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

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"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

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"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

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

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

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

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

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

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"Awesome off road experience!" - find waldo

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

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

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"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

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

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

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

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

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

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"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

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

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"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