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For information on the features and some of the uses of the Webscorer app, be sure to read Part 1.

Using the Webscorer App, Out on the Trail

When recording times for a race, Webscorer is very easy to use.  For our time trial, we used the “individual” start type.  If you know the starting order, and the interval between racers, the ‘interval’ start type will work as well.  However, the individual start type allows more flexibility: you can start racers in at any time and in any order you want, so much less pre-race set up is required.  We entered racer info (name, number, class) as racers signed in.

When it was time to start them, you simply click their number when they take off, and when they finish you click their number again.  That’s it.  The app records start time, finish time, calculates lap time, and sorts the results for you.  We had a few people show up late, and we were able to add them to the start list while the race was in progress with no problems.  And, thanks to the app, when I got home from the race I didn’t have to manually type all the information into the computer to post the results. Needless to say, it is very convenient!

This is the normal view, which I prefer to use while the race is in progress. Simply click the bib number for the racer either starting or finishing, and it records a time.

For multi-lap endurance races, like a 12-hour race, you choose your start type (probably either a mass start or a wave start), and then simply click their number each time someone finishes a lap.  At the end of the race, you tell the app to stop the race, and all the info is available at your fingertips.  Racers are ranked by how many laps they did, and then sorted by when they finished (so a team who does 12 laps in 11 hours is ranked ahead of a team who finished 12 laps in 11.5 hours).  It doesn’t show how many laps the winner did on the main results page, but it shows how many laps down the other teams/racers are.  You can go into the details to see how many laps were completed for each team.

This is the fastlap view, where you click the bib number and then the clock to record the time. It requires two clicks vs. one in the normal view, so I'm not sure why anyone would want to use this view instead.

Now, if you do decide to use Webscorer to time your event, be sure and play around with the app a good deal before race day.  Hit all the buttons and see what everything does.  Determine how to use the app most efficiently for your specifically event, and how to correct any mistakes you make.  Also, during the race, if using an iPhone be sure and put it into Airplane mode so a phone call doesn’t disrupt your timing duties.

Improvements

As with everything in life, there’re always ways to improve.  Webscorer works very well, but in order to take it to the next level, I’d like to see some post-race data management/scoring capabilities.  For example, with our Canal Crown Time Trial we have four races, two each direction around the trail.  To determine the overall series winner, we add each racer’s fastest time in each direction for an “overall” time.  It would be really cool if the Webscorer website could do that work for us.  This would also be useful if you were running a series of races where points are awarded throughout the series to determine the overall champions.

Currently, Webscorer can’t do anything other than a single race as it’s own entity. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about trying to build something with enough flexibility to let people score multiple races: it wouldn’t be easy to implement due to all the variations in ways people may want to score races.  So while Webscorer can’t score your series for you, you can use it for each event, download the results as a .txt file, and then paste the data into Excel in order to analyze the times in whatever ways you need.

Webscorer VS Stop Watches VS Chip Timing?

Compared to using pencil, paper, and stop watches, Webscorer comes out ahead in pretty much every way I can imagine.  It takes your timing digital right from the get-go, so there is no need to write down information by hand and then re-enter it into a computer later, which also eliminates the possibility of typing errors.  It also removes the chance of making a math error, since the app performs all the calculations for you.  Results are available almost instantly with Webscorer online, too.  Stop watches are a lot cheaper than an iPhone or iPad, but chances are you or someone you know already has an iPhone or iPad you can use.

Chip timing, on the other hand, has some obvious advantages over using the Webscorer app.  If you’re not familiar with chip timing, this process requires racers to wear a “chip” (an RFID card) and there is a device (usually a mat they ride over) at the finish line that detects the chip and records the times.  Webscorer relies on someone physically pressing a button when the rider crosses the line, so it will not be as accurate as chip timing.

For races where fractions of a second count, chip timing is a better solution.  Also, for races where several people are coming across the finish line in a bunch, chip timing is better, because with Webscorer someone has to press the button for each racer. The person using the app probably isn’t fast enough, especially if all the numbers are not all shown on the same page, which requires scrolling in the app.  Again, the accuracy of chip timing is useful here where it might be hard to tell who was in front.

If you make a mistake and click the wrong number, click it again and you have the option to undo your mistake.

The main advantage of Webscorer over chip timing is the cost – it is much, much less expensive.  Purchasing chip timing equipment will set you back several thousand dollars, and paying someone to time an event for you isn’t cheap, either.

Okay, How Much Is It Exactly?

As I mentioned earlier the Webscorer app is free, but there are costs to use some features.  The free version will only time simple mass start races, but it will let you post those results to the Webscorer site.

Unlocking all the other features requires purchasing a subscription, and there are two available.  A one-week subscription is only $10, and a one-year subscription is only $50.  The subscriptions are “login” based, not device or iTunes account based.  That means several different people can be given the login information, and they can all have access to the subscription with their own device.  You can allow up to five devices to have access to the subscription, and which five can be changed (so you can remove one and add another) at any time.

So, if you are just doing one race and don’t need the precision of chip timing, you can have great timing for only $10, less than 1% of the cost of hiring a timing service.  That can easily be the difference between making or losing money for smaller events.

Viewing the results in the app.

Best of all – there is a 30-day free trial!  You can give the app a whirl and see if you like it and if it will do what you want.  You could technically even use the free version for your event, but really, at only $10 a week, go ahead and purchase a one-week subscription just to help the folks running Webscorer stay in business and make sure that this excellent app remains available and supported.

Again, I’ve only scratched the surface of what Webscorer can do!  If you want the full details and all the information about Webscorer, head over to their website.

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# Comments

  • stackout

    I came across webscorer earlier this year and emailed the company, which was very quick to answer all of my questions, and I’m pretty excited about the product. All of my 2013 events were already under contract with timing companies, but I’m going to try it out at the High Country Cyclocross Series.

    However, I have two concerns about the technology: first, getting instantaneous access to data and synching results across distance requires reliable data coverage, which is often not available in a lot of the places I run races. Thus, multiple timing points can not be entered into the system until you are within wifi range of at least one device with internet access. This will make the system less attractive for events like Enduros, where most promoters are currently using a system where the time is embedded in the racers chip, rather than stranded in a device on the course.

    Second, there is a certain amount of cache that comes with chip timing; it just looks more “pro,” and racers may be willing to pay a premium, or at least assign greater value to an event with chip timing. Furthermore, professional timing contractors also provide things like a finish arch, chute, and other facilities with make the event look better, save the promoter time, and would require a capital investment to replace.

    That said, I think this app may very well be a game changer.

    • dgaddis

      Excellent points. I think for a big event, where there’s more money involved, having a pro do the timing is the way to go. But for smaller more grassroots events (like what many advocacy groups host as fundraisers) Webscorer works great.

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