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Tom Mains: Man of Many Hats

Tom Mains -Main Sport Timing

Episode 39

“I’m an official, I’m a racer, I’m an organizer. I’m a timing guy.

Hold the condiments– this week’s podcast guest Tom Mains is a man of many hats– he sits down with Joan this week and discusses everything from timing to cycling to Tom’s crazy schedule.

Tom Mains – Main Sport Timing

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Transcript

 

Joan Hanscom:              Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast, where we discuss all things, track cycling. Broadcasting from the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, I’m your host and Executive Director, Joan Hanscom. Welcome to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. I am joined this week by timing guy, extraordinaire, Tom Mains. Tom has… for those of you who just think he’s a timing guy, a long history working in the bike industry, Tom has, I think done all the jobs, sort of like I have, done all the jobs in bike racing plus done the bike racing. So I thought it’d be a fun opportunity for you, our listeners, specifically those who are spent some time with us here at the track this summer to get to know to Tom. So Tom, welcome to the show.

Tom Mains:                  Thanks for having me.

Joan Hanscom:              So Tom, let’s let people know a little bit about you. You have raced on the track extensively, including trips to the World Championships, Masters World’s, and a whole bunch of other notable accomplishments. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your history racing on the track and we’ll go from there?

Tom Mains:                  Alrighty. Yeah. I’ve been racing on the track since I think the early 2000s. I wish I’d found it a little bit earlier even, but it’s become my probably favorite discipline to race, when I’m in racing shape. Which unfortunately this year I was not, but yeah I’ve started racing to the track, really took to it. Competed at multiple national championships over the years in Masters. I’ve got 13 times I’ve been on the podium, but I still don’t have a jersey. So I do have some unfinished business.

Joan Hanscom:              Man. We should have got you out the year this summer.

Tom Mains:                  That might have been embarrassing.

Joan Hanscom:              Nah.

Tom Mains:                  I did go to the World Championships in England. I don’t remember what year it was had to be about seven or eight years ago at this point. It was a great experience. My best result in that was in the scratch race. I believe I finished eighth, but since they had a disqualification, so I believe I was seventh.

Joan Hanscom:              Ah, nice.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. Unfortunately-

Joan Hanscom:              A disqualification.

Tom Mains:                  Well, yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  So, yeah. I mean it’s a great facility. It’s wonderful to have it in the region. I think it really helps the cycling community, helps to grow it, especially with the youth programs you guys do. It’s an awesome way to help grow the [crosstalk] area.

Joan Hanscom:              I know it was for me when I started here, my first summer here I just sort of sat back and watched how everything sort of ran. Then I wanted to implement the changes that I thought would be meaningful in terms of improving the customer experience. Also, just sort of make life easier here at the track for the staff, for the officials. One of the things I realized pretty fast into the time here was that having timing and scoring on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays was going to improve everybody’s quality of life. So we were very happy to bring you on in that capacity. I know we started in a weird way in COVID in 2020, with a so summer full of time trials, but your business, your being present enabled us to do something in COVID that a lot of other places weren’t able to do. So from the bottom of my heart to you, thank you for helping us make the summer of 2020 happen.

                                    Then certainly this year as we jumped into full blown actual racing, again, Mass Start Racing, having your timing business here live every race day was enormously helpful. So that we were able to score everybody all the way through the field. We were able to get results published to USA Cycling quickly, and on our own website quickly. So I think you are coming on board for us and… For our listeners, you may be thinking, “Well, of course you had timing and scoring”. But we really didn’t up until this summer for every event. We took the officials out to dinner on Monday to do a little thank you for the season. Afterwards, I got a thank you note from one of the officials for dinner but also she thanked us for having you. So she said, “Thank you for having Tom Mains, doing timing every week. It made our life so much better.” So I wanted to pass that on to you. From the officials as well, they really appreciated the work you did.

