In an time trial or interval start race, it is critical that each racer has an accurate recorded start time. While racers are starting, one person should be monitoring the start data to ensure that start times are being recorded correctly, and problems like a disconnected wire or a dead battery on the device recording start times are caught and corrected as quickly as possible.
There are two views to monitor the start data, and both can be found in the Timing Points list at the bottom of the Timing screen in Zone4:
Manage Recorded Start Times
This page displays individuals in an individual start race, or start groups in a mass start race, along with their scheduled and recorded start times.
- The recorded time cell for a racer will turn yellow when a time is recorded that is more than three seconds different to the racer’s scheduled start time. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, since the actual recorded start time will be used for that racer. However, it is something to keep an eye on since some race formats have rules about how late a racer is allowed to start, and as a timer it might be your job to alert the race committee of these rule infractions.
You can change the threshold for when a cell turns yellow under the Advanced Settings section in the settings page for your race.
- The recorded time cell for a racer will turn red when the racer’s scheduled start time has passed and there is no recorded start time for that racer. If the racer did not start, you should click on the racer and mark them as DNS so there is a record that no start time is expected for that racer. If the racer did start and there is no time recorded for that racer, then you will need to investigate why no time was recorded.
- Is the time simply delayed? A slow network connection can delay times from reaching the timing software.
- Ask your starter what happened. If you are using a keypad to record start times, they may have forgotten to punch in a bib number.
- Is the timing hardware still working correctly? If the next starter also does not get a start time, it’s time to head outside and check the connections of the devices at the start line.
To edit a start time, place your cursor in the Recorded column on the appropriate row and type a new time. It will save automatically. During the race, you can click the “Record” button beside any start group that does not already have a recorded start time to set the current time as the recorded start time. Once the group has a recorded start time, or after the race has ended, this button will be greyed out.
The Times Grid
The Times Grid is a list of the raw output of records from all the timing devices at the start line, including backup devices, ordered by time. The times grid will attempt to line up records from different devices on the same row when they are roughly equal, so the time from your main timing device and the time from a backup device will be beside each other, even if they are slightly different times. When a time is assigned to a racer, the word “start” will be displayed in the split column (or, if the time were assigned to some other split the name of that split will be displayed).
The times grid is an important troubleshooting tool, because it gives you the raw data that is coming from the devices. If you are collecting a start order off a keypad at the finish line and the starter enters the bib of somebody that isn’t in the race, this is where you will see it. A common error is that the start recorder will forget to press enter between two racers, so you will see a record with, for example, bib# “5657” and then the following time record will have no bib number, when in reality the first record should have been #56 and the second record should have been #57.