Well, the inaugural LDX rally is in the books now. Things went well, we think. Lots of fun was had - riders were in good spirits throughout. If there was much rider angst related to the rally in the field, we sure didn't hear it. Couple minor things - riders not able to find a bonus, or app issues. They were always resolved pretty quickly with minimal to no delay. There was a little angst over mechanical and other issues, of course. But those were the ancillary things riders need to be able to handle.
As rallymasters do, there were a few surprises up Paul's sleeve for the riders. The rally was designed purposely for exactly 7 days. Noon to noon Cheyenne time. This allowed us to award riders who did at least 7,000 miles a special IBA SS7K certificate. Sticking with the theme, this was displayed in Roman Numerals on the certificate. Eighteen riders did more than 7,000 miles, but only 17 got the certificate because you can't switch bikes on a cert ride. John Anderson's 7,834 miles spanned 2 bikes. Kerri Miller was the only rider of the top 14 to not ride more than 7,000 miles with 6,809 miles. Boy was she close! And efficient!
Speaking of Roman Numerals and sticking to the theme, LDX riders will be awarded a special number in conjunction with their place in the event. Because there were three 2-up teams, their number won't match their place after 21st where Mark and Michelle Rotert finished. The pillion will receive the next number after the rider. In other words, Billy Connacher is I, James Owen is II, Dan Roth is X, Ricardo Machado XX, Mark Rotert XXI, Michelle Rotert XXII. Then, Danny Dossman who came in 22nd, will be XXIII. And so on to Nick Byrnes who will be rider # XLIV.
We've discussed some riders who needed to drop out during the rally for various reasons. We are thrilled to report that everyone is okay, or will be soon. One person we haven't mentioned in the written reports so far is Paul Burns. Paul has been in a few Heart of Texas rallies, including the most recent one in late April this year. Soon after the end of the Heart of Texas rally, he flew to California to pick up a new-to-him motorcycle and ride it home to north Texas. He was slated to be on the start line in Cheyenne with us, presumably on his new ride. Tragically, Paul was involved in an accident a few miles from his home on the way back from California and did not survive his injuries. We are devastated to lose a friend. We are all poorer for not having him part of our events any longer, whether as a rider, observer, helper, etc. We'll always remember you, Paul.
Reminder that the LDX will run on even years, so the next one is in 2024. Also a reminder that the "X" is a variable. Seven days seems like a good number, but it could be more or less based on the specifics of the event and the whims of the rallymaster. Registration timing and process will be similar to how it was done in 2022. So if you want to throw your hat in, keep your eyes open and get on it before we fill up.
You've seen the standings and know who won, who was in the top 10, etc. So let's discuss some details of options and who chose what. Emphasis on the second leg since that's where the action is. As advertised, the top 10 placing riders would be granted a no-draw entry to the 2023 Iron Butt Rally. It was not necessary this time, every single one of them was already in the rally! A couple IBR rookies in there, but they've proven they can hang for 7 days, what's another 4? Those who have lived through the 11-day Iron Butt Rally understand how funny that is. Oh, yes, and everyone must cheer for IBR rookie and LDX staff member Jeff Konecik next June/July. Jeff contributes more than most folks recognize and has been an amazing asset to this organization. Thank you Jeff, we will for sure be supporting you fully in 23.
Obviously, the rallymaster did a good job distributing bonuses and assigning point values because of the diverse routes riders selected. It's always interesting to see what they pick over what we thought was a good (the best?) choice. For the second leg, not a single rider did what we thought could likely be the winner's route. More on that in a bit. We looked at the first leg as kind of a tie breaker for the second. In other words, the points were much higher on the second leg. So the second leg (in a 2 leg event) is where the event is truly won. But you need to have done well on the first leg as well. Billy, who dominated the field with nearly 38K points ahead of 2nd place, was in 4th place at the checkpint, nearly 7K points behind the leader, James Owen. So Billy actually outrode James by almost 45K points on the second leg. Impressive. This pattern of increasing point potential is typical in endurance rallies. Endurance is an important skill for this game. Riders need to manage themselves appropriately so that they can maintain the brain power to continue performing routine tasks correctly later in the game. Proper management of your basic needs is critical. And harder than it sounds. We dealt with a very frustrated rider who was trying to fix his sleep bonus after forgetting to 'end' it in the app. No problem, if there's any electronic shenanigans with time calculations, we can just use your receipt times. Uh oh, forgot to get those as well. Another rider transposed numbers in his head and miscalculated a meal bonus, ending and submitting it too soon, thereby not getting the multiplier on his sleep points. It's really easy to do. Especially later in the rally.
