Sunday, August 30, 2009

Minute Man 1000 - My First 24 Hour Long Distance Rally

I have been a little lazy over the summer updating my blog. On June 6, 2009 I completed my first 24 hour rally, the Minute Man 1000. The Minute Man is based in the New England states and started and ended in Northampton, Mass. In a 24 hour rally, a rider must collect points by visiting locations that are selected from a group of bonus locations. It is not possible to travel to all bonus locations, so a rider attempts to select/plan the most efficient route, collecting as many bonus points as possible and arriving back to the starting location within 24 hours.

The rallymaster was Rob Nye. The rally was an absolute blast. I rode the 92 FJ1200 in the rally and I received a lot of comments on the bike. I met many experienced rally riders and asked lots of questions.

All kinds of things went wrong on my first rally. I had spent the week previous to the rally planning my route. However, I waited for the rally book to be handed out at the dinner before finalizing the route. When I went to upload the data to my Garmin Quest GPS, the unit completely crashed and could not be reset. I ended up staying up most of the night before the start of the rally simplifying my route and recording the route on paper maps. The riders meeting was at 5:30am and I was starting my first 24hr rally with no sleep!

I messed up on my very first bonus location..... I ended up visiting the wrong cemetery and

almost ran out of gas. I also overslept on my rest bonus by 1 hour. The rest bonus must be 2 hours long and I choose to have a quick bite to eat at an Applebees restaurant and then slept in my very first "Iron Butt" motel which was the grassy ditch in front on Applebess. I have a very loud alarm called a "Screamin Meanie" but for whatever reason I did not set it correctly or I turned it off before waking up. I ended up arriving at the finish location at 23 hours and 45 mins or 15 minutes before I would have received penalty points.

I was nervous at the scoring table, and I was informed that one of my big point bonuses was disqualified as I had answered the question wrong. The bonus was at the top Equinox Mountain and we were asked what could been seen in the coin operated binoculars at 66 degrees. I was very careful to place the binoculars at exactly 66 degrees and I was certain that there was a dead tree exactly in my field of that is what I answered. Well it turns out that there was some kind of sign which I did not see that described all the views at various locations and apparently there was a ski hill 60 miles or so out. Soooooo.... I left those points at the table. I found out later that others had made the same mistake. Even with the lost points I still managed to score # 15 out of 27 riders that were entered in the rally. I rode 1648 kms (1030 miles) which meant that my ride was not very efficient (ie. # points/mile). However, I was pleased with my result knowing that it was my first attempt at a rally and that I had completed it without a GPS and I had made many rookie mistakes. With more experience and practice, I should become more competitive.