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

I hope this doesn't come off

I hope this doesn't come off as vitriolic. As a longtime racer and software engineer, I'm not surprised the 'day-of' registration process causes delays and inaccuracies.

You have a bunch of people, in a long line, who have to pee like there's no tomorrow, trying to fill out a stupid form on a rickety table with gusty winds. Then a volunteer who only half understands the process and is severely under-caffeinated, trying to re-copy that information onto another piece of paper while having several simultaneous conversations with other half-confused volunteers (thank you for volunteering by the way).

Here's a quick overview on how this should work.

1. I walk up and show my license
2. Volunteer types my number into a system which pulls up my data and shows what categories I'm eligible to race
3. Volunteer gives me a bib and types that number into the same system and clicks on the category

At this point, a previously error prone process which took several minutes, now takes seconds and is much more reliable.

Let me know why this doesn't exist. I know it would not be hard or expensive to implement.

Here's a quick overview on

Here's a quick overview on how this should work.

1. I walk up and show my license
2. Volunteer types my number into a system which pulls up my data and shows what categories I'm eligible to race
3. Volunteer gives me a bib and types that number into the same system and clicks on the category

my partner programmed exactly this registration software model in like 2002 or 2003 and demoed it to ACA. they refused it on the basis of "we have to use the NCR forms" and told us our services weren't needed.

we tried multiple ways to show them the 21st century, from website design to race registration and they just refused with their closed minded, "we've done it this way since 1975, we don't need to change anything" attitudes.

I quit promoting and trying to argue the system because of the attitudes we encountered. it's sad when "backwards" racing regions like TN, MO, MS, etc. can get this right on the first try and it takes over a decade of badgering for the ACA to implement a subpar system.

oh, well.

Design it. Fund it. Build it.

Design it. Fund it. Build it. Take the volunteer element out of it.

1. Walk up to the registration kiosk and scan your license. There's already a bar code on it, go check.
2. System pulls up your waiver.
3. Sign waiver like you sign for credit purchases at the store.
4. Pay for race if you didn't pre-register.
5. System pulls up your data (no mistyping from above volunteer)
6. System offers you choice of only the categories your license is able to race.
7. System prints your number, tells you what side to put it on, and spits out pins (no oops from above volunteer giving you wrong number).
8. If you want to do a second race, you tell it which one right then. It saves your info but you have to wait until the first race is over to get the second number, so you don't wear the wrong number in the second race. (no oops from you).
9. Recycle the number and pins into the back of the kiosk.
10. It reads the number, keeps a running tally of how many you return over the season. The more you return, the larger discount you get on the following year's ACA membership.
11. Would need override ability (like the head cashier at the grocery store that can void a sale) to handle special situations like juniors who ride in their senior category, juniors who ride up in age, and women who opt for a men's event.
12. Forgotten license = see the human at the table.
13. No annual license = see the human at the table.

I completely agree, but technology is not the problem

The technology is here and a need is here as well, the question is, who funds this? Maybe a company like Prerace.com and they "own" the colorado cycling calendar or the the governing body like ACA or USAC? Why them ACA or USAC... they have never managed registration. No one will invest in this unless a majority of the promoters are forced to use that system and it will cost money... so now the $35 registration fee became $45 and riders on this website are already crying that $35 is too much.

So is it a technology problem or is it more a problem of investment? And even if someone invest who will pay for this? IMO the core problem is that is now coming to light with this new system is "Who is responsible for registration?"

Is it me, or does this

Is it me, or does this statement sound like they are blaming racers for not pre-reging and/or legibly filling out their registrations? Is that a joke? Feel free to consider this vitriol, but I am baffled and continue to be utterly disappointed in the ACA.

Well, I can say I learned

Well, I can say I learned something today. Even at my old age and (apparently not) educated (college degreed) arse.

Vitriol. Never heard of the word until today and had to look it up. Thanks for the educational experience.

Now back to our regularly scheduled complaint programming.....LOL!

Just give it time

So we are a year and a half into this and it works some of the time. They bought a 'world class' system without a clue how to operate it. They have added multiple steps to registration, making a fairly simple task much more complicated for volunteers who likely do one or two races a year. We have software that all promoters are required to use to become silver or gold that might be ready by the time the season is over. Now the performance of the system is blamed on those volunteers and racers. All solving a problem that didn't exist and trying to get the same level of performance that we had previously. Nice job Chris.

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