Winter Challenge Rally

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ahanson
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Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:46 pm

Hi All,
Has anybody on here ever done the Winter Challenge Rally in Vermont? It's a time-speed-distance rally and it sounds like fun. It takes place mostly in the dark, on snow- and ice-covered back roads. And it's organized by John Buffum. I'm interested in trying it.
Alex
https://winterchallengerally.com/
https://winterchallengerally.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/wc-entry-text18-2.pdf

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Crazyswede
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:46 pm

Geoff and I competed in the very first winter challenge and the following 10? events after. Its a fun event and it has been made into something a bit easier than the first years though its still a good challenge. The first years the event started around 8pm and went until about 5am. The speeds were often so high that it was pretty much impossible to ever come into a checkpoint early.

I say go for it. Make sure your car is in decent condition and you have either a good skidplate or nothing of value underneath the car in case you should bottom out as there are some good dips and bumps on some of the roads that have take out oil pans and exhaust.
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Crazyswede
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:51 pm

And FYI we ran the event every year in a Saab and we won are class every year. We were competing against many AWD cars and did just fine. The event has lots of tricks and traps and it can be really challenging to find the correct road, stay on the route, and even find all of the checkpoints. The average speeds can be tricky to maintain on some of the roads and they make this event very technical in full application of the TSD rulebook.
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ahanson
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:06 pm

I figured someone in this community would have experience with this event. Thanks for the info. The Winter Challenge does seem a bit more tame, as it now starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m. I suppose that allows for a round of beers before everyone goes out for breakfast.
I've spent plenty of time driving Vermont back roads, and I have all the safety gear the event calls for. And I'm not likely to find a rally any closer to my house than this one. My only hesitation is that this would be my first rally of any kind, and I would likely have a novice navigator with me, too. But I think it's doable, and it gives me a new subject to read up on. I'd welcome any words of advice, including any printed or online resources I should consult. Thanks again.

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Geoff
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Geoff » Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:44 pm

Lots of great memories from that event! We liked the overnight format and haven't tried it since it went to the new schedule. There are places to get beer in Barre at 2AM?

If this is your first event, you will get lost (most experienced people will also get lost). Enjoy it and don't stress.
Bring a VT Gazetteer, it can be helpful for finding your way back on course but it may take a while to even figure out which page you should be looking at. Don't trust it explicitly.

You'll need a magnifying glass and a light for the map section. Use multiple colored pens/highlighters to identify different things (I highlight all the speed changes in one color and other route information in other colors). Test out your pens/highlighters using the light you'll be using during the event, you may find that some aren't visible with your light (red pen + red light = doh!)

Use math (Speed * Time = Distance) Calculate your expected arrival time between NRIs (Numbered Route Instructions). Use a stop watch. This will help you know if you're lost (i.e. "We were supposed to pass 'Blob Road' 30 seconds ago I think we missed a turn" instead of driving for 5 minutes looking for "Blob Road")
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ahanson
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:45 pm

My thinking is that just staying on the route is going to be job one, without worrying about the actual time-speed-distance aspect. Many thanks for these pointers. I don't think it would have occurred to me to bring highlighters or a magnifying glass. (But I always have a Vermont and New Hampshire gazetteer in my car.) It looks as if there's time to sit down and do the math between when we get the route instructions and when we start.
Thanks again for the advice. If anything else comes to mind, I'm all ears. I'm looking at this as a learning experience. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:45 pm

The time between route instructions and starting the route is usually about 1 hour. A few suggestions are to look over all of the instructions and make sure you understand transit zones, quiet zones, etc. Highligh the CAS (Commence average speed) indications. When you stop at a checkpoint the worker will typically hand you a slip of paper with some numbers and notes on it. The numbers you can use to determine your score and if you arrived at the checkpoint early or late. Also this paper will indicate what your Next Route Instruction (NRI). This is a place where rallies in the past have gotten tricky. Sometimes this slip will call out an NRI that is earlier in your notes or ahead of your notes and its easy to overlook.

Best thing you can do is get there hours before the event and go out and run the ODO check route. Use this to determine your stock odo mileage error and get used to the way the instructions work.
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:41 pm

Also bring at least one full size spare tire (winter if possible) and consider 2. We have destroyed tires on that event and if all you have is a donut good chance your event will be over.
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ahanson
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:56 am

Destroyed tires? I had thought TSD rallying was a sedate, gentlemanly pursuit, the golf of motorsports, practiced by people wearing matching tweeds. wending their way over gentle country roads in an MG on their way to a Pimm's cup and cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.
I'm going to run out this afternoon and try a practice route. I'm sure this will bring up questions and I'll run them by you. Thanks again.

ahanson
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:18 pm

Having run a practice route this afternoon, I can see where the average speeds are so high that it would be hard to come into a control ahead of time. We practiced a set of tulip instructions and got off course a few times. It was helpful to get a feel for how closely we'll have to pay attention and for which details matter. The rally seems doable, but I can see where it would be easy to make mistakes, especially late in the night, when fatigue sets in. I hustled the car along as much as I dared on the inch or so of fresh snow we got today. Even though it's a base model car, the handling inspires a lot of confidence. It seemed enough of a challenge just staying on the course and at the average speed, so I'm not sure how much we'll try to manage our time, except on a seat of the pants basis. I did a lot of math in advance today, but we'll have to get better at using a stopwatch to make that preparation worthwhile.
I have a question about transit zones. There were several of them on the route we followed today, and the BTZ was usually accompanied by an instruction that said "Take 5.0 min" or such. I understand that transit zones aren't generally timed, but does that mean when I get to an NRI that says ETZ I can expect that I am being timed until the next BTZ or control, whichever comes first? Thanks again for all your words of encouragement and assistance.

