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Old 01-23-2005, 12:05 PM   #1
neduro OP
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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.
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Old 01-24-2005, 07:49 PM   #2
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Great Thread Ned

Can't wait until you get into E-checks, AMA vs Brand X rules etc. etc. etc.

It's all enough to make ya want many many beers.
My helmet's off to you for such an ambitious endeavour.



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Old 01-25-2005, 07:47 AM   #3
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Awesome Ned!

Folks may also want to refer to some excellent articles written by Paul Clipper on the subject posted up on my site.

Check it out at: and then follow the links to the TSD2000 and Timekeeping.

Could be a good supplement to what you write Ned.

Flanny screwed with this post 01-26-2005 at 08:23 PM
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Old 01-26-2005, 04:21 PM   #4
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Thank you :) your "for dummies" version is MUCH appreciated - waiting for installment 2!

Originally Posted by KiLeR650 --
Everyone I know perdicted my death when I bought my bike. I say its done just the oppisite. Even if it does kill me, it wouldnt take too many days like today to make it worth it.
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Old 01-26-2005, 06:22 PM   #5
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Very nice neduro. I hope you keep this going.
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Old 01-27-2005, 05:56 PM   #6
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I have done 2 enduros with no watch and no odometer. I just wanted to finish. Say you are on line 60. You start one hour after the first row. When it is your turn you go as fast as you feel comfortable. When you hear a loud 4 stroke revving behind you pull over, let him pass then carry on. Make note of the row numbers of the guys passing you. If you are number 60 and you are passing up to row 50 your are too fast. If you are 60 and everyone is passing you, you are slow. If you are hanging with row 59 and they have fancy enduro computers and ride well you are close to on time.

If you come around a corner and see 4-5 bikes waist deep in mud, stop and find a route around the mud hole. Thank those 4-5 guys for marking the mud hole.

Don't go too fast. I got passed by a fast guy who appeared competent. I got passed by him a bunch of times because he would crash or hit a tree shortly after passing me. This happened a lot. I would let them by and they would crash.

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All that timing stuff is great, but if you have to go faster than your capabilities to be on time then what is the point. Enduros are a blast and make you a better all around rider.
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Old 01-29-2005, 07:46 PM   #7
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Flanny's links are darn good. He's right. But it's fun to think about how to explain it, so I'll go a little further.

So, we've established that there is a schedule to be maintained. Now we'll show how the organizers check to see how close to schedule you are. The final installment will be how this all plays out in reality, and how to work the system to your advantage.

For all you smartasses out there, I'm going to write this pertaining to standard AMA rules. I've never run a brand-X enduro, so it'd be a bit presumptous to call myself an expert on that, and the increasingly popular qualifier style races don't really require timekeeping, so there's not much to explain...

So, checks.

There are several types of checks to keep track of.

1) Secret: records the minute that you come through, no seconds. A perfect score is achieved anywhere in the 60 second window of your minute. Early is 2 points/min, late is 1 point/min. Will have a red and white flag like this:

2) Emergency: records both minutes and seconds that you come through. Perfect score is the exact middle of your minute- 30 seconds into your 60. Emergency points are only used break a tied score. Enduro organizers are canny about using these at the exit of a special test to give an advantage to people who were faster by a matter of seconds... in my experience, it's rare (but not unknown) to have the luxury of getting to one of these in a situation where it's possible go through in the middle of your minute.

3) Known Control: Known in advance of the race. Yellow flag. You can arrive up to 15 minutes early without penalty... typically, these are used to either restart or finish a race, in both cases, the assumption is that most riders will be on time or early.

4) Observation checks: Time is not recorded- basically used to keep you from shortcoursing.

Now, what makes the game of enduros is that these checks can't be just anywhere. The event organizer has a set of rules that he or she must follow in where they place the checks. Basically, the check has to be on a tenth of a mile (ie, 3.1 or 3.2, but not 3.15) and also on a whole minute (ie, 9:30:00 or 9:31:00, but not 9:30:30). If you think about the pace described in the first section, you'll realize that these two factors don't coincide too frequently at most speed averages. In addition, checks cannot occur within 2 enduro miles before a known control or for 3 enduro miles after another check. You'll note I said enduro miles- the mileage covered on the ground is NOT always the same as enduro mileage.

