Monday, September 14, 2009

on a sad note

dear rally teams, volunteers and friends:

it is with great regret that i must announce the cancellation of the nevada rally!

despite numerous emails and forum requests to organize an event, i have not received enough entries to pay for timing devices, trophies, toilets, hotel rooms (for rally hq and officials), radios, cache containers, printing, food, signs, etc., to stage the event, which, in addition to the rally itself, was also intended to be a means to organize future rallies.

the present economy has been rough on us all and the rally certainly is not something that most of us can afford at this time.

i want to extend great debts of thanks to rick (rrinnv) and robert & betsy (the buggy bunch) for your unwavering faith and support and thank you to those teams who did support the nevada rally through your entries and a huge thank you to the many volunteers (there were almost 3 volunteers for every team member, not teams) for your willingness to help the rally run smoother and give the teams the wonderful time they’ve come to expect from past rallies; i am very sorry for not being able to justify your faith and letting all of you down and want you to know that your friendships make this announcement even more difficult to release.

to those of you who did enter: the checks for your entry fees that you submitted with your entry forms have been voided and will be returned to you.

i really wanted to take you on the off-road adventure that rick and i have been designing over the past 8-months.

sincerely yours,
monty wolf

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

early bird fee: extenion

hi teams:

i have good news and bad news.

first the bad news: there really is no bad news.

so, let’s skip to the good news.

i’ve been neglecting my rally directorial duties because my long-missing (you don’t want to hear the long, ugly story. trust me!) daughter recently found me and we have been catching up with time missing since 1978, when she was hurried-away at the age of 11-months.

i’m also a grandfather x 2 and growing prouder and more excited with that by the day.

my life has changed tremendously in the past 3-weeks!

so, now the bad news:

the original date for the end of the early bird entry fee was set to elapse tuesday.

well, since i was too busy doing other things, i’m going to extend the early bird entry fee until july 15, 2009.

you see: there is no bad news!

registration fees for the nevada rally are as follows:

2-person teams = $130
3-person teams = $195
4-person teams = $260

after july 15, 2009 the fees increase by $10 per person as follows:

2-person teams = $150
3-person teams = $225
4-person teams = $300

make checks payable to: the nevada rally

send to:
monty wolf
c/o gillette
5499 casey rd.
fallon, nv 89406

the good news continues:

the revisions to the rule book are complete; you can see just the changes here and you can download the entire rule book doc here and the entire rule book pdf here.

the compilation of changes explain what changes took place and why and has the new rule in its entirety.

except for a couple of typos and a few clarifications, most of the changes have to do with how the rally will be scored: instead of starting with 0-points, each team begins with a perfect score for that particular course; it is up to each team to retain as many points as possible.

the same thing only backwards.

and even more good news:

the rally course for this october is set in stone. providing that stone doesn’t wash away. i am joking, but we did get an amazing amount of rain in june and a lot of it came with torrential flashfloods that washed-out many sections of roads for this october and at least 2 future rally courses. nothing that is too rough to overcome, mind you. but, when you’re dealing with 150+ miles of dirt road, those slow sections can really make the day and night long.

how long, you ask?

well, we’re going to find that out this weekend: betsy and robert (buggy bunch) are coming all the way from campbell, ca to join me and rick on a timed run of the rally course.

in case you’re wondering how we set the speed averages, this is how it’s done:

rick and i will leave the starting line, with the odometer set to zero, and record our exact time of departure.

five minutes later, using the same interval you will during the rally, betsy and robert will leave the starting line.

the speed average is based on running the rally without making any navigational errors. so, each pre-runner is given every turn encountered along the route with a brief explanation of the maneuver required at that waypoint.

the stagger is so one vehicle doesn’t pace the other.

at the end of each segment we record our times of arrival and mileage and get ready for the next segment.

i also use the tracklogs to verify times and mileage.

willybee is working this weekend and can’t make it. but, we may make a separate pre-run late in july.

i then average the times between each pre-runner within each segment.

later, after we place all of the caches, i will adjust the average time of each segment to the difficulty of each cache hidden in that leg: +3:00 for an average hide; +4 to +5 for a more difficult; up to +15 for a multi.

the pre-run is also good to verify all of the waypoints and to give betsy and robert a chance to preview the course. since they will be your sweep crew, i’m sure you appreciate that.

ok. with all this good news i have to end this with a little bad news:

only 15 teams will be accepted in this october’s rally!

how’s that for putting the fear of monty in you?

happy birthday u.s.a.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Update

hi teams:

i hope everyone had a great memorial day weekend!

long a tradition in my family, the indy 500 had to be placed aside as rick and i were out from mid-morning till way passed dark scouting sections of this fall’s course that we have not been able to previously explore due to weather conditions.

we did, however, get a lot accomplished in designing the course for the nevada rally v. 0.1.

the disappointing news regarding the completion of the course is: one of the canyons that i had hoped to route teams through as a possible “extreme section” has degraded to the point of it being just too extreme for anyone who might regularly participate in our rally.

