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[ST] Endurance Rally survival

I survived my first endurance rally last weekend.  So you think you ride
alot huh?  Done a Saddlesore, ride all over the country, about  20,000 miles
a year.  Ha.  Generally, with the exception of other rookie rallyers, you
are a neophyte to this group.  Better than 3/4 had the IBA licensee plate
backs and there were several Iron Butt Rally veterans.  An impressive group
to say the least.  

I woke Saturday morning to the sound of cars travelling on the wet highway
outside my room.  It would be 30.5 hours in rain gear.  The morning got off
to a good start with just showers.  The first three boni locations were easy
to find.  But finding the oldest cemetery in Lancaster County PA took a bit
to find the right road.  The rest that first leg weren't too bad, some were
quick, but others took about 30 minutes to get to as they were off into the
back country roads.  I didn't get to the last four I had planned to get on
leg one before going to the check point but I did hit ten locations.  The
stops took longer than I had expected.  

Off on leg 2.  This was the best planned leg of the three.  Another 13
locations and I didn't get to 10 others.  The evening downpours, lightening
strikes, flooded streets, wind and hail, finding directions and locations in
the dark, getting pulled over for speeding (only a warning at 72 in a 55
saving me $140 and 4 points) by a small town police chief, trying to tell
the color of a bridge in Pittsburgh at 12:30 am and I'm also color blind, 3
hours of 35 mph in the fog, and subsequently missing the turnpike exit in
the fog adding another 35 miles to the next exit added up to too much lost
time to get perhaps another 3 or 4.  And explaining to an occasional police
officer what you are doing at 2 in the morning with a flashlight in front of
someone's house which happens to have a historical marker out front.  But I
was still pleased.  I arrived at the leg 2 check point early to take the 3
hour rest bonus.  However, I'm not sure how much sleep I got in the two
hours I tried on the cold, wet, blacktop parking lot.  At least it had quit
raining.  After the "rest" I felt worse than I did when I arrived but the
boni points with no additional miles helped as speed control scoring was in
effect, points squared divided by miles ridden.  

The third leg was without rain, but a constant threat so I left the gear on.
As sure as I would have taken it off it would have been raining 10 miles
down the road.  As with the previous two legs I got what points I could and
headed for the checkpoint so as not to be time barred.  

Stops at 27 locations, 27.5 hours of riding time, and 961 miles.  Not too
bad for my first rally considering the weather conditions.  If I hadn't had
the rain I could have had the rally book in the tank bag and that would have
saved some time on each stop as in order to make sure it stayed dry I put it
in the pannier.  I also spent some valuable time at a few places that had
relatively small point values.  I should have passed these up for larger
points further out.  I also found that you don't want to make mistakes that
cost you miles.   So I have ideas of how to improve for my next rally.  I
finished 15th out of 82 riders.  Had I not missed the turnpike exit or been
able to get one more boni location I could have finished in the top 10 and
earned a trophy.  But for my first rally I couldn't be more pleased and will
be ready for the next one.        

Doug Bailey  "Hound Dawg"

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