                                    From my perspective, your knowledge of the track as a racer, your knowledge of the rule book, your knowledge of the sport, your knowledge of each of the different disciplines really made your job as a timing guy, even better because I think you understood what you were looking at from a timing perspective. Do you think your experience on the track impacted your work here with us on the other side of the boards?

Tom Mains:                  It absolutely helps. I think it’s just like any career or job or what you have, if you understand what you’re looking at it’s going to make things easier. So for example, being able to track a points race, and know what’s happening, and know the terminology, and know who’s where on the track. Because I’ve raced so much a lot of it’s second nature, I just look at it, I know what’s happening on the track. It’s funny because sometimes people that are watching that don’t quite understand it, they’re like, “What is happening? How do you do this?”

                                    I remember doing a points race a few years ago with a friend of mine and we came off the track and his girlfriend was with him and I said, “Yeah”, I said, “Coming into that last sprint, I knew that you were third, I was second. I needed this many points to win.” She looks at me she goes, “How could you possibly know that when you were racing your bike and you have everyone’s point totals in your head.” I’m like, “Well, I got to know what I got to do if I want to win the race. So you just developed that.” I mean, I happen to be good with numbers but it’s a great skill to have, and understanding what you’re looking at really, really helps. So-

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. Then last summer while it was unfortunate that we had to do what we did with the time trials and stuff, there was a little bit of a silver lining for me because track timing, it is a different piece. Even though I’m pretty good at what I do we have to use new equipment, new software, new things. So having the low key time trials, I was able to develop those skills and work with another timing company up in Canada, Doug Pouge, from RaceTiming.ca. He’s a pretty brilliant software engineer. He wrote some software for track racing that I would not be able to do the job that I do now without that.

                                    So I was able to get him to agree to license it to me and we were able to test it last year at all those time trials. It made us be able to race last summer. It also allowed me a little bit easier setting, lower key setting on a Friday night to learn how to use the software and to get good at doing this. So, while last summer it wasn’t ideal, it still worked out for us and we did provide a good experience for the racers.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. It also turned into a really nice collaboration with our webmaster, Janet, who then was able to start pulling this year in 2021, start pulling live results onto our app, and onto our website for Friday Night Racing where we had live timing, because of your partnership with Doug. Which I think was a real value add for the spectators and for the people who wanted to follow racing, who maybe weren’t up in the stands.

                                    Even those who were up in the stands they were able to see live splits. They were able to see results in real time. I think what a great thing that we finally brought the track scoring, timing and scoring into the modern day here this summer with your help. I’m really happy with what we accomplished, and I think with you and Janet, we can always brainstorm more improvements on that stuff. It was really fun working with you.

                                    But yeah, I will say I was always astonished at your ability to do the math in your head. Yes, you had the software and the equipment doing the work too, but damn you always knew, right? You had the points tallied in your head. I was just like, “I can’t do that kind of math.” I could barely do that math sitting still let alone on a bike. So I’m never failed to be impressed with your ability to do it while doing other things. I would have to be devoted to counting, and you’re standing up tracking race and you’ve got the points down in your head, it’s just like, “Wow.”

Tom Mains:                  I occasionally even have a microphone in my hand while I’m doing it.

Joan Hanscom:              I was just going to say that not only are you a genius at the timing and scoring thing, but damn this summer we got you on the microphone on Tuesday nights. I mean, obviously it started out sort of silly, right? I was trying to do the elimination, but I have a little tiny voice and nobody could hear me even with the microphone. So you were just like, “Give me that.” The next thing I know you’re announcing like a boss. Then every week it was, you were having banter with the more enthusiastic fans up in the stands. I was getting email boxes full of compliments about, “Hey, the timing guys are really good announcer, can we have them all the time?” What a funny thing. So Tom, you are a man of all the skills. Have you done much announcing?

