Category: 𔃱 Day Events’

More survey responses, communications, accommodations.

October 3, 2013 Posted by JThw8

Thanks for the steady stream of input, very good things to consider.  Let me start with a few more comments about communication.

Pre-event.  The general opinion is that it was good.  Some folks would like a better forum, me too, but this one is simple and secure.  I do wish I had more time to dedicate to the back end stuff on the website but for the time being we have to make due with the simple tools we can get.

During event.  I’ll post a feedback comment which goes to the topic tonite, other topics were covered in the previous post.

do CBs still provide communication? anyone use them? can a “chatroom” be setup during the event? I mean afterall most have smart phones so…

As we start to outfit a full time staff vehicle a CB will be added, but the range is limited and many teams do not bother so the phones are probably a better option.  On other events there have been twitter tags, and other apps used by teams to communicate.  Usually this is coordinated by the teams.  As I deal with the vendor on the commercial scoring solution I will investigate adding a chat feature to the app, if that is not financially viable then we will make a better effort to coordinate twitter tags and other options.  Again the current scoring solution killed me as I spent most of my time working on that instead of more group communications as I’d hoped so I will look forward to having more time once the commercial solution is in place.

Now lets talk accommodations.

Overall postitive notes all around for the Holiday Inn in Hazlet so I won’t dwell on that too much.  One team did have an issue with a non smoking room that reeked of smoke.  Please, if things are wrong with your room let us know and we’ll do our best to set it straight with the hotel.  I encourage you to follow up with them and I know we will be doing a vendor follow up as well so I will be sure to bring up this issue.  A desire to have the pool open was also expressed, and I agree, sadly we have no control over that.

And now the downside.  The Oceanic.  Reviews have been mixed but overall I get the impression it was a cheap hotel and not loved by many.  Our goal is to book affordable but decent accommodations for the events so I’ll say we dropped the ball on this one based on the feedback.  As a general rule we will be trying to stay with national chains with good reputations on our events but we also could not find another venue in Wildwood willing to book rooms under $120 a night which seemed extravagant to us.  In the future, if possible we will do a site visit ahead of time and with or without site visits we will do our best to offer alternative suggestions which may cost more but be of higher quality if our chosen venue is of a more budget variety.  On certain events we will be going high end, they will be all inclusive specialty events and the entry fees will reflect this.  On “banger” style events we generally just aim for clean and affordable as that’s what most of our audience wants.  But as previously stated we will try to ensure there are higher end options available if possible so teams may choose for themselves.  I offer my sincerest apologies to any teams which did not like the final hotel and promise we will strive to do better in the future.

Same goes for the food/bar.  Honestly I didn’t get to eat so I have no frame of reference other than times I have gone there previously.  At those times the food was acceptable, certainly nothing gourmet, but good food.  Again reviews are mixed, and we will do better.  Probably the largest expense of any of these events are the sponsored awards ceremonies.  It is something we believe should be done but we will adjust our prices accordingly to ensure we can provide good quality options at these ceremonies in the future.  If there is an overwhelming consensus that people would rather have no “after party” and cheaper entry fees we will consider that as well, but in 8 years of participating in these events it seems the overwhelming opinion is that people would rather pay more and get a nice after party so that is what we will strive for.

Ok, enough for tonight, still collecting input and I will have another installment tomorrow.  Please feel free to add comments and open up the discussion on FB on on the forums here.

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More survey follow up…communications

October 2, 2013 Posted by JThw8

I’ll continue with addressing some of the communications concerns tonight.  Let’s start with the comments.  The Pre-rally comments thus far have focused on team notification v. captain notification.  We will take this under consideration in the future but really your captain’s should be sharing everything with you, give them hell if they don’t.  Also all communication except the actual registration forms and event guides (including hotel info) are usually posted publicly on the blog, forum and FB page.

During event communications, and I’ll be the first to say it sucked,  you all were a bit kinder.

We weren’t sure if our submissions were going though because we didn’t receive a good portion of the submission confirmation emails (apparently this was common amongst all teams from what I heard)

Absolutely.  In short the current automated submission system was a fail.  It will not be used again.  We are looking into commercial systems which will be much more reliable and add real time scoring and leader boards through an iPhone and/or Android app.  We have to balance the cost of these systems with the cost to value ratio for competitors.  We don’t want a system that will add $100 to your entry fees.  But we are in talks with a few vendors and hope to find a reliable professional system for a reasonable cost prior to the next event.

Was relying on the blog, and entries kept disappearing. FB was ok though.

The “blog” entries for challenge submissions were being posted to a hidden blog so this was to be expected.  Again, the system as a whole is deemed a fail and will not be reused.

Can be difficult to hear in a crowd. Megaphone or similar?

Fair point, we are looking at better equipping our support vehicle and the addition of a mobile PA system is at the top of the list.

