User feedback on our new climb gradient visualization has been awesome. And the response to our survey was great, but there was not a clear winner. So, we thought it would be fun to let users submit their own designs. So we extended our web-based Tour Tracker to allow YOU to be the designer.


All you have to do is go to the URL listed below (on your laptop) and then start tweaking the design by changing the URL values. Below the URL is a list of options you can change / add to the URL. You can see your design better if you click on one of the climb icons on the profile and then select Gradients. Once your design is perfect, send us the final modified URL to support@thetourtracker.com. The best designs will be shared in the app and the top design will get TEAM coverage for life! Good luck!


http://live.thetourtracker.com/?show_gradients=true&gradient_colors_type=color_get_lighter&gradient_color=ff0000


Values you can set in the URL:

gradient_colors_type: This controls the basic design of the climb gradient graph. Values are:

  • color_alpha_blend - A single color (red) will be blended on top of the profile color from transparent to opaque. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

  • four_colors - There are four colors in increasing grade: green, blue, black, red. Setting gradient_color_1=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB, gradient_color_2=RRGGBB can override these colors.

  • color_get_darker - A single color (red) will go from bright to dark. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

  • color_get_lighter - A single color (red) will go from dark to bright. Setting gradient_color=RRGGBB can override the default.

Tour Tracker users might have noticed I make not-entirely-infrequent references to Time Machine, our feature that lets you rewind / play / fast-forward the app to any point in time. And I have to admit, it is my favorite feature in the app by far, so this tech article is about that.

What is Time Machine?

The idea behind Time Machine is that you should be able to go back in time and see exactly what was happening at any moment in the race. What was the GPS tracking system showing? What commentary had the reporter last posted? What were the standings at that moment? And then, naturally, you should be able to tell the app to "play" the race from that moment forward.

Why is Time Machine?

The original and still primary goal is to let users synchronize our race data with any tape-delayed video from the race. All of the exclusive live data and commentary available "as live" while you are watching the race, pausing and skipping forward as you wish. Originally the controls for "pausing and skipping forward" were minimal, but as of the 2020 TDF the apps have a video-player-like control bar with buttons to do just that.

Integrated Video Playback

And even cooler, when a Tour Tracker app has live video embedded in it - for example we provide the official TDF coverage for Australia and the United States - pausing and rewinding race video automatically rewinds the data for you. Or if you rewind the data using our UX, the video will adjust accordingly. It is pretty much magic.

I say "magic" but I have definitely spent more time (like thousands of hours) working on this feature that for years I had no idea if anyone at all was using. I was actually excited when I got my first email complaining about a bug in Time Machine. Someone was using it!

But let's get away from story telling and down to the details.

Enter, Control and Exit Time Machine

You can start Time Machine several ways:

  • On the mobile apps, select Time Machine from any stage's detail page. That brings up a page that lets you type in a distance to go (typically the easiest thing to see on a race video) and jump to that point in time. Voila.

  • Alternatively, tap any icon on a stage's map or profile, which brings up details about that climb, sprint, etc. That page will also have a Time Machine item that when selected, will bring up the "distance to go" page with the distance already filled in for the icon you selected. We actually start a little before the icon, assuming you want to see the last few minutes of a battle to the top of a climb or a sprint line.

  • On the web, you can just double-click anywhere on the stage profile or on the icons and jump to that point without typing in anything. You can also double click on any commentary post and it will take you back to that moment.

To control Time Machine:

  • On the mobile apps, the Time Machine control bar is always available at the bottom of the screen. Using that you can rewind - tapping once goes back 1km, holding your finger down will repeatedly go back - go forward, pause, restart and stop entirely.

  • You can also tap the distance to go to rotate what data is displayed there between distance to go, distance covered, time elapsed and the actual time of day.

  • Currently on the web, just double-click on the profile again to reset the time. Working on adding a control bar soon!

To exit Time Machine:

  • On the mobile apps, tap the stop button (a square) on the Time Machine control bar.

  • Alternatively go back to the "distance to go" page and tap Stop Replay.

  • On the web, an Exit Time Machine button shows up on the Profile view. Odd but true.

Cool Things To Do With Time Machine

  • Synchronize your video and our data to have an exclusive "as live" experience.

  • Relive any moment of race just using our amazing reporting and data feeds.

  • Hold down the fast forward button and see some cool things happen, including...

  • View the profile of the stage and watch the gaps grow and shrink throughout the day.

  • View the new virtual standings and see the exact time of day when the leader's jersey changed hands.

For our first Tour Tracker Tech article, we cover out expanded Favorite Rider features in the app! Following are the key features in this new support:

  • Add / remove any rider from your list of favorite riders by tapping the yellow star in the upper-right of the rider's profile page.

  • Add / remove any team from your list of favorite riders by tapping the yellow star in the upper-right of the team's profile page.

  • In both cases, your favorites are now remembered across races!

  • See your list of favorite riders from the My Favorite Riders list on the Riders page.

  • Filter almost any list in the app to show only your favorites by tapping the yellow star at the top of the list next to the search box. On Android, you can reveal this by tapping the search icon in the titlebar. On iOS you can drag down on the list to reveal it, or there is a Setting to show it by default.

  • The lists that are supported as of this writing include any list of riders (by name, position, country, speciality), teams, results and the stage commentary feeds.

  • For the commentary feed only comments that include a mention of the rider / team will be shown. Note that this feature depends on the reporter using the rider's or team's full name.

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