Tom Mains:                  I have not. I mean, it’s occasionally jump on the mic if I have to make an announcement at a race. Again, I’m not practiced at announcing, so I’m sure that there’re ways to improve. But being at 100 plus events every year, you hear what happens and you do pick up some of it. You learn what you should and shouldn’t say, what the fans want to hear and what they don’t, what’s going to make their experience a little bit better. Just like everything else as you mentioned earlier, I’ve held a lot of different roles in cycling, I’m an official, I’m a racer, I’m an organizer. I’m a timing guy. I’m a-

Joan Hanscom:              Local association head.

Tom Mains:                  Yes. I run the New Jersey Bicycle Association. So, I’ve seen the sport from a ton of different angles too, so I think that helps. Just like you, you’ve done just as much as me, if not more. We look at it from different angles, when we’re looking at putting on a race, we’ve seen it from all the angles from the competitor side, from the organizer side, from the town side, from the official side. How can we make it better?

Joan Hanscom:              So we’re going to go into the PG-13 portion of the program now. So you weren’t here Tom for Masters Nationals, but flashing way back to the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross, in Mercer county. One particular weekend of racing that we had there, you may recall that we arrived at the course one morning to find that it had been decorated, shall we say, with all sorts of pornography, courtesy of one of our local bike racing community. Do you remember that whole-

Tom Mains:                  I actually don’t remember that.

Joan Hanscom:              Oh [crosstalk] Yes. So a racer who shall go unnamed though if he’s listening, he knows I’m talking about him. One of our racers here from the track and a generally great guy, and fun guy had set up camp at the Mercer course in his RV, and had overnight taken lots and lots of pornography and stapled it to all the course crossings and signage, so when we-

Tom Mains:                  How do I not remember that?

Joan Hanscom:              I don’t know how you don’t remember this, but yes. So there was ample pornography all over the course when Bruce and I arrived. We were like, “Holy crap.” Obviously we had to tear it all down and “Said rider”, was dubbed the porn king of Mercer county after that.

Tom Mains:                  That had to be the first year?

Joan Hanscom:              Yes. Correct.

Tom Mains:                  Because that was the [crosstalk] year I was least… That was the year I was really just the local… You came to me for permits and officials, I wasn’t really involved with the GP at that point.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  Even though, I had volunteered to help. It had to be that first year.

Joan Hanscom:              I can’t believe you don’t remember the porn [crosstalk] Mercer County-

Tom Mains:                  I don’t remember that at all. Because after that I was intimately involved with the GP for until-

Joan Hanscom:              Many… Yeah until the end.

Tom Mains:                  … up until 2012, so.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. Well, you’ll have to ask our mutual friend [Bill Elliston], about it. But suffice to say the course was covered in pornography much to my dismay because it was also not terrific weather that second day of the GP, as you may recall.

Tom Mains:                  That I recall.

Joan Hanscom:              So we were having to remove pornography in quite some not nice conditions however, “Said rider”…. So that was what, 13 years ago? 14 years ago? 2007.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              So that “Said rider” was for sure going to be a metal contender at Masters Nationals this year. So in return, I gave him a very, very special medal when he [inaudible].

Tom Mains:                  Oh, I wish I was there for that.

Joan Hanscom:              I do too. It can’t go in the show notes because it was a special medal, but I’ll send you the photo. But it was great. So he said, “Why do I get this medal? Is it just because I’m a general asshole?” I said, “No, no it’s because you are the porn king of Mercer county.” He was like, “No way.” He’s like “You waited how many years to get back at me.” I was like, “Oh yes.” So it was brilliant.

Tom Mains:                  Brilliant.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. I can’t believe you don’t remember it. But talk to Bill he’ll remind you.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah, I will for sure.

Joan Hanscom:              It was hilarious though. I’ll tell you when we’re not recording, who “Said athlete” was.

Tom Mains:                  Yes.

Joan Hanscom:              But it was funny. But then yeah. So after that, the U.S. GP man we’ve been in the trenches every at Mercer County, we had weather, weather that ate interns shoes, that killed derailer hangers that-

Tom Mains:                  Right. The last year at Mercer, which was ’09?

