Road Rally nOOb - Now with more rallies & welcoming more Road Rally n00bs!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Boondoggle, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. markar

    markar Been here awhile

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    Everybody does it different but this was our route for the 2018 Niitwit rally.
    From highest point value to lowest was Red, Green,Blue Yellow. Shapes were Circle=Anytime, Square=Timed(only available during a certain time frame), and Triangle=Daylight Only.
    The oddball symbols were the parts of the combos. In this particular rally you had to complete a fleet and there were several different ways of doing it with points dependent on the number of states you covered. But basically you HAD to have a Sailor, Ship, Plane and Anchor.

    This rally was a "Start Anywhere" meaning it's up to you to decide from all those locations where you want to start which adds some complexity to the planning.

    niitwit.png
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  2. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yeah... THAT'S what added the complexity! :nod

    Holy crap!

    Seeing this REALLY changes my attitude from "best route" to "doable route!"

    Do you remember your thought process in deciding on this route?
  3. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    Wait a minute! I think I remember road maps! In fact, I think I still have them in my truck under the bench seat, just in case!
  4. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    I am gonna have to play with that... That really sounds like you took something complicated and made it seem easy!

    Me too! :hmmmmm

    Anybody JUST use a phone for GPS or is a stand alone GPS a must?

    Okay... play it by ear on some stuff.... got it.
  5. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    Perfect! Thanks Patch!
  6. markar

    markar Been here awhile

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    We received the bonus list a week or so ahead of the rally start so there's time to overthink everything. But in this one, getting a combo was required to be a finisher. The Niitwit rally does things weird with scoring, they work backwards in points so lowest points wins. Combo description is below. Basically, you had the option to get those 4 bonuses in the following manner, all 4 in one state, all 4 in two states, all 4 in three states and all 4 in four states. We did the all 4 in four states.

    Ignoring that, this was the best combo to get. so those 4 bonuses pretty much dictated our route. In our case we started in Fort Gibson, OK with a SHP, ANC in TX, SAI in LA and PLN in AL. There were very few choices for getting all 4, one from each state. In fact I think the one we chose was the only one available, maybe there were two options, while starting close to our home in NW Arkansas. We didn't have time to go any farther the night before the start as my wife didn't get off work till late. So after that, it was filling in the other bonuses along the route the best you can, as you can see we tried to get the highest points without straying to far from the required route to get those 4 particular bonuses

    I think this route changed a bit towards the end, we had a holdup in New Orleans as they were filming a movie at the bonus location. Took a while to get security to walk us down to the bonus, found out later that some people just called the Rally Master and said they couldn't get to it but we were dedicated and stupid. Got the picture to prove it. :lol3 Getting to that SAI bonus in southern LA was also a time sink after dark on two lane roads with a surprising amount of truck traffic but we had to get it.

    "To be a finisher you must build your fleet. A fleet consists of a Ship (SHP), a Sailor to sail it (SAI), an Anchor to stop it
    (ANC), and a Plane to protect it (PLN). How you build your fleet will determine how many points you start with, so in this
    case fewer points is better. There are many options for these bonuses. If you collect all 4 from 4 different states, you'll get
    this one.
    Collect SHP, ANC, SAI, and PLN bonuses all from 4 different states."
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  7. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks Markar! Now that makes A LOT more sense as to why you chose the route you did....

    And I saw your RR where you talked about them filming the movie! What an awesome story that you got security to walk you to the bonus! To me, those kind of stories are what make this Rally thing interesting!!
  8. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

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    When I did my first rally Microsoft Streets & Trips was one of the preferred software packages so I purchased it and started learning on it. Really sucks that Microsoft has stopped supporting it because I felt ti was a whole lot easier than Basecamp which I use now. Basecamp is okay I just don't find it as intuitive as Streets & Trips seemed to be. There are tutorials on Basecamp available and while I've printed one of them out I just can't find enough time to sit down and dedicate myself to learning it as well as I should. It's not that it's horrible because I'm doing pretty well with it. More that it could be better I suppose.

