Start times and seeding, explained

In order to ensure the orderly start of the 22nd edition of the Cycle Challenge and safety on route each cyclist needs to be allocated a start time. Seeding is the process of batching and start time allocation to each cyclist.

This minimises overtaking which is one of the main cause of accidents and also prevents congestion caused by fast riders getting stuck behind the slower ones.

Seeding is done in two parts:

  • Firstly, all result data is collected and “cleaned” to get the riders top three RaceTec timed race results between 1 October 2017 and 28 September 2018.
  • This is then used to calculate an index which enables race organisers to sort everyone into batches from fastest to slowest.
  • The seeding index works on a sliding scale, from 0 to 100, with 0 being strongest.
  • The second part is where this data is used and interpreted to assign everyone a race number, within a start group. This is slightly more complicated as the group sizes are pre-set before the close of entries.

Many variables need to be considered in ensuring people are placed into the correct group, including special considerations such as age limits for racing groups, men only groups and Company Teams and Charity groups.

It has become imperative to seed using results from last year’s seeding cut-off up to entry closing date to ensure the process is completed timeously and correctly.

The process of refining this algorithm takes time, and once it’s completed, a window of opportunity for reseeding opens up, before the final data set is sent off for printing, packing and delivery.

The reseed process allows for results (post-seeding) to be considered prior to the finalisation of the number allocation. Reseeds may be applied for between 3 - 11 October 2018 @ 13h00 and are awarded at the discretion of the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge seeding committee, at a cost of R200. To apply email

Want to see which events were used to calculate your seeding, and which ones actually counted? Click here to see your Cycle Challenge seeding calculation.

See you at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge on 18 November at Riversands Commercial Park!

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