Joined: Jul 2003
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Enduro Timekeeping How-To...
Not sure where this belongs, but since it is a form of racing, I'll stick it here.
There have been a few requests for a how-to on enduro timekeeping, I've got time today (stuck overseeing an upgrade at the office, can't leave, but not actually needed until fecal material hits the rotary oscillator), so here goes. Hope this helps.
To understand timekeeping, the place to start is with the theory involved. I'll take a shot at that, then I'll add some of the detailed rules, then I'll go to the practical side of how to run a race. I firmly believe everyone should start riding enduros with nothing more than a watch and an odometer- learning with a dedicated enduro computer means you won't really understand what's going on and how to fix it when things screw up.
The idea for an enduro is to stay on a precise time schedule and course, following a pace exactly as described by the event organizer. The organizer will put checks on the course to see where the competitors are, compared to where they should be. Going faster than the “perfect” pace results in a penalty of 2 points per minute, slower equals 1 point per minute. Points are bad- to "zero" a check is to have done perfectly.
Now, the reality is that the organizer will set unachievably fast averages for certain sections, so the fastest rider should be able to lose the least time compared to schedule, and therefore the least points, and there’s your race. But the organizer will almost certainly also put slower averages in than are possible, even easy, in an attempt to catch these racers ahead of pace. So, it’s a cat and mouse game between whoever set the race up and those riding it.
Now, let’s start with the basics. Enduros are started from a key time- usually 8:01 AM, but this will be printed on a sheet. For the sake of an example, let’s say that the first section of the enduro is 6 miles long and the speed average is 30. The second section is 3 miles long and the speed average is 15. Because the organizer knows the speed average for a section, and because he knows the distance between his checks (even though you don’t), he can set a check at say, 3 miles into the first section, which he knows should take you 6 minutes to arrive at. Therefore, the clock at that station will be set to read 7:55 when the race starts at 8:01, so when you come through, if you are riding perfectly, the check worker will write :01 on your scorecard and it will be clear that you are “on your minute”.
But, only 4 riders are on the first minute. Let’s say you are on row 34, starting at 8:34 (8:01 + 33 minutes for each row in front of you). Before the enduro, you will have taped a card on you front fender that will be written on at each check, to prove you were there, and to facilitate scoring.
You will set the clock on your handlebars to keytime minus 34 minutes. So, when you take off, your clock should read 8:01. When you arrive at that same check, assuming you are on time, their clock will read 8:34 (when you started, their clock read 8:28). And so on. Each checkpoint will mark your card with the minute, and in some cases, the second that you arrive, and write that time in a backup book as well in case the card is damaged or illegible or there is a protest.
The reason you don’t set your clock to keytime without the offset is that you want to use an enduro rollchart, which are not made specific to your row but generically for the event. By offsetting their clocks, everyone can use the same rollchart without issue.
So, over the course of the day, you’ll be following the course, arriving either early or late and that progress will be recorded on your fender card.
The next installment will explain the different types of checks and how to keep time so that you can arrive when you should, and the final installment will be tips and tricks to bring things as much as possible into your favor.