Meet the gravel bike; the ultimate adventure bike. With its specific build, you get the freedom to ride on anything. When comparing it to other bikes, you’ll find mountain bikes are great for technical riding and road bikes are amazing for speed, but you’re stuck on either dirt trails or pavement.
Here’s a few words I exchanged with Majo Srnik, an ex-pro ultra runner, about the beauty of gravel racing.
Majo discovered gravel riding after his ankle injury, as he hasn’t been able to run as much. Most of his training includes gravel biking, so he decided to give racing a shot. Majo competed at the Fernie Gravel Grind race that we timed at Zone 4. He mentioned that the whole race community is super fun and chill. Many others have been hopping on the gravel riding train, and at Zone 4, we’ve noticed a spike of interest in the racing as well. Make sure to check in with your local biking community to find the next cool gravel race to try out!
This summer, we kicked off at full speed with tons of cool events and we’re stoked to give you some news on what we’ve been up to! With all hands on deck at the office! Thanks to our Zone 4 community of organizers, race timers, and users across North America, we’ve been able to time on average 15 races every weekend. That adds up to a total of at least 200 races since May!
With so many races going on, one can find a great variety of sports to compete in such as marathons, triathlons, cycling events and even one wheel races! The Onewheel Racing League of the ORL is a global organization for the best Onewheel competitions. The World’s best riders send it down all kinds of terrain; dirt trails, jumps, and even park features.
On July 16th, we timed the Sturdy Dirty Mountain Bike race in Seattle, WA. This race was created in 2010 for women, by women to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund. Now the team gives back to the trail riding community and creates an intimidation-free competition experience for women. Around 300 badass ladies challenged the single-track course in Tiger Mountain State Forest and crushed it!
Dear Zone 4 race community, that’s it for now. Thanks for being awesome!
If you had told me, a few years ago, that I would have been giving remote support for winter events and summer events during the same weekend, I would have had a hard time believing you. But this weekend, it happened!
This weekend was the Alaska High School State Ski Championship and in Tennessee we had the first Mountain Bike events for the XC Southeast group and for the Go Nuts Biking Enduros.
At this time of year, the average temperature in Alaska are still well below freezing, the days are getting longer and it is prime conditions for skiing. In Tennessee, temperatures are around 15-18 Celcius and the dirt is in prime condition to rip your mountain bike around!
That being said, we had an amazing weekend of events, from Alaska to the SouthEast!
The 2021 Alaska High School State Championship
The Alaska High School State Championships were a 3 day event: 2 individual start races and 1 relay race.
The organizers had to limit the numbers of racers to under 200 because of the current Covid-19 situation. The timing team on site did an amazing job using the Zone4 timing software following FIS homologated rules.
With the good wifi at the Matsu ski club, we were able to offer live timing all weekend! You can see on the picture above that everyone was wearing a mask except the racers! Great job everyone!
The Matsu Ski Club did an amazing job with the event and we were happy to be there to help from Canmore! Looking forward to many more events with that crew!
Our friends from Downhill SouthEast started a new series this year, now known as XC Southeast. This Cross Country Mountain Bike race was the first event for them timing with our GoChip system. They had just under 150 racers!
Everyone enjoyed the amazing trails from Ride Kanuga Bike Park and the live timing offered lap times for everyone!
It was all smiles for the weekend and everyone is looking forward for their next event!
Go Nuts Biking
Go Nuts Biking is a new member of the Zone4 family. This past weekend, they had their first Enduro of the season which was a 5 stage Enduro with just under 250 racers. The conditions were challenging during the race with lots of mud caused by heavy rain in the days prior to the event.
Everyone was ready to conquer the trails and give it all they got!
The challenge for timing was that the event was mostly offline with no cell coverage. That meant that the times were getting uploaded on Zone4 only when racers would come back close to the main staging area where they had wifi access. What is great about our system is that the chip records the times as the racer rides around the course, and carries them with the riders until they come into wifi range. That make us feel very confident timing a race even in a dead wifi zone like this event experienced.
A big thank you to our friend Mickey who took care of timing on site and did an amazing job. From setting up the gear, handing out chips and making sure times were coming in smoothly, he did a great job! Looks like everyone had a good time out there and we hope to time events with Go Nuts Biking again soon!
We are really excited to have many “in person” events on our calendar coming up! We’ll keep you guys posted!
Here we are, already at the start of February 2021 entering the middle of the Canadian winter. “In person” events will happen soon but for now, we are hosting many very cool virtual events! Here is a quick overview of how creative race organizers have been over the winter so far.
