Registration, Race Timing, Pancakes

Battery Power for Race TimingIt was an exciting morning one day last year, a clear and crisp Montana morning actually, and a picture perfect day for a race!  Fortunately, I ended up not needing the gadget in the picture above.  That is a Tekkeon myPower ALL MP3750 battery backup (FYI: I am not endorsing this brand nor this particular model; it’s just for illustrative purposes) that can be a lifesaver during a power outage.  I had arrived early, as usual, and had setup the site as much as possible in advance of the event staff showing up.

Even before my own small crew arrived, the humming of a gasoline-powered electrical generator broke through the crisp morning air creating confidence that no matter how crazy or busy things were to become, we’d have power!  Handling event registration or timing a race requires power, you know, of the uninterruptable kind.  A typical registration and race timing scenario using Good Times has me deploying laptops primarily, a wireless router, and a printer.

Usually, I opt not to provide commercial-grade pancake griddles as part of my registration and timing solution.  They’re big; way too big for a normal kitchen counter.  But on this particular day, the event organizer hosted a pancake breakfast.  Reader, would you like to guess where the cooks decided to plug in the griddles?  If you guessed the electrical generator, then you guessed correctly!  We may not have registered participants, nor produce race results, but we will certainly have pancakes!  I’m all for pancakes, don’t get me wrong, but not at the expense of risking the failure of my network.  I realized I needed a batter solution.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Like I said, everything turned out fine, even the pancakes.  And although electrical generators are a great idea, the weak link in my setup was twofold: First, because the cooks plugged in to the generator without me knowing it, the ease of access to those generators appeared problematic.  Second, while my laptops would have been okay had pancake frenzy overloaded the generators, my wireless router would not have survived.  From that day forward, I’ll have a battery backup on my wireless router, maybe the Tekkeon or something like it.

The moral of the story: search out your weakest link, and avoid it!  To handle event registration and race timing, make sure something as innocuous as pancake griddles or as sinister as a power outage does not put the success of your event at risk.

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