolutely essential for a fast time, but what about "good luck" as defined above? It's difficult to quantify, I know, but I'm interested in any experience-based views on this.


Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 22 Dec 2017, 14:33
by RJSRdg
Yes, it can definitely help - in any form of challenge, from a Bottle upwards! Once you've lost time (either through a delay or your own error), it's usually next to impossible to make it up barring some fortuitous circumstance.

One example would be the Heathrow finish. As we all know, there is a lengthy delay at T4 while the driver takes a break before commencing the return journey. At certain times, it is possible to run through T4 to the Heathrow Express platforms, catch HEx to Terminals 2 & 3, then run to the Terminal 2 & 3 Tube station, arriving there before the Tube you left at T4. However, owing to the distance beterrn the HEx and Picc stations at Terminals 2 & 3, it is not possible to get to T2&3 before the previous T5 train, unless that train is running a few minutes late, when you can save 5 minutes or so compared to the time you were aiming for.

Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 22 Dec 2017, 14:58
by Iain
I think as far as a basic completion goes, if you start early then you have an awful lot of potential slack, so unless a bit of track is taken out of service towards the end of the day, you can generally cope with the odd issue, sometimes with on the fly planning. One attempt I recall was looking too tight for a Heathrow finish after Richmond, so did Heathrow first (can't remember if it was a massive double back or another way.)

i guess at the sharp end then unless you have a superlative route (the record route took a ton of planning) there is often less room for lost time. I was supporting on the run and it went smooth as silk until the last train, which was 8 minutes late, but if that had happened earlier in the day then it might have thrown everything out

Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 22 Dec 2017, 16:05
by Going Underground
Simply massive, luck is the biggest part of the FNC after planning

Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 22 Dec 2017, 17:35
by Tube Geek
Definitely a big part, I know I might not have even made it past 200 stations had i not had some luck to get me back to ALMOST the right train

Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 23 Dec 2017, 11:46
by tufnellpark
From my personal experience:

First in importance is realistic planning. And be flexible - ready to change your route when you encounter a delay.
Second is practice. Door positions and subway routes are crucial. You will spot some changes to your planned route during practice.
Third is fitness. Can you keep running all day?
And fourth is luck. As RSR says you will always have a bit of bad luck. Maybe a cancelled or late running train. I would suggest you factor in at least two delays during the day. And it is very unlikely that you will recover that time. If you do your route planning is probably too slack.

For a fast GWR time you need your route to be well planned and well executed. If you just want a FNC completion you have plenty of time but start at Heathrow T5 and finish NW on the Metropolitan to increase your chances of finishing. Good luck.

Re: How much is luck?

Posted: 23 Dec 2017, 15:36
by al
Sorry to be picky, but starting at T4 is presumably what you meant? :-)