Would you make a good bicycle race scorer? Are you a person who can concentrate 100% of the time and not get flustered or distracted when things are falling apart all over the place? Do you have the ability to read crunched, upside down, miss-pinned or completely missing numbers?
Make sure you have a position that you can easily see all of the rider's race numbers. Up high on a stage is ideal. Be there early so you can spot incorrect number placement while the riders are warming up. Do a quick number placement check as the riders are lining up for the race start.
Pull out your clipboard and note the event name, date, category, rider number sequence and number of riders in the field. As the Starter begins the race start your stopwatch.
The Race Is On !
There are a very few officials who do not worry about listing lap times, however most feel this is a double check on the lap cards, specially at criterium races.
Some officials like to score horizontally across the page while others prefer writing vertically down the page. It does not matter which way you do it, you will quickly find the way that suits you.
As the riders finish their first lap simply write down their numbers as they pass you. It is that easy!
Well, maybe not. Early in the race the field is ( usually ) together and it is almost impossible to get each and every rider's number as they pass. Do not worry too much early in the race. Simply jot down the leader, as many numbers as you can and then add ( FIELD ) for the rest of the riders. Early on try to concentrate on the rear of the race and make sure you write these numbers down. These may be the folks who get lapped later in the race
As the field thins out it will be easier to get a whole bunch of numbers. It is a good idea to note this by placing ( brackets ) around your list of riders who are riding together in a pack.
A scorer sometimes uses a SLASH between groups when there is a decent gap and a DOUBLE SLASH after the last remaining rider passes the line. Personally I do not use a slash between groups as it sometimes ends up looking like a number "1". I use ( ) to denote a single or group of riders.
Oh No ! . . . Stuff Starts Happening !
Let's not panic! Don't sweat it if you miss a number or two. Simply jot down ( X ) for each number that you miss. Try to get a count of how many riders are in each group.
An example of a scorer's lap chart may read something like this:
5 to Go = 45:12 ( 7 - 5 - 3 ) 46:32 ( 10 - 12 - 15 - 19 - X - X - X - + 12 field - 21 - 17 ) 46:55 ( 9 ) 47:58 ( 22 - 2 - 13 ) // = 28 total - ( 20 DNF )
So - what do we have? With five laps to go there are three riders in a breakaway group with a gap of 1:20 over the main field of twenty-one riders, followed by one poor soul in "No Man's Land" and three riders off-the-back. A total of 28 riders remain in the race. #20 has dropped out.
Why is it important to get as many numbers as you can each lap? It is very important to know the position of each rider in the race in case someone needs to come into the pit for a Free Lap. So using our example above, if Rider #19 flats and makes it to the wheel pit, you will know that he will need to re-enter the race in the rear of the main field.
Later In The Race
As we get into the latter laps of a race you will need to deal with lapped riders. Most scorers will CIRCLE those riders that have been lapped. This becomes important at the end of the race at results time. Also remember that you may have riders who are more than one lap down, specially in criteriums where you leave all the riders in ( no pulled riders ) and often in cyclocross races. These riders will have their numbers CIRCLED with a SUPERSCRIPT of how many laps they are down.
OK, What About That Finish ...
Here comes the finish sprint ! In a perfect world the riders will come in one at a time so your scoring will be a piece of cake. However, as we all know, bicycle racing is rarely a perfect world.
As the riders finish write down their numbers as they all cross the line. A lot of officials will use a tape recorder at the finish line as most folks can talk faster than they can write. Having more than one scorer helps a lot if you miss a number or two ( or three ). If you can't read a number try to get a team or even a jersey color. Any information helps. Some events may also use a "downstream" scorer to get a number that is missed or possibly unreadable due to poor number placement. The "downstream" scorer's chart may often not be the true order of finish, but you will get the number you may have missed.
Use of a video camera can be a great help but only use a very good camera with very high shutter speed. Digital video cameras with a color viewfinder can really show an unblurred "freeze" frame. One VERY important note here: DO NOT rely on the camera. These babies sometimes ( often ) don't work at the right moment when you need them the most. Specially when you forget to turn them on !
Where Are Those Results ?
Gather all the scorers together in a semi-quiet location and begin to formulate the finishing order. Begin by listing those riders who were not lapped. Remember that those rider's numbers you might have missed another one of the scorers probably ( hopefully ) did get. This is the time to review the video tape for any close finishes or for any number that everyone has missed.
Next you want to list those riders who were lapped once, then those who were lapped twice, etc. until you have a full finish order. Write down the "Results Posted" time and post in the location previously announced. And wait for the scrum to begin!
If all went well with your result tabulation there should be no protests. However, if there are, reassemble all the scorer's sheets to resolve the protest, repost the results and certify the results official after the fifteen minute protest period is over.