one of the cool things about setting up the rally courses that you all get to experience is that we get enjoy these roads and sights several times; we also get to see a lot of roads, sights, sites and other things that, unfortunately, you will not see on the rally.

in this case we cannot send teams into a dangerous driving situation knowing that most of the vehicles making that attempt are going to suffer damage.

since there is only one road into and out of this canyon in its present state, we would have to send teams up a road for 90 minutes, turn you around (if you can find a place to park so many vehicles and, indeed, turn them around) and come back down the same road in the opposite direction; narrow roads are tough enough to negotiate with just the occasional oncoming vehicle with which to contend let alone having several vehicles, in both directions. it’s not safe and it does not allow for parity since the teams in the middle of the pack will have to encounter far more oncoming vehicles in both directions that the first ones in and the last ones out won’t have to pass.

many have been the times that rick, willybeee, ivan, teri or i have had the pleasure of experiencing incredible sights or scenic roads or amazing vistas or monuments to nevada’s history that, usually for the reason of controlling two-way traffic, cannot be used for the rally.

it is for that reason that have to skip this particular canyon that i have been referring to as: our northwest passage. so, not unlike the northwest passage sought by lewis and clarke and the corps of discovery, we had to take another look at our options.

just how will this affect the rally?

well, if i hadn’t have told you, you would not know anything about the planned route.

technically: it will lengthen the course by a few miles, but will probably require less time to complete. the route will still be as remote as many participants have ever been in their lives and just as challenging to maintain higher scores than the competition.

i have known for several years that the canyon in question is not for the faint at heart. but, it is now reaching the point where, unless somebody with a powder license goes up there and flattens a couple of boulders to rock and gravel, only rock crawlers will be able to make the trip from one end to the other.

so, at this point in time, rick and i have plotted out ¾ of the course; we only have a couple of short sections in higher elevations to track and measure.

in an attempt to build our rally courses more efficiently, we have been exploring several possible future rally routes; storing those tracklogs for later assemblage into routes.

i believe, counting the course for this october, we now have 5 unique courses for the next 2 ½-years.

in working on the section of the course that we traveled over the weekend, we chose a shorter ingress instead of taking the actual route. in doing so, we were able to record tracklogs and times for another set of roads that will, most likely, become the night section of the newest route.

we also got a chance to use rick’s new delorme pn40 gpsr. in first usage, i’d have to say that, if you’ve used a gps in the past (that should include all of you), you should be able to pop in a couple of batts, turn it on and begin using it without looking through the manual.

there were several things i really liked about it and a few things i didn’t really care that much for (the tightest zoom you can get for satellite imagery is ½ mile, which doesn’t show you much on a small handheld screen). but, as we use it more, i’m sure it will grow on us. i will have to say that we did need to reboot 3 or 4 times. but, that might be something that firmware will eliminate as it is made available.

having long been a fan, and former neighbor, of the delorme map company, i have been looking forward to their new series of handhelds for quite some time.

it will not surprise me to see a few of the delorme units this october.

we were also using the garmin map60 we’ve been using since 2006 to record our times and tracklog.

we’re still dealing with internet issues here on the ranch. so, if you’re trying to reach me by email, don’t fret if you do not hear from me right away; i’ll get back to you as soon as i can get online!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

cha-cha-cha-cha-changes to the rules, that is.

i spent last weekend working on the rally rules to reflect the way the rally will be scored (instead of each team starting with a score of zero, they will begin with “perfect scores”. as with other types of rallies the world over, points will be deducted from each team for not finding caches or reaching checkpoints at the wrong times, etc., instead of being awarded points.) and working on the addition to a rule for a new checkpoint challenge.

also, while i was out letting the dogs swim in the canal (sorry. too deep for a water crossing) and run through the desert that i had an epiphany: i came up with an idea for an additional checkpoint challenge.

i’m still working on the explanations and rules for both of the challenges. but, i can tell you a little.

one of the new challenges will require the use of all team members to find a series of caches (a multi-cache) in a certain length of time. unlike the non-goto hunt that has previously been the only type of checkpoint challenge, the group hunt will allow the use of goto. but, you may only use one gps during this particular checkpoint challenge.

the other challenge that i have been working on for the last month or so is going to be a test.

it goes something like this:
  • only 1 team member (the quizee??) will take the test.
  • you will have a total of 3 minutes (the time may increase or decrease depending on how tests go) to study for and complete the test.
  • when the timer begins you will be shown a map with pinpoints at various cities and towns with their respective names. you may look at the map for as long as you would like. but, you only have a total of 3 minutes to examine the map and complete the test.
  • you may only look at the map one time.
  • on the other side of the map will be an alphabetical list of all of the cities and towns that were marked on the map. there will also be a numerical list of the coordinates of each of those cities and towns.
  • your task is to match the cities and towns with the correct lat/lon.
  • -5 points for each wrong match with a total of 50 points at stake. in the past it would have been 5 bonus points for each correct answer.
it may be that the above quiz will be offered in addition to the traditional checkpoint challenge, which i am now calling the “non-goto hunt”. it may also be used at night checkpoints instead of the non-goto. that is still undecided.

