Cyclocross race - when does it finish?

dhobiwallah Posts: 272
edited November 2012 in Road beginners
Just done my first novice CX race - muddy hell at Herne Hill velodrome; and what an absolute hoot it was despite appalling weather!

I'm just trying to get my head around how the finish works. Having found the following I can see how the results are worked out after the event; but how do they know when to stop you on the day? I was confused at the time (and lost a few places as those in the know went for a sprint finish as I was still spinning).

My basic understanding is that the finish line 'closes' to the race leader at the specified time (in this case 40 mins) and then everyone completes the lap they are on. Rankings are then done first by number of laps completed , then sub-sorted into times within this lap. I can see all this afterwards - but can't work out what is happening at the time.

So - the race leader completed 6 laps in 37 mins; thus effectively closing the finish line at 37 mins, as the next time he would cross it it was already closed - as he would be half way round another lap at 40mins - everyone else finishes the lap you are on whether you are 10 yards from the line or have nearly a whole lap to go. Thus the results have all those who have completed 6 laps with times from 37 mins to 47 mins and beyond. Then those who have completed 5 laps with times from 37:01 and beyond.....

I crossed the line 20 secs or so after the leader (but a lap down) so my time is 37:20 and was told to stop. How do they know? In this case lap times were 6 mins or so - so it was obvious the winner wasn't going to pull a 3 min final lap; but what if it is closer; and he crossed the line at 34 mins. He may or may not get another lap in, so they can't ring the bell and pull me in at 35 mins as I may or may not have another lap to go :shock:

It's making my brain hurt - and if any 'crossers can make sense of my ramblings and explain it to me I would appreciate it! :?: :?: :?:


  • Pooter
    Pooter Posts: 68
    In a 40 minute race, if the leader completes the first lap in 10 mins, the race organiser will know he's likely to do 3 more before the 40 mins is used up, so he'll get shown a 3 laps to go board as he passes the start finish line after lap one. When those 3 laps are done the race is over. if a race is advertised as 40 mins that's just a rough guide, somtimes it will be a bit more, sometimes less.
  • Ahhh - the 'laps to go' board threw me too - I thought it was a 'laps completed'; then that didn't work so I ignored it!

    So the duration of the race is based on the leaders first lap extrapolated to as close to the published time as possible (in this case 37 mins). So if the first lap was 10:05 I'm guessing the finish line would close at 40:20.

    I originally thought the 40 mins was a hard limit (40mins plus the remainder of your lap after). If it is based on a guesstimate then it seems to make more sense.

    Not that it would have made a huge difference - being stuck behind a pantomime horse on a tandem for half a lap probably made more difference to my finish time then my understanding of the rules...
  • ddraver
    ddraver Posts: 26,391
    I think (think) the UCI rule is 60mins+1, So the leader races for 60 mins, then does one extra lap.

    Obviously as you get more and more experienced, you start to be able to guestimate how much time equates to how many laps and so forth...
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Pooter
    Pooter Posts: 68
    So if the first lap was 10:05 I'm guessing the finish line would close at 40:20.

    No it's not that exact. The organiser may have an idea beforehand of the numbers of laps the leader will be made to do , or may work it out during the opening period of the race. If the leader did 10, 11, 11, 11 min laps , then at 43 minutes he'd cross the line and win, and everyone would finish the lap they're on. Think of it like a grand prix.