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  1. #1
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    Enduro: Timing systems and timing formats

    Look to hear success and failures for timing systems and formats.

    I did the Crankworx Canadian Open Enduro on Saturday (had a great day) and the format was designated start times for the four stages with un-timed transitions.

    Start gate has a synced clock and the started had a list of the start times, you pulled into the gate he counted you down and you were off when he said go. If you were late in getting to the stage (transition times were very tight) you time started with or without you. They would slot late riders into the "ghost rider" slots. The intervals were 30 seconds between riders and there were a number of one minute gaps put in as "ghost riders" to allow slotting in late guys.

    Looking to hear what other formats work or don't work.

  2. #2
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    Dunno every race i entered had that basic same format, some would count how much time you did over the slotted transition time and add it to your run, did one where they just added penalties ( +5s, +10s etc ) to your run time depending on how late you arrived.

    But what you described is pretty much standard ( at least if i understood you correctly ).
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  3. #3
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    We do the satellite synced clocks at each check point. CP worker counts you down after writing your start time on your number plate and in his note book. No penalty for arriving late... but we're needing to add that. Having scheduled start times sounds like it would work, but would take some thinking the night before.

    At the Wasatch Enduro you got an ankle band with some kind of chip in it that automatically started your time when you crossed the matte at the top of the run and stopped it when you crossed another one at the end. Pretty slick.

    Very generous allowances for transfer sections with the start gate not opening until a certain time the closing at another set time. Not sure what happened if you didn't make it to the start in time. Most people had an hour to hour and a half wait at the start gates. Too much time. Glad the weather was pleasant.

    Automated Sports Timing out of Salt Lake did the timing.

  4. #4
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    In the MSC Super-d they've been using slotted start times. You may leave anytime under 5 seconds of your start time ( the timing laser beam is broken as you cross the plane of the laser ) and it automagically clocks you as you cross the finish.

    This past weekend, the 30+ class wore ankle bracelets, no unicorn charms on them though. We were pretty sure they were for house arrest... the bracelets seem like a good system. I think we were guinea pigging for their other BME races...

  5. #5
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    I'm one of the organizers for the national enduro series in Finland, and for this season we got new timing system that has proven to be very good, accurate and reliable. System is called emiTag, a wireless version of the old EMIT system that has been used for ages in orienteering(at least in Europe). System works with gates/transceivers on start and finish and the timing chip is attached with velcro bracelet to right side of handlebars.

    Timing chip registers a timestamp always when you pass a start or finish transceiver, always when timestamp is registered the chip has a red led which blinks for 5 seconds. The chip has to be "reset" with zero-stamp before starting the race, and after the race timestamps are read to a laptop with USB reading device. Software used is custom made by company called Oriento Solutions, from the program you get report with final times and separate report with stage times, also some different prints are available, but those two are mostly used on our purposes...

    Timing chip


    Transceiver & chip


    Chip can register transceiver signal when passing the transceiver from less than 1m distance with maximum speed of 35km/h, timing accuracy is .01 seconds. That works for most cases, but we have made slow down corners just before the finish gate, if the end of a stage is some high speed section. The start and finish gates are always set to 90cm wide and the transceivers middle spot is 105cm from the ground.

    On the first race of this year we had some misses on start gate of one stage, because it was set too wide(about 130cm) and transceiver was installed too high. After the first race we improved the start&finish gates so after that I think that it has been only couple of missed stamps in the following races, that have had 60 to 160 participants. Also these "misses" have been due to either incorrectly placed timing chip or some "hazard" approach to finish gate.

    So far we have been very satisfied to this new emiTag timing sytem and we'll continue using it for the rest of the season and next year and...

    Some story about the Finnish enduro series: In English | System1 MTB Enduro // EBA

    And a video from the fifth race of this season, held on last weekend: Alhovuoren kisavideo | System1 MTB Enduro // EBA

  6. #6
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    I've been meaning to comment here for a while, but the season was winding down anyway...

    I've only participated in one enduro, our local four day (two weekend) series. It has been reasonably well attended, but operates on fairly limited resources. The timing is based on synced clocks and 30 second starts. Each stage gate had two monitors who record the rider's number and time as they pass through the gate. The transfer legs / allotment sections have time bonuses for the fastest three riders in each category, and (modest) time penalties for riders who exceed them.

    All the standings and times are calculated in an Excel spreadsheet, which definitely adds to the labor involved. A marathon-style ankle bracelet system would be great, but probably more of an investment than our local club will make for a few more years.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I've been meaning to comment here for a while, but the season was winding down anyway...

    I've only participated in one enduro, our local four day (two weekend) series. It has been reasonably well attended, but operates on fairly limited resources. The timing is based on synced clocks and 30 second starts. Each stage gate had two monitors who record the rider's number and time as they pass through the gate. The transfer legs / allotment sections have time bonuses for the fastest three riders in each category, and (modest) time penalties for riders who exceed them.

    All the standings and times are calculated in an Excel spreadsheet, which definitely adds to the labor involved. A marathon-style ankle bracelet system would be great, but probably more of an investment than our local club will make for a few more years.
    Sounds like the same as our system. So do you record start and finish times for transfer sections as well to assess the bonuses and penalties....or is there just a running clock from the very start of the race? Still confused on how to do that. Although I like the idea and want to incorporate it to help move riders along. We get a few people that want to spend all day out there.