if you have any input on either of the new, or old, checkpoint challenges, please, let me know. it’s always nice to have a ball bounce around a bit before you use it.

i also made a few other unexpected alterations to the rules as i was reading through the file to correct the scoring (man, that was a lot of work changing the pluses to minuses, inverting the various wordings, finding the correct nomenclature to replace “bonus points” {bonus penalty?????} etc.), due in part to the new scoring method and a couple of things that hit me between the eyes when i read them.

i should have the latest version of the rules in the hands of proofreaders in the coming days and then available for download soon thereafter. but, there have been, except for the new challenges, few changes. there will also be a list of all of the changes, so you don't have to read the whole rulebook again.

# # # # #

rick (rrinnv) informs me that he just ordered a new delorme gps-r (not sure what model, but it’s got sat. imagery, including the imagery subscription, and all the bells and whistles), so we should be using both the delorme and the map60 we’ve been using since ’06 as we prepare for the next 2-years + of rallies.

yes! you read that right.

after a few years of putting these rallies together, rick and i have been learning a lot about how to do this.

first: it’s not as easy as it seems to just go out and put a rally course together. loops (the more the merrier) are vital; you can’t have 30 vehicles heading into a canyon, only to have them all turn around and come out the same road in which they entered. scenery is also very, if not the most, important aspect of building a rally course. approach is also a big deal: what may look nice one way may look stunningly spectacular the other way. avoiding deep sand is another issue.

but, despite putting the rally together being the greatest job(?) in the world, it would save us a few coins if we could eliminate some of the many trips way take to put the rally together.

so, during last winter and early spring when the snow wouldn’t allow us to survey areas of the course i intend for this october, we went into completely different deserts in search of future rally courses.

we found some amazing areas and ruins that we never knew existed!

one of the courses (maybe oct. 2010?) has an old cemetery out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere that’s about an acre, +/- a few yards, that’s not listed on too many maps. we also came across the largest herd of prong horn that we’ve seen in our trips since we began building rallies.

on another trip we ventured into a mining district that ivan (devil in my ear) had recently learned about, that is near an area where i’d been looking at a route and has a series of looping roads loads that roam in and out of the various camps.

on one of those trips we found a petrified wood forest. some of the trees we saw would have to weigh tons and tons, while others were small frags you could pick up and hold in your hand.

willybeee and i and ivan (devil in my ear) and i have also explored some very interesting areas that could become parts of fifth or sixth rally courses.

by incorporating the one-day format, it allows us to venture into greater distances from rally hq, therefore more remote areas. this has given us a seeming endless choice of courses.

with the advent of the limited entry fall invitational rally, i’m considering a dual-venue event that would, for example, start in fallon on a friday afternoon, go to yerington for a night and return to fallon the next night, with an awards breakfast on sunday.

how would you feel about?

a few intrepid ralliers have asked about a rally with a camp in the middle. that might not gather the interest of a long distance 2-day event. but, you never know?

any thoughts on that?

betsy (buggy bunch), assistant rally director, and her husband, robert, have recently taken ham radio course. i know that there are a few hams amongst yourselves who have used them for years. i have been considering making cb radios a mandatory item for each vehicle since the first rally in 2004. but, they’re not much better than the useless frs radios.

i really think if we’re going to have ourselves out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, it might not be a bad idea to get licensed and buy a radio.

what do you think about making ham a required item in future rallies?

you can always send me an email or post a comment on the blog.

there’s an idea: be the first person to comment on this blog!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

entry forms being accepted

hi team:

just a reminder that entries are now being accepted for the nevada rally – v. 0.1, october 3, 2009, are being accepted.

there are only 15 total entries available, so don’t let this opportunity slip through your fingers.

entry forms can be downloaded from the following locations:

team entry pdf

team entry doc

individual entry pdf

individual entry doc

  • team entry forms must be submitted with payment: $130 for two-person teams; $195 for three-person teams; $260 for four-person teams.
  • payment must be by check, money order or certified check made payable to: the nevada rally.
send your entry to:
monty wolf
c/o gillette
5499 casey rd.
fallon, nv 89406

individual entry forms do not need to be submitted with team entries until august 31, 2009. if you are not certain how many individuals will make up your team, you may submit the team entry form and fee for a two-person team at this time and amend your entry and pay the additional fee prior to august 31, 2009.

entry fees are fully refundable prior to august 31, 2009.

Monday, May 4, 2009

rally entries in the inbox

hi teams:

according to my brother, my mailbox has been full for the past couple of mail delivery days.

the reason i don’t personally know that is because i was called away on an emergency to the coast. when i left nevada last wednesday, i thought i would be back by sunday. now it looks like i won’t be back until this saturday.

i want everyone to rest at ease about your entries! my brother, “ivan, devil in my ear”, is hand numbering each entry as they arrive so i can determine which entries came in first.

sorry to have to put a one week delay on this, but life intervened.

as soon as i return to fallon i will make sure each of you knows about your respective entries.

i apologize for any stress this may have caused you.

you’ll be hearing from me in the coming days.


