Enduro Timekeeping How-To...

Discussion in 'Racing' started by neduro, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    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.
    #1
  2. deerslayR

    deerslayR Spodely Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,029
    Location:
    Sands of South Jersey
    Can't wait until you get into E-checks, AMA vs Brand X rules etc. etc. etc.
    :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl
    It's all enough to make ya want :1drink many many beers.
    My helmet's off to you for such an ambitious endeavour.

    deerslayR
    #2
  3. Flanny

    Flanny Flanny-it-up!

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,739
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the World, the Universe
    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:

    www.motorally.ca and then follow the links to the TSD2000 and Timekeeping.

    Could be a good supplement to what you write Ned.
    #3
  4. luv

    luv Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    Oddometer:
    218
    Location:
    Cally
    Thank you :) your "for dummies" version is MUCH appreciated - waiting for installment 2!

    -luv
    #4
  5. Salt

    Salt Moto Whore

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Wisconsin, USA
    Very nice neduro. I hope you keep this going.
    #5
  6. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,555
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    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.

    ICO Racing Checkmate Enduro Computer
    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. :strum
    #6
  7. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    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:
    [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]

    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...
    #7
  8. cbob

    cbob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Buford, GA
    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 . . . . [​IMG]

    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.

    Best,
    - c bob
    #8
  9. johnson357

    johnson357 Bad Monkey Racing

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,502
    Location:
    Indpls, IN
    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.:ricky
    #9
  10. DA KLIXTER

    DA KLIXTER Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    608
    Location:
    Ketchum,Idaho
    Timekeeping??It's all I can do to endure.:wink:
    #10
  11. KenR

    KenR Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,685
    Location:
    Jacksonville, OR
    This thread is great! Keep 'em coming!!
    #11
  12. Jurgen

    Jurgen CysHeteroPatriarch Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    46,720
    Location:
    Sandoval, Nuevo Mexico
    :lurk

    Thanks Neduro & other folk

    Jurgen
    #12
  13. terry.mc

    terry.mc Stop ruining my vacation

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,030
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    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.
    #13
  14. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Alright, Alright- I'm working on it. Soon...
    #14
  15. Rootkiller

    Rootkiller Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    397
    Location:
    Monroe, Washington
    How did the offset axle work? I couldnt remember the site that was on.
    #15
  16. Walker Sky Ranch

    Walker Sky Ranch Riderdown.org

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,346
    Location:
    Socialist Republic of Idyllwild
    NED
    Thanks for the info, but for me it has to be hands on to really get the grasp.. do you know of a place in So CAL to take a course or enduro timing class?
    #16
  17. VespaFitz

    VespaFitz No-good-son-of-a-bitch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    41,051
    Location:
    BooBerry Holler
    This is like one of those word problems I used to get wrong in algebra. At what point during the enduro do two trains leave the station at the exact time, one from Wichita Falls and one from Bayonne, New Jersey, the eastbound train travelling at 60 miles per hour, and the westbound train travelling at 45 miles per hour?

    In one timekeeping piece I read, the author suggested that volunteering at an enduro is the quickest way to learn about timekeeping. Not sure how handing out cups of water accomplishes this, but I figured I'd throw it out there.
    #17
  18. Salt

    Salt Moto Whore

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Wisconsin, USA
    Well, I believe the type of volunteering being suggested was at one of the checks. This would be especially true if you can "get in good" with the trail boss and get on one of the check crews where they fully expect to catch a lot of people coming in hot. Not only will you learn lots of new colorful language, but you'll be entertained by the folks doing the "slow ride" -- some of them are really quite good at it. Just remember they've got to keep moving, they can't dab with the feet, and they can't ride in circles.
    #18
  19. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    It's true, you learn quite a lot from working them. And often get points toward your championship.

    I keep getting part way through the final installment, which I believe is the only interesting one but can't exist without the intro done previously... I just haven't been able to get the time together to finish it yet. 3 consecutive full days of breaking in my new enduro bike have left me exhausted :lol3
    #19
  20. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,179
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Alright, with that in mind, we’ve covered the foundation needed. Now we’ll go through how the race actually unfolds.

    The number one first thing is to prep your bike before you go. It’s miserable trying to get organized in the rain/dust/whatever at the race, DAMHIK. This includes Goggle prep, Camelback prep, etc. Do it ahead of time.

    The first thing that happens on raceday is a rider’s meeting. You should attend this, because they often will change things at the last minute and explain about it here… and there are also often clues about what the day will be like (watch for the mudhole in the second special test, etc).

    The next thing you have to do is get your gas on the gas trucks, if applicable. Many races will send gas out to a remote location so that you can refuel on the loop, and the truck carrying the gas typically leaves before you do. I like to put a second set of goggles in a ziplock and duct tape that and a Gatorade and a Clif bar to my gas can. You should also do something that makes your gas can easy to recognize- there are only 200 other 2.5 gallon red cans like Walmart sells. Colored duct tape, survey tape flagging, whatever will make your can stand out at a distance. Don't send a gas can out on the truck that you couldn't bear to leave without... the truck sometimes doesn't return until long after you're done, and if you have a 700 mile drive ahead of you, you probably value the time more than the $3 gas can.

    You should also write your row number and starting position (ie: 48C) on the duct tape you used on your gas can. Often the race guys will set the cans out along the gas area next to signs with a number… the number equates to the minute (8) not the tens of minutes (4), so that everyone isn’t clumped together when gassing. Sometimes the gas stop is near camp, in which case you get to do this yourself...

    You can always tell the FNG’s by them going to the riders meeting in full gear, and warming their bikes up just before key time when they are on row 84 (124 minutes before they start, in other words). Pit riding in any amount is obnoxious and junior varsity, so just chill out, put your clothes on 30-40 minutes before your start, get the bike running 10-15 ahead of time, not more unless you're worried about it starting.

    So, now you’re over at the starting line, with 3-5 minutes before your row is called. Seek out the other guys on your row, find out what class they ride, and make friends. Not only are they most likely very nice people, they will be in a position to help you with timekeeping or getting your bike out of a tree or whatever. Generally, you can sort of decide who should get the holeshot based on class and division- it’s rare to have 2 people in the same class on the same row, so often you’ve got an A guy, a B guy or two, and a C guy or two. There’s no reason to kill each other at the start- let the A guy go, and if he’s holding you up, you’ll be able to pass him later. Also, you'll likely restart with these guys a few times over the day, so you can guage subsequent starts on how the trail speeds compared in the first test. This is not motocross- you aren't racing these guys, and everyone will try to help you if they can. Do the same in return.

    2 minutes before your row starts, look at the watch you set to key time, paying special attention to seconds. If it’s off, you want to know. You’ll be using this over the course of the day. Typically, I’ll get my watch set to keytime perfectly the night before, and the next morning, it’ll be a second or two off in the morning. No biggy, you just know to watch it as you enter checks that you got to on time. More on this later.

    If you have a computer, you will key it to start as the row in front of you goes off. Then you’ve got perfect time… very nice.

    So now we’re ready to start racing and timekeeping… later tonight.
    #20