The Nordiq Canada Challenge
Using our newest virtual event platform, Nordiq Canada are hosting a most km skied challenge. Participants from all over the country are entering their kms. Here is the current top 5, pretty impressive with over 1000 km skied for number 1 ! The challenge is open until February 28th.
This beautiful loppet that goes from Lake Louise to Castle Junction following the bow river is pretty legendary. This year, the organizers added the “Corona Challenge” which is doing the full distance round trip for a total of 72 km! Over 40 people completed the corona challenge which is very impressive! The participants were also encourage to costume for the chance to win a prize! See on the photo below some of the great styles you could find on the trail!
Several ski clubs are publishing a new course each week and participants have a week to complete the course. They give prizes for each week and there will be a prize for the total time it took to complete all stages. That is super fun! Here are two links from Sovereign Lake and Prince George:
In the following weeks, we will host the Canadian Ski Marathon Virtual event and the Birkie Virtual Race! It will soon be on Zone4 but for now, you can visit their website to find out more info! You can participate to those legendary events from your own region.
Since the month of March, the sport World has been shaken by the pandemic that is still currently hurting most countries today. Most organizers had no choice but to cancel their event for this year and reschedule them for 2021. This is when the world of mountain biking, with the contribution of Zone4 Timing, came up with imaginative ways to have events this summer.
With border closures, social distancing, and non essential travel restrictions, Zone4 Timing technology really came up to make it possible for events to offer the best experience to their participants and fans in different parts of the World.
The Zone4 Timing system is Web based which means that a Zone4 employee doesn’t need to be on site to support timing the event. This is a huge game changer in todays reality. Most of the events this summer such as Downhill Southeast and Big Mountain Enduro (coming up in August) are timing the events themselves and receiving help from the Zone4 office in Canmore.
“The timing system allows me to see the live data coming in from the event site on my computer screen here in Canmore. It makes it easy to support the event remotely. With great communication with a volunteer timer on site, we can make sure together that everything runs smoothly during race day” says Zone4 timer Etienne who is supporting several events remotely this summer.
“Logan Mulally learned to use the system with our help documents and Youtube videos. We have a ritual on race day, he is texting me once a timing point is ready and tested so I can confirm that I can see the times coming in live from Canmore. This way it makes him confident and comfortable feeling like he is well supported by us” also mentioned Etienne.
Another amazing opportunity came to us this summer when we received a phone call from the legendary Crankworx organizer from Whistler BC. They asked us to time all the Enduro events of their Summer Racing Series. It is a first time for them to organize such events and it has been a blast! For those events, Crankworx found a very unique way to respect the national COVID regulations. Our timer and software developer Kyle was assigned the job and he has done amazingly with them. 2 events already happened and one more Enduro to come Tuesday at Sun Peaks Resort. Follow all the Enduro events at http://www.zone4.ca and on the Crankworx website https://www.crankworx.com/.
We are very thankful and happy to have some events to time this summer! It shows us that even in difficult times, races can happen safely.
Thank you everyone for the support and hopping to get more live results out there shortly!
Last June, while the restrictions to flatten the curve related to COVID-19 were at its highest, Zone4 decided to be creative and work on a project.
The project was simple. The goal was to get people motivated to stay active, stay connected to their sport community and to get involved in a great cause!
The Zone4 team worked on the development side to get a virtual platform to host virtual challenges. Within a few weeks, the platform was ready and the first ever Zone4 challenge was launched. Etienne Richard, the organizer and Zone4 employee, decided to keep it simple so that people from all over Canada and the World could participate. The challenge was to run a “socially distanced” solo 4km course and to enter their times on the Zone4 event page.
To add on to the event, Etienne contacted Protect our Winters, it is a great fondation that shares the same values of the company. Click here to find out more about POW. Participants who decided to donate to POW Canada had the chance to win prizes from Patagonia Banff, Buff Canada, Ski UpHill and Auclair Gloves. We are thanking those supporters who made the virtual challenge even more rad!
“We are really pleased with how the first ever Zone4 virtual challenge went” says Etienne. “More than 70 people from all over Canada and 5 countries participated, and we collected over $800 towards Protect Our Winters!” mentioned Etienne.
Now, different organizers who are users of the Zone4 Timing System and Registration platform, are launching virtual events! In most parts of the country, it is still complicated to organize “in person” sport events.
We are happy to offer the virtual event solution in those challenging times and help people stay motivated and active. It is super important for us!
We keep on following the situation closely and will be ready to send our timing system to events once the COVID-19 situation will get in control. Patience is key and keeping active and positive during those times is making all the difference!
Over the past years, we have had a lot of success and have been rapidly growing. We were originally getting ready to have our busiest summer ever, 10-15 events per weekend! With the arrival of the Virus (Covid-19) as you can imagine, the summer now looks quite different.
