Preparing for the Alpenbutt

Now it is confirmed, I will take an active part in Europe’s toughest rally – the Alpenbutt! It is about riding 6 days in a row for more than 16 hours, collecting bonus points all over the Alps. Nota bene I am an absolute rookie regarding rallies which makes the thing much more complicated. More than anything else it will be crucial to plan how to approach this event.

There are 5 months to go until the rally is going to hit the road. So let me first begin with a self assessment including some general thoughts:

  • Strengths: I would count my riding skills towards my strengths. The rally will demand a lot from the riders, especially as it has been announced that it will take place on all sorts of terrains. Riding long hours is also not an issue, I am more annoyed by the perspective of having to ride on highways. Also on the plus side are my navigation skills, usage of planning tools and the navigation on the road.
  • Weaknesses: I am not at all used to rallying. This might represent a problem as many of the procedures during the rally are crucial to success and if I have to develop these procedures during the event I will loose precious time and might even do mistakes that will cost bonus points. I need to get as much information as possible about IBR’s and develop some routines upfront.
  • Opportunities: As said, some bonus points will be reachable solely on gravel roads. My hope is that these bonus points are scoring very high. I’ve lots of experience on gravel and I will carefully analyse if this can bring an advantage over other riders that prefer the highways.
  • Threats: Riding for 6 days in the Alps for more than 16 hours every day will be very exhausting. Furthermore the Alpine roads require the rider’s full attention. Every corner, every village represents a multitude of possible dangers and only a rider who is mentally and physically fit will have the ability to avoid dangerous situations. Therefore a decent rest at night will be vital.

Preparing a plan

There is few information available at this point in time as this is the first time a long distance rally takes place in a challenging environment like the Alps. The only source of information are a handful of reports about other long distance events and the newsletters that are sent out by the rally master. But it is already possible to draw some conclusions from this information. Detailed planning will be only possible after disclosure of the bonus points (GPX on USB stick) and the rally handbook. This will be the night before the rally starts. But it will be important to develop a planning routine as there will be limited time for route planning. In order to get to an overall frame of the event I used a spreadsheet:

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Planning Sheet

This sheet is based on a couple of assumptions that are not to aggressive. This leaves some room for extension, if needed.

  1. Departure time in the morning is 6am, as I have to consider to get a receipt as proof for my rest time. Before 6am this will be difficult.
  2. Arrival time is set to 21h30, except on Leg arrivals where I do have to hit a time window. The arrival times leave 30mins of spare time. Many hotels offer check-in until 22h, very few until midnight.
  3. Stop time for bonus times are calculated with 10mins assuming 9 bonus stops, 2 additional stops for fueling/food with 30mins each, and a 30min reserve.
  4. Average speed is set to 65km/h which is reflecting my typical average when in “touring mode”, not considering the usage of highways. This might end up a little higher depending on the final route selection.

Based on these assumptions I will have to ride at least approx. 4300 kms. But I am sure this will change as I will get more and more information.

I will report in my next post how things move on…

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