How the West Was Won Rally 2016

treasure-mapWell, on the morning of Friday, Aug 19th we’re off to our first motorcycle “scavenger” rally. “Scavenger” in that we have to ride to bonus stops and document our visit (in this case with photographs of the required item(s) along with a rally number placard) thereby earning points and accumulating miles. For 2016, the How the West Was Won (a.k.a. HW3) rally launches from Grand Junction, CO and to finish we need to:

  • ride a minimum of 1,150 miles,
  • gather a minimum of 5,000 points, and
  • return to the launch point for check-in within 32 hours of the start to check-in, and
  • be finished with scoring within 2 hours of check-in.

The hardest rule for us, well, at least for me, is the one that states “Riders shall not accept or receive assistance from other persons in planning their route or obtaining bonus locations.” No issues on the obtaining part, we’ll be riding separately and going on different routes. For the other, well, Doug and I usually bounce ideas, offer advice, suggest alternatives, etc. Since we’re riding in the rally separately (this one doesn’t allow for teams unless riding two-up) most of that is off limits – we think so, at least, based on the spirit if not the letter of the rule. I think we’ve managed, but it’s weird!

I usually do the route planning for our trips, so Doug got a mini crash course in using BaseCamp a few days before the rally packs arrived. Even being new at it he finished his desired route pretty quickly. I, on the other hand, obsessed over mine and even changed it up completely when I realized I was burning over 3 hours of the first day just trying to make it back to the launch hotel for the night. Then throw in BaseCamp fritzing my route (it’s NEVER done this before, why now?!) not once, not twice, but three times, along with a failure-to-save on an Excel file (user error, for sure), and, well, I’ve gone through the routing process about four times. {augh!} On the bright side, the repetitiveness has helped me tweak not only the route but also the planning process, which I’m documenting so that I can (a) repeat and refine it as we enter more rallies, and (b) share it here once it’s a little more mature.

Turns out there are layers upon layers of rules, too. Doug’s good with seeing that the Rallymaster looks to be pretty flexible and common-sense and rolls with things. Me, I think if they are going to have rules those rules should be documented very clearly, so I nitpick and ask for clarifications and ramble on and on and on and on trying to apply a generalized logic that doesn’t always mesh. With HW3 we have potentially 4 if not 5 or more layers of rules. A bit mind-boggling if one wants to be sure they understand them all for 100% compliance – it would not be fun to ride for so long to only be given a Did Not Finish (DNF) based on some misunderstanding of a rule. As a newbie, a lot of what veteran rallyers might take as a matter of course is a gray area for me (aside: a terms page will be coming to CBS in the near future.)

No worries, though, I’ve combed through the layers, asked my rules questions along with my newbie questions, gotten my answers, and feel comfortable with the whole process. Hopefully, Rallymaster Jason and the staff won’t run when they see me coming to pre-rally check-in on Friday! The rally forum is awfully quiet today without my pestering, though.

Maybe I should pop in just to liven things up a bit?

Anyhoot, two more sleeps and we’re on our way. Look for updates from the road! :0)


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