Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Time to catch up...2005

Well, what can I say...I'm way behind...time to catch up on over a year of events. Here's a quick rundown of 2005 (except C2C which I've already covered):

Heart of Darkness, April 30, 2005. In the words of another competitor(from, HoD is as follows: "Start in Hope at 2300, turn around in Merritt, finish in Chilliwack around 0800". That's pretty much it. This was our first all-nighter together. My memory is somewhat faded at this point but the main thing I remember is that, at 5 in the morning, I start taking 90 second micro-naps that certainly diminish my usefulness as a navigator. Our score over 23 checkpoints was 91 for 7th place overall (out of 11 cars), 1st in novice and 2nd in calculator. Interesting fact: it is possible to blow out your rear window if you go over a cattle-guard just right.

Gold Digger, July 23, 2005. Gold Digger this year was from Lytton to Cache Creek and back. This rally was also an overnighter. We stopped for dinner at Boston Pizza in Chilliwack on the way out to Lytton. What we expected to be a relatively quick dinner went on way too long due to slow service. We ended up getting to rally HQ as teams were heading out. I got the route book and started calcs while Stephen went through tech inspection and then we were on our way. The route was quite difficult in that some regs were very hard to maintain CAS on. I also recall a close encounter with a horse at the side of the road (just standing there, but awfully close to the road). We placed 5th out of 15 cars, 1st in novice, 1st in calculator. Our total score was 150.

Apparently our number flew off mid-rally and we improvised with garbage bag and hockey tape.

Midnight, October 29, 2005. This was our first repeat rally. I resolved to not make as many navigational errors as I had the previous year (not hard really). That must have come true as we only ended up with 92 points for 4th overall (out of 15), 2nd in calculator, 1st in novice. In 2004 (my first rally ever), we had 1192 points! As usual, we camped out at the ferry terminal before heading home on the first boat of the day.

Totem, November 19-20, 2005. Our second snow rally ever. We covered Cache Creek to Wells Gray on day 1. The start of the day was a little rough. Stephen discovered after the drivers meeting that the rear tires were swapped. While I started calculations in the passenger seat, Stephen did a record-time tire change. The tire pressure was a little low as well so Stephen filled them up with the 12V compressor. Once we were both in the car and ready to go, it wouldn't start. The compressor had drained the battery. The low-battery also messed up the security system so Stephen had to disconnect the battery entirely to reset it before we were on our way. The day was a challenge due to the snowy roads and pea-soup fog covering sections that would have been difficult to maintain CAS even in perfect daylight. There were a couple memorable moments as the day went on:
  • We were approaching a left turn with an exposure overhead. As we approached, we saw a member of another team on the outside of the corner waving his safety triangle. We slowed down considerably and he waved us on. We didn't see his teammate or his car. Wait a sec...where did his car go? Shortly after the left was a hairpin right and, at the hairpin, looking back towards the previous left, we could see the other teams car at the bottom of the bank...waaayyyy down from the road. I'm sure glad it wasn't us. Apparently the team was picked up by sweep, had their car pulled up the bank the next day and were able to drive home.
  • At one point, we hit a very icy patch after a corner, kept spinning and ended up backing over the snow bank. While running back up the road with our safety triangle and slipped and fell right smack in the middle of the road. I got up and out of the road ASAP so I wouldn't become traction for the next team. After some digging, pushing and rocking, we still couldn't get the car off the bank. Luckily for us, our novice competitors Matthew Glade and Kevin Boothroyd in the their trusty Tercel came by and helped us out at their expense in the standings. The slapped their chains on and gave us a quick pull off the bank. What great sportsmanship. We were out with the car in one piece and on our way. This is where it gets silly...about 400 m down the road something like this happened: (Me) "Hey, there's a checkpoint!" (Stephen) "Oh yeah." The front right wheel caught the deep snow at the side of the road as we both were marvelling at our bad luck of having an off right before a checkpoint. The car spun around in the opposite direction of the the first off and we went over the bank again...backwards...again. This time the car was not unscathed as the brand new bumper lost a bit of its lower lip. Stephen has since bought another new bumper but he's also kept the damaged one for rally duty (he can swap bumpers faster than anyone now).
Upon arrival in Wells Gray, we were treated to one of the worst rally motels ever. They're all bad but this motel was vying for #1. Our non-smoking room was definitely a smoking room, the pull-out bed was missing half of it's suspension and the bathroom had a bottle opener on the door (inside). Not that the last item is's just a little odd. The food in the restaurant was quite questionable as well. I recall a spaghetti dish that Matthew ordered that was so awful it had to go back to the kitchen; everyone at the table tasted a bit and agreed that it was the only humane thing to do.

Day 2 was fairly uneventful (at least according to my route book notes). I managed to meet up with my friend's mom in 100 Mile House on our gas/lunch break which was a nice treat. We left lunch just in time to get to the next reg but we didn't count on being stuck behind a minivan for a large chunk of one lane road on the way. We ended up having a flying start (3 minutes behind) for the post-lunch reg. The last transit to rally HQ in Cache Creek was a great way to end the day, it was a wonderfully twisty road with lots of crests and dips along the way.

We ended up 17th out of 26 teams with 1010 points. Not our greatest outing.
This was also the first rally I performed calculations using a running calculation from the start of each reg to the finish in minutes:seconds instead of doing CAS changes first in cents (minutes/100) and then converting to minutes:seconds and filling in spots in between as time allowed. This greatly cleaned up my route book and also resulted in having calculations done for all instructions in the book. Thanks Michelle for that advice.

That's it for 2005...