Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cape Fear 1,000 Rally

I'm participating in the Cape Fear 1,000 Rally.  The 29-hour Rally will begin at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) on Friday the 19th . Each rider will choose from one of three possible starting locations: Batavia, NY, Union City, TN, or Wauchula, FL, and all riders will be due in Wilmington, North Carolina, not later than 3:00 p.m. on Saturday the 20th.  I will be starting from Union City, TN.   (The full Spotwalla Map)

The competitive object of the rally is to collect bonus points by riding to locations of the riders choosing.  All riders are given a list of bonus locations, of varying point values, spread all over the map.  They prepare a route through the bonus locations that will end at the Wilmington NC finish point all within the allotted 29 hours.
Planning the route involves an understanding of the ride pace, specifically, for moving average and overall average miles per hour.  Here's my approach to the planning.  I want to determine how many bonus locations I can ride to during the 29 hours of the rally.  My ride pace for the eastern US is around 63 MPH moving average and I'm going to use 45 MPH as an overall average.  Doing the math results in...

  1. 29:00 event hours X 45 overall miles per hour = 1,305 planning miles
  2. 1,305 planning miles / 63 miles per hour moving average = 20:40 riding time
  3. 1,305 planning miles / 350 fuel endurance miles = 3 pit stops
  4. 3 Pit stops X 0:10 per stop = 0:30 pit stop time
  5. 6:00 planned rest stop
  6. Bonus stop time = event hours - riding time - pit stop time - rest stop time
  7. 1:50 = 29:00 - 20:40 - 0:30 - 6:00
  8. Bonus stops = bonus stop time / 0:10 per stop 
  9. 11 bonus stops = 1:50 / 0:10
So, I will plan a route of about 1,300 miles that snakes through 11 bonus locations with the highest point values I can fit into the 29:00 hours of the rally.  If the mapping software generates lower or higher travel times for the route then I will adjust accordingly.  I also want to identify opt in and opt out bonus locations during the last third of the route take advantage or compensate for riding pace in the first 2/3 of the route.  See Cape Fear RLPLite MS Excel spreadsheet for the start plan.(Available after the Rally)
Training Objectives:  I will be using the Cape Fear rally to practice many of the same tasks I expect to use while participating in The Iron Butt Rally in July.  See the list below.

Critical Rider Tasks

  • Select a Leg Route
  • Navigate Leg Route Segments
  • Conduct a Pit Stop
  • Conduct Bonus Collection
  • Conduct Enroute Repairs
  • Conduct a Call-In 
  • Conduct a Rest Stop
  • Prepare for Check Point Scoring
At the conclusion of the rally I want to examine the wear on the Anakee 3 tires I mounted at 12,100 miles.  I estimate that at the end of the rally and the trip home I will have almost 12,500 miles on the tires.

Friday, April 5, 2013

ROG -- Run Out of Gas Testing

The 2013 BMW R1200GS Adventure has a fuel rating of 51 MPG and a OEM stated fuel capacity of 8.7 US gallons.  Hardly anyone riding a BMW R1200GS gets that kind of MPG though.  Check out this cool site that tracks MPG by vehicle type:  Fuelly -- BMW R1200GS AdventureYMMV - Fuel consumption rate is dependent on many variables; sustained speeds, gross weight, wind direction, operating and rider characteristics.  Check out my Fuelly MPG states.

I'm doing some run out of gas testing on the GSA.  The purpose of this ROG testing is to determine the fuel endurance distance (FED) for a tank of fuel under differing ride pace conditions.  I define FED distance as 95% of the ROG distance.  See the testing method below.

Interstate highway 4/5 I-10, Boerne to near I-10/20 merge in west Texas
ROG Point/Stats

  • Speed limit - 80 MPH, moderate crosswinds to quartering headwinds, 70-80F
  • ROG Miles - 351 miles
  • Mvg Avg  - 79 MPH
  • Total gallons at fill up - 9.829 (9.069 + 0.760)
  • Notes - The GSA low fuel light came on at 274 miles.  I rode 41.6 miles past GSA fuel range indicating zero.  Distance from ROG point to Cherry Creek gas fill up was 8.6 miles.  I estimate I used a 0.240 gallon based on 35.7 MPG

US and State highways 4/6, US90 Alpine to Del Rio to Boerne via hill country roads
ROG Point/Stats

  • Speed limit(s) - 70-75 MPH, winds light, 60-70F
  • ROG Miles - 373 miles
  • Mvg Avg - 69 MPH
  • Total gallons at fill up - 9.856 (8.875 + 0.981)
  • Notes - The GSA low fuel light came on at 285 miles.  I rode 46.1 miles past GSA fuel range indicating zero.  Distance from ROG point to gas station was 1.7 miles.  I estimated I used 0.019 gallon based on 38.1 MPG

Secondary roads 4/10-13, Wimberley to Boerne to Wimberley via hill country roads
ROG Point/Stats

