LowCal 250 Motorcycle Rally to Benefit PKD

2009 LowCal 250 Rally Master's Report - Stats - Homepage
p4190021e.JPG (94954 bytes)Saturday and Sunday, 
April 18/19, 2009
The Art of the Pre-Run

I had an aching suspicion that several bonus locations may have been altered since being last surveyed. I laid out about 700 miles of routes that I felt should be checked out the weekend before. I needed to run them during the same hours as the rally to check them in the conditions that riders would find them -- which meant spreading it out over two days of riding to cover them most thoroughly during peak hours. Sure enough it was worth the effort. Both days either corrected or clarified sites or conditions that had changed. The rest of the survey was confidence building, knowing the riders would find them in the expected condition.

The most noteworthy fix was masking the fact that I lost George Zelenz's balls (so to speak). In Galleta Meadows Estates just NW of the corner of Borrego Springs Drive (S3) and Anzio Drive I had lined up a cool bonus point location. It was a bull elephant with an anatomically correct testicle sack. With the possibility of George running the rally again this year (before Spank had been scheduled) I thought it would be apropos to include. Not only was the sack missing when I went back to pre-run, but the sculptor had welded on a little patch in it's place (ouch). I altered the question to make a measurement on the baby elephant's tusks instead.

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The sack in November 28, 2008, and how it appeared on April 17, 2009. 

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Charles Robbins of hwy94photo.com snapped off some pics before my bike got too soiled checking the conditions of this years dirt options. In my attempts to maintain a typical rally momentum, I paused only briefly to document the days conditions:

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The beloved barnacle retrieval checkpoint on the shores of Salton City. 
A downed tree on Banner Grade outside Julian, CA.

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The barrels of fun in Jacumba.
Water to ford on Boulder Creek Road.

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Tenaja Falls was the single lane asphalt goodie.

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Hells Kitchen and the refinement of La Jolla.


April 24, 2009
No Secrets Revealed

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Doug Barrett arrived to the shop Friday afternoon to show off his new rally weapon and super hero knuckle protection. Unbeknownst to him at the time, we dined at one of tomorrow's checkpoints; Giovanni's, a favorite for local ride group meetings.

April 25, 2009
The LowCal 250

This years theme was four-corners. As San Diego is part of a greater four-corners of the USA tour, so we played the same game within (or almost within) our own county:

LowCal2502009d_4c.jpg (150861 bytes) This first map outlines the start/finish at San Diego BMW Motorcycles [C2] and four corner checkpoints of San Diego County; Border Field State Park [SW], Boulder Park/Desert View Tower [SE], San Clemente [NW], and Salton City [NE]. To qualify as a rally finisher riders had to successfully reach 2 of the 4 county corner checkpoints.
LowCal2502009d_rd.jpg (159986 bytes) This 2nd map represents 21 bonus locations accessible by pavement. These were available to all riders to reach at anytime between the start and finish checkpoints. The point values of each location were based on a sophisticated algorithm that analyzed the distance and difficulty of reaching each (in consideration of surrounding locations that could be used in combinations)... or maybe I just don't feel like saying exactly. The bottom line it was up to each rider to determine whether a location was worth routing, regardless of how mapping software can predict the best outcome.
LowCal2502009d_dt.jpg (154604 bytes) Besides Tenaja Falls Trailhead [TF], which was the degraded asphalt offering for the day, there were three bonus locations accessible by dirt road or trail only. The County Survey Marker on Boulder Creek Road [EP], the abandoned vehicle on WiseCarver Road [WA], and the Flume Gate on 19% grade "Trail 6" off of Barret Lake Road [FG].
LowCal2502009d_nr.jpg (154101 bytes) Non-County Residents had the option to increase their lunch bonus or bag two easy locations. They could dine at Lake Wohlford Cafe or La Posta Cafe, stop by Wisteria Candy Cottage for a treat or pick up a take-out menu from Giovanni's near the finish. Since nearly half the pre-registered riders were from out of town, we wanted them to get a chance to see where local riders take a quick break now and then. It also compensated them for the extra time these establishments might take over what the locals would chose for rally paced eating.

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Lisa goes over sign-up sheets. In the foreground you can see the latex gloves and
freezer bags that each rider was recommended to take for the NE checkpoint.

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After the rider's briefing route planning strategies are put into play.

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SDAR prez Randy checks Gary and Heather's odometer. 
Lisa and Kenneth and John look forward to a day of discovery.

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John shows off his duct-tape bling (gotta keep that sun off the GPS screen). 
Some unconventional rally beasts.

