The Void 12 Rally (Prep – Rain)

The Void 12 Rally (Prep – Rain)

As I check on Hurricane Irma, which is building strength out in the Atlantic, I’m reminded of Robert Rehkopf’s comment in his post in Advice For First Time Rallyers – Void Yahoo Group:

“I know you have some highly anticipated worries, but don’t ever, ever worry about rain. Never hardly see it!”

Yes, it was a joke. A joke which was even funnier to those who know that last year’s Void 11 Rally was run during Hurricane Matthew.  A quick review of last years results is quite revealing:

  • 10 Hour Mini-Rally
    • Rally HQ Starters
      • Registered:    9
      • Finished:       3
      • DNS:             5
      • DNF:             1
  • 24+ Hour Rally
    • Tifton, GA Starters
      • Registered: 13
      • Finished:      4
      • DNS:            9
      • DNF:            0
    • Columbia, TN Starters
      • Registered:  9
      • Finished:     4
      • DNS:           3
      • DNF:           2
    • Reading, PA Starters
      • Registered: 37
      • Finished:    24
      • DNS:            9
      • DNF:            4

These results – and the videos of multiple IBA rallies – provide us with a few lessons:

  • You are going to be riding in rain for some, if not all, of most rallies.
  • A hurricane really knows how to take the fun out of rallying.
  • The further away from a hurricane you are, the more likely you are to finish – make that START.
  • It takes a lot to keep rally riders off of their bikes.
  • Rally riders were probably dropped on their heads as infants.

Taking these lessons, and considerable Florida experience, to heart, I have made a few minor preparations for the rain I am likely to experience.

Rain Gear

I live in Florida.  So rain gear isn’t really a preparation I made for The Void.  In Florida, rain gear should just come with a motorcycle as standard equipment.  If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride very far or very often.  That would sort of be like saying “I don’t ride when it’s hot.”  My rain gear of choice is Olympia Moto Sports.  Easy to put on over all the other gear while standing by the side of the road, durable, very adjustable and seals nicely at all of the openings.

Tank Bag Rain Cover

If you read some of the earlier posts about this rally, you know that I’m riding in this rally to get first hand experience and to determine if I want to ride in more rallies.  I doubt that I will ever worry about winning a rally.  I’ve read several accounts of what people will do to finish on the podium and frankly, it doesn’t sound like much fun.  However, I do believe that rallying with goals of having enough points to be a finisher, enjoying the ride, seeing things you wouldn’t otherwise, and making new friends would be VERY enjoyable.  But I digress.  If I continue rallying, considering the realities of rain mentioned above, I will have a custom waterproof tank bag made for future events.  For now however, I will be using the rain cover which came with my tank bag.  I’ll also be using paper summary info in the map pouch this time but if I continue I will replace that with a Microsoft Surface.

Camera Rain Cover

  • Rally rules state:
    • 10. Photo Bonuses/Rally Flags
      • c. Only digital cameras may be used. Despite its capabilities, your smart phone is not considered a digital camera. Polaroid photos and hard copy prints will not be accepted.

So, I will be using my Nikon D50.  There are also several suggestions about setting the camera to produce smaller photo file sizes.  My D50, being old like me, is only a 4 megapixel camera so no need to reduce anything.  And, it is pretty much limited to using the most basic SD cards for storing images.  So there shouldn’t be any concerns about compatibility with scorer’s computers.  Rain, on the other hand, could be a big concern.

Somewhere in the communications from the rally staff, it is stated that we will also need to be capable of producing a photo of ourselves from head to toe.  Maybe someone will be around to take it for you and maybe not.  Maybe it will be a beautiful sunny day and maybe it will be midnight and Hurricane Irma will be there for the shoot.  Prudent riders will be prepared for those second scenarios.  I will be carrying a tripod in case no-one is around and I will be using a Camera Rain Cover made for cameras like mine.  So if I’m alone and it’s pouring rain, I can still get the shot and not destroy the camera in the process.


I’ve done several of the things that are likely to be involved in this rally.  I’ve ridden in flag-photo certificate rides.  In fact, that is how I became a member of IBA.  However, accounts I’ve read about rallies have mentioned a variety of other tasks which I haven’t done.  It seems as though there will be documents to maintain, receipts to collect and organize, items to purchase and bring to scoring, etc.  If that turns out to be the case, just imagine doing all of that in a torrential downpour.  That would not only involve keeping documents dry but opening and closing the storage area of the bike, which would also need to be kept as dry as possible.  Wind would increase the challenges but I will just have to figure that out as I go.  This is a learning experience after all.

Wanting to do everything in my power to prevent rain.  I’m basing that on the idea that if I’m ready for it, it won’t happen and all of my efforts will have been wasted (I’m okay with that).  And, considering that there might be a greater than usual rain storm happening, I decided to carry a large, vented umbrella.  So I grabbed a piece of PVC that was just the right size to slide my umbrella into and zip tied it to the pannier frame on the opposite side of the exhaust.  I drilled a hole at the bottom of the closed end to let any water run out.  I don’t know if it will be of any value at all, but I figure it will be like the saying about a gun.  I’d rather have it and not need it… 

Now.  If Irma will just bypass Jacksonville so we don’t have to evacuate.  That would finish my Void 12 before it starts.

It would also be nice if it turns north and stays in the Atlantic.  Another hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico is the last thing anyone needs.  Especially the folks in Texas.  They have definitely been a shining example of the best of humanity and an excellent reminder that the vast majority of people have kindness in their hearts and will help others in need.  That reality can easily be lost in all of the noise.



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