For the first leg, or Leg A as it was officially known, there was a set start time. Riders were released by Jeff Konicek at noon on Saturday, June 25th from the Red Lion, Cheyenne parking lot. The checkpoint would be in State College PA on the afternoon/evening of June 28th. The following morning, June 29th, riders would be given the rally book for the next leg and leave whenever they were ready. They could take 5 minutes or 5 hours to plan.
Leg A offered riders several combo bonus opportunities as well as George Washington "multipliers". Riders could add points to non-Washington physical bonuses by successfully gathering Washington bonuses with non-Washington bonuses in between. This was explained in one of the earlier reports. While the bump was nice, it probably wasn't worth too much sacrifice of other strategies to build on the Washington additive points. There were some attractive combos on this leg. The most popular was the Sports Figures combo - gather all 3 for an additional 12K points. Not bad at all. About 1/3 of the field went for this. Another popular combo, that about 1/4 of the field went for, was to successfully bag all 3 Goethe and Schiller bonuses. They were located in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Syracuse. Riders absolutely loved the opportunity to get off their bikes and hoof it up the steps to the statue in Syracuse. The text messages and phone calls to scoring expressing their gratitude were plentiful. The most appealing combo from a points perspective was a Civil Rights opportunity for 16K points if you could successfully claim all 6 civil rights offerings. Not a single rider obtained this. Rider James Epley was the only one to get the Fred Lee Sr bonus in Tallahassee. But he didn't obtain the rest of the bonuses in that combo. Several riders did get other combos, they definitely played a role in gathering points on the first leg.
At the end of leg A, James Owen was in the lead by less than 700 points over Steve Gallant. Ken Aman was right behind them in 3rd. Unfortunately, Ken would have to drop out to get his FJR's rear subframe repaired. Sorry to hear that Ken; one of the scorers had the same issue several years ago and definitely empathizes. Riders were told they should have 32,000 points at a minimum to be on finisher pace in the first leg. James Owen had 89,886 points. The last place rider who was still in it had 32,691. Going back to something we said a couple paragraphs ago, we saw the first leg as a tiebreaker. Given how tight the top riders were, we knew anyone in the top 20 at the end of Leg A could wind up with a top 10 finish after Leg B.
Oh, have we mentioned that because of the way the scoring is done, we can see what everyone's score is in real time. Now, you have to look at these numbers with the knowledge that things can change very quickly when someone takes a sleep/meal bonus or completes a combo among other things. We're so invested in what the riders are doing that we often know, or can check really quickly to see if someone already took the sleep bonus or is about to complete a combo. Don't bother asking us, we won't tell you any of this during the rally. Riders would call and ask their scorer how many Lincolns they had. Of course we can't tell them this, we can only send them the current list of claimed bonuses. They can count themselves. As we've said in prior reports, we will lead the rider to the answer, but the rider must find it on their own. If the rider realizes a mistake was made, it can be resubmitted in coordination with their scorer. But they need to recognize the error, not be told by scoring during the event.
For the second leg, or Leg B as it was officially known, the most popular bonus was the infamous Lincoln statue in Gettysburg. Thirty-seven riders went there. This is where "Pennsylvania Karen" caused so many phone calls to scoring. In case you missed that report, the statue had been removed for renovation, but as luck would have it, was in the process of being returned on the day the vast majority of that 37 showed up. As Karens will do, she would have no part of anyone having a bit of a good time on her watch. We worked with everyone who called in to make sure they were awarded the points and no one was worse for the wear. A handful of riders went there later and were blissfully unaware of all the drama the earlier riders experienced.