    Most of the rallies I've done, Mason Dixon 20-20, The Void Rally, Tour of Honor, Team Strange events, and some smaller local stuff Jonathan Hammy Tan an IBR finisher hosts here in Pa you get your bonus list in advance. Sometimes a week ahead sometimes just a day or 2. I've gotten bonus lists in the form of a premade .gpx file ready to import into Basecamp, as an Excel spreadsheet with lat/long that you needed to input yourself, and even as a straight text file of physical addresses you need to type in and find. The Team Strange events which you signed up for have been the kind where they just give you names and you do your own research to find them on your own. Like others have said most of us color code point values, daylight or night time only, and combo components to make life easier. I go so far as to change the names slightly so when I export my final .gpx file to my Garmin Zumo 660 each location will show me the bonus ID code which you'll need for your scoresheet but I'll leave a space then put in the point value with it. This way if I have to alter my plan on the fly I have the point values associated with each bonus in my GPS so I don't need to look at my rally book. If you have to drop a bonus because of time you want to drop the lowest point ones first. If ahead on time I can add in higher point boni.

    Any rally like Mason Dixon 20-20 or The Void Rally you need to take extra care reading the rally book. It's not uncommon for there to be a 'wildcard' bonus or two that weren't announced up front. Sometime it's bringing an unscratched lottery ticket to scoring from a certain state or a bag of unopened cookies with receipt for the rally staff. I keep a highlighter with my rally kit so I can highlight stuff and don't struggle later to find it. Pay attention to any "warnings" the rally master might give you if they hold a riders meeting prior to the start. On one of the Mason Dixon event the RM told everyone upfront in his emails to allow extra time for every bonus stop, at least 5-10 minutes. Okay.....I allotted and extra 5 thinking that should be good. Well, when you got to the point where you thought the bonus should be and looked in the rally book it then revealed the rest of the directions to the actual bonus! In one case a "real" bonus location was almost 12 miles away from the waypoint we'd been give. Lost my ass on that rally. It took me a couple of stops to catch on to the trick and once I did I had to read the rally book carefully before heading to my next stop and adjust my route according to the correction found in the book. Thankfully he only did that on one event.

    Some riders break their route down into legs of 4 or 5 bonus locations, others go point to point. I used to do the leg method until my Garmin somehow dropped a bonus location that was part of a combo string and forced me to backtrack about 40 minutes to save my route. Now I go point to point. When I get to my first location then I tell the GPS to route me to the next one on my list. I blend old school with technology in that I make up an index card for each bonus location to keep in the map pocket of my tankbag. The card will list the bonus ID, point value, address if known or lat/long, time constraints, notes on what I'm looking for, and my ETA to get there. I also allow room to fill in my actual arrival time and odometer reading to fill out my scoresheet later. Some riders fill out their scoresheet as they go but i keep notes and transfer my information on my rest break and at the end so my actual rally book and scoresheet stay dry. I outperformed another rider on the Void Rally once because their scoresheet blew out of their trunk and ended up in a stream forcing them to try and recreate their original notes.

    You'll need to play around with just how long a bonus stop will take you. In my first few rallies I allowed 15 minutes per stop for getting off the bike, taking my pictures, writing down time and odometer, and entering my next stop into the GPS. It took less than that but allowed me a cushion of time to allow for fuel stops. I've narrowed that greatly since the first events and now budget 8-10 minutes per stop with a 15 minute break thrown in every 4th stop. This way I have a small time for fuel/bio breaks accumulate if everything goes well. I always take the max rest bonus because it's hard to earn as many points riding as the extra most rally masters will give you for extended rest. I've booked rooms in advance so I knew how far I was going and I've booked a room on the fly when weather turned bad or I wasn't sure how far I wanted to push myself.

    If all of this sounds intimidating it's really not. We were all rookies at some point and I'm certainly no expert now. LOL. We're all here to help one another and are happy to guide new players through the maze.
  9. Boondoggle

    Boondoggle no good deed Supporter

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    Great stuff Chuck

    Pretty much everybody uses at least one GPS. I’m still too chicken to mount my phone up there because rally conditions are notoriously brutal. A few years ago we finished Team Lyle just a couple of hours before tornado warnings came thru the area, and last weekend’s start was kind of brutal too for the first few hours (understatement)

    I’ve found it good to have at least one backup for everything- I keep my old 62 cst loaded with waypoints and in my luggage just in case of issues.

    For example - the hot wire that powers my tank bag outlets decided it could no longer carry enough current to charge my phone or Sena on the way to Ohio on Thursday. I was able to hook into my battery charger plug, but that would have otherwise ended (or badly screwed up) my rally before it even started.

