Styrkeprøven 2024 – the Norwegian Public Roads Administration withdraws the permit: The case is appealed!

Styrkeprøven believes there is no basis for withdrawing the permit since this decision is based on a bug in the software we are required to use, but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration would not do anything about this after the withdrawal was sent to us by letter. Therefore, the case must now be appealed to the Directorate of Public Roads.

Unfortunately, Styrkeprøven is once again having problems with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. We have adapted the course to their wishes and we now believe that the communication between them and us is much better than before. We may have made a mistake because the road authorities have now withdrawn the permit they had given us to arrange Styrkeprøven in 2024.

When we were granted permission to organize the event, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration also made some special demands on us. Among other things, we should have fully updated Bikemaster with route and trail guards according to the police’s decision by 3. May. Bikemaster is a fairly advanced but also complicated web-based program that shows maps of the course and where the guards are located. Bikemaster is also the program that delivers rosters showing start and end times for the different shifts.

We had therefore updated Bikemaster, all guard posts and the time period for guards in accordance with the police’s decision and driving plans for the race on the same day, Thursday, May 2, as we sent a letter to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration with some minor changes to the route and updated driving plan based on new estimates of the number of participants. This is also reflected in the sentinel lists provided by “Guard Manager”, an important part of Bikemaster for us as organizers. “Guard Manager” is the tool organizers use in Bikemaster to have a complete overview of all the guards, the time periods for the various guards, the guard instructions and where we also enter information about who will be on guard at the relevant location. From here, we also send out shift instructions to the guards by e-mail and/or SMS.

However, there has been a bug in Bikemaster that has caused the system to operate with two different times for ending shifts. The lists we as organizers use, taken from “Guard Manager”, have been correct, but they have not corresponded with the lists used by the road authorities to check that the roster is in accordance with the roadmap for the event.

What has now happened is that the road authorities have discovered that all the shifts from Trondheim to Oslo have an end time for the shift that is 45 minutes earlier than the time that the last participant is expected to pass. This deviation of 45 minutes is due to the fact that in the lists retrieved by the road authorities, the end of a shift is only based on the start time of the first starting pool. Since we are now planning for the first start in Trondheim to be at 10:00 am. 04:00 and the last start in Trondheim is at 04:45, the deviation will be consistent at 45 minutes all the way to Oslo. The rosters that we, as organizers, use and relate to are taken from “Guard Manager”: They have always had a correctly calculated end time for the guard based on the start time of the last starting pool (with the lowest entered expected speed of the participant).

Bikemaster confirms to us on Friday 10. May, that there are no other events where this systematic bug has become a problem in relation to the road authorities or the execution of the rides. We assume this is due to the very special control regime we are subject to in advance of this year’s event.

Bikemaster fixed this bug on Thursday 9. May, so that the lists that the road authorities use in their work now also follow the form for the lowest set speed on the participant with the start time in the last set pool. This means that Bikemaster currently has no discrepancy between the end time of a guard post and when the last participant is expected to have passed the guard post according to our updated schedule.

Bikemaster is a complicated program with many advanced features that can be difficult to navigate. Nor is it self-explanatory and not something either the road authorities or organizers of cycling races use on a daily basis.

We have seen this discrepancy before, but when we checked this with Bikemaster, we got an understanding that this is how the system is programmed in that both start and end times for the shifts are calculated from the same time in one overview. However, “Guard Manager” displays all start and end times correctly. We assumed that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration was also aware of this situation in Bikemaster and would refer to the correct list of all guard posts with start and end times in their control.

It now turns out that it was still possible for us as an organizer to manually correct the deviation, but this would require more expertise in the system and would not be an obvious operation in “Guard Manager”. We didn’t become aware of this situation until now after an extra round with Bikemaster about the problem.

We find it very regrettable that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration did not contact us when they discovered this systematic deviation of 45 minutes for all guard posts. When they instead choose to withdraw the permit without a clarifying dialog beforehand, this creates an unnecessary conflict.

Styrkeprøven AS has asked the Directorate of Public Roads to immediately rescind the decision by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to withdraw the permit to arrange Styrkeprøven 2024. It was per 3. There were no discrepancies between the roster and the updated schedule for the event. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s reason for withdrawing the permit for the event due to discrepancies between the guards’ duty period and the stated timetable is due to the fact that the organizer and the road authorities have relied on different overviews of the guard posts produced in Bikemaster.

Bikemaster has subsequently realized that the system setup must be changed, and has therefore implemented such a change with immediate effect. If this error had been changed before 3. May, the road authorities would not have found any discrepancies in the sentry layout.

Withdrawing the permit for a race with more than 50 years of history due to complicated circumstances related to a bug in a computer program that shows the route and guard posts would be a very special decision. Especially when the data entered by the organizer has been correct so that all guards operated within the timetable that was prepared, and the problem really is that the organizer and road authorities have used different lists from the program, of which the list SVV has used has shown the wrong end time for the guard post.

Example of error: Stationary guard Thirteen
(We apologize if it is not possible to see the full illustrations on mobile.)

In a letter from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, the following is shown:

For information: SVV relates to the “Duty period” which is reproduced at the very bottom of the picture, slightly to the right of the figure illustrating a stationary guard. This illustration is from their refusal, and SVV has written some of the text from the figure from Bikemaster in the refusal above the map section. They probably did this because it would otherwise be unreadable.

If we retrieve a complete overview – this is the list we use – of all guard posts from “Guard Manager” at Bikemaster, we find the following:

From the image above, the bottom line shows the guard post at Tretten. First of all, we notice that the first two columns with a light blue background show the start time and end time of this guard post, i.e. 1:00 pm. 12:05 and at. 21:00.

We see that the guard post is not finished until the last rider has passed according to our timetable (start at 04:45 in Trondheim and with an expected average speed of 19 km/h). This is also shown in the last column with a light pink background.

Now notice that if a rider had started in Trondheim at 10:00 am. 04:00 (first group) and had an average speed of no more than 19 km/h, the participant had passed Tretten at 04:00 (second group). 20:15.

When we retrieve a complete printout of the sentinel list with description from Bikemaster, the following information appears:

The fact that the shift ends at 21:00 at Tretten is consistent with our stated schedule for the event.