Well, I just woke up from 14 hours of dark, dreamless sleep. You
see, I rode in Rob Nye's first (hopefully annual) Minuteman 1000
rally this weekend, and there just wasn't a lot of time for sleep.
Before I get started, I want to say this right at the top, since
some of you will only read this paragraph and then scan down the
page for bikini bike washing pics. Thanks to Rob and his fellow
rallymasters for putting on a great event, and thanks to Max
of Max BMW for his very generous sponsorship. You guys are both
big parts of what (to me at least) defines BMW riding in New
England, and so it was no surprise that the event was so good
with both of you involved. Thanks again!
My ride report actually begins on Thursday. Those of you who
don't know me might not yet realize that I'm an idiot. I had
been riding only the KTM for weeks before the rally, and had
to do some work on the BMW to get it ready for the rally.
Nobody knows better than I do that work should not be done on
the bike less than a week before a rally, so I naturally did
the work the day before. Jackhole was apparently doing the
same, so Thursday night we decided to go for a quick shakedown
run. I convinced him I should lead, and that he'd really want
to see how his K1200RS did in the dirt, since there would certainly
be some dirt bonuses for us to collect. He's stupid too, so
I put together a nice route. I've been getting systematic about
finding good nearby roads recently, and the effort has been paying
off. We hit dirt within a few minutes, and I was immediately
and disturbingly reminded that I wasn't on the KTM. No
problem, but Jackhole behind me took note and gave me some more
space. I guess he isn't entirely stupid. The ride proceeds, and
he shows me that a K1200RS can hold its own on the dirt if
piloted by a man with no concern for his bike or safety.
Soon our time is up, and we are heading north again, but I
remember a secret hidden gem that I'm dying to ride. Jackhole
foolishly follows me to what is more like a path than a road,
but it appears on the map and a local once told me it is in fact
a public road. As we are negotiating this, I once again forget
I'm not on the KTM and attack a mud filled rut a bit too
enthusiastically for a 550 lb bike on tourances. The GS
reminds me who is boss, and I end up standing on top of my bike
about ten feet in the woods. All the aux lights are bent
and my left hand (which got caught in the brake lever somehow)
is in excruciating pain, but I get the bike picked up and everything
else is OK. I had basically highsided at 2nd gear speeds into
a mud bank between a rock and a tree.
The moral to this long story: perhaps the night before a rally
isn't the time to be getting too crazy off road. That's right:
save those antics for DURING the rally, I say.
I slept fitfully, got packed in the morning, and rode to
Mass to start the madness.
As with all rallies, this one started with some paperwork and an
odometer check. And as usual, I got a comment on how "accurate"
the GS odometer was. Stupid BMW odometers. Dinner was at 6:30,
and a pretty good sized group of riders showed up. Turns out
50 people were entered. Rally packs were distributed, I apparently
asked too many questions, and we retired to our rooms to
begin plotting and scheming. Here's the second page of the
end result of all that planning:
Naturally my screaming meanie went off before all the other alarms.
I probably woke up ever other guest in the hotel. Ooops. Nothing
I could do about it, so I just pretended it was someone else. My
crap was already packed, so I put it on the bike and rode to the
start area just in time for the morning meeting.
As Jackhole and I are headed north, we're both doing some thinking
about our plans. Both of us were worried about missing the time
window at Max's, and we had both planned slightly different variations
on heading to NY for about the same # of points with no time
constraints. But as we rode north to VT, we both became convinced
we could hit Max's in the window, get some NH bonuses, and do the
MA/CT parts of our routes backwards for probably more points. At
Ludlow Overlook (on the road up Okemo) Jackhole was ready to replan.
I knew I wouldn't change my plan until Stowe, so I wished him luck
and started heading North again. Nye had said Stowe was the most
difficult bonus of the rally, a steep twisting dirt road usually
closed to motorcycles because so many "metric cruiser" riders were
dropping bikes and sueing. It was open until 4pm and worth quite
a few points. There was no way I was going to miss it.
I think it was about this time I had to deal with the Harleys. VT
route 100 doesn't always offer many passing opportunities, and I
found myself stuck behind about 10 harleys going 35 in a 50, braking
erratically, with their ride leader having his blinker on the whole
time. It was my own personal hell. When they finally went to turn
left, the ride leader almost dropped his bikes. Some people shouldn't
be allowed on the road. These guys were moving hazards.
Anyway, I make it to Mt. Mansfield. It is a toll road, and I'm in
luck: the people in front of me are friends of the tollkeeper, and
they talk to him for about 10 minutes. I turn off my bike and try
not to do anything that will keep me off the mountain. Eventually
the kid gets the idea that he is maybe not being the best tollkeeper
he can be, and I get to pay my $8 and remind him I have to sign the
waiver. It's annoying, but it turns out to be worth the wait: the
road up the mountain is incredible. It's nice at the top too, but
I'm not there to sightsee. I hike in with GPS, flag, and camera and
get a picture of a plaque embedded in a rock.