    Pretty much anything that can screw up a trip tends to be even more likely when you’re on the clock- there are some great examples of that in pretty much any rally. The 2nd place finisher from Ohio had phone charger issues AND ran out of gas!
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  10. markar

    markar Been here awhile

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    We plan with 8 minutes per stop and then 20 minutes for fuel. I can get at least 300 miles per tank so that's worked well so far. We try to be self sufficient as far as food and hydration so fuel stops don't take near that long but it's an easy way to add some buffer. Bathroom breaks take longer two up, women are just slower and she won't pee alongside the road. :lol3 For the most part, that scheduling works for route planning but there are so many things that can add time. One construction zone can kill you if you are one of those that has everything timed to the minute. And for us, having an "out" on the last part of the rally is always part of planning. And we are conservative, if we have to be at the finish at 3:00, we plan based on a 2:30 or maybe a 2:40 finish.
    And as BkerChuck said, it's almost always best to take the full rest bonus. In the limited rallies we've done, not once have I found a way to beat the points you receive for a rest bonus. Plus, most people need the sleep after sitting on the bike for 18 hours

    I am also not a fast rider, 5-7 over is about all I will do unless I'm in an area where it's wide open like TX or the western US. Some guys I know don't allow any extra time and just try to make up the stop time in extra speed. Driving isn't a critical part of my job but driving record does come into play so I just don't chance it.

    At the end of the day, for us it's about having fun, finishing well is always nice but we enjoy riding together so I try to make it as enjoyable as I can while walking through the back streets of New Orleans at midnight. :lol3
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  11. markar

    markar Been here awhile

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    Oh, make sure you have a way to keep receipts. You don't want to look like an idiot chasing pieces of paper across a huge parking lot in 35 mph TX winds. I may know somebody who had that problem. :uhoh We did recapture all of them.
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  12. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

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    Learn what constitutes a "good" receipt! In every rally I've ever done any receipt must have: Name, address including city, and state, time of day which generally must be correct including day, month, and year. If a gas receipt it must show gallons purchased and they can't exceed the capacity of your bike so no getting a receipt form a car or truck driver if you misplace yours. It's a good habit to write your odometer reading on your receipts and label them. Start, stop 1, stop 2, etc. and end. Not all rallies require this but Void Rally always has because of the multiple start locations. I keep a small Ziploc freezer baggie in my tank bag where all receipts go. I try and always put them in the case for my GPS so it's got some mass and can't just blow out in a gust of wind.

    Basecamp has a setting where you can set the speeds at which you ride based upon road type. I always let it at the default setting. Those numbers are actually a little conservative topping out at 67 mph. PA turnpike that's not even the speed limit so by letting it alone I can make some time compared to my plan. Another rider sent me his route for an event I was not participating in and asked my opinion. When I imported it I found it wasn't possible. He did not have enough time to do everything planned so I called him about it. He sets his speeds to 75-80 on all highways. I reset for his speeds and while doable I never would have attempted it myself. He was going to cut it WAY too close for my way of thinking. Everyone has their own limits and you need to ride according to yours. No amount of right wrist can overcome a bad plan.

    The most important thing through all of this is to have fun. Pressuring yourself of allowing others to make you feel pressured is BS. Ride safe, ride smart. Have fun with the Team Strange event. I came up with about 10 locations just in Ohio with a few more requiring only short border crossings into PA and WV. Play around with making a couple of routes of loops getting a couple of locations each trip. Treat it like a mini rally by planning your start time with a time limit to get back home and string together some locations. See how long it takes you to get your photos, to get fuel, and bio/food breaks. It's great practice and will give you a feel for it.
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  13. Boondoggle

    Boondoggle no good deed Supporter

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    One thing about speed: 75 is a lot faster than 65, but 80 isn’t all that much faster than 70 and will wear you out a lot sooner.

