Did you ever hear - or say - any of these?
" Hey! I don't see my name in the results! "
" You guys missed me at the finish! "
" I KNOW I was 23rd - YOU have me in 25th! "
" What's taking you so long with the results? "
We race officials have heard it all - and more! Almost 100% of the time the very simply answer is that we did not see YOUR number . . . Period . . . End of story.
Little do you know the ( usually ) overworked race officials are still trying to figure out "who is where" in the race results. And ( usually ) it is because one - or more - of your mates' numbers can not be deciphered.
Think this through
Here comes the sprint finish of twenty riders, all over the width of the road. In a matter of a very few seconds we race officials must:
( 1 ) Find the first number.
( 2 ) Write down or tape record this number.
( 3 ) Find the next number.
( 4 ) Write down or tape record this number.
( 5 ) Find the next number.
( 6 ) Etc. ( I think you get the picture ).
It is much easier and much faster if we officials can simply concentrate on the exact same area of each rider's jersey each time and not have to shift our sight to a different part of the jersey or to decipher an upside down,crooked or flapping number.
USA Cycling Rulebook
1J7. Racing Numbers
(b) Riders shall place their numbers as prescribed by the Race Director or officials and in such a way that they are visible when the rider is in a racing position. When shoulder numbers are provided for cyclo-cross, they are worn on the upper arm to be visible from the front. Hip numbers shall be attached securely at least at the four corners and no accessory or hair may obstruct a clear view of the number. If shoulder or frame numbers are provided, they too shall be placed as prescribed. Numbers may not be folded, trimmed, or otherwise defaced.
(c) A Local Association may impose additional number requirements.
How to do it right
DO make sure you pin your number correctly !
WHY ? I'm sure after all your effort out on the course you would like to be placed correctly at the finish. If unsure of the proper position please ask at registration or ask one of the officials. Often there will be a chart or picture of the required number pinning position posted near the registration table.
DO look for the video camera or judge's position !
WHY ? You may need to pin your number just a bit higher on your back if the finish line judges are elevated on a stage. If the camera is at ground level, pin your number horizontally centered on the rib cage area. A hint to racers: The closer to the camera you finish the easier it is to read your number.
DO NOT fold your number !
WHY ? Besides the fact that the race sponsor might decide not to financially support the race next year because he / she can not read their advertising, it is much easier for the officials to quickly find and read a number if each number in the field is of the same size.
DO NOT crumple your number !
WHY ? On an overcast day when the sun is at an angle light is reflected off the various facets that you have created by crumpling your number, thus making it much more difficult for a visual read. The reflected light make it impossible for a video camera to focus on the number correctly.
DO get someone to "pin" you !
WHY ? It will be much easier to pin your number on correctly if you have someone to do it for you. Make sure you are in your normal riding position when they "pin" you.
DO NOT pin through the "pin holes" !
WHY ? It is just way too easy for the pin to rip through the number causing the number to flap or fold over just when we need to see it. Pin through the body of the number.
DO use the "Seven Pin" method !
WHY ? To keep your number flat and aerodynamic use a pin in each corner, two more on the long sides and one on the leading edge. This will prevent the number from flapping.
Patricia George of the Steel City Endurance Team shows off her perfectly seven pinned number
EJ Hubstenberger of Steel City Endurance sets a new world record with the use of eleven pins !