Friday, July 25, 2014

2015 IBR Goals and Objectives

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." -- Antoine de Saint Exupéry

My goal is to complete the 2015 Iron Butt Rally as a Gold Medal Finisher.  I will strive for a personal best by scoring better than my IBR 2013 16th place position.  

In my opinion, successful Iron Butt Rally riders are those who safely reach the final check point 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. See "LD Riding on the Clock -- An Organizing Framework"

Goal-setting involves establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bounded (S.M.A.R.T.) objectives. Once these objectives have been set they become the gauge by which goal success can be measured. To achieve my goal I have identified specific objectives for each leg of the Rally.  These objectives are based on my analysis of the Ride Pace of previous IBR finishers.  This analysis reveals two significant metrics which help me identify the specific objectives to reach my goals:
  1. Point Spread:  Gold Medal finishers achieve total points above 145% of the minimum to attain Finisher status.
  2. Ride Pace:  Gold Medal finishers have an overall average around 45.0 MPH
Point Spread:  There is no way of knowing the minimum points to be considered a finisher until it is announced just prior or at the start of the leg.  This typically occurs at the opening banquet the night before the start of leg 1.  And, at the 6:00 AM  rider meetings for legs 2 & 3.  When the minimum is announced I can determine the point target (objective).

Specifically, I want to know how many bonus location points I must plan for to reach the 145% target over minimum.  Not all of the points will be bonus location points, or points I earn by successfully reaching a location and document the stop as called for by the bonus listing.  About 20% to 30% of the minimum bonus points can be derived from admin bonuses; tracking, rest, call-in and others.  By subtracting the points of the admin bonus from the 145% over minimum value I can then determine the target amount of location bonus points necessary to achieve the leg goal.  This becomes my bonus point target for the route selection task.  I will select bonus locations with the highest value for the calculated achievable miles and the available time.

Ride Pace:   Normally, I can maintain a 45-48 MPH overall average (Ovg) while riding on the clock.  My moving average (Mvg) varies depending on the geographical area but are generally 65-70 MPH in the western US and 60-65 MPH in the eastern US.  Apply these metrics with the announced leg hours and the rest is basic math.  ReferenceRally Leg Plan Tool -- Profile

Listed below are the planning standards/assumptions  I use to calculate the number of possible bonus locations and bonus location total time for each leg.  Combine the number of bonus locations with the target points for the leg can lead to selecting a route that meets objectives:  145% of leg minimum at a sustainable Ovg around 46 MPH

  • Planning on the Clock:  Zero for Leg 1, 2:00 hours for Legs 2 & 3
  • Fuel Endurance Distance (FED) -- 350 miles of usable fuel range with small reserve
  • Average time per Pit Stop -- 0:10 minutes each
  • Rest hours per 24 hour period -- 8 Hours to earn full value of the Rest Bonus with 6 hours for each remaining 24hr period.
  • Average time per Bonus Stop -- 0:10 minutes each or multiples of 10 min for bonus stops that require a specific amount of time greater than 10 minutes.

2015 Iron Butt Rally Leg Start/End Date/Time -- Starting and Ending in Albuquerque (ABQ) NM

Leg 1:  10:00 MDT 29 Jun, ABQ NM 82 hours to end 20:00 MDT 2 Jul, ABQ NM
  • Route Selection:  0:00 planning on the clock
  • Planning Miles:  3,772 miles = 82:00 Lhrs X 46 MPH Ovg 
  • Moving Time:  55:28 = 3,772 miles / 68 MPH Mvg
  • Pit Stop Number:  10 = 3,772 / 350 FED (rounded up)
  • Pit Stop Time: 1:40 = 10 Pit stops X 0:10 per stop
  • Rest Stop Number:  3 = 82:00 / 24 hours
  • Rest Stop Time:  18:00 = 6:00 standard (day 1), 8:00 Rest Bonus (day2), 4:00 day3
  • Bonus Stop Time:  6:51 = 82:00 Lhrs - 55:28 Mvt - 1:40 PSt - 18:00 RSt
  • Bonus Stop Number:  41 = 6:51 / 0:10 per standard bonus stop
  • Slack Time:  To be calculated after route/bonus number is determined

Leg 2:  06:00 MDT 3 Jul, ABQ NM 60 hours to end in 20:00 EDT 5 Jul, Kingsport TN (EDT)
  • Route Selection:  2:00 planning on the clock
  • Planning Miles: 2,760  (at 46 Ovg)
  • Moving Time: 40:35 (at 68 Mvg)
  • Pit Stop Number:  7
  • Pit Stop Time:  1:10
  • Rest Stop Number:  2
  • Rest Stop Time:  12:00 (4:00 day 1, 8:00 RB 2 day, maybe)
  • Bonus Stop Time: 4:14
  • Bonus Locations:  25 (at 0:10 standard each)
  • Slack Time:  To be calculated after route/bonus number is determined

