Monday, February 25, 2013

2012 Team Lyle Rally - New England

RallyMastering - My View From Scratch

Plymouth,  Massachusetts
July 14, 2012

Malcomb Forbes once said in an interview, " If you scratch the surface of any governor, you are likely to find a president trying to get out."  I'm afraid this scenario may also apply to the Long Distance Riding community as well.  If you were to scratch through the ballistic nylon and Gortex of most any LDR rallyist, you would, most likely, uncover a new RallyMaster, eager to produce their first rally.

In September 2011, Lisa Erbes and TeamStrange announced their plans for the newly created Team Lyle Rally, to go national !!!  Lisa invited experienced and would be RallyMasters, to host a TLR in their local area, as a fund raiser for the Eddie's Road Foundation.  It was like my skin was being scratched with a back hoe.  I was emailing Lisa with a resounding "YES", even before I knew what the heck I was doing.

With rally logistics and potential bonus locations, screaming through my head like a rocket sled on rails, I was praying that normal thinking would soon return.  I did realize we were talking about TeamStrange.  Who the hell did I think I was, hosting anything in the name of TeamStrange.

Besides, we all know how most rocket sleds end.......

And so it came to pass, I would host a Team Lyle 8 Hour Rally in New England.
Now what do I do?

After twelve years of enjoying rallies around the country, on July 14th, I would finally be able to give something back to the LDR community.

The rally would start and end in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  It was close to home and I secretly wanted the city of my birth to be documented in the annals of LD riding for something other than a "photo bonus" of that big rock on Water street.

Plymouth is so much more...

Like great beaches and a beautiful harbor:

Awesome homes and a friendly downtown:

And yes, there is the Mayflower:

But we do have our own paddle wheel too:

Even some silly guys in top hats:

And where do you think all that cranberry sauce comes from?

For the best "chowda", this is the place:

(... too bad I didn't put any of these places in the rally.) Oh well.

****  This concludes the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce portion of our program.******

I had chosen July 14th because it would interfere the least with other rallies.  Besides, it was Bastille Day, which may or may not have been useful when the time came.  I had always felt that the following weekend after the July 4th holiday, was ripe for a rally.  A cheap excuse to burn some gas between the excitement that most enjoy over the 4th, and before the start of the August vacation season, (and big multi-day rallies and such).  Next was to find a host (starting) location.

In keeping with the Team Lyle Rally concept of low cost, minimal set-up, one day events, I needed to choose a starting and ending location that would be easy access, moto-friendly, and most importantly, wouldn't cost me anything.  Naturally I found what I was looking for quite by accident.  While scouting a potential bonus at the Service Area on Rte 3 in Plymouth, ( there is a unique "whispering giant" totem pole outside the building: )

I soon realized that this Service Area would work well as a starting and ending location for my rally.  Easy access.  Food and fuel readily available. Plenty of tables, inside and out, for riders to use for route planning.

Next was the format.

I wanted to keep the rally as simple as possible.  The more inviting to new rallyist, the better. No camera needed.  No fuel log required.  You did not need mapping software or even a GPS.  Although, all that stuff is nice to have, I did not want newbies to be intimidated by their lacking such stuff.

I was confident that all the bonus locations would be easy to find with just written directions, (old school). I did however impliment one policy that I appreciated from my first Minnesota 1000 experience back in '03.  Riders would not recieve any electronic info files prior to rally day.  In fact, there were no electronic files available at all.  I would distribute Rally Bonus Listings, in paper copies only.  Plus riders would not recieve said Bonus Listings untill approximately 1 and 1/2 hours before Rally start.  Just like the early days.

Reality Bites.

After swapping many emails with Lisa, I had a basic Rally Plan in motion. Time, date and location were set.  It was now well into the winter months here in New England. I was now focused on working on the Bonus Listings and preparing to build the rest of the rally.

I had already decided that I would not be dealing with a lot of "rally swag" and prizes. But I knew I needed T-shirts, trophy plaques and stickers as a minimum purse for a rider's entry fee. Time to investigate sponsor hunting.  The trophies and stickers were not a big deal, but the T-shirt thing was something else.  Although the whole TLR concept is low cost, I did want the T's to be of good quality.  I would have to find a sponsor to help with the cost.  It did not go well.  My typical sponsor encounter would always end something like this:

Dealer:     "T-shirts?  What T-shirts?"
Poor me:  "T-shirts for a fund raiser, Sir"
Dealer:     "Nah, I already have T-shirts"
Poor me:  "No sir, these T's would be for the riders.  I just need help with the cost. I would like to list your shop as a sponsor and supporter of the rally"
Dealer:     "What rally? ....... look kid, I told ya, I already got T-shirts"
Poor me:  "Yes but, ........ never mind, thank you for your time."

It was going to be a long winter.  It would appear that I could use some sponsor hunting education.

As it turned out, I was able to secure a good deal on T's from a good friend at church, who's brother just happens to run a graphics print shop in Connecticut.

WVA Graphics
Moodus, CT

They did an awesome job. Thanks.

More reality:

I'm going to need help.  A rally staff would be nice.  But who?  It's obvious I can't do this all alone. Then one day in early Spring, I get an email from Lisa.  She tells me Bill Yarian from Indiana is looking to help with the Eddie's Road Foundation.  Bill is a long time rider and rallyist, so when Lisa suggest that Bill could help out with the Team Lyle Rallies, BINGO, she sends him my way.

I now have some much needed help.  It's a Christmas Miracle !!!

