South West XC - first test of CrossMgr

 It's no secret that I'm quite the Webscorer fan. I've talked about it a lot, and I think it strikes a good blend of ease of use, function and flexibility. Plus is undergoing constant development which only makes it better. However, for the XC races I time, Webscorer can keep up with the taps, but I struggle to keep up with getting the information I need out of Webscorer. Allow me to explain.

In a single race there can be up to 12 categories. Each category has a different number of laps (some have the same number). As the leader per category finishes, all the riders in that category finish (even if lapped), but the rest must carry on. The distance between the finish line and the point to pull a rider is about 50m. On the flat. On easy grass. The call to pull a rider has to be spot on. It's a challenge, and I was stuggling.

Enter CrossMgr. It's an open source piece of software written by Edward Sitarski, a cycling commissar, so he knows what he's taking on. Firstly, I should say that CrossMgr is pretty cycling specific, you could time other sports with it, but the target is clear. It is clearly designed for cycle races.

Running CrossMgr in a wet field in Cornwall.

Here's a comparison (in the context of MTB XC). Webscorer is better at-

  • Live web results (way less complicated)
  • Runs on mobile operating systems (particularly my waterproof android tablet)
  • Instant update when you change settings (CrossMgr took a little "jiggling")
  • Entering competitors in software (CrossMgr uses a linked spreadsheet)
  • Pretty much behaves as you would expect, all the time

CrossMgr is better at-

  • Displaying lap progress per category (the blue bars in the screen shot above) 
  • Displaying a lot of live info on a single computer simultaneously on multiple monitors (scans, lap progress, category leaders, predicted finish times, results and more)
  • Prediction - CrossMgr can predict finish times and highlight where a scan may have been missed. It also estimates rider position a map. Custom maps can be uploaded via GPX.
  • Forgiving errors, with CrossMgr you can change the number of laps on the fly, and even race settings such as race leader finish causes all categories to finish (which I had accidentally left on)
  • Races can be completely setup, saved, and then recalled in a flash
Both work with RFID readers, although they take a different approach. Webscorer priorities ease of use and ease of use functionality. CrossMgr takes a different approach, every scan is logged in the software and then filtered into the results based on the rules you set. These rules can change mid way through the race (hence the forgivability). Even after the race has finished, scans are still recorded but not included with results.

My tips for using CrossMgr-
  • Check your settings very carefully at the beginning
  • Use the RFID test facility!
  • If you race leader is supposed to finish at 15mins (or close to 15mins) and everyone after, make sure the race duration is longer
  • Check the recommendations screen post race
Finally, will I keep using CrossMgr? For MTB XC yes. For other races, probably not. As it's open source, I will be making a donation towards CrossMgr's development. If you use it, I encourage you to as well.