The tool for the job

The tool for the job
Buell Ulysses XB12xr In North Eastern Arizona

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2011 Minuteman 24Hour Rally... To Infinity and Beyond !!!! Or where I learned to have fun again.

The lead up to this event was nothing short of a marathon for me, With the change of the event date from last years June date and major pressures of life weighing heavily on me, I went into this event stressed, not rested as I would have liked, and just not into it.  
The day the bonus list was released I ended up working a late night at work so when I got home all I was able to do was load the data into my spreadsheets and Nav software before trying and getting a few hours sleep for the next work day.
I am going into this event not near as prepared as I would like, The competitor in me is not happy.
On my way out the door to head to the Rally, My wife reminds me ....
Remember to have FUN...
After a mixed weather ride I arrive to the rally hotel and see familiar bikes and faces 

I check in and register and when the rally staff takes my picture for my memory card, I make a point of trying to smile.

Now I have some time to kill and wait for my roommate to show up so we can check into the hotel, So I go out to the parking lot and check out the latest technology in LD world.

The new Honda auxiliary fuel system 

On a Moto Guzzi

C.R.A.P fuel cell systems ..

 After a great dinner, the food at this event is first class. Thanks Max BMW for such a great meal !
We get our rally books, Now I had been putting a route together and there was one bonus that was causing me some headaches.
We are required to show up at Max BMW by 14:45 and receive a 500 point bonus for every minute before 14:59 at 15:00 you get nothing, then you loose 650 points for every minute after 15:00 till 15:15. After 15:15 you receive a 70,000 point penalty. Ouch...
It was a challenge but I put a route together, Of course as I am fretting over my route in back in our room  
 My roommate who is doing the Saddlesore ride tells me that what I am doing is just for fun...

The highlighted route is the 1000 mile Saddlesore route. The flags are Bonus locations
The green star is our hotel/ Start-Finish 

I agree and get the lights out early and try and get to sleep.
But I am still concerned about the route, and I sleep poorly until I work out what is wrong with my route  in my head.

The day the World Ended...

The date of our event was May 21 2011, The day that some folks had predicted would be Judgement Day. More on that later...
Well, to turn on the TV to check the weather and have the movie "The Day the World ends" come on the screen made me just laugh. If this is a sign, I think I am going to have a fun day.
Well the bike is loaded, I am as ready as I am going to be, so I wonder the impound area and I wish my
 fellow riders a safe ride.
My roommate Sam Booth heading out to do his Saddlesore ride

Other riders in last minute preparation.

At 6:02am I am heading out to my first bonus, The Space Sugar Bonus. 2500 points.
The first Maple Syrup to go into outer space came from this sugar house. The syrup went up on a Space shuttle mission.
Other riders at the location.

The roads in and out were very interesting, But FUN on the Buell.

The ride to the next location are all on back roads that are just beautiful, I am riding in the rain but the back country Massachusetts and Vermont roads are just twisty and fun. 
The next Bonus, Hogback Mountain gift shop deck in Vermont. 2500 points
And the view is To Infinity and beyond !

One of my goals for this event, was to not repeat the mistakes I made last year, one major blunder I made last year was to not pick up the rally master's favorite maple syrup. So I was noting sugar houses as I heading to Brattleboro Vt till I see the open light turn on as I drive by one. Pull a quick U turn and stop at the Paradise Farm Sugar house. 10,000 points.

While I am completing my purchase, a young woman comes out of the back room with some fresh donuts. I decide this would be a great time for a brief break and I enjoy a coffee and a donut. 
You know what, this is fun..
Back out on the road I get my next stop in Brattleboro Vt.
Planet gas station. 750 points.

To Infinity and Beyond ???  In Ascutney Vt. 3700 points.