Monday, April 27, 2009

the nevada rally: rules

hi teams:

the provisional nevada rally rules for 2009 are now available for download.

the only anticipated changes to the rules they way the read right now is the method officials will score the event.

those, and any, changes will be noted when they are finished.

i'm releasing the rules as they stand right now so you can get a chance to see what has changed from previous rallies that i have produced and what is similar.

download the rules in doc.

download the rules in pdf.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

entry forms

hi teams:

entry forms for the nevada rally – v. 0.1, october 3, 2009, are now available to download.

read the following carefully:

doc and pdf files are available for both team entries and individual entries:

team entry pdf

team entry doc

individual entry pdf

individual entry doc

  • do not mail your entry forms prior to april 30, 2009. entry forms postmarked prior to april 30, 2009 will be returned.
  • only 15 team entries will be accepted, first come: first served.
  • team entry forms must be submitted with payment: $130 for two-person teams; $195 for three-person teams; $260 for four-person teams.
  • payment must be by check, money order or certified check made payable to: the nevada rally.
send your entry to:
monty wolf
c/o gillette
5499 casey rd.
fallon, nv 89406

individual entry forms do not need to be submitted with team entries until august 31, 2009. if you are not certain how many individuals will make up your team, you may submit the team entry form and fee for a two-person team at this time and amend your entry and pay the additional fee prior to august 31, 2009.

entry fees are fully refundable prior to august 31, 2009.

provisional rulebooks will be available for download in the coming days. the only changes that will take place to the rules as they stand right now is the wording on how the rally will be scored by the officials. the intention of each rule will not change.

if you have any questions or concerns, just send me an email.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

help wanted:

the nevada rally cannot take place without volunteers!

all duties are as easy to perform as they are fun!

most volunteers (90%) are needed to write the current time on teams’ rally logs.

that’s it!

there are several time ranges for which you can volunteer on saturday, october 3:
  • midday
  • mid afternoon
  • late afternoon/early evening
  • evening
we also need somebody willing to be our sweep driver. you will need a reliable 4x4 and a little patience as you follow the last of the teams as they make their way to the finish line. winches, high-lift jack, shovel, etc. would be nice, but we’ve never had to use any of that equipment. sweep has assisted, in the past, in a few tire changes. so, any tools to hasten that act is a plus.

anyone interested in volunteering for the rally should contact me directly:

cache you later,
monty wolf

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Nevada Rally Date: October 3, 2009

you voiced your opinions and your opinions have been heard!

October 3, 2009 - Full Moon
6 (28%)
October 10, 2009 - Possible Fall Foliage
3 (14%)
October 17, 2009
2 (9%)
Any October Weekend is OK
10 (47%)

the date for the nevada rally: fall inaugural - v. 0.1 will be october 3, 2009.

i will begin contacting local hotels to establish rally hq.

i will also have entry forms available soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

nevada rally update: 3/27/09

hi rally teams and volunteers:

the poll to put in your $.02 on the date of this fall's nevada rally ends this monday. if the date really matters to you: place your vote above.

your choices are:
  • oct. 3, 2009
  • oct. 10, 2009
  • oct. 17, 2009
  • any saturday in october, 2009
speaking of dates in october: i have just learned that a 100 mile bicycle race has been scheduled for october 3, which is the date that is leading in the poll at this time. with a limit of just 15 teams for the october rally, i'm fairly sure this will not affect the number of rooms available on that weekend. it may, however, affect the room rate for that weekend. if you think this will conflict with the rally: vote now.

also new today on the blog: what participants have said about rallies produced by the nevada rally team. recall what you said about your rally experience and see what others had to say theirs. some of them are quite fun to read!

i have been working on the entry blanks for the rally and will have them available soon after we settle on the date.

i will give everyone advanced notice of when those entry blanks will be available for download. with only 15 teams permited in the fall rally, the number of available entries will not last long. payment must accompany your entry form and available entries will be first-come: first-served. for this first rally payment will need to be made by check or money order only. sorry for the inconvenience - we'll be much more business-like by the spring '10 rally. i promise!

i'm pretty certain that the entry fees for the october rally will be $125 for two-person teams, plus $65 for each additional member, up to four team members. certainly, that will be firmed-up by the time i release forms. i'm still looking at foodcosts for the remote meal, included in the entry fee.

i've been developing another type of checkpoint bonus. i'm not yet sure if it will be offered in addition to the traditional checkpoint bonus caches or as an alternative. you will have plenty of time to bone-up on the method when i have all the possiblities worked out.

