2021 IBR – Day 4

 The Flock Returns

The staff is going through the call-in bonuses and making note of those who didn’t follow the instructions:

1)     Your name

2)     Rider number

3)     Location (city/town AND state)

4)     The previous bonus you visited

5)     The next bonus you plan to visit

Pretty simple, eh? (to quote the Canadian friends that we’re missing). Well, apparently not simple for everybody, as one rider missed the required items and staff is reviewing the data for others who may have called in during their rest bonus (oops, not allowed).

I don’t like to give any particular rider so much attention, but after Al Greenwood completed a bonus at the Minuteman Missile site, he informed us that in 1985 when he last competed in the Iron Butt Rally he was working on the Minuteman project. We can look at this two ways: “Boy have we all gotten old,” or “Look at how technology has advanced in our lifetime.” I prefer the latter. Al, who, in our last report had a flat tire in Montana, has since had his bike towed and the tire fixed but is a long way out.

Peter Green is having fuel leakage problems but is still moving. We hope it’s the auxiliary system and not the main tank. Jim Hampshire on the Harley Pan America is back on the road. He said his wife nicknamed it “the Panda America”. Michael Best is up and running again but he lost a lot of time trying to get a new tire on his GL1800. He took a long route first heading to the west coast, up the coast to Seattle and then back across the top of the country. Michael recently won the “The Heart of Texas Rally” (Mike Brooke, Ben Ernst, Ken Andrews, James and Karen Handley and Mike Hall also finished in the top 10 for that rally). Michael is in good shape to make the checkpoint and it will be interesting to see how much a toll the miles and the repair delay have taken on him. A few riders are still far from the checkpoint with under 8 hours left. Lisa called one to chat and they said their ETA is 10:15pm. Time will tell if they can beat the GPS by a quarter hour.

Most of the riders ran a loop from the Golden Spike up through Montana, across the Dakotas, then swinging down through Wisconsin. From there, the additional bonuses they could pursue were a matter of their efficiency and capability. One smaller group of riders took a bigger loop for bonuses in Nevada and along the West Coast, while another set of riders really working outside the box swept the southwest. These include KTS (Kirsten Talken Spaulding), Dan Simmonds and Michael Brooke (riding the Hayabusa with about 1/5th the luggage of anyone else and EXACTLY 11.5 gallons of gas in his custom welded hidden auxiliary tank). These are all good riders and maybe they saw something that wasn’t obvious. It will be interesting to see the scores.

Things are about to heat up here in Carmel, Indiana. Lisa Landry has been working non-stop to get everything ready for riders (food, water, …) and making sure they can get to their rooms quickly. The hotel is doing some renovation, which was a surprise not only to us but to hotel staff, who had received no advance notification after re-opening. Lisa KNOWS how important it is for things go smoothly at the checkpoint.

Later today there will be a training session for the team of experienced scorers who will get these riders professionally, accurately, and efficiently through scoring and off to their rooms for rest. 3:45 comes early. I spent some time with Rallymaster Jeff Earls to see the computational magic behind the scoring. I was absolutely floored watching a demo of this system.

1.     The rider turns over their pictures to be reviewed and authenticated by Dave McQueeney and his team. Those are put on a flash drive for the scorer.

2.     The scorer uses an automated spreadsheet to enter the riders claimed bonuses and then evaluates their pictures, receipts, etc. against the written requirements and accepts or denies each bonus.

3.     The scoresheet calculates progressive bonuses, combination bonuses and bonuses with variable values (like the rest bonus that depends on how long the rider rested) automatically.

4.     The scorer and rider agree that the scoring was correct, or an appeal is made to the Rallymaster to settle any questionable items.

5.     The scoring spreadsheet is saved along with all proof and is delivered to the scoring compiler – Kathy Engholm. This is where real magic happens. With a few button clicks, some custom Visual Basic code embedded in the spreadsheets does the following:

A)    compile the rider’s score and create a digital score card complete with rider information and a photo of the rider.

B)    format a presentation page suitable for web posting (HTML code).

C)    create a list of scores that can be sorted by rider or any other parameter.

Scoring will start at 5:00pm for early arrivals. The checkpoint opens at 8:00pm and riders start losing points per minute until the checkpoint closes at 10:00pm. I expect scoring to be done soon after that unless there is a late rush. The results will be ready for the riders when they return to the lobby area for their 4:00am rider meeting and the start of Leg 2.

You will be able to see what these riders accomplished on their first leg sometime Friday morning when Jeff hits the button to publish the results online. Yours truly will be sprinting down the hall with coffee dribbling out the side of my mouth, waving my schmeared bagel in the air just trying to keep up and get out a report before I get scooped!