    Not everybody agrees with me on that, though :lol3
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  14. Patch

    Patch Long timer

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    @BasicJim here is my 'final' route in BaseCamp. Like has been said, everyone does it a bit differently but this time I chose to break up the bonus point values by shape, then color for timed ones. This is opposite what @markar showed above. I have done it both ways and this seems to suit me better for shorter 1-2 day rallies. For RnR I did cubes for highest, rectangle for mid-high, circle for mid-low and triangle for low. Green was anytime, blue was daylight (sky?) and red was timed. I didn't alter the combo stops as there was only 5 because I only did the one. So my route required me to go to Memphis and Tuleop from Ohio. I then tried to tag in as many as I could 'on the way' while managing my time. The other pink line you see is the time-zone line, very helpful on a rally that crosses it as (almost) all times in a rally are considered Rally HQ time.
    Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 10.22.26 AM.png
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  15. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    This stuff is pure gold! I sure appreciate everyone's input! I am definitely going to do a couple SoC runs simulating that they are during a 10 hour or 12 hour time window. That should give me a little bit of a dry run in case I decided I'm crazy enough to do something like The Void.

    So let me clarify here... You take the bonus points and put them into Base camp. You determine what route you want to take and map that out in Basecamp. Then you transfer either just the Waypoint or the waypoints and the route over to your GPS. Then you follow the route or select your way points one by one.

    Does that sound accurate?

    Does that sound accurate?
  16. Patch

    Patch Long timer

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    Thats pretty much it .. bonus waypoint data into BaseCamp (or any other mapping program) then create a route from point to point validating the time it will take with the time you have. Allow for time at each stop and fe-fueling so you don;t overextend and then send those waypoints and routes to GPS.

    This past rally I actually imported and navigated from the "route" I created but sometimes I'll have 1 GPS only with the waypoints and then I navigate from one to the next as I go. I find the actual route is good to keep an eye on my final ETA while its easier to change plans and reroute to other bonus stops using point to point.

    Lastly, While google and waze are pretty accurate you'll soon see that GPS routing can surprise you. The route planning software and the gps must be set to the same traveling/routing preferences. Re-calulating routes in the gps can sometimes take you a different way than you planned. Like dead into a city at rush hour for example because it is "shorter". It will still follow the route but strange things can/will happen like having you exit a highway and then simply get right back on. Thats why most use 2 nav units. When they don't agree (which can be often) you get to really have some fun.
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  17. MikeH Adv

    MikeH Adv Adventurer

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    Bonus point path: Usually get a list of them on a usb drive. Copy that list to excel, add the point value & availability to the name, export to streets & trips, find a good route, or multiple routes, write down order of route & expected arrival times on paper, export route & all the waypoints to gps. For those of us with more than one gps we do both methods, the route on one and point to point on the other. Also depends on the length of the rally as the route may be too long. OR if I have to be at a specific bonus in a time window, my route will end there so I can make sure I'm maintaining the proper pace during the day. Then I'll continue on to the finish.
    Biggest thing I wished I had known: Nothing goes completely to plan, expect things to go wrong. Plan the ride, ride the plan, adjust the plan, adjust again, keep riding, finish. The fun is in the good & the bad and being able to share the bad with everyone at the finish. Its the most fun a person can have on a bike. Show up with a gps, phone, descent riding gear, a pen, and go make memories. Computer with routing software is optional.
    There is alot more that I can add but I need to collect all my thoughts on that and lunch break is over :)
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  18. BasicJim

    BasicJim Been here awhile Supporter

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    Got my flag for SoC! It's still going to be a week before I can get out and get some points!

    I am trying to figure out what I need as far as a GPS. I am pretty tech-savvy, but I don' think using my cellphone alone is going to cut it. Is there a 'preferred' GPS for a rally? Anyone have a gps they absolutely love? Any I should avoid?

    Thanks!

    Jim
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  19. Boondoggle

    Boondoggle no good deed Supporter

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    I'm still using my Zumo 390LM and like the updates and interface, but the screen is kind of small for on-the-fly adjustments. Next one will be bigger
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  20. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

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    I'm content with my Garmin Zumo 660 but a bigger screen would be nice. I did use an automotive unit in a RAM mounted waterproof box but quickly learned that doesn't work very well for very long. The main drawback seems to be the power cord. The constant vibrations present on a motorcycle make the gradually a looser and looser fit until either toe power cord or the connection in the GPS itself fails. Most folks I've spoken with agree that it'll work for about 2 years and then it's shot.

    I was just in Marietta, OH last weekend for a FJR1300 meet. Between the ride out, running around, and the ride home I hit 7 SoC locations. You have a target rich environment out there! Happy hunting!
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