The Void 9 (2014) – Take aways

What I did wrong…

Nearly DNS because of a slip between the 4 & 7 buttons.
Lesson learned: Triple check contact – emergency, rallymaster, destination(s) – phone numbers.

Thinking the back pouch on the Alpinestars jacket was a good place for my rally book.
Lesson learned: Devise better – weather proof, easier to access – storage for rally book.

Failing to preload waypoints into GPS.
Lesson learned: Absolutely load waypoints into all GPS’s being used (including phone/tablet)

Using GPS with “direction of travel” UP
Lesson learned: 1) set the smaller, more portable GPS to NORTH UP orientation (like paper maps) to maintain a frame of reference. 2) Print out smaller maps around bonus locations, highlighting inbound and outbound segments.

Failure to add in time for the actual stopping for collection/photo/log/fuel
Lesson learned: Add stopping time to my ride plan (duh!)

Poor photo composition/lighting
Lesson learned: 1) Be very familiar with camera controls, practicing to learn best settings for conditions.

I really need a nap (and a receipt!)
Lesson learned: 1) Learn to rough it and sleep wherever I can. 2) get a receipt, THEN worry about the actual rest.

 

What I did right…

Continue reading The Void 9 (2014) – Take aways

The Void 9 Ride Report

And we’re off!  Arrived at the Sheetz gas station I had previously scoped out around 8:45, to be sure I had time to spare.  After some final checks that things were secured where they needed to be, I pulled to the pump and with 5 fresh gallons on board, I had my start time of 8:51 a.m.  Fire off the start text to the rally master, and head west on Rt. 30 for about 30 minutes to York, PA.  On the exit ramp, I check for the SMS reply acknowledging the start text… and there isn’t one.  Call the Rallymaster and get generic voicemail.  Uhm, that’s weird.  Let’s not take a chance and call the other RM phone number.  Gary says that Scott’s phone is very busy, but when I recite the number I had programmed into the phone, I’m referred back to the rally pack.  Fair enough… DAMN!  mistake #1, I programmed the WRONG phone number into the phone!  Copy & past the text into the right number, and almost immediately get the “K” response back at 9:18 a.m., less than 2 minutes before incurring a penalty.

2014_Void9-01-SHO

A few turns from the first bonus, The Shoe House, and I see some other riders headed in the same direction (this is a good sign) and park so that I stay out of everyone’s way.  I didn’t want to be “that damn rookie” folks trade stories about at the end.

Mistake #2, thinking the back pouch on the Alpinestars jacket was a good place for my rally book.  Picture a large man doing a comedic imitation of an emperor penguin trying to get a “Kick Me” sign off his back.  I’ll be taking this jacket off at least twice more to get at the book; must start thinking of alternatives during the next leg.

Mistake #3, failing to preload waypoints into ANY GPS.

2014_Void9-02-6-TAP Continue reading The Void 9 Ride Report

The Void 9 (2014) – Results

When in doubt, put the ODO reading on everything!  I had lost the Rest Bonus wildcard for lack of an ODO reading on the hotel receipts.  More humiliating, I had not put the Rest Bonus wildcard on the Yahtzee score sheet!  Much ado about nothing.

After the much needed shower and costume change, Virginia and I head down to the ballroom for the Void 9 banquet.  The points I left on the road and on the table haunt me as I wait for the result to be announced.  Scoring 292 of the 314 points I had originally planned should have me placing well, possibly even a podium finish.

Of the 38 Lancaster starters, 3rd place was announced with Jon Good & Ande Bergman’s score of 296, 2nd place was had be Don Stadtler with 305 and Billy Connacher finished 1st with 328 points.  I still can’t imagine how he pulled off 328 points; I hope the RM’s will post the Yahtzee score sheets of the podium finishers (I understand the privacy concerns around the logs themselves.)

When the full results were posted at the end of the banquet, I saw that I had placed 4th.  The lost points had actually cost me a podium finish, but this was a remarkably good finish for my first event.  It also strengthened my desire to do this again, so I will be signing up for a couple of east coast events in 2015.

The complete results of the 2014 Void 9 rally were:

Continue reading The Void 9 (2014) – Results

The Void 9 (2014) – Preparation

The Void Rally is one of the few rallies near enough to the New York City tri-
state area for me to “try it on for size.” You see, I’ve never before competed
in a rally. For that matter, I’ve never ridden more than 250 miles in one day.

Competed might be too strong a word for a motorcycle rally. A multi-day rally
might have some serious competitive weight being thrown around to be podium
finisher, but this sounds like more of a get together for dinner two nights in a
row, with a lot of miles in between. The reports I’ve read from these events
sound like regular reunions of old friends that only see each other when one of
these rolls around.

The first of three parts of the rally pack, the rules and instructions to follow came with what must have thrown rally veterans, a Yahtzee score sheet. The twist for this rally was that bonii would not simply be valued higher based on difficulty or distance, but deviously and strategically valued 1-6 points like the six side of a die. The instructions included special rules about scoring, particularly how to log and score “straights” and “wildcards.” Straights (small=4 in a row, large=5 in a row) must be claimed (logged) in sequential order with nothing breaking the sequence (except fuel stops.) This should make for some creative routing! Wildcards would be actions taken (and logged) by the rider; texting the rallymaster, resting (both mandatory) or a receipt of charitable donation etc.; which could be used to fill in scores where you needed, but not in any straight!

So as the start of this rally approaches, I need to start preparing myself and the bike, which got a some new electric circuits to power the electronics in the tank bag and a USB power adapter to feed the Garmin GPS and a brand-new (actually, second hand) Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4″ tablet. Maybe that photo of the Gold Wing with a FLiR system made an impact, maybe I was at a very impressionable age when I saw Jackie Chan’s Mitsubishi in Cannonball Run, maybe I resort to throwing technology at a problem… but this was to be my view from the saddle:

Android Dash

Waze routing with live traffic and road conditions, live weather radar, Bubbler GPS reporting to SPOTwalla (or so I thought…) even Google access and my music library; all presented in a 4-way display with a customized view of Android.

A few days out from the start, and the rally flag arrived in the mail. Inspired by other riders’ ideas, I pass small key rings with clips and magnets at the four corner and decide on a safe and secure place to stow this important prop; under the GPS pouch on the tank bag. This was easy to get in and out, and secured by large strips of Velcro. Secure the camera in the sleeve under the tank bag case, and this should allow one-stop shopping at bonus locations.

New hydration pack tested (how do you wash these things properly???), what will surely be WAY too many snacks (jerky, trail mix, meal bars and shakes etc. and so on) packed, I watch my inbox for more morsels of information.