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  That is without a doubt the closest… I’m not a quitter but that was the closest I’ve ever come to quitting something, bike racing related in my life. I mean, it was awful.

Joan Hanscom:              It was absolutely awful. So Maura’s sitting here, she’s just listening. So Maura, we did the setup for the U.S. GP… and it’s Cyclocross season, so it’s timely that we’re talking about this. Setup up for U.S. GP, generally we took a full week to do course setup. So you saw what Andy [Tause] did with Nittany Cross-

Maura Beuttel:             Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              … [crosstalk] couple days of setup?

Maura Beuttel:             Uh-huh (affirmative).

Joan Hanscom:              Setup for us was literally a week. Sometimes when it got colder, it was 10 days of real… We had a very elaborate, dialed course set. Normally we have local organizing folks and volunteer committees that would come out and help us with the course setup. The last year in Mercer, a tropical storm came at the beginning of the week and just sat right on top of us. It was high winds and it was torrential rain. Obviously, not a single volunteer except for Bill Elliston. Right?

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              Bill, good old Bill, good old reliable Bill came out to help with course set up. So it was Bruce [Feena], Betsy, you, me and Bill. Was [Kegan] even there? [crosstalk] I don’t think so.

Tom Mains:                  He might not have been there.

Joan Hanscom:              I don’t think Kegan was there. I think he came on for Portland that year. But I just remember the five of us in the weather actually building buttress for the stakes to keep the other stakes up. Do you remember we had the stakes?

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              We had stakes to stake, the stake.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              It was just the five of us and it was the saddest, most horrifying God awful event setup I’ve ever done. Then on the race weekend, it turned out to be real nice, but-

Tom Mains:                  It was beautiful. Yeah but it was-

Joan Hanscom:              Beautiful weather. Nobody understood that we had been out there in literally a tropical storm for a week, in the middle of a tropical depression, trying to make signage stand up. But I do remember that year though, because there was so much wet grass. It was just the year of the destroyed derailer hangers. I think SRAM replaced something like 40 derail hangers. It was really high. It was like 45 derailer hangers or something like insane in like the-

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. Well the county had mowed the course way too late and it was tall grass. So there was all this grass clippings on the course and then it got wet-

Joan Hanscom:              And it just destroyed-

Tom Mains:                  That was the year we lost one of our main sponsors the week before.

Joan Hanscom:              Yes.

Tom Mains:                  We got the water truck stuck on the course we got-

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  I mean, it was just one thing after another.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  I had volunteers lined up and they all bailed on us.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. Because who’s going to come out in a tropical storm?

Tom Mains:                  It was, I mean-

Joan Hanscom:              Except for Bill.

Tom Mains:                  Yep. I don’t know if I remember, but that was the year that… I think it was Bud Light came to us last minute-

Joan Hanscom:              Yep.

Tom Mains:                  … to offer a sponsorship. We got it dialed in with them, we were all happy because we actually found a little bit of money. Then I think it was the day before, or two days before we were going to race, we were at lunch, it was pouring rain. Bud Light called me because they found out our caterer was a Miller distributor-

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  … they were going to pull the sponsorship. I mean, it was just one hit after another-

Joan Hanscom:              [crosstalk] It was so much drama that year. Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  It was awful.

Joan Hanscom:              Then everybody shows up and has a great time.

Tom Mains:                  And had a great race. Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              Yep. Yeah, I remember that one was tough. That one was-

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              That wasn’t as tough as the year… and you weren’t with us in Portland for the Big Blow. Right? Because that was-

Tom Mains:                  No. That was the same year, I think.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. It was the same [crosstalk]. It was definitely the same year.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. The following year I came on board for all the races.