After leaving the Magic Mushroom I get on the interstate and head north to pick up some high point locations in the north part of the state. I see that I am doing good on time so I decide to change the order of my plan and stop in Hanover N.H. 
Here on the campus of Dartmouth College I was to look for the sign for the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. On my way to the location I was stopped by a police officer and was told that a marathon was coming through, and to hang out for a moment. 
So I shut the bike off and wait for the large group of women runners to come past. The group went by in about 5 minutes and I am released by the officer and I continue on my way. Well now I can not find the sign, I recheck the bonus list and punch in the street address. That puts me right back were I was stopped  for the marathon, I guess I should not have been looking at the girls ....
CRREL. 2100 points.

Back in the rain again ..

The next location is on Rt 100 on the way to Stockbridge Vt, I find the location that was an advertisement  for Emerson Motor Works, A BMW motorcycle repair shop. Sadly the David Segal the owner of the shop passed away in March. 
9000 points.

The fantastic roads heading northwest to my last location before I turn around and head for the New Hampshire seacoast to make the very important Max BMW bonus.

After going up into the mountains in the picture above, I get to Ripton Vt. home of the Robert Frost farm and take my picture of the Ripton Community center. 8500 points.

More Ripton Vt 
Somewhere on the road heading to New Hampshire and the Max BMW Bonus.
And yes it is raining hard now, but my rain gear is holding up well.

I see that I am still doing Ok on time so I decide to pick up an extra location on my way to Max BMW. 
Now this was one of the locations that had 2 bonuses at the same location. When you zoomed in on the GPS a second flag would pop up at the location. So though I was close on time, a two for one stop was worth the risk of being late at Max BMW.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Take a picture of the  full-sized replica of a Mercury-Redstone rocket. 5750 points
Then as a second bonus at the same location I needed to find. It was a question bonus asking who had flown a Vostok Class 1 rocket.
The Vostok 3KA spacecraft was launched on April 12, 1961. The flight took Yuri Gagarin, a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union, into space. The flight marked the first time that a human entered outer space, as well as the first orbital flight of a manned vehicle.
This bonus required me to write the information in my Rally book. 2450 Points.

Now it is time to turn and burn, I have 50 minutes to cover the 55 Miles to get to Max BMW. This is all on multilane highway and the GPS estimates I will make it at 2:45pm, the opening time for the bonus location. Of course driving habits of the local drivers works against me, it seems that you can run your limousine in the passing lane at the speed limit for miles on end. This caused some dangerous passes by some of the other drivers on the road passing in the breakdown lane. Nearing my exit , the limo pulls out of the left lane and the assembled cars rocket down the road. Of course to late to be of any benefit to me.

Max BMW bonus, 2 minutes late, 6000 points earned, Lost 1000 points being 2 minutes late.
Riders got some great food and drink and used this mandatory stop to fine tune the next segment of the rally.
I had to see the new BMW GTL, I wish I had the time to take that for a ride.

One member of the rally staff, Bob L. Has a photo album of this stop.
I used the time here to work on my second leg and eat and drink. I stayed here till 3:30 to hone my second leg to my satisfaction and get a bathroom break in.

The first stop of the second leg..
The University Of New Hampshire Observatory. 6800 points 

From Durham NH, I then headed to Derry NH to find the Forest Hill cemetery
This bonus required me to find what was engraved on a gravestone and write that information in my rally book.
Derry NH was the Boyhood home of Alan Shepard, The first American in space.
The family plot
The answer to my question. 1998.    7200 points

From the cemetery I had to find the high school in Derry and find who donated the sign.
 The answer to the question.  + 4000 points

This was the last bonus in New Hampshire that I was going after. Now I am heading south towards Boston to get to another group of bonuses.
The first was another double bonus at one location, 
One of the bonus requirements was to take a picture of the train at the station, When I got to the station I realized that there is no locomotive on display at the station, To get a picture of the locomotive I would have had to wait for the next train that was due to arrive 1hr 30 minutes later. So I skipped that bonus and did the second bonus at the location. 1150 points

The next bonus I went to, I did because of the Irony of the bonus.
Judgement Day  7250 points
This was one of my favorite locations of the event, Just to be able to get a time stamped picture on Judgment day after 6 o'clock at a billboard was just to cool ! 
But back to work getting bonus locations 

