We Skipped the Drama


What a gorgeous day to be on the road! The weather in Indianapolis couldn’t be more perfect. We drew start position 72 for the day (our lowest so far) and we were only 5 positions from Alan and Helen so we were able to see them throughout the day! We had a good night’s sleep and felt ready to handle any curve balls that might come our way. But, boy, do we wish a lot of other people got the message about being prepared!

Some days, you just can’t catch a break. For some reason, a number of teams had brain checks and were not at their assigned start positions. This is not only a bad thing for the team missing the start, but it causes additional pressure on those teams who must suffer the consequences when that car tries to insert itself back in the sequence after the start. It causes a lot of stress on a team when suddenly there is a car positioned less than 30 seconds in front of it. It was a mazing how many teams miscalculated their start time today! Fortunately, we were not affected by the the antics of some of the teams as they “raced” to recover their lost positions.

Today’s stage was also a very technical set. Lot’s of start/stop instructions and quite a few speed change exercises. And a significant set of “Emergency Instructions” that were handed out with the day’s instructions required the teams to be extra alert. Sometimes the route must be changed due to things like construction, flooding, zombies, etc, and the Rallymaster issues the emergency updates at the distribution in the morning. In some cases an entire leg is eliminated and a new set of instructions are inserted to replace the old instructions.  Today was one of those days.

Lauren is very meticulous and carefully notes the changes and excises the obsolete instructions so there is no chance of them being improperly executed. On the other hand, it appears a lot of teams don’t do a good job of revising the instructions! One section of deleted directions created a transit period for a number of the replaced instructions.

Some teams had apparently mistakenly kept the old instructions and ended up couple of hours off course. Others panicked when they misread one of the new instructions and thought they had missed a key clue and turned around to go back to recover. Once one car goes off course, inevitably others follow, doubting their own knowledge and intuition.

We saw about a dozen cars headed in the opposite direction in a line with more making U-

turns ahead. There were six cars pulled off to the shoulder on our side and we thought it was an emergency checkpoint that was rerouting everyone, so we pulled over. But it turned out to be even more teams discussing what instruction they could have missed. We hightailed it out of there as fast as we could! The lesson is “Run Your Own Race.”

Speaking of which, our one lapse of judgement happened before all that drama when we found ourselves closing in on a team we knew to be very good. But we also knew they were one of the cars that missed their starting time as they had passed us on the way to trying to get back in position. They never made it. A checkpoint occurred when they were about 30 – 40 seconds in front of us. That meant they would be there for every leg until the official restart after the lunch break. No worries though. They’re good and we had enough distance to work with.

Or so we thought. As we were rapidly closing the gap between them and us, we began to question whether we had missed a sign and were now going too fast. As we pulled up on them we dropped our speed and started timing while we figured out what was going on. We did not miss our sign! So we noted our time at the slower speed passed them at a stop sign, and made up the time we lost. Talking to Bob at lunch he said they had missed a sign that would have had them at the higher speed and that his navigator was having a really bad day. Again, run your own race!

With all the drama going on around us, we kept our heads and executed the full day’s set of instructions well. We ended up with great scores on all but one leg (2, 5, 3, 4, 1, 11, 1) which was good enough for us to finish in 20th place overall for the day and moved us up to 51st in the cumulative standings.

We finished the day in Auburn, IN with a visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum which has an incredible collection of stunning historic cars and trucks and other vehicles. The food was great and Lauren tried her best to sample all of the 15 different pies provided for dessert!

A great day for Team Altered States!