 

I’ll address more issues and comments tomorrow.  I do appreciate the constructive feedback.

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ETS follow up surveys

October 2, 2013 Posted by JThw8

Hey, we’re new to this, we get that.  And we also get that we don’t know everything nor do we have the same expectations that all of our participants may have.  That is why we have sent out the ETS follow on surveys to all the team captains (and hope they will share with their teammates)

Not only are we going to ask you for your input, we’re going to respond to it.  I will be taking the comments received and replying on FB.  I want to have open and honest discussions about why certain decisions are made and where we can improve if there is a consensus that improvement is needed.

So for the first of these discussions I will address something stated above and questioned on the Survey.

Why are communications only sent to the team Captain rather than the whole team?

Good question and there’s a few reasons.  First and foremost our contact database is being built by hand right now and it was just quicker and simpler to only have to enter a single contact address.  Our entire online system will be getting some upgrades to automate this soon.  However the bigger reason is that when trying to keep so many teams coordinated it just makes more sense to have a single point of contact for each team.  I need one person who speaks for the team so I don’t have to get in the middle of any internal team debates.   Have the debate, have your designated representative (team captain) respond.  With an anticipated 20-50 teams per event it is enough of a challenge just to keep things straight with one contact per team.

We will always respond to emails from any team member and make important team announcements known either here or on FB or both.    I hope that clears it up.  Someday when we’re raking in the big $$ I’ll hire one of you to be director of communications and we’ll have the bandwidth to email everyone.  🙂

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The final tally

October 1, 2013 Posted by JThw8

Ok, one more time let me re-iterate why we are moving to an automated scoring system.  As I was cleaning up the spreadsheet and sorting by class I realized I had put an extra zero at the end of a challenge score for one team when making the entries.  Luckily it did not have a bearing on the final outcome but it very nearly did as it made things show as only a 15 point separation between first and 2nd when the actual total was much higher.  Overall it was still a very well and hard fought competition all around and the completion rates on challenges were much higher than expected.

Without further ado I present the final totals for the 2013 ETS Adventure

 

Open Banger
Team Points Team Points
21 1635 42 1665
43 1530 63 1430
77 1507 22 1276
33 1355 27 1165
25 1345 24 1250
86 1264 29 1005
20 1215 35 570
30 1160 23 425
13 935 34 395
89 855

Like a boss..

September 30, 2013 Posted by JThw8

In what became a hotly contested clue we asked contestants to find the “birthplace” of “The Boss” and strike their best rocker pose. Many teams took it too literal and went for the hometown of Bruce Springsteen but we were looking for the Stone Pony, where The Boss was born.

Create your own adventure challenge, my favorite

September 30, 2013 Posted by JThw8

One of our challenges for the day was the Create your own Adventure challenge in which competitors were encouraged to have an adventure and send us a picture and a short writeup about it.  While there were some very creative submissions team Two Mommies on the Loose was far and away the one that made me laugh and really captured the spirit of creating your own adventure.  Finding themselves in Atlantic City, home of the Miss America pageant, they could not help but reenact their childhood fantasies and play a little.  They captured the moment on the video linked below.

Here she is….

Additionally the story only got better when the great gentleman pictured below who witnessed the whole event looked at them and declared “I pick the best places to get high”

 

Explore the Shore wrapup

September 30, 2013 Posted by JThw8

It was just a few short months ago, although it seems like forever now, that Street Safari announced the final BABE rally in the US.  Although the thought of putting on my own event had always rattled around my brain it was joined by many other thoughts in my constant state of “big ideas and small organization”.  But when I told my wife and business partner Kelley that this was the end she surprised me by saying “Let’s do this!”  She has brought to the table what I never could, organization and structure.  Therefore I start this recap by thanking her for everything she did to make Asphault Adventures and the Explore the Shore adventure a reality.

Once the decision was made the questions started.  Would anyone participate?  Could we capture the spirit we loved in other events but give it our own unique flavor?  Would a one day format even work?  The answer is a resounding YES!

We had set a conservative goal of 10 teams for our first event.  Something small to just “get our feet wet”.  We decided to cut off entries at 15 to ensure we didn’t overreach.  And then you all just kept coming!  Friends from work, friends from GRM, Lemons, BABE.  How could we turn you away?  So in the end we had 20 teams of some of the greatest people we know.  We were stoked, not just by the success but by the opportunity to continue to share in the fun with our favorite people and make some new friends along the way.  We had expected no one would travel too far for a one day event yet you came from Ohio, from Georgia, from Vermont, from all over.  We are overwhelmed and grateful for all the support we received.