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Randy signs Rider #4 Jonathan out. Meanwhile life inside the shop 
must go on with last years 2nd place finisher Geoff on duty for the day.

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I was fortunate to have Heather Orr available to help with scoring. 
She's strict on spelling and doesn't tolerate poor penmanship. 
Appropriately, a DVD of "Hard Miles - The Iron Butt Rally
is being shown on the big-screen behind her.

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Not all barnacle samples were equal in grade or quantity, but 
they all proved a trip to the "East Coast" of San Diego.

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Ray Pennisi spoke to the riders about the research their contributions will 
fund and gave them a heartfelt thanks from the PKD Foundation

distribution2009.jpg (35390 bytes)Ride - Ride - Ride
Paralysis of the Analysis

Now if you can bear with me I would like to analyze the top three routes. I'd like to start with 3rd place finisher Sam Parthemer, who represented not only the top of the main pack, but also gave an outstanding performance for a first time rally rider. Then Doug Barrett and Gary Currie's route using the four-corners combination bonus, and then finally a look at an estimate of the winning route by Ken Meese


Sam Parthemer - Rider 23
3rd Place

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Sam qualified as a finisher by including the NW and NE corners. His other bonuses focused on high value or points within convenient reach of his base route. Sam had a 4 minute penalty, which subtracted 400 points from his score.

C1/LJ 10 0:15
LJ/HD 19 0:25
HD/NW 32 0:34
NW/HK 34 0:43
HK/TF 17 0:53
TF/LB 25 0:43
LB 0:30 (est)
LB/RS 53 0:53
RS/BE 18 0:29
BE/NE 34 0:37
NE/C2 115 2:02


Doug Barrett - Rider 9
Gary Currie - Rider 20
2nd Place (shared)

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Doug and Gary bet smartly on the combination bonus that doubled your two lowest bonus points if you reached all four corners. For riders that could maintain momentum through the day, this was a good way to maximize efficiency in scoring. It was a kind of low risk all or nothing bet, but the upside did have a limit in that it was not an advantage to bag any more bonuses than two unless it was very high value. (I'm estimating on the map that they took 76 east rather than 78 since they took lunch in Borrego Springs before bagging BE, but both routes would yield similar mileage).

C1/SW 25 0:28
SW/NW 75 1:10
NW/LB 102 2:09
LB 0:44 (est)
LB/BE 6 0:10
BE/NE 37 0:41
NE/SE 87 1:24
SE/C2 80 1:08


Ken Meese - Rider 19
First Place

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Ken took an approach to routing that would ensure that he did well against the field, but would only take a win if everything went right for the day. He did not get the boost of the combination bonus - but in exchange he had more wiggle room on the upside. In bagging a lot of bonii, his risk was that in failing to get just one medium value bonus he would have fallen behind almost anyone succeeding using the four corners combination bonus. Ken bagged more bonii than any other rider (17). 

C1/LJ 11 0:15
LJ/HD 18 0:22
HD/NW 33 0:30
NW/HK 32 0:47
HK/TF 17 0:29
TF/LB 57 1:05 LW bonus
LB 0:39 (est)
LB/ST 54 1:13
ST/PT 14 0:15
PT/SP 6 0:09
SP/SE 43 0:42
SE/DB 0 0:06
DB/JM 7 0:10
JM/WC 7 0:10 NR bonus
WC/GV 63 0:57
GV/C2 2 0:04

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IMG_6302_1.jpg (27942 bytes)A Mexican Buffet style dinner was provided by KGB FM. We had some fun rider gifts provided from San Diego Adventure Riders, San Diego's House of Motorcycles, Paramount Gasket & Manufacturing, Lasting Impressions Print Shop, and Moto Forza (see Stats/Results page for contact info of these suppliers). In keeping with our tradition of "garage art"... the awards were a custom made gasket in the shape of San Diego County. The place winners received theirs painted in gold, silver, or bronze mounted on matboard and all regular participants received an unmounted gasket with their score printed on it. Everyone received a t-shirt as well from our host and sponsor San Diego BMW Motorcycles.

Rally Logistics, Volunteers, Back-Country Recovery Assistance and Bonus Location Verification provided by


San Diego Adventure Riders

and the Red Hot Riders.



LowCal 250 - Twice the Adventure, Only Half the Petrol!! * Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) affects 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million children and adults worldwide. Visit PKDcure.org to find out more about the only organization worldwide dedicated to promoting research to find a cure for PKD and improving the care and treatment of those it affects.