Your 2012 TLR New England Rally Staff.  (Bill's on the right)
Photo by Chuck Quintero
So now fast forward to July 2012, and it's Showtime ! ! ! ! 

I had utilized Jason Jonas' RideMaster for registration purposes.  Which we all know, works very well. Thank you Sir ! ! !
I had 20 riders sign up. 16 arrived on Rally Day.  It was modest, but I was very thankful to all those who signed up and chose to come and play.
Thank you all so very much.
Rally Morning

It was a beautiful day, although it was going to get hot.

Riders started arriving around 6:00 am.  I was very anxious and just prayed all went well.  I've always had a great appreciation for what it takes to build and execute a good rally.  I would consider myself lucky, if I just came close. The parking lot started to fill up.  I was feeling a little better.

I had a good mix of new riders and great rally vets that rounded out the field.  Many of the veteran riders were friends I knew from the annual MinuteMan 1000 Rally.  It was an honor to have them come and play today. 

Every Picture Tells A Story...donut?

Rally HQ and my first RM speech.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Rally HG and a couple of early arrivals.

More early arrivals.

Now we are getting a good gathering.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Anthony Mills and Bruce Jansen are seen waiting for the RM to get his act together.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Super Secret Surprise Guest........Paul Pelland.  (far left, pointing)
Paul stopped by to lend his support and also made a donation to the cause. 
Paul is embarked on his own long journey.  Long Haul Paul.  Please lend him your support.
Many blessing upon you my friend. Be well.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

After Bonus Listings are handed out, the planning begins.

Kara and James doing route planning the old school way ...... I Love It ! ! !!

My good friends, Doc and Ann Cook.  Although they had to leave the rally early, I was very glad they came to play.

I like this photo.  It shows Kate Johnston literally doing route planning, "on the road".
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Some pre-rally strategies.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

The latest in rally comfort wear.  If you are going to rally, you might as well be comfy.
I really enjoyed Jack and Grace.  It was fun having you two attend.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Well folks, it's showtime.  
9:00 am and time to get this going.

Doc and Ann Cook take off.

As all the riders made their way out of the parking lot, I was feeling pretty good.  With expert help from Bill, who did a fab job of recording everyone's odo readings and signing folks in. It was all jelling as planned.

Thank you so much Bill for all your help. You made it look so easy.

Just a few bonuses along the way......

This was the Garbage Museum in Connecticut, it was closed. But I thought the blue dino was cool.

Glasphalt?  If you do go to the Garbage Museum, you end up driving on this stuff.....not sure if it's such a good idea.

Glasphalt sculpture?

I thought the Barker Cartoon Museum in Conn., would be a fun bonus to walk around in.
A few riders did go there.

The John Alden House, Duxbury, Mass.
John Alden was not a Pilgrim, but history records that he was the one who stepped off the Mayflower onto "Plymouth Rock."
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Evidently, Hammond Castle in Gloucester, Mass. was such a cool bonus, that one rider stepped out of the rally to take the tour.  
Photo by Chuck Quintero
Photo by Chuck Quintero

Jack and Grace Garvin seem to show up everywhere. Claiming the sub bonus.
USS Albacore Submarine Memorial., Portsmouth NH.
Photo by Chuck Quintero
This was what the riders were looking for.

Capt Percival's Grave, Somewhere on the Cape.
Talk about a long distance traveler......

This one was for Rick W.
Historical Marker for a huge tree that is no longer there......huh?

Well all righty then.....  Time to head for the barn.
I am very pleased and relieved to say that all the riders where present and or safely accounted for.
That makes a RallyMaster very happy.

We did have a few DNFs, for personal reasons and a few DNS. But I thank them all so very much for supporting the rally and coming out to play.  Please come back next year.

Some post rally tire kicking.
Photo by Chuck Quintero

While I was crunching away on score sheets, several riders enjoyed a post rally feed, supplied by my wife Carol and daughter Amber, who put together a great meal for all to enjoy.  Thank you both so very much.
Sorry about the focus.

After Bill corrected me on a few scoring errors I made.  It was award time.  
I do apologize for taking so long, some riders had to leave before the awards were given out.
Including 2nd place finisher Ian Pavelko from Quebec and 3rd place finisher Richard Halverson from Mass.
Very embarrassing....

Who dresses this guy?  Your 2012 TLR RM:
Photo by Chuck Quintero

But I did still have Craig Szeman from Boston, who was our First Place Finisher.
Craig's paperwork was clean and neat, with all receipts in good working order.
With 428 miles and 906 points, and the only rider to travel in all six New England states:
Congratulations Craig.
Photo by Chuck Quintero
By the way, this was Craig's first rally.  As Adam Wolkoff was fond of saying, " You will see this guy's name again."

I hope everyone had a great time.  It was an absolute pleasure and mountains of fun to put this rally together.  It felt soooo good to finally give back to the LDR rally community.

Very Special Thanks to Bill Yarian, who was invaluable, and saved my RM life. 
Thank you my friend.

To Lisa Erbes and TeamStrange.... YOU FOLKS ARE THE BEST !!!!!!!!
Thank you so much for giving me the chance to host a TLR.  I hope I didn't disappoint.

I strongly encourage anyone who might be thinking, it would be a good thing to host a local rally..... An 8 Hour TLR is just the event to get started on.  Talk with Lisa, you won't be sorry.

Please attend and support a Team Lyle Rally near you:

Major lesson learned:  You can't have enough volunteers. 
                                   I have to speed up scoring. ( more volunteers thing ) 
                                   Perhaps a different host facility.....

Already hard at work on next year's rally.....


Mark W. Collins
Kingston, Massachusetts