Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rally Prep Continues

It is getting close to the big show. I leave for Seattle on June 14th and the Iron Butt Rally starts on June 20th. I have done a couple rallies in the past few weeks. I did the Minuteman 1000 two weekends ago and the Mason-Dixon 20-20 last weekend. I was happy with my results on both. The Minuteman is a 24 hour rally. I did it last year as well. It started in Northampton MA and had a checkpoint nine hours into the rally at Max BMW in North Hampton NH. I had a flawless first leg of the rally sweeping a truckload of bonuses in CT before pulling into the checkpoint right on time. I felt great at that point. The second leg started well, but as I got into the middle of Maine and it got dark, things started to happen. My camera crapped out on me and a I missed a couple of the bonuses I wanted to go to. I rested for about an hour on a picnic table in a little town in Vermont. I woke up to a scratching sound and as I opened my eyes I saw dog licking my Aerostich suit. He just looked at me and then ran away. Part of the surrealness of rallying in the middle of the night. Anyway, things picked-up after that and I nabbed a bunch of big bonuses in NH and VT. I pulled into the finish with only nine seconds to spare. I hate cutting it that close. I placed fourth. The Mason-Dixon rally is a 32 hour rally that starts and ends in Hagerstown MD. There is no checkpoint midway through on this one. We received the bonus locations a couple weeks before the rally started so I kind of knew where I was going to go before I got there. There were 62 riders in the rally and many of them were IBR riders using the rally for a final shakedown before the IBR. I knew it was going to be competitive. You had two choices in this rally. You could either go to a bunch of bonus locations with very little point value and try to build enough points to be competitive or you could go for 3-5 high point value targets and do some big miles to get them. I decided on the 3-5 big bonuses. My route was Hagerstown MD, D.C., Manhatten, Indianapolis, and back to Hagerstown MD. It was actually a very leisure ride with only a few stops. It was just long. Riding across Ohio on I70 is probably the most bored I've ever been on a motorcycle. Luckily the satellite radio signal was strong the whole time so I could keep myself entertained. I knew I was going to be in Indiana by 10:00 or 11:00 at night and I had to wait until 5:30 Sunday morning for the Indianapolis bonus to open. It was Indy 500 weekend as well so that made things interesting. All the hotels within 50 miles of Indianapolis were booked so I found a Motel 6 right across the Ohio/Indiana border which is about an hour from Indianapolis. It was perfect. I got there around 10:00 and was sleeping by 11:00. I got a good five hours of rest before starting again at 4:00 in the morning Sunday. The bonus was a photo of the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500 sign. Sunday was race day. I thought it would be quiet at 5:30 in the morning, but it was party central. Cars and people everywhere. I jumped off the bike, took the shot, and took off. Some kids asked if I was on one of the pit crews. I guess my one piece Aerostich suit looks a little pit crewish. Getting out of there was a breeze, but once I got back on the highway, I realized I may not have taken the correct photo so I went back and took another picture. That burned about an hour of my time so what was once an easy ride back to Hagerstown ended up being a rush to get back on time. I wanted to stop at a couple little bonuses along the way, but there was no time for that. At the scoring table I found out that my original picture was fine. Doh! I ended up in 6th place, but if I had the extra hour to collect a few more points it may have bumped me into the top 5. That's ok though. It was a great training ride for the IBR. The bike performed without any issues on both rallies. The left speaker in my helmet blew out. I mailed it to J&M yesterday to get repaired. I leave in less than two weeks so I am hoping they get it back to me before I leave. I have a backup plan though. The two rallies helped me realize that the camera I have for the IBR sucks. I ordered a different one today. Besides the helmet and camera issues, I have a couple little things I need to do on the bike and I'm ready.

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