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Old 05-26-2008, 07:49 PM   #1
aciurczak
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BARF CAL 24 rider 08 /09

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Motorcycles: '13 R1200RT, '13 Ninja 300, '14 CRF250L, '12 TT-R125LE, '15 CRF110F, '13 TT-R50E
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Cal24 2008 - BARF style

I want to thank Budman (and BARF!) for sponsoring two folks on the Cal24 this year (June 14th/15th), myself and Silversvs. (more info here and here) The Cal24 is a motorcycle rally that has been going on for some time now, at least 15 years or so. I believe 1993 may have been the first running of the event. Participation is open to everybody, but no more than 50 or 60 folks tend to show up at the start line each year. In my view, the point of the event is pretty simple. Ride hard, ride swiftly, ride long, ride smart, but most of all ride safe. Considering the millions (yes, millions) of miles the competitors have traveled during the event over its lifespan, the phenomenally low incident rate speaks for itself.

Each year the rules change significantly enough that planning for next year's rally using last year's winning strategy is a waste of time. Something will be different, whether it is the number of checkpoints, the amount of time they are open, the thread bonus, whatever. All we can be sure of is that it isn't going to be the same as any prior event. Every year. One thing that has been reasonably consistent the past few years is the start point; the rallies have started and finished in King City or Dunnigan (alternating), for the past few years. This year it is up in Dunnigan.

Riders don't know anything about the route until we receive the instructions early Saturday morning, typically 1 hour before we are allowed to leave the parking lot. But what we can count on is that the base route will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 miles, and as little as possible of the route will be on the interstates. To have a chance at finishing on time, a rider must be comfortable moving quickly through twisty roads, hundreds of miles at a time. One good example is Highway 36; known to many northern california motorcyclists. We were on 36 at dark two years back, needing to make great time all the way from the coast to Red Bluff, while looking for a variety of bonuses both near and far from the main road.

Folks can bring just about any type of bike they like on the rally, as long as it is street-legal. Fuel capacity is important, and a bike with less than 150 mile range will be a limiting factor. I did one Cal24 rally on a ZX-12R, with a range of right around 150 miles, so I carried some spare gas cans in my luggage in case. So while there certainly are some folks on sportbikes, more and more of the field has gravitated to some type of sport-touring mount. FJR's are popular, BMW GS's are popular, and to a lesser extent the rest of the BMW line (K-bikes, RT's, LT's etc). Honda's ST1100 was very popular for many years, but there are less of those and many fewer ST1300's than FJR's, for whatever reason. And there are always a few Gold Wings thrown in for good measure. Without going into great detail, my body didn't feel, uh, normal, for several days after the 24-hr rally on the ZX-12R, even considering the corbin seat and helibars I had on that machine. Since then I've had a much easier time of it on an 1100RT, and now a 1200RT.

So here's the bike I'll be taking, for the 3rd time (on this bike, this will be my 5th Cal24), on this year's rally:



It's a 2005 R1200RT. I picked it up new as a leftover in 2006. It has just about every option BMW offered at the time, save for heated seats. While the bike would be reasonably comfortable and likely competitive in the rally right off of the showroom floor, what fun would that be. So I've added a few gadgets and farkles along the way to make it just a little more capable.

From a comfort standpoint, I've got a Rick Mayer seat, which is truly all-day and all-night comfortable, compared to the stock seat that can't claim as much. The bike has a Gerbing heated clothing controller installed on the dash, with the pigtail for my heated jacket liner coming out right at the front of the seat. I can dial up anything from a little extra heat to nuclear. Between the Gerbing and the heated grips, cold simply isn't an issue. I've installed a Cee Bailey windscreen, which is significantly taller and wider than the stock BMW screen. The screen is electrically adjustable, so when it is in the all the way down position I can easily see over it, and am never looking through it in the twisty bits.



But when the road straightens out and I want some peace and quiet, or at least zero wind noise, I can move it up on the fly:



There are a few gadgets on the handlebars. From the left I have a Valentine One radar detector, a Garmin 60Cx GPS, the iPod Nano, and finally another Garmin GPS, the Zumo. The V1 needs no explanation, but the reason I have two GPS's may. Initially I had meant to replace the older 60Cx with the Zumo, but it turns out that the Cx has some very useful features that were left out of the newer gadget, so I just kept it on the bike. Also, having 2 GPS's on the dash allows me to aim them at different points during the rally. I typically have one always aimed at the next checkpoint, and the other at whatever bonus location I am currently searching for. This lets me know how I'm doing on time compared to the checkpoints, so I always know when it's time to drop everything and head straight for the barn. All of the audio from these gadgets is wired to an Autocom unit installed under the seat, so a single wire coming from there to my helmet allows me to hear all of them at once. The Autocom prioritizes the devices, so for example everything else is immediately muted the second the radar detector sounds an alert. The Zumo connects to my cell phone via Bluetooth, and allows me to make and receive calls on the fly; the audio is piped right through the Autocom to my helmet speakers/microphone. The clarity is surprisingly good, it's easy to hold conversations at speeds much faster than it may be recommended to have conversations at. This does allow for decent communication during the rally, which can certainly come in handy. It's probably a good time to note that all of this is completely and thoroughly legal, there is no restriction against getting outside advice/help along the way. (EDIT: See posts below, a change has been made for this year's rally in this regard) But the rider must in all cases actually ride to the bonus location himself/herself, there is no way to do this by remote control. At each bonus, you need to record the time and mileage on your bike, which serves as a reasonable log for the rally organizers to confirm afterwards that you really were where you said you were.



