Mason Dixon 20-20, 2003
From Rally Virgin to Blooded Enthusiast
Having been poking around the IBA website and accounts of the IB Rally and
other IBA heroics for some months, I signed up for this local (to me in
Pennsylvania) 24+hr rally, my first. Don Arthur, the standing MD 20-20
Champion, had kindly offered to lead a group of newbies on an SS1K ride.
Don offered me a place among his flock in response to my request, but, in the
end, I decided to ride my own ride.
The night before the rally, with our odometers calibrated, and a splendid meal
enjoyed, Don treated us to some insight on what it takes to be a champion in
this demanding sport. For over an hour he had us all spellbound. His account
of his Four Corners record was all too modest. His sharing of techniques and
tips to perform in endurance riding were generously offered and keenly
received. It was a terrific seminar.
Already by this first evening, the effort put in by the RallyBubbas and their
able assistants was evident. They had the hotel ticking smoothly, the food was
terrific, the Rally requirements clear and specific. The only wrinkle in the
evening involved a laptop and Bill Gates. It was momentary, but I believe Mr
Gates' ears were burning at the time!
After a fitful night's sleep, the pre-Rally Saturday morning briefing came all too
soon. At 9:00 AM we were off. I rode with a few others on my route for the first
couple of boni. I guess that is inevitable. After the third boni, I was on my own,
and would remain alone for many hours. My route took me from York, PA, into
the Maryland Panhandle and West Virginia, and then back into PA, to the
crash point of flight 93, where the civilian heroes of that day brought that
plane to ground. After all the rushing at the earlier boni, there would be no
rushing here. I spent an emotional 20 minutes here, and was grateful for this
rally to have brought me to this spot. This was one of many rewarding boni.
I then headed west beyond Pittsburgh to a rest bonus at the home of George
and Jen Fetsko in the wilds of Pennsylvania. I met with a generous welcome
from George and his family, and enjoyed a break in very pleasant company
From there I traveled with our Rally's tasseled-Harley riding Adrian-the-
Canadian, who was a fine rider and true gent. We rode to the next bonus
together, in West Virginia, to count the windows in a Buddhist temple at New
Vrindaban. Adrian and I were traveling similar routes in opposite directions,
and this was our crossing over point. We parted for points north and east from
there, around 10:30 PM.
From there, for me, was Erie. I was frustrated that the bonus information was
no loner available. The motorcycles on display had been moved, probably
because 40-odd riders in the 48+ event had been ogling them during the day.
I spent my rest bonus in Erie. Finding nowhere safe to stop, and being tired, I
took an ugly motel room nearby. I wasted time in Erie, aside from my rest
bonus, and hope this is something I can learn from.
With some on-the-fly-routing decisions and revisions, I restarted at 4:00 AM
and picked my way south-east across Pennsylvania, picking up points without
going too far off my route. Conservatism on my part at this stage cost me a
much stronger finish. With my final bonus at Fort Indiantown Gap National
Cemetery, I headed back to York, and arrived a half-hour early.
I feel encouraged by my 7th place finish among 33 starters and 31 finishers,
and look forward to my next Rally, when I'll see if I have learned anything.
One lesson for me was to slow down (in all respects) when I know I am close
to a bonus. A few times I went flying past very obvious boni in my rush to get
there, wasting very valuable minutes backtracking.
The MD 20-20 was all I could have hoped for from my first Rally. Much of my
idle thoughts since then have been about how I can be more competitive in
future Rallies, and further modifications to my bike for Rally purposes: Jaz fuel
cell, upgraded GPS, and auxiliary HID driving lights among them. I have in my
email already, UPC tracking codes for the impending delivery of the latter two
items, and the Rally was only last week!
My thanks go to the Rally Bubbas and volunteers. The coaching and
organization were spot on. The rallyists I met were fine company, and I look
forward to riding with any and all, anytime. Its rewarding to note that, thanks to
the RallyBubbas, while we were having so much fun riding, we were also
able to help, in a small way, a few children who are unfortunately seriously ill.
Valley Forge, PA