A question of timing

I've been watching the UCI track stuff from Glasgow and was wondering about those timing gate things they have on the track.

I'd always imagined that the gate senses when the cyclist leaves it, and THAT starts the timer. But then I realised that this can't (always) be the case because if it's a pursuit they'd have to have a 'common' start point.

Sure enough, a quick google search about the gates tells me that the gate is pneumatic and releases on the zero of the countdown. So it looks as if the riders time depends upon their reactions as well as their effort, even though they could be straining against the hold of the gate.

That got me thinking about other timing gate situations and if they work any differently. I'd always thought that downhill/slalom skiers got the countdown, but that their time starts when they break open that little stick which forms the gate. But is that correct? A bobsleigh's time for instance, starts 15m down the track once they break the light beam.

And then there's TDF time trials?

Education please. :)


The older I get, the better I was.

Comments

  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    Skiing, they have a countdown beeper letting them know the period within which they can start. The clock starts when they move the wand.
    TT, the clock starts at a given time. The starter counts them down.
  • In my sport of canoe slalom the rules state that it should be a standing start and they did experiment with some kind of trigger on a gate but could never get it to work reliably, so they use a laser beam to start the time.

    In international competitions they have a floating dock from which the paddler starts and the beam is set up just in front of it. In domestic competitions there isn't a dock which in practice means that paddlers take a run up so that they are at full speed when they break the beam.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    I did a few canoe slaloms in my teen years but not to any serious level so timing gates not something I recall.

    The skiing start being self activated is why they kick the skis backwards at the start. That way they are already moving forwards as fast as possible when the wand is moved.

    Takes a lot of practice to actually make it a powerful move forwards. It’s much easier to just push forwards but less effective.
  • capt_slog
    capt_slog Posts: 3,961
    morstar said:

    Skiing, they have a countdown beeper letting them know the period within which they can start. The clock starts when they move the wand.
    TT, the clock starts at a given time. The starter counts them down.

    Although they start at a given time, I think that is merely to get the separation between riders. Having looked at videos of the starts, there seems to be a light beam that they break.

    I've never seen a 'false start', such that occurs in athletics, and if they actually went on the bleep, I'm sure we'd see someone jump the gun once in a while.


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    capt_slog said:

    morstar said:

    Skiing, they have a countdown beeper letting them know the period within which they can start. The clock starts when they move the wand.
    TT, the clock starts at a given time. The starter counts them down.

    Although they start at a given time, I think that is merely to get the separation between riders. Having looked at videos of the starts, there seems to be a light beam that they break.

    I've never seen a 'false start', such that occurs in athletics, and if they actually went on the bleep, I'm sure we'd see someone jump the gun once in a while.
    Maybe the vice like grip of the person holding the bike avoids shenanigans.

    That’s what happens in a lay-by on some random dual carriage way at 7pm on a Thursday evening anyway.

    Laser beams. Whatever next? But you’re probably right.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,025
    morstar said:

    Skiing, they have a countdown beeper letting them know the period within which they can start. The clock starts when they move the wand.
    TT, the clock starts at a given time. The starter counts them down.

    I have one word for that.

    Pedro Delgado.