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Just wondering how you folks deal with this problem. I measured a local 8K and marked all the splits and gave the race director the course map with references to fixed permanent locations.
The course was such that most splits were in reference to a light pole or hydrant that was 100 feet away as there was nothing else distinguishable nearby and in the pitch dark it was difficult to locate them. The obvious thing I could have done was to use white which I was out of at the time.
I was not worried about using bright green as the course director assured me he would go on site to locate all of the splits before the race. This proved to be untrue despite his best intentions.
Luckily I decided that though I couldn't actually run the race that I would get up at 4AM to run the course 4X for a 20 mile training run. (yes I added the extra 204 yds+ ) Smiler
It was a good thing I was there--you just couldn't make out the splits in the dark easily and I found myself taking the mile markers from the truck and like a 25 Lb baton running with them to their split locations as I passed the pickup with cones setting up the course.
I always try to be sensitive to communities to not over paint making an eyesore yet bold enough to be sighted easily by using spray paint that eventually washes away after a couple weeks and keeping the nail/washers as the obvious marks to repaint next year.
Do you folks ever use paint with glass that leaves a more permanent mark? Is white paint the only thing that would have helped here (besides a pre-ride of the course by the race director) or is there a better solution? I know some folks take pics w/digital cameras too to give to the RD--realize it was 5 AM and this guy was just skimming the map trying to find the splits day of (even loaned him my GPS..).
--Matt Sonneborn
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I'd agree with Scott - screw worrying about offending the residents' aesthetic sensibilities with your markings.

I did have an experience in tony Southport (home to Phil Donahue and other celebs) a few years back. We put down the split marks after dark, and someone came out after that and painted over all of them with black paint. Some poetic justice in that our spray chalk would have faded after a few weeks, but his paint was visible for months. I bet it was the same guy who accosted me on race morning another year and threatened to call the police if we didn't erase the marks after the race.
I often use two colors, some show up better in different lights.

I also find a nearby white or yellow lane marker, a stripe painted down the side of the road or a stripe in the center. Then, with dark paint, I put a couple of bars across it.
This helps me locate the vicinity of the real nail.

Since the highway department was nice enough to put down reflective paint, my small dark marks on their stripe show up wonderfully.

When possible one of us goes out the night before to bang in wooden stakes on S,F and marks. We paint the stakes flourescent orange, and staple a bit of yellow corrugated plastic to them. (Same stuff you make signs out of.)

A wooden stake, right by the road, driven in a foot or so, with a 5LB hammer, tends to stay put. Show up very well in headlights. Makes it easy for the people putting out mile mark signs and water stops to find.

You can indicate on the yellow plastic something like M2 or W1 so they don't put water stops on mile marks, etc.

I put on a very official looking yellow safety jacket with reflective stripes when putting out marks. Keeps me safe and probably makes onlookers think I am from the city or something.

One night before a race, we were out looking for a mark while driving a car. Up comes a cop with lights on, he leans out and says "I am sure there is a good story you have as to why you are driving down my sidewalk in the middle of the night.... I am dying to hear it."

We step out wearing our 'official looking' reflective jackets and say "We are just attempting to locate a survey mark" and the problem solved.
I've taken to using white paint for night rides and like Jim, I'm not too concerned with offending the residents.

When I'm calibrating my bike at night I refresh the end markings with white paint and add a couple of warning stripes at 20 to 30 foot intervals at each end of the cal course, leading up to the end point. The warning stripes let me know that the mark is coming up and give me an opportunity to slow and downshift.

Here in the northeast, many of the courses are in high trafficked areas, even at night. Last year I bought a lighted safety vest and it's a real comfort when measuring to know that I"m very visible.
I help set up a half marathon course in a park where we are not allowed to mar the road surface with either paint or nails. To top it off, the split locations have to be found well before sunrise. The nails are planted at the edge of the road (where they are often covered with gravel) and finding them in daylight can be a challenge. I have a record of the splits' locations in relation to landmarks, as well as GPS waypoints recorded to aid in finding them. The afternoon before the race I lay down brightly coloured duct tape on the road and plant a 1 m long stake with a reflector on the side of the road. The reflectors are quite visible in the dark from 30 - 50 m when they're illuminated by a vehicle's headlights.

Some other tricks I use for night measuring. I place flashing LED tail lights and/or traffic cones at the ends of the calibration course in addition to freshening up the paint. I have a 10W halogen lamp attached to my helmet which makes reading notes, calculators and counters a lot easier.
I think the question was about finding the marks in the dark. Measuring in the dark is quite a diffrent kettle of fish.

I find that once the light fades my counts are not as repetable. My cal course is right outside my house. 1/2 a mile, dead flat and stright as an arrow. In full daylight, and so long as the wind is not strong, the counts are very consistant, often running exactly the same or one up, one down. As soon as the light fades the same bike, at the same temp, adds counts. The wobbles must be me in the fading light.

When doing a local course I make sure to get back to base in time to do my second set on the cal course before the light starts to fade. Once the visiblity gets poor it adds counts, that means I will have to go back out and lenthen the course!

Intestingly, after riding in the eaving and getting more counts, I have taken the bike out next morning in the full day light been able to ride as well as the first day. Right on the mark again.

Sometimes I find it hard to accuratly ride the shortest path, even with full day light. You have to look a good way ahead to figure out just where you need to be heading. Much harder to ride shortest path in the dark.

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