Downhill Southeast to kick start the summer !

Lots of excitement this week at Zone4!

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.

Follow live at Zone4.ca this weekend !

Have a great weekend everyone!

Zone4 Team

Zone4 Virtual Challenge Platform

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
  • Live results
  • Photo upload
  • GPS Files Upload (Garmin, Suunto, Strava-> coming soon!)
  • Share results to Facebook
  • Event pages integration

Build your first Virtual event today! Here is an information document from our Help menu to get you started: http://help.zone4.ca/kb/creating-a-virtual-challenge/

Stay tuned! We will be launching a Zone4 Virtual Challenge soon which you can participate in! It will be a great way for everyone to get to see the software in action!

Stay positive everyone and thank you for supporting Zone4 for so many years!

Zone4 Team

BREAKING NEWS: Zone4 to time the Olympics!

April 1st 2020

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.

Zone4 crew just after their arrival at the Olympic site. Tools in hand they are already starting to get everything ready on site. They are even helping to finish building the stadium!

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.

Zone4 crew on an evening walk in the busy streets of Tokyo. “Much different than Canmore” software engineer Linden says.
The Zone4 team on a walk to a famous temple on one of their “very rare” off days. Used to the snow of Canmore, they are always dressed ready for the weather to come in.

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!

Zone4 Team

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 support@zone4.ca 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 support@zone4.ca or call the office at 1-888-444-0199. 

Stay positive out there!

Take Care,

Zone4 Team

Zone4 is heading to Bermuda!

Zone4 timing is hitting the world stage with their GoChip technology this spring in Bermuda. 

‘We are super excited that we’re timing big events like this. Timing the World Triathlon in Bermuda as well as Triathlon World Championship in Edmonton in August shows how Zone4’s systems are trusted at the elite level,’ says Zone4 founder, Dan Roycroft.  

Zone4 will be sending a small team of timing experts from their head office in Canmore, Alberta to Bermuda in April. To get into the swing of things they decided to go for a x-country ski in their Bermuda shorts!

Zone4’s roots are in X-country skiing, but they’re now timing Enduro Mountain Bike races, Alpine Skiing, Running Races and Triathlons. 

‘We’re experiencing amazing growth in the company and doing events like the World Triathlon in Bermuda is inline with our strategy to take our GoChip and Software to races around the world,’ says Dan. 

X-country ski season in full swing

Things are humming around Zone4 these days. Hundreds of new GoChips have been built to meet the demand for x-country ski races and loppets happening across Canada and the US.

In the fall we created a tutorial series to help clubs brush up on their Zone4 timing skills. We go over testing timing points at home and in the field, setting up timing loops in the snow, testing your chip batteries, trouble shooting and more.

Get ahead of the game and check out this tutorial series hosted by Zone4 timing experts before your next event!

‘Behind the Scene’ with Zone 4 timing at the NorAm Super Tour

‘Cross Country Skiing, in particular Sprint Heats, are by far the most challenging races to time. You have to be perfect and have results published within moments of each heat, so the right athletes can get advanced on to the semis and finals. That puts such a high bar on the performance of the equipment, the timing team, and all the procedures around the event,’ says Dan Roycroft, founder of Zone4. ‘It’s great seeing coaches tracking our live results on their phones, gathering data on where athletes are gaining and losing time in each heat’.

Zone4 race timers take you behind the scene at this years NorAm Super Tour x-country ski race at the Canmore Nordic Centre. 700 atheletes, sprint heats, race set up and live timing are featured in this video.

Biathlon season has begun!

Zone 4 was timing the Biathlon Canada, Biathlon Selection Trials earlier this month at the Canmore Nordic Centre.  Over the three day event, athletes had to contend with a wide range of temperatures, snow and variable winds.

Matt Strum (part-time Zone 4 staff) skied fast and shot clean during his final race and made the IBU Cup tour in December. Now he has a chance at a World Cup spot after Christmas.  You can chip in and help Matt realize his dream here. Go Matt!