    We calculated all standings and special test times by hand the first few years but lately we've been using www.moto-tally. It's pretty inexpensive and once loaded onto your computer you just feed it the gross numbers and it generates the times and standings. Still some data entry, but no calculating.

  8. #8
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    What gets recorded is the time on the clock(s) at the start of the race and at the start and finish of the timed legs. On the climbs/allotments/transfers, the timers don't record when you arrive at the checkpoint, only when you pass through the gate.

    Here's a link to one of our result tables. And if you're curious, here's the link to the event.

    Thanks for the link to moto tally. I'll pass that suggestion on.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    What gets recorded is the time on the clock(s) at the start of the race and at the start and finish of the timed legs. On the climbs/allotments/transfers, the timers don't record when you arrive at the checkpoint, only when you pass through the gate.

    Here's a link to one of our result tables. And if you're curious, here's the link to the event.

    Thanks for the link to moto tally. I'll pass that suggestion on.
    Oh. Ok. Looks like you send folks off in 30 second intervals off the start, recording their start times before they leave. Makes sense. So the sooner you get to the check point at the start of the timed section the more time you have to rest or hang out before incurring a penalty.

    How do you establish acceptable times for the transfer/allotment sections?Just by pre-riding it and adding a little time to what's a comfortable pace for the average rider? And do you have different allotments for different classes? Say Experts get 1:00 hour to get there but Sport riders get 1:15, Beginners 1:30 or something like that?

    Looks like a fun event. I'm assuming Helena, MT from the name but didn't see where the race is held on your site.

  10. #10
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    Yes to both: Helena, MT and staggered starts, generally 30 seconds apart, although I think we used 60 seconds on one course where we needed more separation. Sorry I didn't spell that out: like I wrote earlier, it's the only one I've done so I don't have anything to compare to.

    As far as the allotments, since the courses were on trails that many of us ride regularly, the locals all have a decent idea of how long something takes to ride. The race organizer just came up with those times based on that experience, with the intent that they be generous.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  11. #11
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    Oh, one allotment for everyone, regardless of category. (Without quoting, in Tapatalk I can't see the post above me to remind myself what I'm writing about...) Starts worked from Cat 1 down. In our race, Cat 2 was where the real action was. Lots of shredders around who don't bother with an annual license.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  12. #12
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    Does anyone know how the system works that they use for the Trans-Provence?



    From the video it looks like you tap a beacon on your wrist to this and when it beeps your time starts. Any idea on how the finish line works? Timing light or RFID?

  13. #13
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    It's called SPORTident and it's made in Germany. Originally it was made for orienteering and apparently really durable and simple to use; racers just swipe the control station with a card at the start and finish of each stage. At the end of the race you can download the time and print off individual results with a special printer they sell. The only reason I haven't pulled the trigger is because I'm trying to find Enduro specific software to go with it so I can manage all the results. Here is the website SPORTident

    I have been looking into this system for the enduro I put on. Capitol Forest Enduro

  14. #14
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    So these are just basically little RFID writers and they writing a time stamp on the card at the start and end of each special stage. Pretty simple to then read the data after the last stage and compile the days results.

    Are guys okay with "racing" to a stop at the end of a stage to complete their time?

    Some digging shows they are also using this type of system for the Monten Baik Enduro's in Chile.

    MTBK ENDURO » Bases de Competencia

    This could be easily reverse engineered and built with arduino's and basic rfid writers. Bulk order passive rfid tags from China that can accept enought data for the days stages. Their system looks to also store the time stamps on each reader to duplicate the data.

    I like this type of system for it's scalability and cost effectiveness. If more events got behind this type of system and it was the accepted norm it would help more organizers get behind the enduro format without it becoming a timing nightmare.

    I'd really like to see our local "twoonie" once a month race series evolve into an enduro series, the big hurdle is how to time it accurately without a big investment. That's the whole reason I started this thread.

  15. #15
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    Timig system

    We have used the SportIdent system for both our events this year. (Home | Endurorama). Overall great system, donwside limited rental avalibility in the States. Purchase price in on the somewhat high side (approx $4000 for equip and up to 170 timing cards).

    We wrote our own excel sheet to handle the timing of the stages. For our first event we only had one small glitch, but we stayed on schedule for when we said we would have results out. Second event everything worked perfect.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W View Post
    We have used the SportIdent system for both our events this year. (Home | Endurorama). Overall great system, donwside limited rental avalibility in the States. Purchase price in on the somewhat high side (approx $4000 for equip and up to 170 timing cards).

    We wrote our own excel sheet to handle the timing of the stages. For our first event we only had one small glitch, but we stayed on schedule for when we said we would have results out. Second event everything worked perfect.
    I was at the first event and I can say as a competitor I did not notice any issues that Bob is talking about.

    This system was amazing, it was not at all an issue to stop and "time out" of the stage, most of the stages they tried to end where you would be at a technical area anyways so speed was not an issue.

