Getting a backup timing system wasn't enough for Ski to Sea after last year's system failed at two of the race's seven leg finish lines.
Race director Pete Coy and the race committee wanted to make sure there was an additional backup at each finish line in 2013 to ensure that it could provide accurate and speedy times to racers in 2013.
In announcing an agreement with RaceDay Timing Solutions to provide the timing system for the May 26 seven-leg relay race from Mt. Baker Ski Area to Bellingham Bay, Ski to Sea organizers believe they have found a way to make sure there won't be a repeat of last year.
"We had used Milliseconds (Sports Timing) for four years, and (last) year there was a battery failure in one unit at one finish line and a skier ran into another unit at another finish line," Coy said in a phone interview. "It ended up we didn't get times from two of our seven events. I'm not trying to throw Milliseconds under the bus, but we had some misfortune last year. We've decided to let them go.
"I had some new specifications for the new timing company. I didn't want to settle for just one timing device at each finish line. I required two different timing devices at each finish line, and then I wanted a backup, in case both of them went down, so we'd have three devices ready to go."
The race also announced that it also has hired 2M Events to handle this year's online registration, which is scheduled to open Monday, Dec. 17, at skitosea.com.
Coy said the search to find a timing company capable of meeting his requirements turned up very few timing companies in North America capable of having two backup systems, but RaceDay Timing Solutions was one.
RaceDay uses the ChronoTrack Timing System, which is used by 25 of the 30 largest races in the country, including the AJC Peachtree 10K (60,000 participants), the ING New York City Marathon (50,000 runners) and the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
"It's more expensive - we'll probably pay about twice as much," Coy said. "But it's a situation where quality was more important to me. We're going to make sure we get times for racers. RaceDay met all of our qualifications, and they came highly recommended."
Other than getting their times quicker, racers shouldn't notice much of a difference, Coy said, but they shouldn't have to stoop to pass the timing chip through at knee level when they record their times, as the timing wire will be strung around the timing gate.
"We believe we have found a very good company that is very quality conscious," Coy said.
Coy said he believes the same about 2M Events, which is based out of Vancouver, B.C.
"We had a local company handling our registration since we bought the race four years ago, and he told us he wanted to retire," Coy said. "He's been very helpful to us in getting our new registration system up and going."
The biggest change in the registration process this year will be that each racer is responsible for paying his/her own entry fee at the time he/she registers.
In the past, team captains have paid the entire team fee when they register a team.
This year, captains will register the team, pay their own entry fee and then invite other members of the team to sign up and pay their own entry fees.
Teams will not be guaranteed a spot in the race, however, until all eight members have paid their registration fee.
"We've sold out the race in the past, and we don't have any reason to think that will be a problem this year," Coy said. "There might be a little more scrambling at the end to get everything completed, but people want to get their teams in and everybody registered as soon as possible to make sure they have their spot."
Registration is again expected to be capped at 500 teams.
Early registration will run through April 30 and cost $55 per racer ($440 per team) for non-corporate teams and $60 per racer ($480 per team) for corporate division teams. May 1 and after, registration goes up to $66 per racer ($528 per team) for non-corporate teams and $72 per person ($576 per team) for corporate entries.
SKI TO SEA ONLINE REGISTRATION
Opens: Monday, Dec. 17
Early registration: Through April 30 - $55 (non-corporate entries) and $60 (corporate entries) per racer
Late registration: May 1 and after - $66 (non-corporate entries) and $72 (corporate entries) per racer
Date of race: May 26
NOTE: Each racer is responsible for paying their own entry fees this year when they register. Captains are no longer required to pay the entire team's entry fee when they sign up. Teams are not officially entered, though, until all eight team members have paid their entry fees.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.