ACA releases statement on Chip Timing System

From ACA website

Everyone involved with the Superior Morgul Classic appreciates the participation and enthusiasm from our athletes and families over the weekend.

As many of you know, we are still working to create accurate results from the weekend. Overall Omnium results cannot be completed until this has happened.

Of course, the notion in the racing community is that "The chips system was in use, the results should be perfect." The reality is that no scoring system can create perfect results if the event's registration is not accurate. This simple concept defines the situation in which we find ourselves. We have a world class timing system that functions at a very high level. We do not have world class data being inputted into this system.

When this happens, especially at an event that had more than 1,700 athletes in 20+ categories, creating results reverts largely to hand scoring. And this takes time.

Other questions have been:

1. Why were the Superior time trial results so fast? Answer: the event was pre-registration only, and our officials could rely on the results generated by the timing company.

2. Why do we need bib numbers if we have chips? Answer: Chip data includes info on the rider as it relates to the ACA database. It does NOT include category data, as the majority of our athletes can choose one of multiple categories on race day. The bib number is linked to the start list for a particular event, and therefore imperative for scoring. Bib numbers are also the best form of identification in event of an accident during a race.

3. Why do we have a timing system? Answer: The timing system was purchased in order to provide deep, accurate, and timely scoring for all categories (in a larger effort to provide results and a racing experience that is similar to running, triathlon, or mountain bike races). Please note that all these types of events are much simpler to score than a road race or criterium. As everyone knows, this has not been an easy implementation, and I apologize for the confusion that is out there.

4. What do we do now? Answer: We have had a major development with the timing company, in that Orion (the timing company) has opened a North American office in Boulder, which is run by ACA member Paul de Curnou. With his background, attitude, and training, we have seen significant progress in our communication and ability to work with the vendor. In order to address the problems we have with the data being put into the timing software, Paul is working to create day-of registration software that will be shared at no charge with our race promoters. A beta version of this new product will be available in the next three months.

5. What can ACA members do? Answer: Well, you could go on 303 Cycling and anonymously post a lot of vitriol, or you could call me to get an idea of the whole picture. My number is 303-458-5538. The simplest things that ACA members can do is 1) pre-register, and 2) complete registration accurately and legibly.

6. What can I say? Answer: I want to thank the ACA community for your support during this time. We have seen quite a bit of change, and we are appreciative of each and every member. I want to apologize for the confusion that has existed over the last six months. We have been working to define our relationship with USAC and the data flow between our organizations, to refine our database given this new source of information, and to continue using the timing system, which relies on the database to produce results. It is a lot of challenge, and I apologize that we have not communicated as effectively as perhaps we need to.

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78 Comments

It worked well for me...

I have been responsible for registration while utilizing the timing system. I worked very specifically to accomplish a couple items:

1. Registration forms (they were NCR forms for me) needed to be neat and orderly
2. Registration had to close 20 min before the race and the forms taken to the timing folks/officials. This must be timely.
3. Supply 1 person to assist the timing folks with entering the license numbers into the computer system.

By operating registration in a focused way, we had accurate results posted for review within 15 minutes for all races. I can fully understand how a disorderly registration would result in inaccurate, slow results. Unfortunately, we as racers do not always see where the issues stem from and jump immediately to blame what we care about most: the results. No matter what system we have, it will always be garbage in, garbage out. Revolutionizing registration with kiosks is not in the immediate future, so a more strict operation of our current registration process provides our best opportunity for immediate results. There have been several races this year that clearly did not have a good handle on effective operation of registration, so it does not surprise me that the timing system has not been able to produce the results that we all desire. In short, promoters have a significant level of responsibility in this issue. The system can and does work, but it is not foolproof.

Implementing a kiosk that

Implementing a kiosk that scans bar codes and spits out numbers isn't going to happen anytime soon.

However, the amount of race data that needs to be captured by a simple system (website, whatever) and processed is trivial.

1. Race
2. License #
3. Category
4. Time

I'm think USAC has interfaces into their system, not sure about ACA. If you have implementation challenges, then post some of the specifics. Hell most the people I ride with are engineers or work in IT.

I think it's funny that I couldn't stick around for some TT results a few weeks ago, but could log onto strava and get a pretty good idea of how I finished.

Let's get it solved

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments; not only on this thread, but on all of the other threads, too. It is a situation that needs to be resolved sooner rather than later. I took this job with my eyes wide open. Like some posters have said here the technology should be straightforward. Drawing it up on a whiteboard is easy - implementation is another thing.

Over the past few weeks since I took the job, I've sat and observed in the timing trailer, met with the ACA Board, traveled to the parent company in Europe, and cringed mightily reading the horror stories from last weekend. Over the next few weeks I'll be meeting with promoters, riders, ACA Board members, and registration companies.

Let's get it solved.

A brief background on me: I have over 10 years experience in software tools and services and HW/SW interaction. This background is in embedded systems, user interaction, data visualization and analysis. Prior to my software experience, I designed and set up data monitoring and analysis networks in the environmental and civil engineering field.

My racing days are over, but I am on the Board of Boulder Junior Cycling and I lead the Road and Track Committee. I have a son that races JM13-14. I know the pleasure of standing in a registration line at 6:30 on cold November mornings - a line that never moves fast enough.

Paul de Curnou

Thanks for your hard work.

I appreciate all the work that promoters, officials, volunteers and refs do to bring us bike races every week. I've been racing for many years, and we (my team) set goals for each week. We know at the end of the day if we accomplished that goal. It's nice to know if I was 23rd or 25th, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter if our team (or myself) did not execute the plan properly. I don't need a paper or website to tell me that. Keep working hard, take the criticisms with a grain of salt, and move forward. Most importantly keep the race calendar full, and fun.

I really hope

I really hope pre-registration isn't mandated. Many of us, because of family obligations and work schedules, can't commit until the last minute. Paying an extra few bucks for day-of registration is better than eating $40 because I have a deadline or my kid sick.

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