The next location was to be the Smithsonian Observatory in Cambridge Mass. This would take me across Boston and through the campus of Harvard. The funny thing is.. The only traffic jamb I was stuck in the entire rally, was on the Harvard campus. 
5000 Points 
This will be the last daylight bonus I will be getting, from here on out it will be harder to get my pictures. 
The next location was heading out of Boston, in Westford Mass
The Amateur Telescope makers club. 
I had to wonder what the folks inside thought when I lit up he place with all my lights, Well it does not matter. Another 1800 points in the bag and now we have some commuting to do to get to Auburn Mass to get our next bonus.
That folks is my first big mistake of the rally, The rally book stated to take a picture of Robert Goddard's first liquid fuel rocket . I had seen pictures of the first rocket and I KNEW this was not it, but the rocket had a tag with Robert Goddard's name on it. I found out later in scoring that the correct rocket was in a glass case off to the side, very hard to see at night. So if  had I looked a little harder I would have found it, 6600 points LOST.
At this point it was time for me to take my 2 hour rest bonus. I found a McDonald's near the park with the Rocket and a 24 hour gas station to get start and stop receipts.
My data at this point 
Rest Bonus 25,000 points 
Ate some food and worked on my paperwork all by myself in the Mc Donald's. I double checked my plan for the last segment of the rally and found myself ready for the last leg of the event. As I check the bike over for the last leg, It starts to rain again, misty and foggy so caution will be in order for the run to Hartford CT.

Woody's hot dogs is in this Building. 4000 Points and off to the last group of bonus locations in New Milford Connecticut. The rain finally stopped and it got a lot warmer, I got to the High School at 2:55 am and started wandering the grounds of the high school. I finally found the first planet to take a picture of .

There was 6 similar markers that I found in the town that I got, It was a hunt to find some of them, But it was cool wondering around a town at 3+am while watching other riders riding around looking for the same markers.
Another nearby Bonus was .....
Lovers Leap State park, 2000 points, And now I can say that I have been to the real Lovers Leap !
I get my last bonus that I can grab before running out of time, before heading back to Rally H.Q by 6 am.
Our Galaxy ...

The GPS says I have 1 hour and 45 minutes to get back to the rally hotel. I get on the road and head out. The roads are back country roads and it has started to rain so caution is in order, plus I have seen my fair share of forest rats and other critters.
About 30 minutes out I see a large flash under my bike, My right aux lamp mounting has failed. I had practiced securing a broken lamp with wire ties on a test run a week earlier so it was not a big deal. But it cost me 7 minutes. Now I am going to be late .....
Go a little further and the left lamp does the same thing, I had stashed the extra wire ties in my tank bag so this stop was about 5 minutes. So now I am going to be late for real.

So this is where it gets interesting, My mind says STAY CALM, My body wants to just open the throttle wide open and tear ass ....
I find a balance of speed and conditions till I get to the closed bridge....
$%&K many times in my helmet .
Now panic sets in and the mistakes just start to pile on. Biggest mistake was a blind trust of the GPS. It made me take a turn that directed me away from the Interstate highway, and over a mountain pass in the fog. By the time I realized that I had made a mistake it was too late to turn around and head in the correct direction. I stop again to see what else the GPS had in store and plan my route back to the hotel.

I arrive 20 minutes late ......But in the penalty window at least ! And not DNF for being late.

The broken lamp mounts ... 

I has a great time despite the weather and adversity, I finished 12th and I am very happy with that finishing position.

The Minuteman was another great time again, I loved the theme and I got to go to cool places again.
I want to thank Rob Nye, Max BMW and crew for another great event. I plan on coming back next year.

Thanks for stopping by to read this... Carl

07/22/2011 Addendum 

I wanted to post some stats.
My official rally statistics are....
Corrected miles 831... Rally time ...24:20 and I was the last 24 Hour rally rider in the barn.
points 152100.... points per mile 183.03

The winner, Jim Abbott
Corrected Miles 878... Rally time 23:58... Points 194360....
Points per mile 221.36 ...

I still have a long way to go, But I learn so much each time I do a rally .