  • Speed limit(s) - 35-65 MPH, weather was not an issue.
  • ROG Miles - 421
  • Mvg Avg - 55 MPH
  • Total gallons at fill up - 9.767 (9.571 + .196)
  • Notes - The GSA low fuel light came on at 320 miles on the GPS odometer and the GSA trip computer indicated 42 mile "Range." I rode 57.2 miles after the "Range" indicated zero.  Distance from the ROG point to the gas station was 1.9 miles.  I estimated I used .044 gallon based on 43.1 MPG

100ccc Stats 3/17-21, I-10/12/8 JAX - SDO - JAX (On the clock)

  • Enroute Pit Stops = 13
  • Start/Mid/Finish Stops = 3
  • Fuel Stops at Rest Stops = 3
  • Fuel used Start to Finish =  131.8 gallons (133.393 total minus start fill up of 1.593 gallons)
  • Miles per gallon for event = 35.9 (4,735.1 GPS miles divided by 131.8 gallons)
  • Highest/lowest MPG = 44.4 and 31.7
  • Farthest fuel load distance = 341.1 miles
  • Highest amount pumped = 8.831 gallons
  • Total fuel costs = $533.56 (High $4.40, low $3.69 and average $4.01 per gallon)
Notes  After arriving home from the JAX dinner and 100ccc on Friday 3/22 the GSA indicated 21 miles left till zero on the fuel range counter. Today, 2/28, I fill up a quart sized MSR fuel bottle and got on the motorcycle to run out of gas.  This is my first ROG on the new GSA.  When the GSA Fuel range gauge hit zero I started an odometer on the GPS.  I was riding on I-35 at interstate speeds to burn up what was left in the tank after the ride back from Jacksonville.  By the time the motorcycle experienced complete fuel exhaustion I had traveled another 43.4 miles.  By this time I was doing a turn around via frontage roads off the interstate and pulled into the parking lot of a motel.  I could see an Exxon station less than a 1/4 mile away.  I poured the 0.25 gallons of gas from the MSR fuel bottle and rode to the Exxon.  There I put another 9.584 gallons into the tank.  That's a total of  over 9.8 gallons of fuel.  This is good information.  I will be confirming this with more ROG tests in the next couple of weeks.  I'll do a blog posting to document the results of this fuel endurance distance testing on the new bike.


During these tests the GSA is in near rally trim as far as vehicle weight is concerned.  Tires pressure is at normal rally trim riding pressures of 38 front and 44 rear when cold.  I note the wind direction to take into account effect on the test results.  This is usually not a big effect unless it is strong head or tail winds.

For each ROG category I start with filling the GSA normally, on the side stand, filled to within 2 inches of top of the filler neck.   I put one gallon into an gas container to use at the ROG point.  I'm careful to put just one gallon into the approved container so making the calculation of total gas added at the post ROG fill up more accurate.

Then, I zero the two MC trip meters.  On the zumo 665 I zero out the trip settings; max speed, moving and overall average MPH, odometer, riding and stopped time.  Though, I'm primarily interested in just two of these data points; Moving Avg MPH and Odometer. 

I maintain a normal riding pace for the speed limit and flow of traffic.  The idea is to duplicate my normal operational (on the clock) pace for the type of highway.  When the low fuel indicator/range activates on the GSA I take s screen shot of the GPS to document the odometer/Mvg Avg/fuel countdown data.   When the GSA fuel "Range" number goes to "--------" I zero one of the second GSA trip meter to track how many miles the bike traveled after showing zero "Range".  This also helps me calculate the fuel used from the ROG point to the fill up gas station to more accurately determine total fuel added.  At the ROG point I do a screen shot to document odometer and moving average data.

Applying this method across the different highway configurations helps compare FED among the various riding conditions I will experience doing rallies and the IBR in particular.  The Interstate Highway ROG data is the most significant as it represents the shortest FED I should experience while on the clock.  I will use this FED as my GPS fuel countdown distance.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

LD Riding on the Clock -- An Organizing Framework

RIDE CRAFT:  The collection of knowledge, skills and abilities used by a long distance motorcyclist to maintain a consistent ride pace, manage risk and achieve navigational objectives.

In my opinion, successful Iron Butt Rally riders are those who reach the final check point, in one piece, on time and with enough points to achieve their goals.  A rider applies his or her knowledge, skills, and abilities using the tools of the sport, in a balanced way among several interacting performance elements to achieve success.