Joan Hanscom:              The Big Blow year was the opposite. It was like this spectacular, beautiful week for setup. We were out there in December in t-shirts doing setup, is beautiful weather. We wake up I think Friday morning, go down to breakfast for another day of course set up, racing starts on Saturday. The headline on the newspaper was “Monster Storm”. We were like, “Oh shit.” Then we ended up racing, and the first hurricanes that hit the West Coast in like forever… It was a Pineapple Express that blew from Hawaii up the coast, up into Portland, we raced in an unbelievable hurricane situation. Which I still can’t of the officials allowed us to race. But it was the exact opposite of Mercer, it was the tropical storm that hit us on race day-

Tom Mains:                  Right.

Joan Hanscom:              … as opposed to during setup week. Yeah. Every year after that for Cyclocross, when people are like, “I want mud. Yeah. Epic!” I’m like, “You don’t know from epic. You want epic? I’ll show you epic.”

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              It was insane. But yeah, then after we stopped doing cross, Tom, for some reason we all of a sudden stopped having muddy Cross races. It was-

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. There’s been a handful, but not-

Joan Hanscom:              Not like that.

Tom Mains:                  Not like that. No. It did make a good video though.

Joan Hanscom:              It did make a good video. That is very true. So you were up in Rochester last weekend, doing Cross scoring-

Tom Mains:                  Yes.

Joan Hanscom:              … um, timing and scoring. Rochester, which I think is perhaps the most beautifully laid out course in America. I think what Scott does with his course design and his setup is just so dialed and so tight, and so pro looking. I think what Scott does with his course setup makes what we did look amateur hour, personally I think. I think he’s just got such a dialed in beautiful race course. How is the racing? Because you [crosstalk] have Cross last year. So how was it?

Tom Mains:                  Yeah, it was actually great racing. First he does a tremendous job with his production value. I haven’t been able to be up there for the last two or three races. I’ve had other commitments, I’ve had to send other people up there. Scott builds all his own stuff. He’s got a 10,000 square foot warehouse with all of his equipment in it. When I went up there this time, because I’ve been there in a couple years, I was blown away by how much new crap he has.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  The amount of stuff he has and he does a tremendous job. Um and-

Joan Hanscom:              He really does. I mean, it’s so pro.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              Shout out to you, Scott because wow.

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              It looked great on TV, so I was excited to watch it on TV.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. That’s exciting this year that all four of the USCX weekends are being broadcast on GCN and Eurosport so that was really cool. I had the coverage on Sunday on the timing stage and it looked pretty good.

Joan Hanscom:              It looked great. I thought it looked super, super good.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. I’m sure it’ll get better each week. This week the second stop is in Charm City in Baltimore. I’ll be down there for that. I’ll actually be at all four of the USCX weekends.

Joan Hanscom:              Nice.

Tom Mains:                  But yeah. The racing was great. I think because of the lack of racing last year, the points… They used the World Cup and World Championship points and everything reset last week, so everybody wanted points. So we had tremendous elite field, we had 40 plus women and close to 70 elite men.

Joan Hanscom:              Wow. Nice.

Tom Mains:                  Charm City is over 40 and close to 70 again for this weekend. So I think we’re going to have really good racing. The Charm numbers for the amateur races are insane too, there’s almost 800 people a day racing.

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, that’s awesome. That’s so good to hear. It’s good to hear people are coming back to racing.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              Then where are you going to go? So Charm this weekend?

Tom Mains:                  Oh!

Joan Hanscom:              For our listeners-

Tom Mains:                  How long is this show?

Joan Hanscom:              Right. Well, no, so for our listeners who want to get an understanding of sometimes we don’t have the results up instantly on our website, or sometimes we don’t have the results submitted to USA Cycling the second the race is over. Tell our listeners, Tom, about what your schedule looks like for the next three months?

Tom Mains:                  Okay. Well, I’ll give you just October.

Joan Hanscom:              Okay.

