From John Whittaker, founder of Breakaway Racing
As a long-time racer from Southwest Oklahoma, I’ve encountered just about every type of race in this area over the past 25 years. I’ve raced in the Hotter Than Hell in Wichita Falls, Texas, competed in the 12 Miles of Hell Mountain Bike race, and even raced in the Ironman 70.3 in Lawrence, Kansas. I’ve completed time trials, 10K’s, 5K’s, half-marathons, and only within the past few years have I discovered a new high by participating in triathlons. I love the sport of racing and I enjoy being part of the race whether I’m on the bike, in the water, running the pavement, or even from the Director’s stand at the finish line.
After as many years as I’ve competed in various races, there are common gripes each racer has, although we often feel there is little that can be done to accomodate us as we line up like cattle at seven a.m., waiting for our early registration packet. But there are certain things that get under the skin of even the most seasoned racer. For example, sometimes there are plenty of water stops but not enough porto-potties. Sometimes the race officials are rude. Sometimes registration and packet pick up, even for the early birds, is painfully slow. Sometimes the course is poorly marked or made dangerous because security is lacking (I just recently got hit by a car in Oklahoma City because a traffic officer failed to stop the driver from turning onto the race course–ah, good times).
But one aspect of racing that we’ve all become accustomed to is the timing chip. We gotta have it, no doubt about that. But does it have to be uncomfortable? Do we absolutely have to have mats at each transition or at the end of the race? Is it necessary that someone from the timing company jump in front of us to reclaim the chip around my ankle before I even get a drink of water?
This was, and still is, my gripe of all gripes. I mutter when I think about the chip police, but nevertheless… It doesn’t always have to be that way.
Which is why I decided to go with disposable chips and the Jaguar Chip Timing System when I began my own timing company, Breakaway Racing. I may not be able to do anything about the overripe bananas and hot Gatorade at the finish of a 100-mile bike race, but I can make a positive difference in the race timing.