    We are hoping to have an enduro series in the Northeast and are looking into this timing system. $4k is a a lot of money but for a reliable timing system it is not that bad.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by batts65 View Post
    I was at the first event and I can say as a competitor I did not notice any issues that Bob is talking about.

    This system was amazing, it was not at all an issue to stop and "time out" of the stage, most of the stages they tried to end where you would be at a technical area anyways so speed was not an issue.

    We are hoping to have an enduro series in the Northeast and are looking into this timing system. $4k is a a lot of money but for a reliable timing system it is not that bad.
    In the full $4K kit it looks like you only get 10 control units not including the start and finish, so you could run 5 special stages.

    I recently raced an Enduro day in Whistler that was part of a larger 3 day multi stage event and we had 9 special timed stages strung out over 50km of trail. The flaik gps system was used, there were some teething issues and some racers didn't get any results. To use a system like the Sport Ident for a day like that you would need 18 control units.

    The starter kit at $2k with 1 master and 11 units is much better value if you don't need to have the thermal printer print stubs for the racers. You can run six stages.

    I think a comparable system can be made with with open source arduino's and rfid readers at about $30 per control unit.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob W View Post
    We wrote our own excel sheet to handle the timing of the stages. For our first event we only had one small glitch, but we stayed on schedule for when we said we would have results out. Second event everything worked perfect.
    For your excel sheet did you have to manually input times or were you able to download them into excel?

  19. #19
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    Excel

    Coudl download to the sheet once yo converted the dta. Nto hard at all...coming up with the sheet...took some time.
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  20. #20
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    Does not look like there is a way of doing it really cheap then...? unless you are an electronics whizz kid.
    I don't see why it cost so much, its just a magnetic signal that records a time onto a flash drive? Come on china start making me something cheap...

    This is worth a read, seems people are coming up with some good ideas

    cheap electronic punching using RFID tags - Attackpoint : Orienteering training, racing, running, navigation, and fitness
    Last edited by rhyko; 10-08-2012 at 10:28 AM.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shirk View Post
    I think a comparable system can be made with with open source arduino's and rfid readers at about $30 per control unit.
    Now this would be reeeaallly interesting project...

  22. #22
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    For the vp dirt club enduro i used the chip.system same as cross races in so Cal. with rider time cards.

    time cards were tyvek.

    riders started in groups to top of the hill, no penalty for late arrival, no arrival times.

    rider checked in, selected a start time.

    start time was written on time card and a start sheet for each stage.

    rider starts on time.by stop watch synchronized to race time.

    at finish, rider trips time. time is written on time card. official notes stage time.

    This system was easy. And gave riders insatnt times, full reults printed in 10minutes.

    If any computer or chip failure, we still had watches and time cards... no worries...

    It was affordable... we have another event nov 3 if you wanna see it in use... always open to critisism and improvement.

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  23. #23
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    From Adam Craig's blog post. The SportIdent system seems to be well liked by the riders. Adam has done all the Oregon series and it's good to hear a riders opinion on timing.

    Seven days of riding laid out on topo maps with navigational descriptions to lead us on our merry way. Aided by spartan, but sufficient, signage placed by the course marking crew, two lucky guys who rode a day ahead of us, showing the way. We also were given our timing chips. This is the amazing part. To start each Special Stage, you simply wave this card past a Belise, hung from a tree on a ridge some, it beeps, then you give ‘er until you get to a valley, presumably, and careen into the arms of someone holding another Belise, and, beep, you’re done. At the end of the day your chip is handed in and a paper printout of your times is immediately generated. Slick. An amazing system that makes racing multiple daily stages in the middle of nowhere, France, possible. We need this system for North American Enduros. Period.
    Trans Provence 2012- The best riding of your life. | Adam Craig

  24. #24
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    yo

    The format i used for my mates race gravity enduro:

    I ended up cutting the numbers right down, largely helped by the huge down pour which also forced me to shorten the course by one timed section (from 5 to 4).
    So we ended up with 15 entrants.
    The timed sections varied from 2:30 to 3:30 for the stage winner and due to the rain was quite hard going and slow in places.
    basically had a guy at the top and bottom recording and writing down the actual time, the important part of this was to synchronise watches 1st. i had the riders start in 20 second intervals in which ever order they decided.
    This all worked out fine for us as riders were normally separated by seconds not tenths and the end results, the riders closest together were separated by 2 seconds and the rest were quite spread out.
    I collected voluntary donations of all the riders and shared it out between the volunteers, we managed to do the timing with 6 of us as 2 people managed to time 2 different stages.

    The event went down really well and i look forward to holding another one.
    People have suggested doing a strava race, but it sounds like a bad idea to me.
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  25. #25
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    For the bigger events, and serious racing I would check the Sport Ident or Emitag setups.
    For the non serious event I am organizing with only 20-30 riders, we use synchronized digital watches.

    Write down the start time, and finish time, enter it in an xls sheet after the racing is done and voila!
    It's not to the 10th of a second accurate, but its cheap, simple and accurate enough for a 2,5 days of riding / 8 Specials event.

    more info on the event here:

    The Blast – Epic Enduro Weekends –

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