Tom Mains:                  So I leave Friday for Baltimore, we do a setup. We’re doing our stage, and trust, and sound and a bunch of other stuff that we provide in addition to timing, as Charm City. So we’ll do that, we’ll break it down, come home Sunday night. Wednesday, I leave for Monterey, California for Sea Otter where we’re timing the road cycling events. I’m actually taking a red eye home from Sea Otter on Saturday night, so I can be home Sunday so I can drive a truckload of fence up to the Boston Marathon, so we can do Boston Marathon fencing on Monday.

                                    Drive back Monday night from the Boston Marathon. Then I leave Tuesday with my trailer to drive to Iowa for Jingle Cross. I’ll be in Iowa until Sunday. When I’m done there, I drive to Cincinnati and park my trailer and then fly home. I’m home for a couple days, fly back to Cincinnati to do the Kings Cross on the third weekend of October. Drive my trail to Indianapolis that night when that’s over park it fly home, and then fly back to Indy on Halloween weekend to work that, and then drive home. That’s my October.

Joan Hanscom:              That’s your October. So y’all be nice to the timing people and bring them snacks. Tom does not let condiments and I don’t believe Tom drinks, coffee, but bring Tom snacks because this man does not sleep ever.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. So I think I’m going to have, I think it’s six flights and over 2000 miles of driving, just to get to my events in October.

Joan Hanscom:              That’s astonishing. What does November look like like for you?

Tom Mains:                  It’s actually a little bit lighter this year. There’s not quite as many races. I’m doing some stuff with the New York City Marathon and a handful of local races. There’s fewer UCI Races this year, and the ones up in New England are being handled by somebody else. So a little bit lighter in November, but it’s been pretty crazy this year. I mean, next weekend, worldwide, all the major marathons were postponed or delayed. So I think it’s like a 62 day window, all the major marathons are happening this fall.

Joan Hanscom:              Whoa.

Tom Mains:                  London, Tokyo was postponed, but London, Tokyo, Chicago, Boston, and New York are all happening in October and November.

Joan Hanscom:              That’s insane.

Tom Mains:                  Next weekend you’ve got the Trek World Cup. You’ve got Sea Otter, the Chicago Marathon, and the Boston Marathon are all on the same weekend.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. So all the timing guys are busy.

Tom Mains:                  Yes. I actually got a panicked call two days ago from a Trek Cup in Wisconsin because they couldn’t find fence because all the marathons bought up all the fence-

Joan Hanscom:              Ah, taken all their fence.

Tom Mains:                  … all the fence rentals. So he called me and wanted me to drive to Wisconsin with fence.

Joan Hanscom:              Wow. Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  He found a solution, but we weren’t able to do it anyway because we’re going to the Boston Marathon, so.

Joan Hanscom:              Right. I mean, so this is crazy, right? This is the crazy after effects of COVID that people don’t always think about. Here’s the swearing portion of the program. It’s 10 pounds of shit in a five pound bag. Right?

Tom Mains:                  Absolutely.

Joan Hanscom:              We’re all trying to squish our events into a very small window of opportunity. It’s great for your business, but definitely challenging too.

Tom Mains:                  No, it is just like the toilet paper shortage. I mean there was no difference in production of toilet paper. It just like we have the same capacity at time, there’s just more events and-

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Tom Mains:                  … there’s more shit than our toilet paper.

Joan Hanscom:              More demand, more demand than you can paper. Yeah. Well that’s cool. So last winter, Tom, after the things quieted down… Are you timing, Nationals? Are you going to be at Cross Nats?

Tom Mains:                  John [Galligers] timing that, I will probably we be there but in a less official capacity.

Joan Hanscom:              So after things calm down last year you did a fair bit of Zwift Racing to get in shape and get yourself all fit. You going to be doing that again this winter? Racing in-

Tom Mains:                  [crosstalk] that’s my plan. I do not like being as unfit as I am right now. So I do plan on getting back at it.

Joan Hanscom:              Right on. As you have you staffed up, right? Now you have a bunch of other people that work for you, which is kind of cool so that you can cover more events on a weekend. What’s the likelihood of seeing you out on your track bike?

Tom Mains:                  I am going to race on the track next year at some point.

