INTRODUCTION TO A RALLY
DISCLAIMER: The following information is provided for inexperienced rally riders. It is a general overview of the rally process and pertains to the SNAFU Rally. It is not conclusive and experienced rally riders may have additional comments based on their rally experience.
RALLY CONCEPT: The overall concept of the SNAFU Rally and rallies in general is simple. A rider is provided a rally book with a selection of bonus locations throughout a geographic region. SNAFU Rally bonus locations will be in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. It is a large bonus list and it is physically impossible to ride to every bonus location during the rally time frame. The rider’s task is to plan and execute a ride that visits as many bonus locations as possible within the rally time frame and “bag” each bonus by taking a photo, obtaining a receipt, or accomplishing whatever other task the bonus instruction requires to successfully “bag” the bonus. Each bonus is worth a varying number of points depending on the distance from the start, difficulty, location, and the whim of the Rally Master. The rider who finishes with the most bonus points is the rally winner..
1) RALLY BOOK: The rally book is distributed to the riders at a date and time determined by the Rally Master. The rally book contains a listing of rally bonuses and is the source document for bagging bonuses. It has the bonus code, name, coordinates, availability, description, instructions, and an example photo of every rally bonus. In addition to bonus instructions, the rally book will contain specific rally rules that address bonus photo submission, bonus claim form, and scoring.
Example bonus from the 2019 Southeast Digital Scavenger Hunt rally book:
MAWR Museum of Aviation B1 Bomber
32.59187 -83.58848 Available: 9am – 5pm
The Museum of Aviation located next to Robins Air Force Base has nearly 100 aircraft ranging from pre-WWI to the Cold War. Admission is free and is also a frequent bonus stop for many LD Rallies.
Take a photo of the B-1 Bomber.
2) BONUS CLAIM FORM: This is how a rider keeps track of bagged bonuses and is a required form to submit during scoring. The form will have locations for entering time of day, odometer reading, bonus code, and the bonus points value. It is important for a rider to accurately maintain the form for a few reasons. 1) If a rider submits a bonus photo, but the bonus is not logged on the Bonus Claim Form, the rider will not be awarded bonus points. 2) If a rider inaccurately logs the bonus code on the Bonus Claim Form, the rider will not be awarded bonus points. 3) An accurate Bonus Claim Form will expedite the scoring process if the rider’s Bonus Claim Form point total matches the scorer’s point total.
3) DATA FILES: Along with the Rally Book and Bonus Claim Form, the rally master will provide a bonus location GPX file to aid rally riders with route planning. Additionally, an Excel spreadsheet with bonus location code and coordinates is provided for riders that utilize spreadsheets for routing analysis.
1) Rider Capability: A rider should have a realistic idea of their riding capabilities and bike’s capabilities. For example, are you capable of riding your bike down a mile long sandy road to bag a bonus? Will riding your bike down a miles-long gravel road result in bike damage? Are you willing to accept the risk of damaging the bike or possibly being stranded if the road was beyond your riding capabilities?
2) Time Sucks: There are “time sucks” a rider should plan for as they will impact a rider’s overall miles per hour (MPH) average. Examples of “time sucks” are 1) how much time is required to complete a bathroom break, 2) how much time is required to refuel, 3) how much time will it take to consume a meal, 4) how much time will it take to bag a bonus, 5) how likely will there be a traffic jam while transiting a large city, 6) what weather conditions are forecasted, and 7) what road types will be predominantly ridden? All of these “time suck” questions should be considered when determining an overall MPH average for route planning purposes.
3) Strategies: There are multiple rally planning strategies and it is the rider’s discretion which strategy they utilize to meet their rally goals.
A. “Big Rocks, Little Rocks”: A rider plans a route that enables “bagging” of as many higher value bonuses (big rocks) as possible and any low or medium value bonuses (little rocks) that may be along the big rock route.
B. “Geographic Hoover”: A rider decides there are enough small and medium point bonuses within a geographic area to be competitive and chooses to ride within that geographic area to “Hoover” all the bonuses.
C. “Rider Curiosity”: A rider plans a route that meets personal requirements. For example, a rider that resides in central Florida may forego bagging high value bonuses in central Florida due to it being a familiar riding area. On the other hand, a rider may be interested riding in an unfamiliar area or visiting a bonus that is of interest.
D. “Bonus Avoidance”: A rider plans a route that intentionally avoids bonus locations due to the bonus being located in or near a large city or is difficult to reach. Is bagging a high value bonus in Chicago on a Friday afternoon worth the time and effort for the bonus points? If a high value bonus requires a boat ferry to reach it, are the bonus points worth the risk of missing the ferry due to unplanned circumstances, the ferry being cancelled due to weather or some other unannounced event, or there is no space available on the ferry?
1) Plan your ride…Ride your plan: Perhaps one of the most widely used expressions in the rally riding community. It is likely a rider may experience an unplanned event - road closure, motorcycle issue, dangerous weather, heavy traffic, etc. If the rally route was well planned and incorporated bonus timing triangles, bypassing a bonus location should not be a significant emotional event. Avoid making spur-of-the-moment decisions to bag an unplanned bonus. The decision may lead to the rider re-planning an on-the-fly route in a parking lot or on a fast-food chain table both of which will use valuable on-the-clock time and potentially lead to routing errors later in the rally.
2) Bonus Bagging: To successfully claim bonus points, a rider must submit a bonus photo that complies with Rally Book instructions. In all instances the photo must have an identifiable bonus image with a legible rally flag rider number. Read and re-read the bonus instructions before photographing a bonus. Failure to comply with the bonus instructions will result in denial of bonus points and rider disappointment during scoring. When photographing a bonus, a rider should strive to match the photo in the Rally Book. Many hours and miles were ridden to bag the bonus, don’t give the rally scorer any inkling of doubt that leads to a bonus denial!
RALLY SCORING: The rally is not finished until the rider’s paperwork and bonus photos are submitted and the scoring process is completed. Riders will need to be prepared for scoring not later than a time determined by the Rally Master and bring required items identified in Rally Book specific instructions to the scoring table. A rider will be asked if they are prepared to be scored. If ready, official scoring will begin and a rider may not leave the scoring table. A rally staff scorer will verify bonus photo submissions adhere to Rally Book instructions and the Bonus Claim Form is accurate. If the rider’s Bonus Claim Form point total matches the scorer’s point total, scoring is complete. The rider will sign the scoring form indicating the rider concurs with the final point total. If during the scoring process a rider disputes a bonus denial, the Rally Master will make the final bonus approval/disapproval determination. The Rally Master’s decision is final!
RALLY AWARDS: Upon completion of scoring, riders will have an opportunity to socialize with a cold beverage, enjoy a dinner, and exchange rally stories. Once dinner is complete, the Rally Master will have a presentation and award plaques to the first, second, and third place finishers.