Timing Time Trials

We have introduced some improvements that will make your time trials much smoother.  


What is a time trial? 

A time trial is defined as a race that is organized in such a way that participants start at regular intervals and are ranked according to the time taken by each to reach the finish line.  

Thus, a time trial event is one in which each of the participants have a different start time, usually separated by time segments, for example, a minute difference between each of the different start times. 

It can be any modality that can be timed; athletics, cycling, triathlon, swimming, etc.  

Therefore, the main characteristics are: 

  • Each participant has a starting time. It can also happen that more than one participant will start at each starting time.  
  • The time between each departure is usually fixed. 

However, there are other additional characteristics that determine how you will time this type of event. These are: 

  • If a participant is not in the starting area at the exact minute and second that they must start, their time will start counting from that instant, even if they actually started late.  
  • Participants have official time and can also have net time. Remember that to have different times you must have at least one reading at the starting line. 

How should time trials be timed? 

If the participants do not have a fixed starting time, you must time with the event type “from reading” Here is a reminder of some of the characteristics for this type of event: 

  • A starting time will be created for each of the participants with the last time in a “wave” type location.  
  • The official time and the net time will be identical. 

If you need a refresher on concepts related to event types, you can always consult the corresponding articles in timingsense Academy.  

On the other hand, if attendees have a fixed starting time, you have to take into account the delay if they do not leave at the scheduled time by timing with the “Wave” type of event.  

How do you time a “wave” type time trial in copérnico?  

The setup in copérnico is the same as for any other race:  

You have to configure:  

  • Event name 
  • Type of Wave: select WAVE 
  • Control points and locations
  • Splits
  • Waves. You should only configure one wave. With the hour, minute and second of the first wave.
  • Continue to configure the rest of the elements: teams, catageories, etc.  

How to add a starting time to each participant? 

In function, it is as follows: 

Copérnico has a field called “Start time offset”, which indicates the time difference in respect to the intervals that each participant is going to start the race (in seconds). 


For example, if you are going to time a time trial in which each of the participants will start one minute apart from each other, you will have to add an extra column in the import file to represent this offset.   

The first one to take the start will have an offset of 0 sec. with respect to the start time of the event, the second one 60 sec, the third one 120 sec, the fourth one 180 sec, and so on.   

This offset will always be positive with respect to the start time.  

Here you can see an example of how the import file could look like. Other fields such as date of birth, etc. have been omitted. 

How does offset work? 

Internally, copérnico creates a wave for each of the participants by applying the offset previously imported in the file. If you go to the file of any of the participants you will see something similar to the following image, in which:  

Wave: shows that this participant has the event type selected for “wave”.  

Start time offset: shows the time difference with respect to the start of the event. It will always be positive.  

Start time: shows the time of day of the participant’s departure. This field is editable (by double clicking on the padlock). 

What happens if the start time is delayed?  

Because we are working with an offset in starting times (time difference), automatically each of the participants start times will be updated based on the first participants start time.  

How can I modify the start time for one of the participants?  

From participants, select the athlete you want to modify and click on the right button.   

In the athlete editing window, there are 2 ways to modify the start time of a participant. 

  1. Modifying the wave offset. You will be able to modify the difference in seconds over the first one.  
  1. Modifying the start time By clicking on the padlock you can edit the start time. 

Please note that by modifying the start time of a specific participant, you are creating a manual start time, prevailing over any other. What does this mean? 

  • The associated offset will be lost. 
  • If you modify the event start time it will not be affected.  
  • That the participant changes the wave type to “from reading”. 

Can you use wave type from the start to time a time trial? 


Normally, a time trial meets the characteristics described above, although some of them may be omitted, for example, that the participants have an official start time usually separated by a certain time between them.  

You may use the from the start type of start if the start time is when the participant begins the race and the reading is received.  

The most important difference between one system and the other is whether the start time of the participants is fixed or not.   

If the time of each participant starts counting from a certain start time you will have to use the offset system. 

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