From a performance standpoint, I've swapped out the BMW's ESA shocks, which had worn out by 15k miles, and replaced them with Ohlins front and rear. The spring rate is set up for a larger than average bear, who likes to ride faster than average on twistier than average roads. It remains a smooth highway cruiser, but it is also surprisingly capable when the going gets twisty. I've got a reasonably new set of Pilot Road 2's on the bike, and the way it looks I won't need to change them out prior to the rally. The RT has a 7.1 gallon fuel capacity, and rarely gets less than 38 mpg. I usually fill up between 200 & 250 miles on a tank, but if I'm in fuel-saving mode I've gotten over 315 miles at a single stretch (on last year's Cal24, in fact, the leg before the checkpoint in Lone Pine). The trip computer has a miles-to-empty feature, which comes in quite handy. When it hits zero miles, which it likely will at least once during the rally, there are still 20 miles or so of gas left. Lighting is pretty important on these 24-hr rallies, so I've made some pretty substantial upgrades. Each of the 3 H7 bulbs has been swapped out with Ultrastars, which gave a nice bump in brightness and distance. I also installed two Touratech auxiliary lights; one HID on the left and one fog on the right. The HID is absurdly bright, while the fog is actually more useful for folks to see me rather than lighting up the road.







From a safety and reliability standpoint, I've added Hyperlites to the back of the bike to augment the standard brake light, these are two banks of LED's next to the license plate that flash continually when the brake light is engaged. When the 3 bags are installed on the bike, I feel that the stock light isn't as visible as I'd like, and these help. In the glove box on the top right of the fairing, I've stashed a maglight (there will be several flashlights in different places on the bike), a reasonable set of tools for minor roadside fixes, a tire plug kit, and an electric air compressor that plugs into the BMW's auxiliary power sockets.

I've saved one of the neatest gadgets for last, the SPoT Satellite Messenger. This is a small hand-held device that communicates with the Globalstar satphone network to report position, and a few different types of alerts. It sits right inside the top of my tankbag. I will have it configured during the rally to send up my position every 10 minutes, so people here can track the bike throughout the day. Here is a link to that tracking page, the password is cal24. Each page on SPoT's site has a rather low limit of 500 hits per week, so I will set up 8 or 10 different guest pages, all with access to the same data, so we aren't likely to hit that limit during the rally.

But just in case all of the electronics get hit with a solar flare, I can always rely on some human assistance stashed in the topcase. Remind me to poke some holes in the plastic...



I've posted all of these pictures (in full 10 mp resolution) , as well as a short video, up at this smugmug gallery. During the rally, thanks to the Zumo, the SPoT, and an incredibly patient wife, this thread will be updated with my current whereabouts and how the rally is going so far.

Thanks for taking a look at the machine, and I'm really looking forward to this year's rally. I hope Silversvs and I can fly the BARF banner in a way that doesn't entirely embarrass either us or the board. Wish us luck...
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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Sooooo....

What a great intro into your bike and set up

Really some great insight into what you can do to be a real 24HR man.. and yes.. thanks to the Mrs.. and the really cute little human hanging in the topcase

I am stoked to watch this years 24 from a comfy couch, but imagining how much your bootie hurts and of course your cheeks... from satisfaction (smiling). Your bike looks primo and ready for action

Go get 'em boys!

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:53 PM   #3
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:32 PM   #4
aciurczak
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BARF CAL 24 rider 08 /09

Join Date: Mar 2004
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Motorcycles: '13 R1200RT, '13 Ninja 300, '14 CRF250L, '12 TT-R125LE, '15 CRF110F, '13 TT-R50E
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Here's a low-res video of the bike:


youtu.be/JnuEvP45WXI

Higher res video is right here, click the play button in the middle of the pic on the right; once it is playing it can then be expanded to full screen by hitting the white rectangle at the bottom right.
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:56 AM   #5
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Looking good! Go get 'em!
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Old 05-28-2008, 06:30 AM   #6
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Hello

Hello! Just wanted to post and say hello to everyone. I am who aciurczak referred to as the "incredibly patient wife". I participated by riding on the back of the RT in the 2006 CAL24 when we placed 12th! I was hoping for top ten... but I guess that will have to wait until I am free to do it again.

