LowCal 250 Motorcycle Rally to Benefit PKD

Rally Architect's Report - 2011 Stats - Homepage
Links to Rider Reports:
Matt Pflugh, Peter Perrin, Brian Casey, Cletha Walstrand.
PROLOGUE 2011 - Can You Ever Have Too Much TORQUE?

TorqueScene1.jpg (29706 bytes)TorqueProductPlacement1.jpg (19283 bytes)After the completion of the 2010 LowCal250 Rally the "rally committee" set out to examine whether a rally could be themed after the movie Torque. Now I know what you are thinking; some critics have described Torque as quite possibly the worst motorcycle movie ever. Sure, it's no Easy Rider, or The World's Fastest Indian... but it was filmed in our own backyard at some great locations, and you have to admit... the product placement was pretty awesome.

TorqueCheckpoint1.jpg (38103 bytes)Now one of the results of researching this film is that it took us out a lot farther East than we normally go for LowCal 250 checkpoints and bonus locations. TorqueTrain1.jpg (27578 bytes)The chase scene at the beginning of the film ascending Palms to Pines Highway (CA-74) west of Palm Desert was within easy reach of San Diego. However, the resulting confrontation of that chase was filmed farther east in Box Canyon (east of Mecca). The gun battle in the date groves was likely north of Winterhaven (or more specifically in or near Bard)... which led us further north to the find locations between Midland and Inca (abandoned townships northwest of Blythe) where the train chase stunts were shot. That is one reason we offered an additional 11-hour rally called the LC-11 the weekend after the LowCal250 Rally. The LC-11 started in Yuma Arizona so riders would have a jump on getting to some cool bonuses that will be out of reach for an 8-hour rally starting and stopping out of San Diego. 

The LowCal 250 Rally - April 23, 2011

Please take the time to read the winning rider's report from Matt Pflugh. He gives much better account of the rally from a rider's perspective than I possibly can. Below you can compare the routes of the top three LowCal 250 finishers:

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Matt Pflugh's Route
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William Drew's Route
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Eddie Frowiss's Route
A GPS anomaly that surfaced during the LowCal 250 and the LC-11 was the Aztec Calendar bonus at San Diego State University. Hardy Avenue is a one way street that is incorrectly designated in MapSource's City Navigator (Garmin). Compare the two routes below to see how a rider depending on a GPS will run into difficulty executing the instructions from a GPS:
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MapSource Fail:
One-Way Street

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Sometimes it pays to read a paper 
map and read the street signs

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The correct route in Google Earth
A navigation foible that snagged a few riders from the LowCal 250 and LC-11 was the approach to the Whistler Mud Pots near Niland. This was not technically a GPS error. Often riders will have the screens on their GPS units zoomed out when they are out in rural areas, or not expecting to navigate tightly spaced streets. Also, riders can lose their sense of speed and distance to an approaching turn when there are no buildings or landmarks. Riders traveling north on Garst Road were instructed by GPS to "turn right onto Unpaved Road". Instead riders turned about 100 feet too soon onto what was formally Hatfield Road. No longer in use, and on the wrong side of the canal, riders found themselves traveling down a narrow overgrown trail with little space to turn around at the end. Once they turned back, retraced their steps and crossed the canal... they picked up where their GPS was able to guide them to the bonus location.
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The GPS was not at fault. It highlighted 
the road right north of the canal
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Riders turned right too early. 
Hatfield Road is now grown over
 TorqueScene8.jpg (22782 bytes)
What a little goat trail amongst 
hardcore rally riders?

The LC-11 Rally - April 30, 2011

Please take the time to read the ride reports from 1st place finisher Peter Perrin, 2nd place finisher Brian Casey, and 2011 IBR entrant Cletha Walstrand. Both are excellent accounts of the rally, and Brian's also includes a map detailing the requirements at each stop. Below you can compare the routes of the top three LC-11 finishers:

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Peter Perrin's Route

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Brian Casey's Route

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Chad Smith's Route

LC-11 riders had a week to research and figure out their routes. One short-cut that eluded them was missing a bridge that was not included on any electronic maps. Using this bridge could shave off 15 minutes or so on a route in or out of Cibola, AZ (though at least several riders did see the bridge on AAA maps, but discounted it after not getting their GPS to locate it). 

Another decision was how to get from Laguna Dam to the outdoor museum near the Yuma Proving Grounds:  Dirt, often overestimated by map software, or street, often underestimated by map software. In the end, the 8 1/2 minute difference was narrowed to less than 5 minutes - not enough of penalty for riders that wanted to avoid the risk of dirt travel that early in the day.

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MapSource: Only 
one way in and out!
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Google Earth: Could that 
bridge hold a motorcycle?
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Laguna Dam to Yuma Proving Grounds:
"Should I dirt, or should I street now?"
The LC-11 Arm-Chair Class - April 30, 2011

Arm-Chair Class competitors were given the LC-11 Rally packet one week in advance with the following constraints:

1. Your route will be assessed in Garmin Mapsource running City Navigator North America NT 2009.
2. You may submit your entry in GDB format, or describe your sequence in text.
3. Be sure to include any additional waypoints to 'force' a route, or describe non-standard route choices in text.
4, Default speeds will be used. If you have changed yours, here are the default values I will use:

a. Interstate Highways - 67 Mph
b. Major Highways - 58 Mph
c. Other Highways - 45 Mph
d. Collector Roads - 35 Mph
e. Residential Street - 25 Mph

5. Five (5) minutes will be subtracted from your overall time per bonus location claimed, not to include the starting or finishing checkpoint.
6. You will not have any time subtracted for fuel stops, eating, or personal relief.

Scoring the Arm-Chair Class was a good exercise to double check the scoring routines and spreadsheets before scoring the live riders. The biggest surprise for me, was that I was expecting at least a few of the arm-chair class riders to come up with the theoretical optimum route... but like the live riders, I still have yet to have two entrants (not running as a team) come up with the same route and score.

A pleasing result is that our constraints were not too unrealistic, as the winning rider of the LC-11, Peter Perrin, outscored the best paper route. 

Thanks to all who participated! LowCal 250, LC-11, and Arm-Chair Class riders all made an important contribution to both the cause, and the safe and successful outcome of the rally!

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Steven Barnes' Route
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Greg Guillermo's Route
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Tim Watt's Route


Special thanks to Mike (IB Pete) Langford, Randy Lazar, Ken Boyd, Lisa Chaddock, Brian Casey, Steve Aikens (and the entire Sales Team and Staff at Gary Orr and Michael O'Keefe's San Diego BMW Motorcycles. It can't happen without you!

Utah 1088 Rally

We are indebted to Steve Chalmers for providing us with a Utah 1088 entry to raffle off in promotion of the LowCal 250 and LC-11 rallies in 2011. Michael Butchers was the lucky recipient and we hope to see him put in a good run up in Salt Lake City in late June!


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.