This is why we are extremely excited to have a first timed event this weekend since March! The event is happening at the Windrock Bike Park in Oak Ridge Tennessee! We sent the timing gear to the organizers, Downhill Southeast, last week so that they have some time to practice before race day. No Zone4 timers will be on site but we are used to this. With our GoChip Web based timing system, we are able to give excellent support online and over the phone!
Downhill Southeast has already practiced this week with the gear and they are ready for the weekend races! We will be live and riders will enjoy having a split at the mid point of the downhill to see where they won or lost time.
“Downhill mountain biking is the perfect event to start with while respecting health recommendations due to Covid-19. Being able to send one rider at a time with enough distance between each rider makes it easy to respect social distancing” says Zone4’s Etienne Richard who is giving support for the race from Canmore. “We have also discussed with the group several procedures that we will have in place to respect the national government recommendations such as cleaning all the chips with bleach at the end of the event and all workers on site wearing gloves and masks.” mentioned Etienne.
One event does feel like 10 for this weekend which is great for Zone4! We hope other groups will be inspired by Downhill Southeast and host some secure and “social distancing” events during the summer! Downhill Southeast will have a total of 4 weekends of events this summer, all timed with the Gochip System by Zone4.
Any great news starts with a great video. Watch the video below before continuing your reading !
The Zone4 Team is super excited to offer a new platform available on our main website! Whether you are an old time user with us or you just created an account today at http://www.zone4.ca, you will have access to our new Zone4 Virtual Challenge platform!
We designed this Virtual platform to help the sport community keep people active and involved during these difficult times! We want everyone to be able to stay motivated and to be part of really cool challenges while practising social distancing!
What does the Virtual Platform offer?
Create any type of Virtual races or challenges which our timing software already offers. (Running, Triathlon, Mountain Bike and more!)
Transfer your registrants to a virtual race with a simple click
Breaking news for the Canmore local timing company. After a of negotiations, the Olympic committee made the decision to contract the Zone4 crew to time all the events of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “This is wonderful news for the team. I cannot wait to be in Tokyo and show the World the best timing solution that the Olympics will have ever seen in its history!” says founder and owner Dan Roycroft.
The Zone4 has already begun their work in Japan. A part of the team landed a few weeks ago and brought their tools to help finish building the stadiums. “In these challenging times in the World, it’s the least we can do” says the team.
The team is happy to escape Canmore which is still in full winter conditions at the moment.
The Zone4 team also wants to wish a happy “April Fools” to everyone and wants to make sure everyone keeps on smiling!
Have a wonderful day!
Dear Zone4 Family,
From all the members of the Zone4 Team, we wanted to connect in these challenging times. We continue to be guided by the advice of our public health officials and, like each of you, we are making decisions each day with the health of our employees and our community in mind.
We understand that this is a difficult time for event organizers in Canada and most places in the World. Things are changing quickly so it is important to stay well informed. Each province is issuing its own rules in terms of social gatherings, here are the ones for Alberta. Now is a good time to check your own province/state websites for updates. We need to work together to flatten the curve, so we can all get back to enjoying the sports that bring us together. From all accounts this Covid-19 crisis is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so we need to pace ourselves accordingly.
Short term solutions
If your event was going to happen soon, there is a good chance that you had to cancel or postpone.
Refunds: Depending on your merchant account, you may or not be able to refund your participants directly on their credit cards. If you are not sure on how to refund, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-888-444-0199.
Give people credits for next year: You can cancel the event and give a free entry to everyone who has already registered for next year’s edition.
Long term solutions
Put your registration on hold: If your event is happening in a long enough future. You can put your registration on hold so you don’t accept any new registrants. You can do this under the “publish” section of your registration by changing the close date to today. You can then change the dates again in the future to reopen the registration.
Be creative: The government doesn’t allow gatherings of more than 50 people at the moment. Be creative and find ways to have people complete the event individually so that they don’t get in contact with people.
Go virtual: If you are able to get your participants to complete the challenge on their own, you can have them complete the event virtually.
Zone4 is here for you
Zone4 will always be passionate about helping organizations to be more efficient with both registration and race timing. In these challenging times, Zone4 is thinking outside the box and coming up with ways to still offer people a safe way to practice the sports they love. We are taking this time to rest and recharge after a very busy winter, work on development, and create online training tools that can be used by clubs and aspiring Zone4 timers in the future.
If you have any questions or concerns about your event, or if you just want to brainstorm some ideas or solutions, we would love to hear from you. You can email us at email@example.com or call the office at 1-888-444-0199.