Day 0 for me was basically the night before the rally started! We spent most of the day (Saturday) trying to get some rest, attending the mandatory riders’ meeting and trying to stay calm while organising our packing and plan for the evening’s routing. Kiwi was pretty relaxed. I, on the other hand was second-guessing everything. To be honest, I didn’t feel ready for what was to come… but it was a little late for that now!
After some fun times socialising over dinner, we each received our rally packs containing a rally book, a score sheet, a flag and a thumb drive at about 7.30. Everyone headed back to their rooms pretty quickly after that and with Kiwi doing the electronic coding and me reading the rally book and messing about in Google Maps we had a rough plan for the next 3 days by about 10pm. I was still wired from the adrenaline so it took me a while to get to sleep, but I think we did fairly well with our first routing practice ‘for real’ and we had enough time for a decent 7 hours of rest before Day 1 started.
Just about all the bonuses were below and to the left of a straight line between Lexington, KY (the start point) and Maggie Valley, NC (the checkpoint).
I’m still a little sleep deprived so I can’t recall if I’ve already explained this, but for those unfamiliar with these types of rally, the basic premise is that all those red spots are bonus locations, and each location is worth a different number of points. Obviously it’s not possible to go to every location in three days, so the aim is to plan a route that allows you to collect as many points as possible in the time available (you lose points for arriving back to the checkpoint late and if you’re more than 2 hours late you’re time barred and classed as DNF – did not finish). Each location has specific requirements to successfully claim the points so you have to make sure you fill in the score sheet and read the rally book carefully.
In Leg 1 there was one ‘combo’ bonus – if you successfully collected the points for 9 of the 15 South East Conference football stadiums, you’d receive an extra 2500 points. I’m a visual person – so this is what it looks like when you make the stadium points little running men, with the green house as our start point and the green bed as our checkpoint. The yellow stars were other points that looked interesting.
Our number 1 goal for the rally was to have fun. I figured I could do maybe 1000kms a day, perhaps less on days it was really hot. This meant that we needed to plan and ride a route which was pretty conservative by Butt Lite standards, and visually this meant that the stadium combo made a lot of sense if we picked up the 9 stadiums that were closest to ‘home’ – those in Kentucky (1), Tennessee (1), Mississippi (2), Alabama (2), Georgia (1), South Carolina(1) and North Carolina (1). We’d make sure we did our rest bonus perfectly to pick up those points (another 2400) and then fit in what other bonuses we could that were relatively close to our route. So we had a plan.
We were going to have to have me and both flags in every photo so this was the plan for my rally pose:
You can tell from the look in my eyes that perhaps I’m a little more alert than I should be for 9.45pm. But at least the camera works!
With that it was time for sleep!