Monday, August 19, 2013

Rally Riding Lessons Learned, it's all about the minutes, man. Part 2

To continue my gripping tale of riding in a rally, that literally tens of people read and two learned something, we move on to (fanfare of trumpets)


In the first installment, we covered many areas, including planning, time management, strategy and other amazingly insightful points.  We then moved on to an imaginary rally and how time is lost while out on your route.  We will now move on to more pressing and interesting matters.

I am behind.  Now What?

As you go through the rally, if you are the anal Type A persona, you will know when and where you are supposed to be.  There will most likely come a time when you realize you are behind and won't make your planned route in the time allotted.  Something has to change.

There are several ways to deal with this situation.
  1. If there is a penalty window, determine if you will still finish, without dropping anything off your plan.  If so, I say, go for it!
  2. Riding faster is not an option.  Many people ride a little over posted limits.  In order to determine if you can gain back time, you really have to look at percentages.  For example, if a rider rides 10 MPH over in a 50 MPH zone, he is gaining 20%.  If you ride 10 MPH over in a 25 MPH zone, you are gaining 40%.  So as you can see, riding a little over in the lower speed zones gains you a lot more time, than doing so in a faster speed zone.  If the balance of your ride is made of slower zones, then maybe you can pick up a little, but if you are staring at a lot of highway, you are up a creek and that creek doesn't smell so good.
  3. Drop some bonii.  No one likes doing this, but sometimes you have to do it.  Now, there is a science or art to dropping bonii.  It takes careful up front planning to figure out which to drop.  Let's explore this.

Dropping a Bonus

In designing your route, you should know how much each bonus costs, relative to time.  The points per minute value of each bonus should be known.  For instance, if there is a bonus that takes you 10 minute to gather and it is worth 2,000 points, the value is 200 Points Per Minute.  Now lets assume there is a bonus that will take 30 minutes, but is worth 9,000 points.  The value of that bonus is  300 Points per minute.

Clearly it is cheaper to drop the first bonus rather than the latter.  BUT, you only gain 10 minutes vs 30.  How much time do you need to make up?  As an added quandary, WHEN can you give up a bonus?  Does it make sense to drop a bonus early in the rally to get back on track, time wise, or continue the rally behind the whole way and drop a bonus later in the rally?  What if you have time constrained bonii?

All of these factors must enter into your calculations.

In my case, I know which bonii I MIGHT drop and how much time I will pick up and how many points the drop will cost me.  I also have them scattered throughout my route.  If there are time constraint bonii, I pay very careful attention to my drops and exactly how much time I can pick up.  To make it even more complex, I may have two, three or four separate routes for each segment that might only be different by a few points, but several minutes, and as we have found minutes matter.

For example, let's say I have a bonus that can't be missed because it is so valuable, but it is time constrained.  I will put this bonus as 25% of my total plan, but it must happen between midnight and 1:00 AM, in our hypothetical rally.  If our rally started at 6:00 AM, that bonus is 18 hours away. 

Time to do some work.

While on the route, I may find myself 30 minutes behind.  I will know which bonus I need to drop to get that 30 minutes back.  That is easy.  But what I probably will also have is a different route that may drop a bonus that gives me 45 minutes and picks up another that takes another 10 away for a net of 5 minutes.  Now the most important part here is WHEN I find myself behind.

If I am behind very early in the rally, I will not panic.  I will not start dropping bonni.  I WILL keep a close eye on my times.  If I am falling further behind with the passage of time, my planning will change.  If I stay 30 minutes behind, and don't lose any more time as the day goes on, I have my plan, and it was ready to go since before the start of the rally.

Is some of this over the top?  Yes.  But it is how I have managed to win.  It may not work for you, and it may not be the best system, but it is what has worked for me so far.

You can easily participate and enjoy rallies without going to these extremes.  You may even do well and get into the top 5-10.  But if you want to win, against the serious competition that is out there, you will need a system, plan and tenacity to get there.


  1. Thank you for the insight.You might be giving up too many secrets already.
    Ride Safe.

  2. If these tips help others to compete, then I am happy. I am glad you enjoyed.