you can also expect a greater variety of caches. in addition to traditional route caches and multi-caches, we will be adding puzzle caches that will require a little more brainpower than previous rallies and there will be progressive caches: we'll give you the locat. of the first progressive cache. the locat. of the second prog. cache will be the first prog. cache's codeword, and so on. we are still finallizing the course as weather permits, but if it works out like i hope, you will see the return of adventure caches.

all team members, including drivers, are eligable to hunt for all caches, except checkpoint bonus caches.

the rulebook is still being edited, but i expect to be able to make it available to you in the next week or two. if you have competed in the gbes rallies that i have produced, you will be very familiar with the rules.

i'm also working on trophies and awards for each competition category.

have a great weekend!


what participants have said about rallies produced by the nevada rally team

"The views were spectacular... Everyone we came across on the course was always having a great time and smiling from ear to ear... You guys really outdid yourselves this year... the most fun I've ever had while caching!" -

# # # # #
"Truly crazy. You guys are truly truly crazy for putting this on. Seriously, I don't know how many man hours it takes to put on this event, but you're insane. All for the benefit of those of us who ran through the awesome course you put together." - Yamar

# # # # #
"What a rush! I had a blast! It was without a doubt a very exhausting, exciting, frustrating, sometimes scary, adrenaline pumping, patience testing, partner whacking weekend!" - Moonchaser

# # # # #
"This event was so sensational it has taken me a week to come down from the cloud I've been on since participating. If you were part of the Rally you already know what I'm talking about. If you missed it, straight up...DO NOT miss it again. It was THAT cool." - abeyoni

# # # # #
"WOW!!! This was the mother of all geocaching events." - gallahad

# # # # #
"From my past experience with event planning, it is obvious the amount of hours that went into it. It is appreciated." - The Buggy Bunch

# # # # #

"Holy Cow! What a great weekend!" - NIFTSIX

# # # # #
"I liked it so much I have decided to log this event as 'attended' instead of a note like I usually do!" - fizzymagic

# # # # #
"We think we finally figured out how to not get lost." - Nexus-Wanderer

# # # # #
"Awesome off road experience!" - find waldo

# # # # #
"I can't imagine the amount of work that you all must have put in to pull this off." - Blucruz

# # # # #
"I have to say that this was one of the most fun things that I have done in a long time." - seven valleys

# # # # #
"This was a fantastic adventure! The amount of work that went into this was incredible. I'm afraid to ask what evil lurks in the mind of Monty for (the) next (rally)." - MotorBug

# # # # #

# # # # #
"Great rally, great friends, great food, caches, and 4 wheeling too... doesn't get any better." - rock&crystal

# # # # #
"To sum the Rally up in one word, it would have to be 'AMAZING'!" - Bernsports

# # # # #

"The best time I've ever had." - jellis50

# # # # #
"Great camraderie, incredible scenery, and challenges that really put us on the edge." - mjp303

# # # # #
"This is the stuff I live for." - Trekky

# # # # #
"I can't believe how much fun we had on both the night and day rallies and how much work all of the planners and volunteers did to make this a great ralley, THANKS!!!" - Jeo

# # # # #
"WOW!! You guys have outdone yourselves once again." - alamogul

# # # # #
"Bumpy road, what do you mean make a left? Arrow is pointing right." - fossillady

# # # # #
"WHAT AN EVENT!!!!!! AS GOOD AS IT GETS. We had no idea what fun we would have. Great people, great adventure, great views." - WestyCrew

Monday, March 16, 2009

driving tips

driving tips

the greatest advice i can give a driver heading into the backcountry is: BRING YOUR COMMON SENSE!

all of these tips are applicable for anyone going off-roading, not just on the rally. practice these tips and you will not only become a better driver, you will also avoid damage to you vehicle; something we certainly do not want our teams to experience.

before you leave, let’s take a walk around your truck.

go to the front and look underneath it. notice the pieces that are lowest to the ground.

no, not the tires!

on most off-roadable trucks and suv’s, the lowest component will be the differential; that’s where the driveshafts meets the front and rear axels. if your vehicle has body panels, air-dams or ground-effects that hang lower than the differential, you might want to reconsider entering the rally.

notice what side of the truck the front differential is located and plant that into you noggin; you’ll want to recall that later.

does it have a skid-plate? where is it positioned and what does it protect and not protect?

where are the oil pan (the bottom of the engine) and transmission?

walk along the side of the vehicle and see what runs beneath the doors. if your truck has step-bars, remember that and how much ground clearance you have in that area of the truck. if you’ve got mud flaps, especially those hard plastic ones, keep that in your head, too; you won’t want to tear one of those off when you’re driving over a rock.

now, take a look at the underside from the back of the rig and notice how low the rear differential and shock mounts are in relationship to the ground.

check your tire pressure. if you do more towing than off-roading you will have far too much pressure. check the inflation recommendations on the sidewall and deflate them to the lowest level within that range; usually around 32 psi. i can guarantee tire damage with 75 psi!

let’s go for a ride!

oh, oh! what’s this? rocks in the road and there is no possible way to drive around them!