Last year's CAL24, I helped out as "Houston", "Central Control", or whatever you want to call it as I was very pregnant. With the Zumo gadget that Alex described, we basically spoke on the phone for most of the 24 hr. Some of our conversation was about the rally, but once we had a plan/strategy in place, it was more about keeping Alex awake and focused, especially around 4 am which is about when he starts to see, I think he calls them, space bunnies (?).

Anyway, I'll be playing role of "Houston" again this year since leaving baby Kyle for 24 hours isn't really an option. He'll be helping out as much as he can between naps and if Dunnigan will allow dogs, Valentino will be there as well.

My plan is to update this thread as the rally progresses so you can keep up to date with how Alex is doing.

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Old 05-28-2008, 06:47 AM   #7
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Excellent! Maybe in a couple of years, you guys can get a sidecar and take the little one with you!

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Old 05-28-2008, 07:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by aciurczak2 View Post
Hello! Just wanted to post and say hello to everyone. I am who aciurczak referred to as the "incredibly patient wife". I participated by riding on the back of the RT in the 2006 CAL24 when we placed 12th! I was hoping for top ten... but I guess that will have to wait until I am free to do it again.

Last year's CAL24, I helped out as "Houston", "Central Control", or whatever you want to call it as I was very pregnant. With the Zumo gadget that Alex described, we basically spoke on the phone for most of the 24 hr. Some of our conversation was about the rally, but once we had a plan/strategy in place, it was more about keeping Alex awake and focused, especially around 4 am which is about when he starts to see, I think he calls them, space bunnies (?).

Anyway, I'll be playing role of "Houston" again this year since leaving baby Kyle for 24 hours isn't really an option. He'll be helping out as much as he can between naps and if Dunnigan will allow dogs, Valentino will be there as well.

My plan is to update this thread as the rally progresses so you can keep up to date with how Alex is doing.
Space bunnies at 4am

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Old 05-31-2008, 07:15 PM   #9
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I just noticed this thread. Give 'em hell guys.
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:10 PM   #10
aciurczak
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BARF CAL 24 rider 08 /09

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My high beam lamp went out a few days ago, so that means all 3 bulbs (2 low-beam and 1 hi-beam) have blown and been replaced in the past 2 months. This is a good thing, as now it's a bit less likely that any of them will go out during the rally. And it's pretty much impossible (for me, anyhow) to change those bulbs out at the roadside in the dark.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:21 AM   #11
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So, if I get this right. CAL 24 makes you pregnant.

Safe ride everyone.

Final weeks before the rally. Best stay away from Ppl who's got something contageous Might catch a cold or something serious like getting pregnant
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Old 06-08-2008, 05:22 PM   #12
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Space bunnies...ghost bunnies...yeah, they exist. Only have seen them, though, on the Cal24. I think Tom recruits them.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:22 PM   #13
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I've saved one of the neatest gadgets for last, the SPoT Satellite Messenger. This is a small hand-held device that communicates with the Globalstar satphone network to report position, and a few different types of alerts. It sits right inside the top of my tankbag. I will have it configured during the rally to send up my position every 10 minutes, so people here can track the bike throughout the day. Here is a link to that tracking page, the password is cal24. Each page on SPoT's site has a rather low limit of 500 hits per week, so I will set up 8 or 10 different guest pages, all with access to the same data, so we aren't likely to hit that limit during the rally.
Alex - we've removed the 500 hits/week restriction for the 5 SPoT units that were donated to BARF. if you're using one of those units, there should be no problem.

i ran into our marketing guy in the parking tonight at work, and he had some pretty good news. here are the things i was able to remember:
  • the 500 hits/week restriction should be removed for ALL user accounts soon ... within the next few weeks.
  • Globalstar will be issuing a press release in the coming days, with a link to the Cal24, and i think your efforts in particular!

SuperCool:
  • as part of the upcoming promotional campaign we will be offering FREE tracking service to all BARF members.
  • in addition to discounts to BARF members to purchase a unit directly, Globalstar will be donating money back to BARF for each unit sold. it sounds like it'll be a fixed amount per unit, and the amount is TBD, but still i think it's great to be supporting the forum this way.

finally, i asked about the outage in reporting trackpoints online. i still don't have a definitive answer, but that timespan in question was during a sizeable backend hardware upgrade. it's likely that was the cause; not anyone's SPoT unit or anything involved in the air interface or call processing.

i do now have a contact that i can fast track tech support questions to, so feel free to PM me with any issues you have. i'll pass them on immediately. to speed things along, please PM me your email address and full name.

rock on!

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:46 AM   #14
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Wow, thanks for the update!!!
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:59 AM   #15
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