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Inline secrets from the world's top skaters and coaches

This week's tip:

Safe by Design

A guide to setting up a safe and fair finish for an inline speed skating road race

By San Diego Street Elite

Pull Tags

Here are some tips on the use of bibs with pull tags specific to inline skate racing.

  1. Pinning instructionsMost skate races instruct skates to pin the bib with tag on the left hip. This may be a different location than for runners. Since the skating position is bent over, tags pinned on the chest are not visible.
  2. Chute length and width

    dcghfxnv421cksn5hgdbi. Deceleration Zone

    The first section of the finish chute is the deceleration zone. The deceleration zone should be the same width, or slightly wider, than the finish line and 150 feet long. This is where skaters slow down and come to a stop at the end. The deceleration zone can be shorter if uphill (and should be longer for downhill).

    ii. Processing chute

    The second section of the finish chute is the processing chute. Here the skaters enter a narrow chute about 20 meters (or yards) long. They are in single file and are reminded to rearrange themselves into the proper finish order if they got out of order in the deceleration zone. They are also instructed to remove their pull tags.
  3. Herder

    One or more people are designated as herders. Their job is to give instructions to the skaters and make sure they enter the chute in order. This needs to be a separate person from the tag-puller or spiker.

    The herders should also be the first line of assistance for sick or injured skaters. Skaters in trouble should be picked up, carried or helped out of the chutes. If necessary, their tags should be pulled and given to the tag puller.
  4. Tag Puller

    Responsible for taking tags one at a time and handing them one at a time to the spiker. If skaters have not already removed their tags, the tag puller must remove the tags from the bibs.

    • Be polite, but be assertive! Be willing to touch the skaters.
    • Make the skaters wait until you have the bib tag firmly in your hand.
    • Stand in the middle of the chute and block the exit, if necessary, to prevent anyone from leaving before you have their tags.
    • If the skater does not already have the tag pulled, remove the tag from the bib. Use both hands--one to hold the bib number and one to pull the tag.
    • Work with your spiker to develop a rhythm for getting tags from the skaters to the spiker as quickly as possible.
    • Do not place the tag on the stringer yourself.
    • Bandit tags: if the skater is unregistered (has no bib number) or removed the bib tag, give the spiker a bandit tag (substitute document) from your carpenter's apron, and let the skater exit the chute. (If your race has duplicate substitute documents, give the second part to the finisher.)
  5. Spiker instructions

    Responsible for receiving tags and putting them on the stringers or spindles provided.

    • Develop a system with the tag puller that is fast and accurate.
    • Handle only one tag at a time! Tags should NEVER be accumulated in hands or pockets.
    • Place the tag on the stringer or spindle through the pre-punched hole.
    • Preferably place the information (names, barcode) face down toward the stringer identification tag, but getting the tags on the stringer in the correct order should take priority.
    • If the pre-punched hole is torn, make a new one using the end of the stringer.
  6. Regrouping

    If for some reason the procedures above fail (usually because the chutes were too short), ask the skaters to regroup immediately in order outside the chute. Ask one of them to take charge. They will be more than willing.

Next: Chip Timing

Back to Safe by Design introduction

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San Diego Street Elite


Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating




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