what are you going to do?

drive over them!

size up the rocks, keeping in mind what side the front differential is, and make the call: will it make it or not?

if not, your only choice may be driving up onto the rocks, themselves. take a good look at the rock before rolling right up onto it; make sure you can, indeed, drive onto it without shredding your tire. if it looks good, slowly proceed up the rock.

remember: slower is faster when driving over rocks!

your speed should be in feet per minute instead of miles per hour. even 1 mph can lead to a bounce that could fatally injure your vehicle if it comes down hard at the wrong place.

for greater control, put it into low-range. that way you’ll have more torque and better control at a much slower speed to pick you up and keep you from rolling-off to quickly.

now, that you’re up there, you’ve got to come back down. as you do so, remember what was under your doors, cuz that’s what you’re gonna crush if you come off that sucker too fast and hard.

don’t forget you’ve got to go back up the same rocks with the rears, so just keep your speed very slow, but steady!

piece o’ cake!

oh, great! now there’s a crevasse running down the middle of the road.

time to, once again, get creative!

take a good look at the road: how wide and long is the washout? what’s on the side of the road? is the ground going to decay under the weight of the car if you drive over it? does your rig have the ground clearance to drive through it if it does collapse?

walk it out if you think you need too. i would!

narrower vehicles, like jeeps and smaller pickups, may find it easier to hug one side or the other by driving up onto the berm or rocks and keeping both sets of tires to the side of the washout. or, maybe just driving down into the washout, if it’s not too deep, instead of trying to deal with it.

wider trucks will probably need to straddle it.

now you have to drive up a really steep hill.

before you drive up: look at the road’s surface; is it broken rocks or sand? are there holes? are you going to have to make multiple course corrections as you climb?

once you’ve begun your climb there are three things you do not want to do:
  • do not stop!
  • do not shift, which on steep inclines is comparable to stopping!
  • do not hammer the throttle so hard you start spinning the tires, as this will also bring you to a stop!
so, before you go storming up, give the climb a good look and think about the power available to you.

if there is somebody already going up ahead of you, wait until they’ve cleared the top. you sure as heck don’t want to have to stop behind them if they’re having trouble!

put it back into low-range!

if you think your truck’s got the beans to make it up in low-range, second gear start in second. if the road is really rocky or full of holes, you may want to keep it in low-range, low gear.

let’s assume that low-range, second gear seems more appropriate; put it in second and leave it there.

let me repeat: do not shift while going up a steep climb. once you lose that momentum, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

automatic transmissions should also be in drive 1 or drive 2, according to the above criteria.

one more before you drive up (gee, who knew there was so much to think about?) don’t just plant your foot in the throttle and hang on.

slow and steady wins the rally, or in this case: gets up the hill.

most of your concentration, outside of watching the road and determining the best line, should be on your right foot and your engine’s rpm; you want to steadily increase the revolutions, without, spinning the tires, over-revving the engine or shifting, until you reach a place where gravity won’t try to pull you back downhill while going into the next gear.

if, for whatever reason, you do have to stop: do not attempt to turn around up there! that’s a good way to get to the bottom of the mountain the fast, and not so comfortable, way.

don’t panic; think!

get control of your situation.

if you were in low-range, second gear, assess whether you think you can get the rig up the hill from where you are by using low gear without spinning your tires. once you start spinning your tires you’ll be digging holes. not only will those holes make it more difficult for you to get up, but it will also make it more difficult for each subsequent team, all 39 of them. imagine what this hill is going to look like at the end of the day.

if you don’t think you’re going to be able to get up from mid-point, put the transmission into reverse. ordinarily, reverse is much lower than 1st gear. now that you’re in low-range: it’s really low! use it to your advantage.

slowly release the clutch and let the engine’s torque slow your descent. if the engine tries to bog, don’t depress the clutch! just let it cough, it’ll be ok, trust me.

use as little brake as you can; once you get your tires locked-up and slipping you have lost control and may be sliding your way down the mountain, possibly not on the road but down the side.

when you get to the bottom, think about what stalled-you-out and what it’s going to take to remedy the situation and hit it again. if you started spinning your tires before you got stuck, you’ll want to avoid any ground you may have disturbed. you’ll also want to hope no other teams behind you saw you ruin the course for them.

this time make sure you've got it in low-range, low gear and keep you power steady without spinning those tires.

now we gotta come back down the other side of the mountain!

since you’re going downhill and sir isaac newton wants to bring you down as quickly as possible, you’re going to want to use the lowest possible gear available to you: low-range, low gear.

do not use your brakes! if you get them locked-up you'll start to slide down instead of roll safely.

slow, slow, slow!

get the clutch out and don’t depress it again until you reach the bottom or the grade is shallow enough to make a sensible descent.

has any of this been meant to scare you?

absolutely not!

it is intended to lend insight that may make your rally experience, and subsequent off-road adventures, pleasurable ones.

