Alright, it's been a busy week, but we've got a BBMX work party queued up for tomorrow. Before I put you to work digging and setting course a week in advance of our Bellingham BMX race, I feel I've got some esplaining to do!
Okay, about the Orbiter system and Woolley Cross results. The consensus is Registration ran real smooth, so thank you Christin, Collin (new recruit from Team Racepace) and Becky (graphic designer of our forms) for running that show! We got your chips on your bibs. We did the call-ups based on last year's overall. We double-checked start lists and scanned everyone into their race wave (category). Everyone was reading well with a *BEEP* as they went by the finish line (unless you didn't pin your number properly on the left side as I explained several times).
So what went wrong? Well, we've got times for most riders (unless you didn't pin your number on your LEFT side, as explained previously). The problem is the results software database (which I do not currently have access to) is not loading up the correct start lists to link those recorded times to you fine people and the bib number you pinned on. Even though we have the correct start lists. Why not? After a week of back-and-forth with the vendor over email and phone, I cannot explain to you why the correct start lists cannot be loaded. Well, sometimes they are. It seems to be a bit of operator error. Which is actually good news.
Here's why. The whole program last Saturday was a demo of the hardware and software. The intent is that I, your fearless cyclocross leader, rent this equipment with the option to buy. I will be the operator as soon as possible. So I do not anticipate having this much trouble getting data out of the software in the future. I am a professional software developer in my “day job”, and my impression of the programming looking over the salesman's shoulder is that it is perfectly fine software (even though it only runs on Windows - got a laptop you could donate?). It is well written. I just need to be in the driver's seat of our own data, because I'm ultimately responsible for it and I definitely understand it. I know you! I'm out there racing with you.
I could be wrong, but I'm moving forward, not backwards. Meanwhile, after waiting a day or two for times, I fell back on manual entry of the hand scoring we did at the finish line with a couple volunteers furiously scribbling your bib numbers down on a notepad. This is how we did it for eight years. It works alright, until we have field sizes like the Men B at 12:30pm. That one took me a few extra days to sort out - pulling out some serious cyclocross detective work skills!
If the participation numbers stay strong in the 200 range this year, as they should since our races and courses are AWESOME! (don't ask just me, I've got plenty of feedback from Woolley Cross to reflect this), we cannot continue hand timing. It is what you call untenable. So the technology adventure continues! Bring your bib number back with the chip on it, and don't fold it! We will be issuing more bibs with chips if you lost yours or if it is your first time out this year. Please check that you understand proper bib placement. I will be doing my best to reduce the amount of pain experienced this week waiting for results. While you were waiting, I was struggling to produce them. Trust me... I'm over it.
While I was waiting around for times to help with my detective work, I did enable a new feature on our results website. Now you can search for yourself and see results for all six years of the series in the results.cascadecross.com database. It's something I've wanted to see for a while now and just never got around to tweaking the custom software. You can count on me to continue enhancing the features in the digital side of our series. I feel like we have the people side of our equation pretty well dialed. Some of the best!
Woolley Cross was killer, in many senses of the word. I hope to say more about it next week when I talk about some of the support crew that came out and debuted their services for our series this year. It's going to be a good one! Check back, and go ahead and pre-register for Bellingham BMX. Come on out tomorrow to help us get it ready and take a few practice laps on the dry, buffed out course. See the Gallery page for updates on the course development.
Get your ‘cross on!