Joan Hanscom:              Yay.

Tom Mains:                  I will make that promise today, you both heard it.

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Tom Mains:                  Everybody else heard it too, so.

Joan Hanscom:              It’s Talk of the T-Town, official. Tom is going to race his track bike next year. Tom, what’s your favorite discipline on the track?

Tom Mains:                  The endurance events for sure. I love the Madison. I love racing the Madison. Used to hate the missing Out or the elimination, but that’s actually a pretty fun event, now I enjoy that. Then scratch racing, points races are always fun just because I’m an endurance rider. So [crosstalk] and I can do math while I’m going fast.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. See, there you go. The advantage over the English majors who are racing bikes. But Maura and I are quite the fans of the elimination.

Maura Beuttel:             Oh yes.

Joan Hanscom:              We had a game all summer long, which was could we call accurately who was out before timing called them out? We did pretty well, I think you.

Tom Mains:                  You did very well.

Joan Hanscom:              We were racing timing. It was very funny, like who could call it first? So we had the elimination game. It was great. It was so fun working with you all summer long though. It just definitely, it took all the stress off, right? It took all the stress off. So how was it like having Doug come down and work with you? Did you learn a lot from Doug when he was down here working for some of the UCI stuff? Like you said, you’ve taken on his software, you’ve licensed his software. How is that? Was it opportunity to go deeper on the software?

Tom Mains:                  It was. Also, while I have a pretty good depth of knowledge of track racing, at the UCI level Doug is an encyclopedia. He knows everything that should be happening both in the racing and from the organizational side of it the officiating side of it. Because you had three weekends of UCI racing and the initial plan was at that point, I would be good with the software. I would just handle it with my staff, but Doug was able to come down and help us out for nationals and stuff. So he stayed at my house for an extra week. We did the first two UCI races together. It was invaluable having him here because I learned… At that point I was pretty good with the software. I don’t know that I absolutely needed him there for that, but how a UCI event should run from our side of it, it was great to have him there, so I did learn a ton.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah, that’s awesome.

Tom Mains:                  I think it made the events, that much better.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. It’s something to build from as we ramp up too, with more of that type of racing coming back online next year, hopefully in ’22, when things are ideally more normal. You know-

Tom Mains:                  Hopefully more riders can travel.

Joan Hanscom:              More riders can travel and just bigger fields again. I think that’s where the UCI fields this summer, to be very honest we made our numbers which was great, but the fields weren’t what they were in 2019. I think, when people are able to travel again and because it’s a short quad, it’s not really a quad. It’s a it’s a three, whatever, a three is.

Maura Beuttel:             Tri.

Joan Hanscom:              A tri. It’s not a quad, it’s a tri. I think those points start to become important again. So having really dialed in timing and scoring makes a big difference, particularly when those points are on the line. You’ve got to be accurate, you’ve got to be getting things right because people’s Olympic dreams sort of swing on their UCI points. So having you there and having you dialed is really cool and important.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah, no, I think it’ll be… like you said, more important now because we lost that year of Olympic qualification. So the next two years are going to be a little bit bonkers, I think if we can race the way we want to.

Joan Hanscom:              Right. Yeah, we need the COVID to go away so the folks from Europe can get on planes and come here and race bikes.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah. It was kind of weird this year because I’ve been racing at the track since the early 2000s, and every summer you had a full contingent of Aussie’s, and Kiwis, and, Polish riders, Dutch riders that would live at the track in the summer because in Australia it’s winter down there-

Joan Hanscom:              Right.

Tom Mains:                  … to not have that this year was kind of weird. I mean, it’s the first time in probably a decade or more that that hasn’t happened.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. It was super weird, especially like, in ’19 we had the entire… essentially all of Cycling Australia’s track program was here and same with New Zealand. I think we had 20 plus riders from each country here in ’19.