Leg 3:  06:00 AM 6 July, East US 100 hours to end 08:00 MDT 10 July, ABQ NM
  • Route Selection:  2:00 planning on the clock
  • Planning Miles:  4,500 (at 45.0 Ovg)
  • Moving Time:  69:13 (at 65.0 Mvg)
  • Pit Stop Number:12
  • Pit Stop Time:  2:00
  • Rest Stop Number:  4
  • Rest Stop Time:  22:00 (split among 4 days maxing the RB)
  • Bonus Stop Time:  4:46
  • Bonus Locations:  29 (at 0:10 standard each)
  • Slack Time:  To be calculated after route/bonus number is determined

After the route is selected I will use the computed route miles, computed Mvg, pit stops, planned rest time and number of selected bonus locations to determine the slack time to the checkpoint. 
I fully expect the plan and objectives to be challenged by the operational environment as I ride the leg.  But, these organizing measurements will help me to make better decisions about changes to the plan.  Understanding how the allocation of total leg hours among the various uses aides me in maintaining a consistent ride pace and manage resources.  Once the slack time is determined I will spend it dearly.  I will seek efficiencies doing bonus. pit and rest stops.   I am committed not to purchase bonus stop time with the currency of excessive moving average MPH (speed).  Also, I am determined to get the quality rest I need during each leg, as it will pay dividends when making decisions as problems and/or stress occurs. 

During training rides and rally practice I will seek to validate the performance objectives I have set for the IBR.  Chief among them are the overall average and moving average MPH.  By training to and being able to maintain these ride pace objectives I achieve the best guard against falling behind plan.  I expect to ride in extreme heat during all the IBR legs.  I will practice riding in the heat, adjusting my riding gear and establishing a hydration regimen that sustains the ride pace. Ultimately, maintaining a balance among the performance elements while riding on the clock will guide the training and preparation activities. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Earth to Moon BunBurner Gold

"The Eagle Has Landed"
July 16, 2014 is the 45th anniversary of the launching of the Apollo 11 mission to land on the Moon.  In the spirit of "Every ride an adventure!" and to honor that date in history, I will ride from Earth, TX to Moon, PA, a distance of over 1,500 miles, in less than 24 hours.  (Hat tip to Rich Rulau for the idea.) 

Pre-launch staging will be conducted in Muleshoe, TX the day prior to scheduled July 16th departure from Earth.  The route after launch from Earth will pass through Amarillo, TX.  Then through Springfield IL, continuing on to the final destination of Moon, PA.  A distance of 1,511 miles according to the rocket scientists at Bing Cartography.  By doing a IBA Challenge Ride from Earth, TX to Moon, PA one earns "IBAnaut" bragging rights. (see disclaimer below)

BubblerGPS Pro map via SpotWalla Tracking Central.  This map link will show my ride up to Muleshoe, Earth to Moon, and the ride back home.  The map below shows my Spot Gen3 map of the Earth to Moon ride only.

Launch Pad
Wednesday, 7/16:  Launch pad was at the Alon station in Earth.  I had previously verified the accuracy of the all important IBA starting dated business receipt, of DBR.  I arrive at 0230 for a cup of coffee to go with my breakfast bar.  Got a backup DBR in the store just in case.  The morning air was very comfortable, in the low 60s.  I put on my electric gear before departing the Muleshoe hotel.

Segment 1 - Earth to PS1:  I launched out of Earth right on schedule at 0300.  DBR was 0257 and I pressed the starting SPOT button right at 0300.  Pit stop 1 was just west of Oklahoma City.  I would ride north through Amarillo then I-40 east.  I had my FLIR system activated to help me detect warm blooded critters along the path of travel.  Good thing too for just prior to Amarillo there was a deer on the I-27.  I was alerted to it well outside the range of my head lights or about 1/4 mile.  By the time it was in light range it had noticed me and was moving erratically.  I scrubbed off speed and waited for it to decide where to go.  The rest of the ride was good with just a couple of rain sprinkles along the way.  Arrived at Pit Stop 1 a few minutes early at 0725, but who's counting?

Segment 2 - PS1 to PS2:  Departing the Oklahoma City area I took a northeasterly route to the towards Tulsa and beyond to Springfield MO and PS2.  By this time the weather had cleared but the temperatures were still on the chilly side.  A cold front had moved through the area the night before and pushed all the hot air to the south.  Segment 2 was uneventful, just good riding.  There were some tolls along this route and I was delayed some at the three pay points.  But, traffic was good and no issues.

Segment 3 - PS2 to PS3:   Ride pace has been good with no traffic delays.  Hit the Springfield MO metro area and arrived at the preplanned station about 10 minutes early.  My goal for having planned stops was not to be a slave to the schedule but to provide me information about the ride pace.  Weather still pleasant with temperatures in the mid 60's.  During planning I picked stations with easy off easy on  locations and did google earth recons for each station.

Segment 4 - PS3 to PS4:  By the time I arrived at PS4 I had been on the move 18 hours having stopped three times for pit stops.  Still, I felt good and no issues with comfort stress.  I arrived at pit stop 4 with a few minutes to linger while off the bike.  I took this opportunity to get shed of the accumulated TexMex and other meals that had been processed.  It is amazing how much better riding is after a healthy purge, LOL.

