Thread: The Grand Rally
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #152
HogWild OP
Scott Whitney
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Joined: Nov 2003
Location: SoCal USA
Oddometer: 2,786
In addition to the standard roadbook holder and odometer, I've got a few extras on the bike to help with the prerunning and roadbook making. Here's a little rundown of those tech tools.

While prerunning, I have a standard Garmin 76CSx GPS with tracks showing our planned path (in green), plus hundreds of alternate tracks (usually red) that I draw while scouting the area on Google Earth. The roadbook defines the planned path, and the green GPS track helps us stay on it. When the roadbook has a mistake or is missing a key intersection, the GPS shows us the right way to go. When we run into some type of roadblock, the alternate tracks show various ways we might get around that roadblock. After the preruns are completed, the GPS tracks will not be available. Those riding this adventure have to navigate it by following the roadbooks.

The GPS screen is too small for dealing with the roadblocks and workarounds, so I create and print paper maps across 10 to 20 sheets showing my GPS tracks, all the roadbook waypoints, plus lots of other helpful info such as nearby gas stations and emergency bailout roads. Since I have to refer to the paper map a lot in the preruns (because nothing ever goes as planned), I made a sort of “Office Depot” clipboard dash below the roadbook so I can keep the paper map right where I can see it. This saves tons of time on the preruns. Occasionally I write notes on the map while prerunning.

Since there are dozens of mistakes in the roadbook and helpful added information that we discover while prerunning, writing notes was taking too much time and slowing us down too much. So, next to my SPOT tracker I’ve got a voice recorder on a RAM mount. Now I make most of my notes on that recorder. When I find a roadbook mistake, I place a waypoint on my GPS at that point and record a voice message identifying the waypoint number and what needs fixing at that point.

I’ve also got a high-resolution GPS recorder beside the voice recorder. That gives me a lot more detail of my exact path than would fit into my Garmin 76CSx. Sometimes I can see where I fell down or made some other very slight maneuver that could be important for the roadbook. When I see that track overlaid on Google Earth, I have a pretty good memory of the terrain and what happened there, so I can add a lot of stuff to the roadbook before I even listen to the voice notes.

Some of us have VHF radios with helmet speakers and mic so we can communicate while riding. At least one of us has a Sat phone, and several of us have SPOT trackers. I carry 4 to 6 gallons of gas depending on the distance we expect to ride. I generally have a lot more gas than what should be needed because lots of things go wrong when we’re riding all these crazy places we’ve never been to before.
New desert racing frontiers
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