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              Then to not have that crew with us was definitely weird because they bring a lot, they really raise the game. Although it was nice, I think in a way after year of no Mass Start Racing for folks to maybe not jump into UCI with field limits and qualifying rounds to get into finals, in the same way. Just because nobody really had all that much Mass Start Racing in their legs, but before they got here, so.

Tom Mains:                  Right.

Joan Hanscom:              We saw a fair bit of sketch, to be honest. There’s a fair bit of sketch in some of those fields just because people were dusty, you know?

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              So hopefully everybody’s got their Mass Start legs under them next year, because we do have low to UCI inscribed already. We’ll be ready to rock next summer too, so.

Tom Mains:                  Cool.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah. Well Tom, anything else you want our listeners to know? Or are we good to go? Any other knowledge you want to impart to bike racers who are listening right now from the timing guys perspective besides bringing you snacks?

Tom Mains:                  I could spend a few minutes going on pinning number correctly, rant but-

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, please do.

Tom Mains:                  We’ll leave that for another topic.

Joan Hanscom:              We’ll have to have visuals. Right? The timing guys say, “Please pin your numbers appropriately”. All right, here’s pro tip. We’ll leave listeners with a pro tip. The little holes in the corners of your numbers, don’t use those.

Tom Mains:                  Don’t use them.

Joan Hanscom:              Don’t use them. Those are no fly zone. Don’t use the holes-

Tom Mains:                  Well, I don’t think you have holes in your numbers. Do you?

Joan Hanscom:              Well, we had cloth numbers, so no.

Tom Mains:                  Right. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              But we had the holes in the numbers for the Nationals.

Tom Mains:                  Oh?

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  Well let’s just stop that.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah.

Tom Mains:                  I know the guy that printed those numbers, I can have that stopped.

Joan Hanscom:              Yeah, there you go, no holes please. For the bike racers, don’t use those holes, they’re bad. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8 pins kids. Eight pins, no holes. Nice and flat. Don’t crumple your numbers, the timing guy hates it.

Tom Mains:                  That’s right.

Joan Hanscom:              If you put your number on your jersey, think about making it readable. Right?

Tom Mains:                  Yep.

Joan Hanscom:              Have I covered most of the bases for you there, Tom?

Tom Mains:                  I think that’s good. Yeah.

Joan Hanscom:              Okay. Cool. Well, when we stop the recording I’m going to tell you who the rider the porn king of Mercer County is-

Tom Mains:                  [crosstalk] Cool. I’ll immediately post it to my Facebook page. Just kidding.

Joan Hanscom:              There you go. All right. Well, this has been the Talk of the T-Town Podcast with our guest, Tom Mains timing guy, extraordinaire. If you see him at a bike race, please be nice because as you’ve heard from his schedule, he doesn’t get much sleep. Thank you for joining us, Tom, and thank you for your work.

Tom Mains:                  Also, thank you Joan. We’ve worked a lot of years together and you’ve also done a ton for the cycling community industry. So it’s really, really special and awesome to have you here in T-Town now, working with us in this area. So you can’t hear right now, but everyone’s giving you a round of applause too.

Joan Hanscom:              Well thank you.

Tom Mains:                  It’s great to have you here. Maura, you’ve got some big shoes to fill, but it’s also great to have you around. You’ve been wonderful this year too.

Maura Beuttel:             Yeah. I’ve got a lot to learn from Joan over here.

Tom Mains:                  Yeah, uh-

Maura Beuttel:             So.

Tom Mains:                  But it’s really special to have Joan in the Lehigh Valley, so thank you for that too.

Joan Hanscom:              Oh, you’re welcome. Thanks for listening to the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. If you liked what you hear, please give us a like whether it’s on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, wherever you consume your pod, please give us a positive review. It helps more listeners find us. Thank you so much for listening. Bye-bye.

                                    Thank you for listening. This has been the Talk of the T-Town Podcast. I’m your host, Joan Hanscom. Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. Head over to our website at thevelodrome.com, where you can check out the show notes and subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode.