Timing a Loppet

Every type of race has its own set of unique challenges. This is a guide to setting up the registration and timing a cross-country skiing loppet race. Keep in mind that this is not a complete guide to registration and timing. Having some general knowledge of how the system works before hand will help you to understand this guide.

Hardware

Recommended

  • GoChip: It is highly recommended to use Zone4’s GoChip timing system for loppets. This is a fail-safe, easy to set up system that can greatly reduce the number of volunteers required for timing as well as provide your event with accurate live results. Contact Zone4 to find out more about GoChip rentals. Backup should be provided using the Android Zone4 Go app keypad function.

Alternatives

  • Android App: If GoChip timing isn’t feasible the recommended alternative is to use the android Zone4 Go app keypad bib entry as a primary input device with paper bib order as a  backup. This method can be useful for loppets with under 100 participants, but because it is a manually operated function users can be overwhelmed when many racers are finishing at the same time. It is of course also much less accurate then GoChip.
  • Summit Timers: Some ski clubs already have Summits, these can be used either as a backup to GoChip or as an alternative to Zone4’s go app. Summits can be especially useful when timing an event in cold weather, but require using a bridge function from Zone4 legacy software.

Registration

This is a quick guide to the recommended method of setting up your registration form for Loppets. See here for a complete guide to setting up an event registration. Follow the steps numbered 1-3.

Generally when racers are registering for loppets they register for a distance (e.g. 10km, 20km), select a Gender (M/F), enter an Age(21,55,etc), and perhaps a technique (Classic, Free.)  This is different than a Provincial Cup type race that has specific predefined categories (e.g. Midget Boys, Junior Women, Masters Men 40-49.)  So instead of entering a long list of category combinations to your registration (10k M 20-29 Classic, 10k M 30-39 Classic) you can simplify your registration form by just adding a Gender field, a Date or Birth field, a Distance field, and perhaps a technique field if desired.  Pictured below is an example of how your registration fields may look. To find out more about setting up categories in Zone4 Registration, see our documentation here.


If you have events on more then one day you will want to have a “Single Choice Fee Group” field for each day, as is the case in the picture above, so that registrants have the option of racing both days.

Note that for loppets having a DOB field on your registration form is preferable to an Age field. This is because, for ski races, the age of a racer is usually calculated on Jan 1st of that year rather then their age on race day. This will require an extra step when setting up your race in Zone4 Timing

 

Timing

This is a quick guide to setting up Zone4 timing for loppets. Clicking on section titles will bring you to more complete documentation.

Create a Race

When you Create your race select “Cross-Country Skiing” as your sport and “Mass Start” as your race format as pictured below.

Start List

Once you navigate to the “Start List” tab you will be asked to “Create Start Groups”.

Start Groups for Loppet’s are usually defined by the distance that racers choose. As such, when you go to configure your Start List you will choose to “Define start groups using racer fields” and then select the field from your registration form that corresponds to the distance. If we continue to use the example pictured in the Registration section this would be “Saturday Events” for the first day and “Sunday Events for the second.

These steps are numbered below.

Once you create groups you will be brought to the “Configure Start List” page.

When you create a race it will automatically pull in all your registrants from your entire event. This means that if you have races on multiple days of you will have some un-grouped racers each day. These are the racers you are not registered for any races on that day. In this case they are shown as “No Saturday Event”. You can delete this group as pictured below.

Once this is done you can “Assign Racer Numbers” and “Assign Start Times” as described in the Configure Start List documentation.

Device Setup

It is highly recommended that you setup up your course groups based off of the distance that is being raced (“Set the number of laps per start group” in most cases) even if you only have one timing point at your finish line and do not have multiple laps. This will make it easier to track racers on course. It is also recommended to give groups a Minimum split. This will make recording false times for racers less likely. Pictured below is what your course setup might look like.

 

Tip: You should also consider setting up a precall for your race, especially if you have an announcer. Precall is a timing point racers cross 10-20 seconds before the finish so that the announcer can call their name before the finish. This feature is very popular for running races and adds to the atmosphere and racer experience at your event. 

Results

Generally there is demand for three different types of results in Loppets. These are; racers overall position in their distance, their age group ranking and their overall ranking by gender. It is generally best not to have more than two public results sets to avoid confusion. As such you will want to combine the overall and gender results into one results set and have age group results in a different results set. All public results sets should have the same settings chosen and similar fields displayed. Recommended settings are pictured below.

Age Group Results

This is generally the results set that is in the highest demand at loppets. When you create your new results set you will want to choose to “Define groups based off racer fields”. You will then want to select Distance, Gender and Age as your three fields.

Keep in Mind that distance is not a preset field. This just means that you should select the field from your registration where racers selected the distance they wanted to compete in. This could be “event” or for multi day events “Saturday Events” or “Sunday Events” .

For age you will need to set age ranges for the groups. What these age ranges are will be up to you but for loppets they are generally 5 or 10 year categories. Once this is done your “Create new results set” page may look something like what is pictured below.

Warning: If you have set date of birth as a registration field rather than age (as is recommended) you will need to “Calculate age from Date of Birth“. This will make age a field you can choose from. Remember that ages for ski racing are calculated based on racers age as of Jan 1st of that year not the date of your event.

Remember you can always change the names of these groups once they’re created.

Gender Results

This results set will not be made public but needs to be created in order to allow you to have Gender results displayed as a field of overall results. First create a new results set and again choose “Define groups based off racer fields”. This time sort your groups off of the distance and gender fields only and create results.

Overall Results

For this results set you will choose to “Group racers off start order” (this is assuming your start order was based off of racer distances) as pictured below.

After this is done navigate to the “Configure” page as pictured below.

Here you will want to add fields that you want to be displayed on results. You will notice that the previous results sets you have created will now be fields that you can select to add as is pictured below. Add the gender results field and any other field you may want (club and city are popular fields for loppets).

Now your racers will have their gender ranking displayed on results as is pictured below.

Publish

Once your results sets set up you can make the Overall and Age Group results public.

 

Updated on June 23, 2018

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