May 16, 2015 (Granby, QC) – The 16th annual edition of the Coureurs des Bois de Granby Time Trial (Contre-la-Montre), held on May 9, was a tremendous success from all accounts, featuring senior men and women, juniors, masters, minimes, masters, peewees and paracyclists.
A staple on the Quebec race calendar for many years, the Granby TT also saw the use of new timing equipment that gave riders, fans and announcers a clear idea of their time even before crossing the finish line via new display panels. But Pedal has learned that this inter-provincial event event was almost cancelled in 2015.
Remi Pelletier-Roy © Pasquale Stalteri
“The Granby Time Trial was being dropped by its longtime organizer,” Randy Fergusson told us. “So Nicolas Legault (Centre national du cyclisme Bromont ), Francois Guimard (FQSC), and myself, stepped in to save it. This was a no-brainer; it is the only stand-alone time trial event in Quebec. We brought in peewee riders and created a non-UCI category that was really enjoyed by many younger participants. Luckily, the past organizer left good documentation and it was relatively easy to put on what people are calling a great event.”
Jason Lowndes © Pasquale Stalteri
Fergusson is better known as a bilingual cycling/skiing commentator and TV announcer, but worked to organize mountain bike events many years ago before somebody shoved a microphone at him one day, telling him to animate a bike race. Some of his recent contracts have involved covering the Olympics in 2012 and 2014; he will also cover the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto.
Our questions about the relatively novel use of four new electronic timing panels were answered by Sylvain Richard, a former FQSC employee who now runs RSS Timing services:
Sylvain Richard © Pasquale Stalteri
“At the Granby TT, we were using the same timing equipment that is used in major events like the Tour de France or the Olympics Games. The improvement we made was adding new electronic timing panels which allowed the riders and spectators to see the finish times quickly and easily and for comparison. Also all computers on site had access to the same data for efficiency and accuracy.
“The only difference here, than at bigger events, is that we were not recording the start of every cyclist electronically with photocell or tape switch. We used regular intervals (30 seconds) to start every cyclist from an electronic start clock synchronized with the finish line timer located at the start. This clock was ticking with a countdown beep to the last five seconds precisely for every cyclists so they where given the same start signal to increase the accuracy of the start instead of a race official reading the time off his stopwatch.
Alexis Cartier © Pasquale Stalteri
“When a rider is about to complete his race, 200m before the line we had a volunteer call what bib number was going to cross the finish line, so we could enter that number in the software and show it on a live commentator screen that announces who was arriving with their time displayed. This way the announcer can give more accurate info to the crowd. Also at the same time, the rider’s time is running on the clock and everybody can see the best time to beat and compare if the rider is ahead of or behind that time. When riders cross the finish line, it breaks the light beam of a photo-cell; this stops the time and instantly records their rank – the stop time and difference from the best time are posted to the scoreboard and live commentator screen.
Emile Jean © Pasquale Stalteri
“After the last rider of each category has completed their race, results are printed for that category within 10 seconds. These results are given to race commissaires to be approved and then distributed to race organizers for awards and medals. So with this technology, riders don’t need transponders and the results are more accurate than the transponder system. The accuracy can go to 1/10,000 of a second if I record the start and the finish time electronically of each rider.
James Piccoli © Pasquale Stalteri
“We can provide basic timing and results or a complete system with live timing on site. The price range is between $500 and $2,000 for an event. The value of the equipment for the complete kit, is around $25,000. I usually use my equipment and my technology at races where my company provides the service. Road races using my services (for the complete timing kit) include: Chrono Gatineau, Tour de l’Abitibi, Tour de la Releve de Rimouski, and the Canadian National TT Championships.
Senior Men's podium © Pasquale Stalteri
“It requires some skill to operate this system when the start interval is at 30 seconds but it is easier when we have a minute between each start (UCI regulation). This provides more of a gap and avoids having three of four riders that might cross the finish line less than 10 seconds apart. Another disadvantage is if two riders cross the line at approximately the same time (less than 0.2 seconds) – this system can’t see the difference and will give them the same finish time but not the same final time because each rider had a different start time.
Senior Women's podium © Pasquale Stalteri
“For this system to succeed, you need a good commissaire at the start and at the finish line. At the start, the commissaire needs to ensure that each rider begins at their pre-determined start time. A common error is when there is a DNS rider, as the commissaire forgets to leave a blank in the start, sending the next rider a minute or 30 seconds before his time. Then all subsequent riders will be offset by this interval. At the finish, we need the commissaire to compare their manual work with us.
“Finally, bib number placement is very important.; we must be able to clearly see each rider’s number. Pedal readers can reach me at 514-293-9582 or at email@example.com,” concluded Richard.
Rémi Pelletier-Roy (Garneau Québecor) won the Granby TT senior men’s 19km event, stopping the clock at 19:24 while Ellen Watters (The Cyclery-Opus) won the senior women’s 19km race with a time of 26:08. The masters, some paracyclists (C 1-5, B) and juniors also competed over a 19km distance. Other categories included peewees and minime (5km distance) while the cadets, and paracyclists (H, T) competed over 8km.
Pee Wee, Minime, Cadet here.
Para, Tandem, Junior, Senior here.