2019.09.14 – Officiating Merrick Criterium #2

I am back officiating at the second Merrick Criterium, this time officially on the roster to officiate as an Assistant Judge (AJ). For today’s race, we had Edward Nolan as the Chief Referee (CR) and Zeeshan Mughal was appointed as the Chief Judge (CJ). Armed with the knowledge of the prior week, and some changes made by the Race Director (RD), the hope was the we would have an easier time.

For the Junior race, the Race Director kept the same orange/blue numbers. I am not sure why, but I will admit that they were slightly easier to read, maybe it had to do with slightly different atmospheric conditions and a tent over the Judges area. But it still was not easy. I was assigned to the pit, and I was trying to score from there. Since the riders were going into the right hand turn, and subsequently leaning the bike, it made the task of number reading harder.

As per usual, the Juniors were all over the place, but I think it is easier to track them from the start finish area then the pit. With ten laps to go I shut the pit down, and worked my way back to the start finish to assist the Chief Judge. During that walk, I lost track of the laps and riders. I setup the SprintTimer and captured the finish, and with the other two officials were able to reconstruct the finish order.

I think having eight year old Juniors racing with eighteen year old Juniors is a bit crazy. I think it would be nicer to break them up into two races, maybe start them twenty seconds apart, and judge and score them separately. That might make it easier for us, and more fun for the kids.

The Men 4/5 race was next. This group had the new black numbers on white background making reading the numbers infinitely easier, except for those riders who still can not figure out where they should be pinning their numbers. With about a third of the forty laps remaining, a small four man group got off the front and established a gap that the remaining field failed to shut down. Again, with ten laps to go, I shut the pit down and moved back to the start finish.

I stood up on a chair and got my phone ready to record the finish. Right at the end, my phone decided to shut off, and subsequently, I lost the video of the finish. The other two officials got the top four or five. The race director had a regular video camera setup and he said he will dump the footage to the computer and figure out the rest later that evening. I felt bad, but that is why video is a back up to the officials.

In the future, I will do the following:

  1. Shut down all background apps.
  2. Reboot the phone before we start to clear out any cache, temp memory, swap memory, etc.
  3. Turn off cellular and Wi-Fi right before recording, thus stopping any background push services. I would then turn it back on once the recording is saved.
  4. Set the phone up on a tripod so I do not have to hold it, and then I can manually score.

The Men 1/2/3 race was the next and final race of the day. Early in the race, a two man break of two teammates got off the front. The two of them were working hard and managed to get a sizable gap on the field. Not long after the main field split again, and we had the main field, and the chase group.

This week we were pulling dropped if they were forty seconds behind the race leaders in both the Men 4/5 and the 1/2/3 fields. Somewhere around the last third of the race, the two race leaders caught the chase group, but not the main field. The yellow Jersey in the main field tried to pull ahead by himself but was eventually swallowed up by the field. If I recall, the chase group closed in on the main field, which means that almost every rider was now engaged in the sprint, with the two race leaders hanging out in the back.

Again we had a crash on the exit of the last turn, and due to the severity of the impact, they opted to take him to the hospital. I was able to capture the finish on the phone, and then, after we determined the chase group, and the main field we were able to place all the riders for the finish order.

I find it hard to judge from the pit, but I did have decent notes so between the three of us we were able to properly figure out the finish order.

A couple of observations:

  • Riders need to be instructed on proper number placement. Of all people, the yellow jersey had his number on the wrong side. Lucky he was easily identifiable.
  • Riders who pull out of their own accord, need to inform the judges. The best way is to come across the finish line and tell the officials they are done, then pull off the course. If a rider decides too pull out past the judges, the rider needs to come back over and let us know he is out.

I am feeling a bit better, but I still need to build my confidence. I will not be around next weekend since I will be racing my first Cyclocross race in Connecticut. I will be back as the Chief Judge on the twenty ninth of September with Alan Atwood as the Chief Referee. I am a bit apprehensive about this, hopefully all will go well.

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