drivers: i suggest you get out as often as possible on roads that sound similar to the descriptions in the above. find out what your rig will and won’t do. but, more importantly: find out what you can and can’t do.

navigators: keep your eyes on the road, too! there are so many things a driver needs to observe while driving off-road. i’m never offended when somebody points out a rock that might put a hole in my tire, even if i have already seen it.

since i began producing off-road rallies in 2004 neither rick, willy, ivan, terri or i ever experienced any damage to our vehicles while scouting and/or prepping the courses: no dents; no broken steering pieces or suspension components and no flat tires.

ok. we all got our fair share of nevada pin striping and you’d better not be too worried about that if you’re going to drive on dirt roads to begin with!

damage control is in the hands of each driver; drive slowly and safely and you will experience no damage to your vehicle.

if you are not having fun you are doing it wrong!

rip: tanky

i just learned that bert hall (yfbtanky) passed away last night.

bert was an avid geocacher, to say the least, and a true adventurer!

he competed in at least one of the rallies i produced for gbes and volunteered, with his wife, pat, at one or two.

my deepest sympathies go out to pat!

godspeed, bert!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Average Speed

average speed

excerpt from the 2009 rulebook:

4.2 Average Speed Calculation

The Nevada Rally Course Designers travel each Stage multiple times during the development of The Nevada Rally. By timing a number of these trips a range of realistic elapsed times are collected. These times and the distance traveled are used to determine the Average Speed required for each course Stage.


4.3.3 Course Points

Teams will be given the average speed for each stage of the course and should try to maintain this average. The Official Speed Average for each stage includes time to hunt for Caches.
  • For every minute a team is late to a Checkpoint or the Finish Line, one point will be deducted from the team’s score.
  • For every minute a team is early to a Checkpoint or the Finish Line, two points will be deducted from the team’s score.
  • A Team that takes an alternate route around a section of the course labeled Extreme will receive a 30-minute late penalty (30-points) for every Extreme section avoided.
don’t let yourself get too hung up on staying with the speed averages; after all: your team will only lose one-point for every minute that you are late arriving at the end of a stage; you will, however, lose two-points for every minute that you are early. so, don’t get heavy footed.

the best way for a driver to keep on-time is to use common sense while on-course; if you are working on a speed average of 12 mph, and you are presently driving in a rock field, we were not driving at that speed when we established the speed average in this particular section of the course; rather a much more reasonable speed of about 1, or 2 mph; maybe much slower.

the same thing goes for those dirt-highways out there were 45 mph is a more appropriate speed.

i thoroughly believe that any driver who drives at a reasonable speed for the entire length of the course – slow when necessary and at a sensible speed on dirt-highways – you won’t need to worry about the average speed function on your gps’s trip computer.

after the first 15 miles of the nevada rally, the speed average your trip computer should display (i’m guessing here, since we’ve not checked exact averages yet) something in the area of 25 mph. that should be an indication, if the speed average for that stage is 11 mph, that you’ll be traveling a slower overall speed during the ensuing miles.

remember: the official speed average includes time allotted for finding caches placed along the route.

if you’re going to use your trip computer (not mandatory, but useful), you’ll want to have it set to “overall average speed”. this way it will keep track of the time when you are pulled over, deciding if you need to make a right turn or continuing on the road you’re presently traveling, and while you’re out hunting caches.

the trip computer, however, will do you no good if you leave the course by making a wrong turn since your mileage will now be greater than the actual mileage for that particular stage.

trip computer tips
  • if you are going to keep track of your team’s speed averages, make sure that you have your gps’s trip computer in a mode that will allow you to reset it the instant that the timer at the beginning of each stage says “go!” this goes for adventure cache stages that require the team to walk.
  • don’t let your trip computer be your speedometer! use it just to keep yourself apprised of your present average.
  • don’t let yourself be intimidated by the trip computer. if it seems too much for you and serves only to confuse you: don’t even use it.
a team that is going to be satisfied with finishing the rally by finding all of the caches, and placing as high as they can, without stressing about it, might want to blow-off their trip computers and just wing it. that’s the way we did it when we set the speed average.

those teams, however, that have come for the competition will want to use it, but only as a rough-guide, not an exact-directive.

remember: if you’re not having fun, you are doing it wrong!

Ambiguous Waypoints

ambiguous waypoints waypoints that make you use your noggin.

try thinking of ambiguous waypoints as being geocaches hidden in an area where you have no familiarity and there are no directions on the cache page to reach the cache-site.

no problem; right?

we’ve all done it.

we may have had to pull off to the side of the road for a minute or two to dope the thing out, but we eventually do.

there are several things you can to do to keep your team on-course and on-time while working an ambiguous waypoint.

first: don’t freak out when you see you have an ambiguous waypoint coming up.

set a goto to the ambiguous waypoint and notice the direction the pointer says to go.

ok, so the road that you are no on doesn’t go that way. now what are you going to do?

where is the next cache you need to find? Perhaps that will help you fill in the blanks.

now, before you go heading off in a direction that’s going to get you somewhere you don’t want to be, grab your map.

how far off is the ambiguous waypoint?

let’s just say 14-miles, for the sake of argument.

if you didn’t bring a ruler or measuring device with you in your map case, use your knuckle. check the length of it on the maps scale. if you’re using a delorme nevada atlas and gazetteer you’ll find that one-inch/one knuckle equals 4-miles.

