Is one required to use the same Calibration Course for Pre-Calibration and Post-Calibration ?
In a word, no.
There used to be an event north of Chicago called the Lake County Races. They had at least three races- a 10K, a half marathon, and a full marathon. All of the races started at one place at the same time, and finished at different places along the route.
By the time the event had "run its course", we had calibration courses near the start, 10K finish, half marathon finish, and marathon finish. At one time or another, we used them all, and almost always used more than one in the same measurement.
When we measured the Bank of America Chicago Marathon earlier this summer, we set a calibration course at approximately the halfway point. We calibrated on the calibration course near the finish, measured the first 14 miles of the course, calibrated on the new course, measured from 14 to the finish, then re-calibrated on the course near the finish again.
If you have a point-to-point course or a long out and back course, you'll get better results with more than one calibration course, especially if they're located at the extreme reaches of the race course.
Reinforcing Jay's answer, the measurement of the Men's Olympic Trials Marathon course in Birmingham, Alabama, used two calibration courses. One was within riding distance of the start and the other was in riding distance of the finish.
The measurement of the 1984 Olympic Marathon course in Los Angeles involved use of EIGHT cal courses, one at each end and six in the middle. This led to all sorts of fun figuring out what we had.
Another calibration course trick is this: You can measure the calibration course AFTER you measure. Sometimes this is handy if traffic is light now, but won't be later. Just lay out a cal course using your counter, between two fixed reference points. Be sure it's long enough. Calibrate your bike and get out and measure while traffic is light. You can measure the calibration course later to see what you've got.
Thanks for quick and detailed responses.
Very much appreciated.
That's a great idea Pete, to measure the cal course after measuring the race course. I never thought of that. There have certainly been times I rushed though the cal course measurement trying to beat the traffic out to the race course.
Of course the price you pay is that you have to go back out to adjust your mile mark estimates, but I often have to do that anyway.
I've used 2 different cal course myself a number of times. One thing that's tricky is when they're of different lengths (Pete Volkmar, who's laid out several cal courses I've used, tends to make 1,000-footers, while I'm a 300m guy).
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