top of page
MotoGiro di California Time Keeping

The Giro di California (GDC) is organized as a Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) Rally. As an entrant in the GDC, you can choose to participate in the “timekeeping” aspect of the event or you can choose to simply follow the route map and enjoy riding your motorcycle through the beautiful California countryside. If you wish to participate in the timekeeping aspect, it is best to understand the theory involved. So let”s start there.

The goal of timekeeping is to ride the route on a precise time schedule, following speed averages as determined by the event organizer. The organizer puts checkpoints along the route to record if participants are on route and following the defined speed averages. Riding the same speed as the speed averages will result in the participant arriving at checkpoints on time.


This is also known as “zeroing” a checkpoint. Riding faster than the speed averages will result in arriving at checkpoints early. Riding slower than the speed averages will result in arriving at checkpoints late. Riders receive penalty points for being early or late to a checkpoint. They receive more penalty points for being early. Penalty points are bad. To “zero” a checkpoint is to have done perfectly and receive zero penalty points. The best score at the end of the rally is the one with the fewest penalty points.

The reality of a TSD event is the organizer will set speed average averages in certain challenging sections, such that only those riders who are alert in their timekeeping will lose a minimum amount of time compared to schedule. And the organizer will set speed averages in other sections that may seem slow and as such may be an attempt to catch these participants ahead of schedule. Plus, the organizer has other timekeeping tricks like free time, breaks and other options they can use to try and get the rider off schedule. Simply put, it”s a cat and mouse game between the organizer and the participant.

Since the goal of timekeeping is to stay on a precise schedule and at any given minute, be at the right mileage on the course, the participant needs to prepare accordingly. This document tries to describe as much as possible for the participant to know and do to successfully try and stay “on time”. In addition, the participant should learn and carefully understand all the rules. 

Necessary Equipment

​GDC timekeeping participants will need the following items;

1) An accurate odometer that reads to tenths of miles. However, most GDC eligible bikes no longer have accurate speedometers-odometers. Therefore the GDC allows participants to use bicycle speedometers as long as they do not include speed averaging. The ideal speedometer will allow the participant forward or backward adjustment of the odometer in tenths of miles.

2) A clock that displays seconds – this can be digital or analog, but either type must display seconds for accurate timekeeping. Your clock should be easy to read and ideally mounted in your line of sight with your other TSD equipment. If your bicycle speedometer has a clock that displays seconds, you could use that. Some participants may choose to use a more common and inexpensive digital watch mounted to their handlebars. And other participants may prefer a more expensive analog watch from Formotion ( which can usually be easily mounted on a motorcycle with their handlebar mount.

3) A roll chart showing GDC route time and distance (you will create this in the next section.)
4) An Enduro rollchart holder. These are usually available at Motorcycle Accessory Shops with a reasonable dirt riding selection. You can also find them on the internet. The most common brands are “Moose” and “Countdown”. But don”t wait until the week before the GDC to try and find one or you might have to pay overnight shipping to get one from an internet provider! A roll chart holder is a handlebar-mounted device that allows you to access your roll chart during the GDC route.

The speedometer, clock, and roll chart holder should all be mounted on or in front of the rider”s handlebars, in other words, mounted as far forward as possible for the rider to only have to take their eyes off the road for a moment to easily read any or all of them. You”ll want to mount the roll chart holder with the rollers on the left so you can advance the roll chart with your left hand and not have to take your hand off the throttle. I, therefore, try to mount my roll chart holder on the left side of my handlebars so I am not reaching across my body and handlebars to advance my roll chart. But at a minimum, the roll chart holder should not be beyond the middle of the handlebars. I like to mount my clock to the left and my speedometer to the right of my roll chart holder. When I describe how to create your roll chart, you will understand why I do this.

Getting Started

GdC start time, which is also known as key time, is usually 9:00 AM. This will be identified on your route sheet. The first rider(s) however, will depart at 9:01 with others riders continuing to depart in one minute increments after that until all riders are on the route. The GdC usually starts two riders each minute. Each rider is assigned a number corresponding to their starting time. For instance, rider 1 starts at 9:01, rider 2 at 9:02, rider 8 at 9:08, etc. Multiple riders on the same minute will be identified by a letter following their number, i.e., 1A, 1B. There is no rider “0” (zero).

​For accurate timekeeping, each participant sets their clock to key time based on their rider number. For ease of understanding I”ll refer to rider number 5. Rider 5 will set his clock 5 minutes before master time shown on the master clock. So for example, when the master clock reads 8:55:00, rider 5″s clock should read 8:50:00. Therefore when the start clock shows 9:04 and rider 4 departs, rider 5″s clock will have just turned 8:59 and rider 5 moves to the start line. When the start clock turns 9:05:00, rider 5″s clock reads 9:00:00 and he departs.

Once underway, rider 5 uses his rollchart to try and help him ride on schedule. His rollchart is marked with times in hours and minutes, mileages in miles and tenths, and the speed average for the section. The times and mileages correspond to locations of possible checkpoints, but we”ll talk more on that in the next section where you learn to create your rollchart. Meanwhile, rider 5 will try to maintain the speed average shown on the rollchart but this is usually not a simple task. So to help him do this he can compare the time and mileage listed on his rollchart against his clock and odometer respectively to determine whether he is ahead or behind schedule and whether he needs to ride a little faster to catch up or slow down to not be ahead.















For sake of example, let”s say the first section of the GdC is 6 miles long and the speed average is 30mph. At 30mph, you ride 0.5 miles in one minute, 1.0 mile in two minutes, and 6.0 miles in 12 minutes. A rollchart for this 6 mile section would look like the chart on the right:

Rider 5 departs from the start at keytime (9:00 on his clock) which matches the start time shown on the rollchart. After riding a few miles, he should check his clock, and let”s say it reads 9:08. He would then find 9:08 on the rollchart and see he should be at 4.0 miles. If his odometer reads less than 4.0 miles rider 5 must pick up his speed to try and be at 4.5 miles when his clock shows 9:09. If however at 9:08 his odometer reads more than 4.0 miles, rider 5 must slow down to try and be at 4.5 miles when his clock reads 9:09.

As previously mentioned, checkpoints are placed along the route to determine if a rider is on course and on time. There are a number of different types of checkpoints. Please read the rules to better understand each type and what they are used for. All checkpoints will be identified by a pair of flags which identify an imaginary line the rider must cross to have their time recorded. Again, refer to the rules for the design of the flags for each type of checkpoint and time recording at checkpoints. At each checkpoint, one of the flags will have an area which lists the “time” and “mileage” of that checkpoint. If the checkpoint time and mileage match your time and mileage, you are on time. All checkpoints have a clock which has been synchronized with Master Time. This clock is used to record the rider”s time of arrival at the checkpoint. When you cross the line between the flags the checkpoint worker will record the time you arrived using the checkpoint clock and then record that same time on your scorecard.
So let”s say you come around a curve and see a checkpoint ahead. DO NOT stop your forward motion or put either of your feet down. The rules state the checkpoint workers are to record your time at the point you stop your forward motion. This means they are supposed to record your time at any visible point before the checkpoint where they see you stop your forward motion. So you keep your feet on the pegs and head toward the imaginary line between the flags. If you think you”re early or ahead of time you can try to “trials ride” to delay crossing the line, but you must keep a direct forward motion toward the flags. If you think you”re late or behind time you should make the shortest safe route to the flags.
A skilled rider will come around the corner and use his clock to tell him when to cross the line between the flags. He will have been matching his time and mileage to his roll chart so he is approaching the next minute on his rollchart just as his clock is about to advance to the next minute listed on his rollchart. Again, you are trying to stay “on time” and your clock will stay better synchronized to Master Time (remember you did this minus your start number before you started?) longer than your odometer will read accurately to the route mileage. The rules also talk about how checkpoints can be placed within so many feet of the tenth of the mile of the checkpoint placement, so it is extremely unlikely his odometer will read the mileage exactly. That”s why he refers to his clock. As the second hand reaches 12:00 and the minute hand moves to the next minute he knows he has 60 second to enter the checkpoint to be on time. All this is usually not an easy task as a good organizer will place the checkpoints where riders have little or no time to think, only to ride in and have their time recorded.
The organizer will try to locate checkpoints where riders can ride fully and safely off the roadway. Please remember to enter the checkpoint efficiently and once your score care is recorded, move quickly out of the way to make room for riders behind you. DO NOT ask questions or talk to the checkpoint workers unless there is some kind of emergency. They are there to record your times and not socialize or help you figure out your time or score. Remember, the “time” and “mileage” of the checkpoint will be listed on one of the flags for your timekeeping reference!

Timekeeping without the details

​If keeping track of all the minutes and mileages listed on a roll chart while riding seems too mind boggling or too confining for your desire to ride, you can still keep reasonable track of time just by using your Route Sheet (that”s where your rollchart info came from anyway!). Read and understand the rules and you”ll find there are places checkpoints cannot be placed, for instance during free time and for 3 miles after a checkpoint. Then there are other places that are ideal locations for checkpoints, for instance at or near the end of higher speed average sections where you might be a little behind time, or near the beginning or middle of a slower speed average section where you are likely to be ahead of time. Mark these areas on your Route Sheet or make notes elsewhere you can see while riding so you can ride more carefully during those sections. After riding a few TSD events it becomes more apparent how the cat and mouse game works but even the best time keepers can be caught out by a good organizer! Still, you can be quite competitive with your Route Sheet, if you read the rules, and just use a little common sense!
Of course a rollchart and the same rules and common sense will make you even more competitive!

Rollchart Preparation

​In this section, you will be instructed how to create a rollchart which will tell you exactly where checkpoints can be located along the route as long as you do the calculations correctly. Apparently there is freeware available that will do all this for you here;
but hopefully you are interested in what the information on a rollchart means and I believe making your own rollchart is the best way to understand this.
You will need the following 4 items to create your rollchart;
1. A hard copy/print out of the Possibles Chart which I”ve included near the end of this document and also located at;
Link to : PDF of Possibles Chart
2. The Route Sheet for the GdC as supplied by the organizer. In this case we”ll use the Route Sheet for the 2008 GdC located which I”ve included at the end of this document
3. A basic calculator. You should only be doing additions.
4. Something to record all the information on. I use my Word Processing software and create a 3 column wide table to fit in my roll chart holder.
So let”s get started-
First, measure the width of the spool on your rollchart holder. Mine is ~2.5 inches wide. You want your rollchart slightly narrower than the spools. Therefore I make my rollchart ~2.25 inches wide. I open my Word Processing program and insertia table which is 3 columns wide and 200 rows long. You could handwrite your rollchart on a pad of paper but I like the consistency of the readability when I use my word processing software.
Since the GdC is a 2 day event, you”ll be creating 2 rollcharts. Therefore I make sure to note which day and date each rollchart is for. 
In the first row first column I put the day (Mon), the month (Oct) in the first row second column and the date (10) in the first row third column.
TIME MILES MPH   In the second row I label the first column “TIME”, the second column “MILES” and third column “MPH”. This is pretty much a standard for rollcharts.
In the “TIME” column you will list the minutes you calculate for when a checkpoint could be scheduled. In the “MILES” column you will list the distance you calculate for where a checkpoint could be located. The “MPH” column is simply the speed average you are given on the GdC Route Sheet. This is the speed average you should be trying to achieve over that section on the route.
Now we start the rollchart calculations. Get your calculator, the Route Sheet and the Possibles Chart.
9:00   0.0    40
In the third row on your rollchart you want to list the GdC start time. This is also known as key time. The Route Sheet gives you all the information for this row. Find the “START” information on the Route Sheet. 
It lists Start Time as 9:00, Start Mileage as 0.0 and Average Speed as 40. Simply fill in your rollchart accordingly; 9:00 in the first column, 0.0 miles in the second column and 40 in the third column.
Now look at the Possibles Chart.pdf. Look up 40 MPH. On the 40 MPH line, the Possibles Chart lists 2.0 miles and 3 minutes. This means that at 40 mph, you will travel 2.0 miles every 3 minutes. Remember you are listing times and mileages where you might find checkpoints. From the rules you will find that checkpoints can only be located on a whole minute, i.e., 9:23, 10:45, 1:36 and a corresponding whole tenth of a mile, i.e., 8.4, 16.7, 32.2, 58.9. Therefore you only ever want to list whole minutes and whole tenths of miles you have calculated on your rollchart as they are the only times and distances where checkpoints can be located. If you have calculated seconds (3:45:30) and/or hundredths of a mile (50.35) something is wrong. Go back to the last whole minute and whole tenth of a mile you calculated and try again. If you are using the Possibles Chart correctly you can never calculate in seconds or hundredths of a mile as every speed average from 1 to 99 has some distance in tenths of miles you will travel in a corresponding number of minutes.
So can you figure out what you would logically list on the fourth row of your rollchart? You are told by the Route Sheet to travel at 40mph and at that speed you will reach 2.0 miles in 3 minutes. Therefore the first whole minute and tenth of a mile where a checkpoint could be located is 9:03 and 2.0 miles.
So your rollchart should look like:

What would the fifth row show? If you list 9:06, 4.0 and 40,




You are correct. Well sort of”
Let”s go back to the Route Sheet. You have to continually refer to your Route Sheet as this is like your “Rosetta Stone” for creating your rollchart.
Note there is an Agility Test listed in the second line of your Route Sheet. The test starts at 9:00 and ends at 9:05 and mileage is still 0.0. What this tells you is the agility test is immediately after the start (same mileage) and you have 5 minutes to complete the test (end time 9:05). So really the fourth row should alert you to the agility test. On my rollchart I put “TEST” in the first column, “5” in the second column and “MIN” in the third column.



In the fifth row I put the end time of the agility test (9:05), the mileage (0.0), and the average mph (40) I”ll need to start riding.


So what should the time, mileage and mph be on the sixth row of your rollchart? Remember, the Possibles Chart tells us at 40 mph in 3 minutes you travel 2.0 miles. Add 3 minutes to 9:05, add 2.0 to 0.0 miles and you get your next row.


MPH stays 40 until 9:23 per the Route Sheet. You always get your MPH from your Route Sheet.
Let”s try the seventh row. You continue on at 40mph and in 3 minutes travel another 2.0 miles. You were at 9:08 and 2.0 miles and travel 3 minutes and 2.0 miles to 9:11 an


Another quick check of the Route Sheet shows that at 9:11 and 4.0 miles you have a “free zone” until 10:33 and 44.0 miles. Check the rules for the details about a Free Zone but basically it means there cannot
be a check from 9:11 until after 10:33. This allows the participant to ride at a pace of their own choosing as long as they arrive at the end of the free time on time. Some may choose to take pictures, have a smoke, do a repair or stop for coffee at the local coffee shack!
So I know there can be no check I list “FREE” in the MPH column of the seventh row to alert me that there can be no check on that minute/mileage (9:11/4.0). The speed average is still 40mph so the eighth
row calculates time at 9:14 (9:11 plus 3 minutes), mileage at 6.0 (4.0 plus 2.0 miles) and I now list 40/F in the third column so I know the speed average and have a reminder it is still free time.
Row nine is 9:17, 8.0 and 40/F.

Row ten is 9:20, 10.0, and still 40/F.





Hopefully this is starting to make sense. Another 3 minutes and 2.0 miles and you get to the 9:23 and 12.0 miles.
Now, let”s go back to the Route Sheet and notice at 9:23 there is a speed change to 32mph (gotta refer to the Route Sheet regularly remember). We”re still in free time so your rollchart would read;


Now here”s where it gets a little tricky, but it”s still free time so no worry about encountering a checkpoint until 10:33. Checking the Possibles Chart, a 32 mph average means you travel 1.6 miles in 2 minutes. So the next row would logically want to be 9:25, 13.6, 32/F. But checking the Route Sheet shows “Coffee Time” at 9:24 and 12.6 miles but notes it is not the exact minute. The Route Sheet lists 9:34 as the end time for the “Coffee Time” so you have approximately 10 minutes to your choosing; stop and have coffee, do any repairs, or keep riding to catch up if you are behind schedule.
Back to your rollchart, you start your calculations at 9:34, and a 32mph average means 1.6 miles every 2 minutes until 11:03. So you list 9:36, 9:38, 9:40, 9:42, etc, and their corresponding mileages; 13.6, 15.2, 16.8, 18.4, etc. But what”s this? You reach 44.0 miles at 10:34. But the Route Sheet says free time ends at 10:33 and 44.0 miles. And if you keep calculating you”ll find you”ll get to 60.0 miles at 11:04. But the Route Sheet shows that 32 mph section ends at 60.0 miles 11:03. So you”re off one minute (10:34 instead of 10:33 and 11:04 instead of 11:03). What went wrong?
Looking back at the Route Sheet you can see that “Coffee Time” is listed as; “Not Exact Minute”. So while your 10 minute “Coffee Time” supposedly ends at 10:34, it is not an exact minute either. And if you back all your times up one minute so you leave “Coffee Time” at 9:33, your calculations get you to 44.0 miles at 10:33 and eventually to 60.0 miles at 11:03.
So nothing went wrong, you were given the information that “Coffee Time” end was 9:34 and “Not Exact Minute” so you could only make an assumption and start up at 9:34 in hopes of everything calculating out to
your next known times and distances. When it didn”t it hopefully was easy to see you were off one minute and just adjust all the times backward by one minute.
Some people might choose to not list all the times and mileage during the free period and just plan to show up at 44.0 miles at 10:33. I prefer to list all the possible time and mileage combinations so I can follow my progress during the free time to ensure I arrive at 44.0 miles no later than 10:33. Depending on road conditions you may not be able to ride as fast as the speed average at times during the free period and with all the times listed on your rollchart you can use them to help you stay on time. Maintaining any speed average can be harder than you think! Here”s what my rollchart looked like with the info between 9:36 and 10:30 and 10:36 and 11:00 missing. But your rollchart should have each of those possible times and distances, particularly after 10:36 where there could be a checkpoint at any of those times and distances!










Okay, we”re at 11:03 and lunch is at 11:46. We”re getting closer to the end of our morning route!
At 11:03 the Route Sheet shows us a speed change to 35mph average. Our Possibles Chart tells us at 35 mph we travel 3.5 miles in 6 minutes. But our Route Sheet also tells us we have 10 minutes for gas at 63.2 miles from 11:08 (Not Exact Minute) to 11:18. 11:08 arrives before our first 6 minute period (35mph average) of 11:09 so the next listing is gas at 63.2miles.



.Here”s our next tricky part. It would seem you should calculate forward from 11:03 in 6 minute increments. If you try this, the times do not calculate out to 11:31, the known end time of the section; 11:03, 11:09, 11:15, 11:21, 11:27, 11:33. Huh, 11:33? We”re two minutes of







I then listed the 15 minute period for the agility test and the time and mileage for lunch;

I left a couple blank rows after the lunch listing before I started on my afternoon times and distances. Then I saved my file, printed it, cut out the strips and taped them together and installed them in my rollchart holder, winding the end on the bottom spool and just taping the start to the upper spool.
Now you can probably see that creating your rollchart can be tricky. And you really have to think! It is unlikely you can simply calculate all the minutes and mileages based on the speed averages without considering the “special instructions” like agility tests, free time, gas stops, coffee time, etc as they play into the overall time and mileage of the route! And remember if minutes and mileages don”t seem to calculate forward, try calculating backward from the next know time and distance!
Now why don”t you try creating your own rollchart from the afternoon part of the Route Sheet. Or the whole of day 2? Send me your completed file and I”ll compare it to the rollchart I created and let you know how you did!








































































































bottom of page