3 ½ inches, or 3 ½ knuckles, equals 14-miles.

since you should be periodically checking your position with the map, you already have a rough idea of where you are on the map.

your gpsr will tell you in what direction.

translate that onto the map.

now, measure out 14-miles.

there should be a road at, or very near, that spot.

don’t worry about being exact; just get it close enough so you can reason it out.

now, trace that road back until you find the road you’re on. if you can’t trace it back, look for another road; your measurement could have been off a bit, or you may not have the exact location on the map.

another thing to keep in mind about ambiguous waypoints: i’m not going to make you find your way into someplace. i’ll get you in!

you may need to try to figure out how to get out.

now, that’s not saying that you won’t come across ambiguous waypoints while heading into an area. most likely, you will. but, between the caches along the route and the optional roads, you should have no choice except for the obvious one.

don’t forget to read the road; look for the signs of other vehicles using it. even if you’re in the front of the pack, you should see some signs of recent traffic. rick and i have spent the last few months out there getting this course ready. if you come to a road with little or no signs of traffic, you may want to reconsider your choice.

don’t make a snap decision you may regret later!

take a minute or two to compare your best navigational guess with the map book and then make an educated guess instead of a blind stab.

if, up to this point, you have not made any wrong turns, and you are still consistent with the average speed for the present leg, you will only lose two-points for taking two minutes to think about it.

you might even be able to make up that time by finding the next couple of caches a little faster and getting back on time.

once you make that wrong turn, however, now you’re not only about to get lost your mileage will be incorrect. therefore, you will never know if you’re on time, early or late, even after you do find your way to the correct waypoints.

take my advice and take the 2-point penalty instead of the wrong turn and a 20- or 30-points loss.

the rally in general and ambiguous waypoints in specific, are not meant to confuse; they are not intended to get you lost or trick you.

they are only meant to challenge you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let the Fun Begin

since returning to nevada last december i have been developing ideas for a new rally, a one-day (day into night) rally with streamlined rules and more creativity in placing/hiding caches and the types of caches used and a dinner at approximately the mid-point of the rally, included in the entry fee; an awards breakfast would take place on the following morning.

my reason for creating a new rally was simple: i love doing it!

also, during the i'll-fated period when i was living in california, there was a big hole left in nevada for a competition rally in an off-road setting.

it wasn’t long before rrinnv and i and willbeee and i were out exploring the deserts and i started to think: “this would make a great rally course!”

originally, i was looking at the inaugural rally being mid-may of 2010.

now that it has been announced that gbes will, indeed, not be running an off-road rally, and receiving several requests to “get back in the rally business”, i have been considering moving up the time frame to october 10, 2009.

at this time i have explored 5 possible rally routes with 3 or 4 other routes waiting to be scouted.

i have also spent several hours writing a new set of rules. the rally would be similar to the rallies that i used to produce, but the rules will be easier to read and interpret.

it would take a little effort, but i can have a rally ready for october 2009, since i have about the same amount of time to organize it as i did when i was building the old rallies.

but, i need a commitment from teams that they will compete this fall.

fees will be around $120 for a two-person team, plus $60 for each additional team member.

there will be 3 competition and one champion for each category:
  • 2-person team
  • 3-person team
  • 4-person team
2-person teams will not compete against 3- and 4-person etc. there will be no single overall champion.

the rally would begin on an early saturday afternoon (possibly on oct. 10 at around 1pm-2pm) and run into the dark with the first car arriving at the finish line at around 10pm and a dinner break, included in the entry fee, around the mid-point.

why the single-day (day into night) rally instead of friday night and saturday midday?

since i first introduced the night element to my rallies many teams have expressed dissatisfaction with having to learn the ins and outs of the rally while it’s dark. now you’ll have a chance to refine those skills before the sunsets.

by putting all miles into one day i can design courses that venture into more remote and interesting places.

providing there is interest and the economy improves by then my long range annual rally plans are:
  • october 2009: fall in rally (limit: 15 teams)
  • may 2010: nevada ghost town rally (limit: 40 teams)
  • october 2010 fall invitational rally (limit: 15 teams)
  • may 2011 tba rally (limit: 40 teams)
  • october 2011 fall invitational rally (limit: 15 teams)
beginning in 2010 the fall invitational rallies will be open to previous rally participants and may be staged out of more remote nevada towns like hawthorne, austin, lovelock and tonopah.

in the meantime, what i need to begin preparing to run an event this october based out of fallon is a commitment from at least 10 teams that they will compete.


oh, i’m also going to need volunteers to help run the actual rally, too.

monty wolf