Let’s start with the high points: And where to start, there were so many!  The teams, all of the teams, old and new, brought that spirit of competition with friendship we’ve come to love.  I was very pleasantly surpised at the number of husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend teams.  I think that is something we will especially see on the shorter 1 and 3 day events.  The wives have the good sense not to be stuck in a smelly car with smelly guys for a week but a day or two is usually surviveable.  I was even more pleased by the number of those teams which came to me afterwards to say how much the time and adventure shared with their significant other had actually strengthened their relationship.  I’m sensing a 2nd honeymoon themed rally in the future….

The weather.  I don’t think we could have requested a better day, sun shining but a nice breeze.  It was a great day to hit the beaches.

That one poor bride in Wildwood.  When we asked you to photobomb beach weddings we did not anticipate that there would be one right at the finish line.  Anyone (most everyone) who had not checked that challenge off their list yet siezed the opportunity.  I wish someone had gotten her name and address, we owe her a gift.

The Oceanic Hotel and Tiki Bar.  When our closing ceremonies venue suddenly bailed on us with little time left the Oceanic really stepped up and took care of us. Private pool party with bar and hot tub? Yes please!  I understand they took pity on at least one team who was going to have 4 team members floor surfing and upgraded them to a suite for free so they didn’t have to sleep on the floor.

Group Challenge Activities.  Expect to see more of these.  I love to get the group bunched back up after they get spread out on the road and get everyone interacting.  My only regret for this activity is that I couldn’t watch the mayhem ensue.  You will definitely see variations of it again.

Really I could go on and on with this, and over the next few days I will try to pick out some highlights with photos to feature on the website and FB page.

Lessons learned, and yes we will try to always learn lessons so construtive criticism is always welcomed.

When you create a challenge list so full that it cannot be completed (which was our goal) you have to score that list!  While the automated system helped we are definitely still working out bugs with it and I felt it only fair to review all team submissions manually with the teams to ensure we got it right.  It took time, it created stress.  We will probably be looking into a commercial solution for the future.  The upside to these solutions is live leaderboards and real time scoring.  The downside, for some, is this will mean smartphones only.  Hand scoring is just too time consuming and inefficient, too easy to make a mistake, we really want to remove the human factor to ensure everyone gets a fair and even score in the future.

Also when you create a list that long it removes the ability to explore some of the other bits of the area one might like to see.  This is why we added a “make your own adventure” challenge with a good points value to try and encourage people to go have a little fun.  But we’ll admit this was less a great driving day and more a challenge chasing day.  Longer rallies will have combinations of the 2.  One day rallies will probably be of different varieties but we will try to specify in the rally description if it is a driving focused rally or a games focused rally.

Clarity in our instructions.  We had a few issues at registration because it was unclear that the “driver” form applied to all people in the car, not just the driver for the day.  We will be sure to make that clearer in the future.

On a whole I declare success!  I’m still alive, everyone seemed to have fun, and most importantly the list of people I’m proud to call friend grew some more.  I’m not sure I could ask for anything better.
Now for those following along at home, your 2013 Explore the shore winners:
Open Class: We had a lot of veteran teams from other events in the Open class and they brought all the tenacity and skill to the game that we’ve come to expect from them, without being hampered by a broke down car for a change.  But it was a newcomer to the game that went nuts on it all and ran away with it.  When I announced at the start that it was not possible to complete all the challenges Team 21 “Car Ramrod” took that as a personal challenge, and for a while there I thought they just might do it.  Were it not for our requirement of having team members in the photos I might have guessed they split off into 2 groups to be able to power through as much of the list as they did.  Job well done!
Banger Class: Again, veteran teams as far as the eye could see.  Some great new teams too who fought a hard battle and brought some of the coolest bangers (I’m looking at you Tunachuckers, I loove that Volvo Amazon!)  At the end of the day it was 2 veterans and friends running neck and neck.  I had to double then triple check the scores to ensure everyone got a fair shake on this one.  Once the dust settled it was the “always the bridesmaid never the bride” team of Jim and Jeff Wakeman (#42 – 3 Pedal Mafia) That finally got to wear the white dress.
And a final special mention to our one lone motorcycle class competitor.  Motorcycles compete in the same respective class as cars open or banger and Kevin Rozman of team 13 – Rhymes with Hug Me did one heck of a solo ride from Ohio to NJ just to make the event and then competed as not only our first ever Motorcycle class participant but also our only solo member team.  Then rode back to Ohio the next day.  Oh to be young again!  Kevin, you rock, thanks for joining us!

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013

September 28, 2013 Posted by JThw8

In a galaxy far far away, we met our alien over lords, and made peace. Too bad there were no brains for them to take. Sent from my iPhone

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September 28, 2013 Posted by JThw8

Great photo, wrong answer…this one has gotten a few teams today

Sent from my iPhone

Pink cars are popping up!

September 28, 2013 Posted by JThw8

Sent from my iPhone