Ten riders braved the ferry to Mackinac Island to collect the Father Marquette bonus on the island. There were 3 total statues of Father Marquette in the rally, and if a rider successfully bagged all of them an additional 30,000 points would be awarded. All but one of them went for the combo. The highest placing finisher of that group was Michael Best (3rd). The complete badass John Anderson missed this combo, still pulling out a 7th place finish. Reminder that John had a mechanical failure on his GoldWing and bought a used Suzuki Boulevard 800 during the second leg to finish the event. He needed to repair the clutch on his new ride not long after buying it and wound up dropping a good portion of his route, including the Marquette statue in Gary, IN. Gary's loss to not have John grace them with his presence. The third statue was in Marquette located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. John was in first place up until his mechanical failure. He remained in first for a good while after as well. But having to drop so much of his route while the competition was steady collecting points didn't allow him to maintain it. Keep your eyes on John for future events, he's a very skilled rallier.
Eight riders visited Vardry McBee in Greenville, SC., including Billy Connacher, the winner. Paul Tong saw this statue during the 2019 Iron Butt Rally and got him thinking about founders of things and off he went creating this puzzle. It's only fitting that LDX rider # I went to the bonus that started it all. Another top 10 rider, Kerry Miller (9th), also went to Greenville.
We previously discussed the only (officially) manned bonus, Senator Hoar in Worcester, MA during the second leg. Three of the top 10 riders went there. James Owen (2nd), Mike Best (3rd), and John Anderson (7th). Two-up phenom Jon and Caleigh Kerr and Paul Partin also attended.
BPR12, a Lincoln statue in Pontiac, IL, was "manned" by IBR finisher Rick Martin for a while. Rick scouted that one for us as well. Thanks for the fun pictures and a little fun for the riders, Rick. Fourteen riders went to Pontiac, Rick visited with most of them.
Other combos on this leg were obtaining two Martin Luther King, Jr statues in Omaha and Cheyenne. This was the most popular combo on Leg B for 4,000 points, successfully gathered by 13 finishers. Successfully claiming Abraham Lincoln bonuses was key on this leg. IF a rider successfully claimed 15 of them, an additional 20,000 points would be awarded. Four riders did this successfully, including 1st and 3rd place finishers. Four of the top 10 finishers had NO combos awarded. We suspect if they had, the standings might have looked a little different.
Now, there were 13 Captain John Mullan bonuses available along the Mullan Trail through Montana and Idaho. In the 1850's Captain Mullan was part of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey. He discovered the Mullan Pass and led the construction crew which built the Mullan Road in Montana, Idaho and Washington state. If a rider successfully collected all of these statues, an additional 30,000 points would be awarded. Not a single rider collected a single John Mullan bonus. We thought a rider could scarf up as many Lincoln multipliers as possible, then hit all the Mullan bonuses for a 520 mile huge gathering. Depending how many Lincoln multipliers the rider had, this could garner a lot of points. The combo was worth 30,000. The straight point value on the Mullans was 7,632. Plus there was a Lincoln in Spokane at the end of the trail and then the rider could zip down to Gerlach to visit Fran Crane and back to Cheyenne. It's ambitious for sure. But as riders will do, they found a better way than we did.
We sincerely hope you've enjoyed following along with the inaugural LDX rally. It was fun to create, fun to work, and most importantly, the riders seem to have enjoyed it. None of this is worth doing without riders who want to come play. Since we have been the beneficiary of others doing the hard work, we don't mind the work to create and run rallies at all. Thank you to the riders who come out and give us something to do. We look forward to next time and watching another fun event unfold.
Note from the Rallymaster:
As was written above, the idea for Founding Fathers came to me prior to the Iron Rally Start in Greeneville, SC in 2019. Nancy Oswald convinced me to join her quest in search of the world’s best 20oz latte and we went to downtown Greenville in search of it. There I noticed the statue of Vardry McBee, the founder of Greenville, SC, and thus formed the idea for gather founding fathers statues for my rally idea.
Although I did not pick the same bonuses as I felt the winner had, but did note two main things:
Leg A- It was not worth grabbing George Washington bonuses on Leg A to gain all the other boniil. That was a red herring. The true goal in leg A was to get as many high value bonuses as possible.
Leg B-The leg was all about the multiplier. One should contantly be seeking a Lincoln multiplier and then a non-Lincoln to get that mutipler. Try to get as many Linoclns as posslbe
Those who did well on the first leg figured this out. Those top ten finishers probably figured it out early on.
More to come…