Segment 5 - PS4 to Moon:  The accumulated miles were starting to wear on me.  My knees in particular were creating comfort stress.  Standing up a few times takes care of this as well as extending my legs out on my highway pegs.  Still, 20 hours in the saddle is a long time.  So, I pulled off at a nice Love's travel center, had a cup of coffee and stretched my legs a bit.  It felt good and the coffee perked me right up for the final trek into Moon.  I turned north near Wheeling WV and did the river road.  Was a great ride even in the dark.  I had my FLIR system on since dusk and it was working wonderfully.  Didn't seen any critters but was amazed at how the large cooling towers and smoke stacks appear in thermal imagery.  I looked like something out of a science fiction movie.

Lunar Landscape
The "HardTxRider" has landed:  Arrive at Moon right at 0130.  Got the clock stopping DBR at the Sheetz station, went in to by some food and rode across the street to the Super8.  Saw Rich's bike parked right out front so I pulled in right beside him.  Got the clerk and her assistant to witness my IBA BBG form.  Another Iron Butt ride in the baggie.  I got up the next morning around 0800 and had breakfast with Rich in the lobby.  Then I headed to the township to find a couple of photo ops.  What an adventure!

Ride Statistics:  GSA Odo 72,572 to 74,089 = 1,516 Miles, GPS 1,517.4 Miles
  • Total Time:  22:33 DBR to DBR
  • Moving Time:  21:30
  • Stopped Time:  1:03
  • Moving Avg MPH:  1,517.4 / 21:30 = 70.6 MPH
  • Overall Avg MPH:  1,517.4 / 22:33 = 67.4 MPH

Tuesday, 7/15:  Pre-launch staging took place in Muleshoe, TX.  About 20 miles west of the Earth launch pad.   I met up with fellow IBAnauts Rich Rulau and Perry Linn.  Rich was doing a BBG with a 2AM scheduled launch.  Perry's intention was a SaddleSore 3,000 Earth to Moon to Earth.  Rich, Perry and I went to a local TexMex eatery for the traditional IBAnaut dinner.  We got our IBA witness forms documented, with the help of "BikerBill" Bill Norris who rode in from Lubbuck. I entered pre-launch sleep period at 2000 with a 0200 wakeup.

Earth to Moon planning with proposed route and mission profile.  The mission profile contains the time, speed and distance calculations as well as the planned enroute fuel stops.  The mission profile contains the Garmin BaseCamp generated route and anticipated travel times for each route segment beginning at the Earth launch location through to the Moon landing location.  This raw data is then fed into the Rally Leg Plan Tool to time out the entire mission giving estimated times of arrival at all route segments and to the final landing location in Moon.  It can be used to compare planned and actual riding times.

I am planning to complete an IBA BunBurner Gold challenge ride during this event.  It requires me to ride, and document to IBA standards, over 1,500 miles in less than 24 hours.  By choosing to ride a BBG on a specific date, from and to specific locations, means I don't get to pick the weather or avoiding congested areas.  About the only flexibility I get is the departure time and expected waypoint times along the route.  So, this type of BBG is more challenging that the optimally chosen route and day to ride.  If for some reason I don't finish the ride in less than 24 hours I will apply for a regular BunBurner 1,500 which can be accomplished in less than 36 hours.  Either way it's going to be a nice motorcycling adventure.

The return flight from Moon is still in the planning stages.  Of course, I hope to make it an adventure out of that ride.  So, I'll be scouring the space between Moon and my home base for fun opportunities.  Stay tuned.....

OK, here's a fun idea.  Do any IBA SaddleSore or BunBurnner ride between Earth, TX and Moon, PA and lay claim to a "IBAnaut" designation.  Ideally, starting on an anniversary date of any Apollo Mission.  All rides should start from Earth, TX of course, unless you are an eastern extraterrestrial.  Just think of the fun combinations:

  • BunBurner 1,500 -- One way from Earth to Moon in less than 36 hours
  • SaddleSore 3,000 -- Round trip from Earth to Moon back to Earth in less than 72 hours
  • BunBurner Gold --  1,500 Miles one way from Earth to Moon in less than 24 hours
  • BB Gold 3,000 --  Round trip from Earth to Moon back to Earth in less than 48 hours
  • Other interesting combinations....

NASA Apollo Missions

Apollo 11 -- 16 July 69 Launch date
Apollo 12 -- 14 November 69 Launch date
Apollo 13 -- 11 April 70 Launch date, DNF
Apollo 14 -- 31 January 71 Launch date
Apollo 15 -- 26 July 71 Launch date
Apollo 16 -- 16 April 72 Launch date
Apollo 17 -- 7 December 72 Launch date
No other manned Earth to Moon missions

Disclaimer:  The designation "IBAnaut" is not an official Iron Butt Association label for any ride.  Just my attempt to add a little fun to the event.