Jim Streicher, May 18, 1999.
From: "J & L Streicher"
To: "Doug Shipman"
Subject: Thoughts on 99 TTC (long)
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 16:20:17 -0700
> Hope things went ok for you and your Team.
Speaking for myself, I had a blast! WE FINISHED! Other than the Trophy, what more could we ask for?!?
> I thought, considering the problems planning because of snow, things went smoothly.
Snow was a problem? We thought that was a right lovely addition to this years fun! What was lacking in mud, the snow almost made up for. '97 was dust, '98 was mud, and this year was snow...nothing like a little variety! Brought back fond memories of Iceland!
> I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on improvements, suggestions for Tasks, likes and dislikes, etc.
Bring back T-Ball! Last year, it could have been called "The Beer Can" after the sheetmetal that stump took from everyone, but I truly missed the "fun" factor that is involved in T-Ball, T-ball lets ya take a break from the mind numbing task of following vague route instructions. (take the later part of that sentence as a compliment).
I (and a few fellow Land Cruiser Teams) felt this year was easier. By easier, I mean that the route instructions were NOT as vague as years past. I remember feeling totally lost and slightly pissed last year. I wrote it off as inexperience. It could be that I'm beginning to understand how your wicked mind works (I doubt that) or you succumbed due to previous whining. This brings me to my next comment:
The "walking/hiking/flat-out-humping" to find markers was GREAT! I'm sure many will disagree. My wife not being one of those, as my pants fit a little looser upon my return home :). Those of us who truly enjoy the great outdoors and the sport of wheeling, realize that the occasional walk is necessary. Due to the lack of time, my team chose not to hike the 1/4 mile to marker #4 and the 2 miles to #16. That "lack of time" was our own problem, NOT yours. We chose to wake up later than 4:am on Sunday, so we would have enough rest to compete at a higher level. Had we got up at 4:am, we might have had the gumption to go after them. I highly suggest keeping that portion of the event in place! I might even suggest that you assign EXTRA points to markers that require walking distance/climbing difficulty as an incentive to get up early.
Holding the Rally at night was great. I have to admit, WE (TEAM 19) were the bums who drove the last mile with ous backup lights on. It honestly was an accident, but I'm sure you found the complaint forms filled out properly in the "complaint boxes" you mentioned.
The Accident/Medical Task was great and we were fortunate to have someone that was a bit familiar with triage. Please keep this event for next year.
Also loved the Broken Down vehicle Task. The gent running it was especially cheerful as was the young man in charge of inspecting first aid kits.
Although our team hated the "obstacle course" with the flags, it ended up being a useful measure of our Team ability. We were a bit bummed out by our lousy score and then moved on to the "keep the beer can up" task. As our Veh #1 was heading down the final hairpin, Veh 2 popped a tire off the bead. The tension on the snatch strap, from Veh #1, prevented us from using the highlift jack safely Veb #1 couldn't back up because of the steepness of the downhill it rested on. Your course official suggested we run the winch to offset the pull of the strap. We were a bit leery about that as the only trees in sight were about 3 inches diameter. The whole affair was beginning to look pretty unsafe but the course official gave it a thumbs up. We immediately got started pulling the spare and lickity split, away we went , I know of at least one other team who blew a bead in the same spot and gave up....more points for us! :) Through it all we kept our heads up.
> It seems to get better organized as I weed out the undependable helpers, but, good helpers are hard to find because of the time commitment.
The majority of your "helpers" were great. A few could have been a little more zealous about their duties:
During the Sat night Rally, I recall you saying something about the TC (time control) folks were going to gap teams apart if they got bunched up. By the time we got to the last TC, their were about 4 teams on our butt. Maybe we should have yielded but we made the Team decision to stick by our average speed and not let them by. Shortly after the finish line, we got a severe arse-chewing from one of the Teams behind us. This is where we found out that our reverse lights had been on the whole time. This was the only time during the event that I felt we had made a big mistake. Had the TC split the Teams up at each spot, we may not have had this problem.....oh well.
On Sat, there was a modified "Monte Carlo" section that would have been really enjoyable had the 2 Big Bronco's not broke down. While we were waiting for them to clear the path (36 minutes later) we spoke with the gent at the start line. (drove a nice white D-90) He mentioned that earlier in the day some non-competitors has passed his check point and he allowed them to use the trail. They promptly stuck their full size Blazer, causing a big backup. I realize these trails aren't "owned" by TTC during the event, but maybe he could have persuaded them to come back later or you could have taped it off until the start. Hind sight is 20/20.
The above stuff is really just me, being nit-picky. The only thing that really saddened myself and my Teammates was when we ran into the boys in the CJ-8 Scramblers. They were screaming at each other and going nowhere fast. They evidently had broke a winch cable and the brown Scrambler wasn't really set up for the event.....or SO they said. In the spirit of "helping them to get out of the way", we showed them how to do a temp fix on the winch cable and asked if we could go around. I heard that they quit a short time later.
My Teammate, Bruce, had heard one of them say "We're in way over our heads and had no idea it would be this hard!" Hmmmm. I really don't think the vehicles were holding them up, just the lack of Team-work. None-the-less, hate to hear folks saying they are having a crappy time.
Overall, I think this event is the best thing going on this side of the country. Events like Eco Challenge, Camel Trophy, etc. are unapproachable for most of us. The Sportsman's Challenge (Florida?) is too far. At the risk of creating a major headache for you, I would love to see a shooting event. PLEASE keep up the good work and keep me posted of events as they happen. I will be happy to pass on info to the Land Cruiser Community. Also, were you aware that we had a story published last year in our TLCA magazine, Toyota Trails? We are planning on submitting another one for this year. Too bad Four Wheeler didn't show up this year....or did they? I think that when Peterson Publishing bought them out, their plans to film (for Four Wheeler TV) fell through.
> Maybe I'11 see you at some other function this year.
Sadly,I will have to wait for TTC 2001/02. Your tax dollars are sending me and my family to Iwakuni, Japan for another 3 year adventure. (US NAVY) Too bad Ship's Mechanical doesn't pay you enough to come over and start TTC Japan!....or does it? My email address will remain the same so please stay in touch.
I highly recommend asking Ken Eshelby to help out next year. He has shown up for both 98 and 99 events as our unofficial TLCA photographer and would be a great addition to your group of planners.
That's all for now! Congrats on another successful Trophy!
Toyota Land Cruiser Assoc,#4537
'99 TTC Team "Ray-Rak" (www.teleport.com/-eshelbyk/ttc.html)
US NAVY SEABEES "We Build, We Fight"