I guess now is the right time to bring up resets. One of the main tricks in the enduro organizers bag is the reset. A reset happens when mileage is advanced artificially, without riding. So, for example, a 4 mile reset in a 20mph section would advance your time by 12 minutes (4 = 1/5th of 20).

Organizers typically use resets to get people back on time after a special test, BUT NOT ALWAYS. And, if you just went through a check, they can use a reset to get rid of the 3 miles you would ordinarily have before the next possible check.

Organizers can also give you free time, that is, not advance mileage but give you a few minutes for free. Again, typically used to help people get back on time.

Wearing out the keyboard, not sure if this makes any sense to anyone but me... but I think we've got the groundwork laid for the next installment which is how to use these rules to your advantage. I think this will all come together in a useful fashion whenever I get a free half hour again...
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:42 PM   #8
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You can play enduro roulette. Look at the route sheet the night before. Play special attention to where the route changes from PR to DR and WT (paved road, dirt road and woods trail) and the mileage deltas in the woods. Chances are there will be a check going into the woods and another check just before a PR, especially if there's 5 or more miles of DR, WT or WR. If there's 12 miles of contiguous trail followed by a 5 mile reset, you can bet your entry money there's a check just before the reset.

Use colored markers on your route sheet.

This is the tricky part: Try to enter (flags will mark the entry point) the "in" check just after the checker flips over the card with your rider number on it. This means riding right on top of your minute or even a little hot - 5 or 10 seconds. If you get surprised and need to scrub off some time, do the trials thing until you a) see the checker flip the card with your rider number on it, b) put a foot down or c) stop forward motion. If you do b or c the checking crew is supposed count your time where you do that, even if you have not entered the check yet. If you crash, however, the time is not counted against you. It's difficult to fake a crash because the in check will be at an easy spot. If you are 30 seconds hot you might as well burn into the check to use that 30 seconds to minimize your time to the out check (assuming you'll be late). No matter what, go as fast as you can for 3 miles after a check into the woods. They cannot put a secret check within 3 miles of another secret (or emergency) check. If you are a minute or two hot after these 3 miles you can keep going, but you are betting they won't have a check and use this gamble to get further into the woods before you start getting late. I've sweated a lot of bullets doing this, but it always paid off. Well, almost always . . . .

If you are more than a minute early they'll hit you with 5 points for every minute. So, if you are 3 minutes early, thats 2 pts for the first minute and 10 more pts for minutes 2 and 3.

If you follow the guy with the enduro computer on the minute behind you then you will always be 2 points behind - 1 pt at the in check and 1 pt at the end of the section, guaranteed. If you catch up to the guy with the enduro computer on the minute in front of you then you risk being a minute hot, or 2 pts, into the in check but gain a point back at the out check. Net result, 1 pt lost.

The checker will flip the minute (rider due) card at :00 and you can bank on that. If you sync your clock seconds to key time you can pretty much decide whether to rush into a check a minute hot cause there's no way you are going to scrub off 30 seconds tip toeing in, or trials it to scrub off 5 seconds or until your clock turns :00 into the new minute, then look up and the checker should be flipping at the same time. Make sure you mount your clock on the handlebars. You won't be able to look at a wrist watch while riding, not easily anyway.

You've also got some free time as you approach the gas stop(s), but I'm not sure what the mileage is (cannot have a secret check x miles before gas).

Enduros are a gas, even without a computer.

- c bob
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Old 01-31-2005, 11:37 AM   #9
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Going to try and Enduro this year, Thanks for the info. I think I will try the don't crash too bad and have fun method. Then hope there is still somebody at a checkpoint by the time I get there.
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:12 PM   #10
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Timekeeping??It's all I can do to endure.
"isn't there an easier trail?"
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:13 PM   #11
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This thread is great! Keep 'em coming!!
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Old 01-31-2005, 10:40 PM   #12
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Thanks Neduro & other folk

They're nihilists, Donny, nothing to be afraid of.

Originally Posted by nskitts View Post
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:08 PM   #13
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I've got timekeeping easy.
I never ever pass Neduro. Problem solved :)

We have, however had a close call getting in to a check early and having to trackstand into the check without dabbing.
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Old 02-03-2005, 01:11 PM   #14
neduro OP
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Alright, Alright- I'm working on it. Soon...
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:35 PM   #15
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How did the offset axle work? I couldnt remember the site that was on.
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