Saturday, October 11, 2014

Big Tex Rally

I am participating in the 80 hour Big Tex Rally as a training ride for the 2015 Iron Butt Rally.  The BTR starts in Albuquerque NM on Wednesday morning 10/15 and ends on Saturday 10/18 in Cedar Hills TX.  Click on the camera icon to see the BubblerGPS Pro pictures.

Full SpotWalla Maps:  BubblerGPS and SPOT Gen3

Saturday, 10/18:  The finish of the rally is at 1800 in Cedar Hills just south of Dallas.  I got to the 44M pistol range bonus right on schedule.  Shot my rally flag three times with a Springfield Armory 45 ACP then off to do cleanup bonus hunting on the way to the finish.  I got another 2,000 points before reaching the finish.  On bonus was to pick up a six pack of Shiner before arriving at the hotel.  I really enjoyed getting off that bike and washing the road off of my throat with a cold Shiner!  I didn't check into my room as I wanted to get the scoring process completed.  The BTR uses self scoring method where each rider records their successful bonus list, in order and supplies all the documentation and photos to the scoring team for verification.  I didn't finish in the top 10 but was happy with the ride.  It was great training.

Friday, 10/17:  I planned a more aggressive route for leg 2.  There are a string of big bonuses out near Big Bend and a couple of hefty ones along the way.  My goal is to arrive out at Chisos Basin in Big Bend NP around sunset.  But first I had to ride to Laredo and Del Rio, where my mother was born.  In Del Rio my bonus task was to secure a package of "Horny Goat Weed" along with a dated business receipt showing where and when in Del Rio I purchased it.  I found what I was looking for at a local liquor store for $.99.  On to Big Bend where I got there a little after sunset.  The next stop was to sign the refrigerator of Iron Butt legend Voni Glaves in Terlingua.  She is working on her second 1,000,000 documented miles by motorcycle.  She and her main squeeze Paul greeted me with true West Texas hospitality.  Off to the next bonus before I would seek some rest.  It was the large arrow at the entrance to the Fort Davis Boy Scout Camp about 10 miles off of the main highway.  I'm riding at night in West Texas and the critters are everywhere. My FLIR PathFindIR inferred thermal imagery critter detection system was clearing the way ahead.  God, I love that farkle!  I wanted to reach the shooting range at Pete's Pasture by around 1130 the next morning so after the Boy Scout bonus I rode to Ozona arriving around 0130.  There I set my alarm and camped out on the deer corn pallets lining the front of the Stripes convenience store.  Yes, I checked into the Iron Butt Motel. 

Thursday, 10/16: The Texas Capital rotunda bonus is a mandatory stop before reaching the Galveston checkpoint.  I maximized the Wednesday night rest bonus for 7,200 points.  And, there is another rest bonus for me when I reach Galveston.  The checkpoint closes at 2200.  By that I mean the rally book for the second leg will be available from 2000 - 2200 only.  Those that arrive after the 2200 close will have to wait till 0500 on Friday to get their leg 2 bonus listing.  I did room services while I planned the next leg.  Took a shower, loaded up the GPS and hit the sack. 

Wednesday, 10/15:  Let the ride begin!  No time to do any blogging while I'm on the clock.  Check out the map to see my course as I collect the bonus points along the way to Galveston.  The weather was great today and the riding was even better.  I chose a southern route towards Galveston that had enough points to exceed the minimum for the leg by 130%.  Probably not enough to put me in the top 10 but I 'm not shooting for that kind of ride anyway.  My goal for the Big Tex Rally is to practice for the 2015 IBR.  I'm looking for consistent ride pace, good bonus task execution and accurate documentation. 

Tuesday, 10/14:  The parking lot at the Ramada is filling with motorcycles  I'm not sure of the count for the 80 hour Big Tex Rally but I think there will be about 30-40 riders departing from Albuquerque on Wednesday at 0900.  Today, I'm going to do pre rally tasks and get ready to receive the rally pack this evening.  Then the fun begins....transforming the raw rally data into a configuration that will help me select the route to Galveston.  I have to assign point value and availability to the published waypoints.  Then select a string of locations that get me to the mandatory Galveston checkpoint on time.  The method I use to accomplish this task can be found on my Ride Planning blog page.  Check it out if you're interested.

Monday, 10/13:  Departing home for the 700 mile ride up to Albuquerque.  A thunderstorm was blowing through as I was leaving,  I was at the bottom of the squall line so it only took a hour to ride out of it.  On the other side it was head wind all the way to Roswell.  Somewhere along the way the right speaker of my headset knocked out.  How irritating!  It always seems to happen on the way or during a planned event that these issues happen.  I pulled into a Walmart and bought a set of ear buds.  Now, all I have to do is to learn how to keep them in place.  Maybe duct tape.....hummmm.