Goal-setting ideally involves establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bounded (S.M.A.R.T.) objectives.  Complex activities involving people, tools, and performance requirements can be described using a systems approach; the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole.  Contrast systems thinking with linear thinking, where the least important element is at one end and most important at the other and all others somewhere in between.  The graphic below represents an organizing framework and systems approach for understanding long distance riding under the constraints of a rally event.  (See: Concept of a system)

RIDER & TOOLS:  Riders physical condition, characteristics and aptitudes combine with the function and capabilities of the tools they choose.  A riders physical attributes -- strength and conditioning, circadian rhythm, visual acuity, mental faculties and emotional temperament -- are brought into play.  The rider selects tools, such as the motorcycle, riding gear, navigation, computer/communications equipment and administrative aids to use in the operational environment (roads, traffic, weather, while subject to event rules).

KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS & ABILITIES:  The rider acquires knowledge of how things or processes work, gains skill using the appropriate tools, and develops abilities to achieve event task objectives.  The rider brings his/her life experiences into the sport.  These life experiences can enhance a rider's ability to be successful.  Knowledge, skills and abilities are acquired through experiential learning or learning by doing.  Still other insights are gained through task analysis, modeling, simulation and purposeful practice.  Skills honed after many miles in the saddle, hours behind the computer, and drills using the tools in the operational environment strengthen the rider's ability to achieve task objectives.

PERFORMANCE CATEGORIES: The long distance performance elements work together, interactively and somewhat mutually dependent.  Each has a relative importance with some critical to success.  Balancing these performance elements helps develop skills and abilities. Managing the various elements together develops efficiency and effectiveness, which increases the chances for success.   Mismanage the performance elements and the system becomes unbalanced, causing problems.  

  • Riding and Risk Management -- Fundamental to the sport is being able to ride the motorcycle for long duration, over long distances and in all operational environments.  Developing riding skills takes training in the basics and purposeful practice.  Managing risks means riding good risk offset, within the limits of ones skills and abilities, the limits of the motorcycle capabilities and the limits of the riding environment.   Maintaining situational awareness and managing the risks of the ride is critical to success and avoiding a crash.
  • Ride Pace and Resource Management -- Effective use of time for riding, pit stops (refuel,refresh,repair,replan), task stops, and rest stops while efficiently consuming fuel, water, food and rest.  A grasp of the relationship between time, speed and distance is at the heart of the ride pace.  This can be expressed and measured by the moving  and overall average miles per hour metrics. (See ride pace analysis)  Understanding how the operational environment affects these averages is important.  Managing the resources to sustain a riding pace can be crucial to success.  
  • Planning and Navigation -- Plan the ride and ride the plan.  Planning is a continuous activity while on the clock.  Crafting a route that achieves individual goals and being efficient navigating the route is a challenge. The rider employs knowledge of routing techniques and skill using tools to develop an achievable route plan given his/her consistent ride pace.  Rider skills and ability to navigate the route are challenged by the dynamics of the operational environment.  Plans are almost always revised during navigation so planning skills are a key to success.
  • Problem and Stress Management -- Problems lead to stress....stress leads to problems.  Developing a solution for the right problem, that adapts to dynamic conditions, requires critical thinking and an understanding of the operational environment.  If problems are not dealt with effectively stress builds and eventually affects the balance among the performance elements.  Small problems can quickly lead to catastrophic failures. 
  • Personal Courage and Commitment -- Facing uncertainty, adversity, fear and significant risk requires confidence, integrity, discipline and a commitment to do the right thing at the right time.  Mental-emotional attitude, competitive drive and commitment to fair play affect motivation in ways that enhance or hinder reaching the objectives/goals.

The various elements of the performance categories are the subject of study among long distance enthusiasts.  Some of these elements are objective and can be examined in quantitative terms.  Ride pace and resource management in particular.  Planning encompasses more than just selecting a goal achieving route.  Routing is fundamentally tied to ride pace and resource management.  But, optimal routing is very much a creative process. It incorporates the riders understanding of the whole system to achieve the desired goal..  Managing risk of the ride is an individual concern, but it interacts with all elements.  Still other performance elements are subjective, like solving problems, maintaining a positive attitude, dealing with stress.  Examining the interaction of the performance categories can lead to ways to enhance training, fine tune skills and get more enjoyment out of the whole experience. 

All LD riders balance these elements in ways that are unique to their individual knowledge, skills and abilities.  Abilities lacking in one category may be compensated by competencies in others.  Iron Butt Rally podium finishers have demonstrated their mastery of the complex relationship among these factors and performance elements.  Given their personal characteristics, knowledge and skills, they have developed the ability employ the tools of the sport to achieve near legendary status.   

After thoughts...

The tools of the sport get a lot of attention among LD riders.  Which bike is best, getting the right aux fuel tank, aux lighting, GPS, riding gear, and on and on.  These tools are important and there are qualitative advantages to be gained.  But, when they become the primary focus, out of the context of the organizing framework, it's easy to over emphasize the tools significance.

There are many paths to knowledge and multiple routes to success in long distance riding.  The LD community as a whole is tolerant of differing views and challenges to the conventional wisdom.  In my opinion this makes the arena of ideas much more informative, exciting and sometimes amusing.