Riders gathered for the start meeting at 4:30AM to discover their fate for the next 3+ days. LDX does not skimp on adherence to a theme. Many, many, many hours went into preparing the rider rally packs. We hope the riders enjoyed receiving them as much as we enjoyed making them.
So, what’s the theme you ask? The event is titled Founding Fathers. While many folks think of George Washington and Ben Franklin when they hear this term, that’s not how we are using it. The Term was established long ago and is the lingua franca definition of those persons of yesteryear, men and women, white and black, the colonizers and the indigenous people whose actions and lives are the threads which weave the fabric of our current existence. In using the Term, we strictly use it as the common term to define all persons who are responsible for who we are and where we are today. Further, we recognize that not all these people are righteous and honorable. We recognize that they are human beings, flawed by human nature, sculpted by the culture and practices of their time. We do not celebrate the misdeeds of those we view as wicked or cruel, but rather acknowledge that they have a place in the foundation on which our past, present, and future are built.
A staff favorite on this leg, Thomas Earl Starzl, is known as “the father of modern transplantation” (meaning human organs). We consider him to be a “Founding Father.” If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the origins of human organ transplantation, we recommend “When Death Becomes Life” by Joshua D. Mezrich. There is also a documentary, “Burden of Genius” covering the medical and scientific advances spearheaded by Starzl himself. Additionally, he wrote an autobiographical memoir, The Puzzle People. We are grateful for his dedication to this live saving endeavor.
Okay, more rally scoop, we hear you.
Rallymaster, Paul Tong, put together an amazing video presentation for the riders to introduce the theme. It is truly something to see. It’ll get posted in the not-too-distant future, we encourage you to check it out. In typical Paul fashion, there was a very grand entrance at the conclusion of the introductory video.
In case you haven’t seen a picture on social media just yet:
After the video, Paul continued with explaining to the riders what they were getting themselves into. All bonus locations this year are statues dedicated to someone we could categorize as a founder or pioneer of something noteworthy in our history. Rosa Parks, Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, Frederick Douglas, Hank Aaron, you get the picture. We strongly encourage you to check out the rally book when it is posted soon after the rally.
But to give you a glimpse of the scheme (and explain Paul’s attire), riders can increase their points on non-George Washington bonuses by visiting George Washington bonuses in between. Obviously, there’s a lot of George Washington statues around the country and we expect them to be heavily visited between the start and checkpoint on Tuesday. Basically, for each GW statue successfully claimed increases the value of subsequent non-GW statues by 75 points. Each time a GW is successfully claimed with a non-GW after, there’s an additional 75 points added. First iteration, 75 points, second iteration, 150 points, etc. There are also a variety of combination bonuses available focusing on some of the categories like sports figures or civil rights figures to name a couple.
We’ll post a bunch of photos from internationally acclaimed photographer, Tobie Stevens, later today showing some of the fun had at the app tutorial, rider meeting and odo check/bike staging and take off. The Cheyenne Police Department was kind enough to provide a professional courtesy to our esteemed Rallymaster to assist with a smooth and safe exit. All bikes were off the lot in less than 2 minutes.
We had a wonderful surprise visit minutes before the start when Wendy Crockett and Ian McPhee stopped by for a quick visit in the middle of whatever it is they’re up to. They arrived just as the last-minute rider’s meeting was about to begin and Paul needed to remind everyone that celebrity sightings are not a valid excuse for missing important information disseminated at this meeting.
Speaking of riders not listening to instructions, or the dreaded failure of reading comprehension, the first warning has been distributed. It was strongly emphasized in the 4:30AM rider’s meeting AND explained in an underlined paragraph in the rally book that you must match the sample photo as closely as possible or your submission will be denied. It specifically said not to take the photo from further away. “If you do, you risk the bonus being denied and your argument is invalid.” It was also discussed that we are reasonable and if there is an acceptable reason you did what you did, it is likely to be approved. I wonder if they’ll do a better job following the no whining rule.
In all seriousness, this is difficult for scorers. We stress to the riders over and over that we want to help you. We want to approve everything. Unfortunately, we also expect riders to follow the explicitly discussed and written requirements. This rally is a steppingstone to the Iron Butt Rally. Regardless of whether specific requirements of the IBR are the same or different, the point is that a rider simply must follow them. Or be denied the points. We play no tricks, there is no interpretation. Everything is straightforward. A puzzle, yes, but no tricks or games are being played.
Enough on this subject, wanna talk about the app a little more? Of course you do.
It’s really slick. We are rolling down I-80 in the RV and scoring bonuses as Nebraska slides by. By the way, gas is really expensive. Our gas pump at Love’s in North Platte shut off because of the dollar value before we filled the tank! The riders are given rally and rider specific codes so the app will populate with the appropriate information. When they arrive to a bonus, they select the desired bonus code, take the correct photo and hit submit. That is literally it. As described earlier, the sequence bonuses are gathered matters in this event, so smart ralliers will ensure that the sequence number matches what they think it should be. If they get off somehow or are confused, best bet is to call their scorer – either Nancy or Jeff – to sort it out. The scorers would much rather help a rider get straight than continually deny bonuses because of technology confusion. That is not our objective.
We like communicating with the riders. And really enjoy it when the correspondence ends with “I’m having a blast!” Thank you, Paul Meyer. And Jeff Salyer apparently likes to share his good times with photos to staff as well. We like it. Thanks, Jeff.
Well folks, that is all for today. All riders are safe to our knowledge and that is really all that matters to us. We are grateful for this.