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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:08 pm

From the NER road rally rule book:
http://www.ner.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ... 5_v1-0.pdf

transit zone
A part of the timed rally route in which there are no timing controls and in which no specific speed need be maintained. Either an exact time
for passage, or a restart time from the end of the transit zone must be given. An approximate distance for the length of the transit zone is
desirable


When you get to the point on the road where the BTZ starts you need to start a stop watch. Once you are in the transit zone you can go any speed you want but you need to get to the end before 5.0 minutes has elapsed. If you get to the end of the transit zone early just stop safely to the side of the road where or near the ETZ point and wait for 5 minutes on your stop watch. When the stop watch is at about 15 seconds to the 5 minute mark pull out onto the road and start to accelerate up to your CAS. Or...if you see some sort of local traffic approaching from behind its a good idea to get out before they get ahead of you.

Also get familiar with Time Allowances....when you get seriously off route or stuck and lose 15 minutes getting going again....if you are good with your stop watches you can request so many time allowances per rally. This is allows you to complete a checkpoint seriously late and if done properly still get a score less than the max. The trick is to drive the CAS once you get going again and ignore the feeling of needing to speed to catch up....because it is physically impossible to drive fast enough to make up much time in these events.

Also its good to print out speed time schedules for quick reference...ie 60 mph = 1 mile per minute, 30 mph = 1/2 mile per minute.

mph time/mile
5 720.00
10 360.00
15 240.00
20 180.00
25 144.00
30 120.00
35 102.86
40 90.00
45 80.00
50 72.00
55 65.45
60 60.00

so for instance if the average speed is 30 mph and you figure out you are 5 minutes behind on the route even if you drove 60 mph you would struggle to make up 5 minutes. And on this event going that fast on the roads will be an extreme challenge....FYI locals will get pissed...cops get called...we've seen state police shut down a check point before :-O
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ahanson
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby ahanson » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:47 pm

I've been reading the NER rules, but I confess that the dry language doesn't always paint a picture for me of how something like a transit zone is meant to be negotiated. Thank you for the description. Pauses are likewise confusing. A lot of this I'm going to have to learn about by doing it and making mistakes, which is fine with me.
I've been figuring speed-time tables on paper in preparation for making a spreadsheet. I'm going to do some more reading tonight and if I come up with more questions, I'll post them here tomorrow. Thanks again.

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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Geoff » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:18 pm

A pause is sort of what it sounds like. You may come to a "Pause 30" and find out there's a traffic light. The 30 second pause adds time to wait for the light to change. If you get there and the light is green then you pull through the intersection and pull over and wait 30 seconds. Then get back on the road.

They'll sometimes get worked into moving sections, too. Examples are if you come to a one-way bridge (to account for traffic coming the other direction) or (if the rallymaster wants to get tricky) they can be used over a rough section of road (to allow you more time to take the rough section slower - this is when the maths get a little trickier).

Another thing that you'll see on this event, and will be discussed at the driver's meeting, are Quiet Zones (BQZ, EQZ). These are used when passing through residential areas and you don't want bright lights shining into people's bedrooms or someone with their top of the line muffler-less subaroo waking the cows. There usually isn't any kind of time or speed adjustment it's more of a request to "shut down the HID rally lights and idle on through." You won't see any check points there but in theory there could be a control car monitoring your compliance to the quiet zone.
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Crazyswede » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:31 pm

Often you will get a short pause of 5 or 10 when coming to a stop sign or one way bridge etc. Don't pause if you dont have to. it will take you more than 5 seconds to come to a stop and get moving again. The only the pauses you might want to wait a little bit for are if its 30 seconds or more and you don't get held up. But remember it takes time to slow a car to a stop and to accelerate back to speed.

What you will learn in doing these events is that Road Rally TSD's are about Nerding out on the rules and regs, doing lots of time/speed calculations, having lots of stop watches..and often lots of boring driving in between. This event adds a lot of difficulty to the equation because its at night, often in bad weather, the roads can be a real challenge to drive at the given speeds and the route is hard to follow...and on top of it you have to be a mathematician.
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Geoff
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Re: Winter Challenge Rally

Postby Geoff » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:13 pm

Just had a "duuurrr" moment. Pause 30 = 0.3 minutes = 18 seconds (not 30 seconds)
Just one more way to make a mistake!
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