Friday, July 8, 2011

2011 Team Lyle Rally

The Inaugural Running of the 8 Hour Team Lyle Rally
June 18, 2011
Minneapolis, Minnesota

8 Hours.  This was different, but a whole lot of fun.  I realized very quickly that not only did you have NO time to make mistakes, you didn't even have time to think about thinking about it.  Just keep moving. Go somewhere.......claim something......... 'cuz the rally is half over ! ! ! !

I had been wanting to do a TeamStrange event for quite sometime.  The July 30th date for the MN1K was not going to work for me this year.  So the Team Lyle Rally in June was perfect.  It was billed as a fund raiser for Eddie's Road and kind of boot camp/intro to the Minnesota 1000, TeamStrange's legendary 24 hour event. Entrants were even encouraged to ride their non-rally bikes, just to make it more fun.  Non-rally bike? No problem filling that request.

Being an out of towner, this would also be my inaugural visit to the infamous, Bob's Java Hut. I have followed TeamStrange for years and read of Bob's importance to TS functions.  I was looking forward to my first visit to, " Mecca."

My keepsake photo.
I thought it would be a bigger place.  No mind, I was still impressed.  I understood the attraction.

Rally Time

07:00 Saturday, riders begin to arrive.

This was the other H-D in the rally.  It was beautiful.  I love old iron.

08:00 Saturday, Bart distributes the route sheets.

No photo bonuses.
No GPX files.
No complicated directions.

Rally started at 09:00

Just 30 locations with some simple questions to answer.  A great way to spend a Saturday.

Only a few minutes into the route sheets, I realized, the maps I brought with me, turned out to be woefully inadequate.  The road atlas I had was not the normal one state per page type.  It was layed out with sections of each state in geographical series, west to east, not alphabetical.  I thought this would help.... it didn't. 

It was confusing to use, it had a pitiful cities and towns index and some bloody pages were MISSING ! ! ! !
After I was unable to located the first three bonus locations, due to not being in the index, I decided to stop mucking about and get going ....... but where?  It was now 09:20.  Not a good start.

There were a lot of bonuses listed in Wisconsin. So I just hopped on I-94 and went East.  My lame plan was to stop at the first exit or Welcome center in Wisconsin, whichever came first, and buy a good map.  Then stop at a Dennys, spread out the map, chug a cup of regular and try to formulate a plan.

So I reach the first exit that has a gas station/QuickMart style store.  As I'm scanning the map display case, I'm having a hard time finding a Wisconsin state map.  The rack is full of complete US atlases, and plenty of Minnesota maps. Along with Ohio, Illinois and an awesome street atlas of St Louis ! ! !   WTF

I could not find a Wisconsin map.  So naturally I bought the Minnesota map and had to recalculate my plan even before I calculated the first one ! ! !

So now if anyone wants to know why I chose all Minnesota bonus locations ....... well, now you know.

Some of my bonus stops.

Bayport, MN .......... 22 pts
Hmmmmm, my motorcycle is 4 years older than this monument................ jeez, the funny stuff you think of during a rally.

Marine on St. Croix, MN ........ 34 pts
This was a nice looking little town.  I know nothing about it, but it sure looked friendly. It looked like they were setting up for some kind of town picnic.  I love that stuff.  There usually is some really good ice cream to be had.

Next stop Sunrise, MN ........ 68 pts
Birthplace of actor Richard Widmark .......who?

I can't believe I did not take a photo of this bonus.  There were others riders there and I must have got distracted. Actually, there was no house, just a large sign with lots of photos and stories about Mr. Widmark.
But it was a cool bonus to claim.

From Sunrise it was a quick jaunt north to the lake side town of Isle.

Isle, MN ........ 113 pts
I didn't photo the geological marker, duh.  But I did take a nice tourist photo of Lake Mille Lac.
I had actually been by this way before.  During the 2003 MN1K, one of the bonuses was to ride around Lake Mille Lac.  Get a fuel receipt to start and end your ride.  Easy points unless you were pushing the time window to return to the finish before a DNF...... like I almost did.

Time to turn south toward the finish, as the clock is ticking......

Princeton, MN ........ 37 pts

What does a  DE 1021 look like?

Gee, my bike was still "new" when last this ship floated.......

Last bonus:

Orrock, MN ......... 189 pts
It was raining and I was running a little late.  I didn't take any photos.  So I stole this from the Wildlife Refuge website. Sorry.

Route sheet said it was a gravel road. Could be a little squirrely if it was raining.  I decided to give it a try.
I found the entrance road, no problem.  The skies looked like something nasty was headed my way.
Sure enough, about mile marker 3.5, I saw the lightning.  About mile marker 3.6 ..... came the rain. 

Crap  ! ! ! ! ! !

This was going to be slippery.  My old shovel with street tires was going to make this a "fun" ride.  I was way beyond the point of dropping this bonus.  I kept going.  I stayed vertical, but a few spots tried their best to see just how stable I was.  I reach the bonus location just as the deluge hit.  I was wishing I had my umbrella.

My route sheets were getting soaked trying to record info.  Then I realized how stupid I was.  Keep the route sheets dry in the tour pack and write the info on something else and fill in the route sheets later.....duh.
Sometimes I amaze myself.......

My GPS said my arrival at Bob's would be 4:38 pm.  Excellent.
Actual was pretty damn close. Not much of a bonus gathering for me, but I sure had fun. Which is what it's all about. 

What a great rally.  Well worth the travel from Massachusetts to participate.  I look forward to the next one.
Results are posted at

I finished 27th of 32 finishers.  Which is par for me.  Especially since I had no idea what I was doing for the first hour. 

Very harty thanks to Lisa, Bart and John for an excellent weekend.  It really was a HOOT ! ! !
It was awesome to meet you folks and the other Strangers I was lucky to chat with.
God Bless you all.

Return to Sender:

Well, it was a two day ride to get here, I'm guessing, but I think that means a two day ride to get home.

From Minneapolis I traveled south on US 61 along the River Road.  It was a beautiful ride.  At La Crosse, I followed US 14 to Madison.

In Readstown, Wisconsin, I stopped at a diner for lunch.  I knew there was a gathering of H-D Shovels in town, but it was over.  Just a few hanging around for lunch.

There're just aren't that many pre-Evo's around anymore. These guys where having fun.
It was a nice day for a ride.

Further down the road, my engine started to loose power.  Turns out, my VOES had failed. ( I had converted to an electronic ignition a few years ago.) I retarded the timing and continued on.

I stopped at a rest area further down the road for some reason, but I thought this sign was interesting.

Through Madison and onto Indiana.

CHICAGO ....... TRAFFIC ....... SUCKS.
And that's all I got to say about that.

Stopped for the night in Mishawaka, Indiana. The next day was uneventful, except;

Duct tape.......Duct tape.........Duct tape.

Not quite as elaborate or spectacular as a "Handyman Secret Weapon" segment. But I think Red Green would be proud.

Overall, one of the best Father's Day weekend I've enjoyed in a long time.
Congrats to all who rode and supported the rally.

Long Live TeamStrange.

Mark W. Collins
Kingston, Massachusetts
TS # 524