Enthusiastic volunteers were on course working out their systems for the rest of the season. Zone 4 staff got to see our timing system in action allowing athletes, coaches, and fans to check live results during the event! Remember when you had to check the paper results at the end of the race? Learn more about our timing system for Biathlon here.

Click on this fun video to catch some of the early ski season excitement in the Zone 4 hometown of Canmore, AB. 

Searching for events by location

There’s a lot of stuff on Zone4 lately! And with ski season about to start, there’s going to be even more soon. This means you have to scroll a bit sometimes to find what you’re looking for on our homepage.

To make things easier, we’ve enabled location filtering on Zone4.ca: just click the little place marker in the search bar to only display events within 200km of your location.

We use your IP address to detect your location, so the location we detect for you might be off by a bit depending on the location your internet provider reports, but for most people it should be roughly accurate.

I’m an event organizer. How do I set the location of my event?

We use the “City” field from your settings to determine the location. If your event isn’t showing in the search results for the correct area, find the City field in your race, registration, event, or organization settings and make sure it is set to the correct city.

A Refresh of our Start List Building Tools

As we’ve expanded into new sports and met new customers, we’ve found new requirements and learned new patterns that our tools need to support. So today we’re updating the start list tools with a few new features, a bit more intelligence, and a new layout with a bit more space for the new features to live in.

Start Time Order

This feature is the main motivator of today’s changes. Up until now, in an individual start race the racer numbers and start times needed to be assigned in the same order. Racer #1 started first, racer #2 started second, and so on. This doesn’t work for races where the top ranked racer gets to wear #1 but the start list needs to be ordered slowest to fastest.

You’ll now see a Sort By option under the Assign Racer Numbers section, and another Sort By option under the Assign Start Times section. By default, start times are assigned in order of ascending racer number – the existing behaviour that you’re used to if you’ve built a start list in Zone4 previously. However, if that behaviour doesn’t work for your race format, you can now change the sort to any other racer field.

For an example of how this can be useful, some cycling races issue number plates that racers keep for a whole season, but want to run a time trial with racers starting in order of series points. After importing both the racer numbers and points, the start list can now support that ordering.

A bit of reorganization

The “assign seperately for each group” button hides in a menu now

If you’ve clicked on that “Assign Separately for Each Group” button before, you may have been confused when you had to scroll back up to the table at the top of the page to access the options it exposes.

With this change, when you switch between the group-by-group interface or the whole race interface, it will switch in-place so you don’t have to scroll back up to the top to access it.

This change also gives us a bit more room to work with – we have space here now to show a sort order option in the Assign Racer Numbers section, and another sort order in the Assign Start Times section.

Depending on which race format you select, you might be taken directly to either the simplified race ui or the group-by-group interface. You can always switch between them with the toggle in the options menu:

Auto-fill for less typing

We’ve brought the convenience of the whole-race interface over to the group-by-group interface. As you enter the first racer number, or the first start time, for the first group you’ll see a first racer number or start time auto-populate for all the subsequent start groups. You can type overtop of this greyed out placeholder value if you don’t like it, or you can leave it in place if it works for your race.

The Publish Button is now Always Available

At the bottom of the start list builder, you’ll see two buttons: Publish & Print, and View Start List. Previously, the Publish button was only available on the View Start List page, but to help out anybody who couldn’t figure out how to publish their start list, the button is now available on the configuration screen too.

We still recommend clicking “View Start List” first and having a good look through it before actually clicking on that publish button though – once you’ve published the start list, it’s a really bad idea to make changes to it.

A note on terminology

Coming from skiing, we’re used to the term “Bib Number” for the number assigned to a racer. However, in cycling the racers have a “plate number” and in triathlon it’s a “body number”. We’ve been gradually updating the terminology we use in our software and our help documents to always use the sport-neutral “racer number” instead of any sport-specific language to avoid any confusion.

Also coming from skiing, we’ve been using “seeding” as the terminology for the order that racer numbers are assigned in. This terminology is foreign to many new racer directors, and with this change we’re moving to the more understandable “Order By” label when choosing how racer numbers are assigned.

You might still see a few references to “bibs” and “seeding”, but they’ll be going away in time.