For our non-American and non-sports-fan readers, a change-up is a baseball pitch that looks like a straight fast pitch but comes in just a little slower, to confuse the batter's timing.
Traditionally, in a multi-day rally with a checkpoint in the middle like Butt Lite, riders get a list of bonuses for the first leg and another separate list of bonuses for the second leg. And everybody knows the bonuses on the second leg are always worth more points that the bonuses on the first leg.
So this time we handed out all the bonuses for the entire rally at the start. Riders must go to the checkpoint, but they can go to bonuses on the first leg or the second leg. They can collect each bonus once and only once; but if they mess up a bonus on the first leg, they can go back and try it again on the second leg. There are fewer bonuses for this entire rally than there were on individual legs of past Butt Lites.
So is it harder or easier to plan the entire rally at once, knowing what all the possible points are, instead of running around for three days and expecting (or hoping) you can make up lost ground with whatever you're given at the checkpoint? Do you plan leg 2 now at the start when you're fresh, or hold off for the checkpoint to see how leg 1 went and how much energy you have left? We shall see what the winning strategy turns out to be.
And if that wasn't enough of a change-up, we included 6 themed bonus combos. To collect a combo, the riders have to collect all of a series of individual bonuses. But they can do this across leg 1 and leg 2. If a combo has 10 bonuses, a rider can collect 5 on leg 1 and 5 on leg 2 and get a big points jackpot at the finish. And going for a combo has some risk because if you mess up one component bonus, you don't get the bonus points. So riders may have partially completed combos when they get to the checkpoint, and nobody will be able to tell from the leg 1 scores. Does this mean riders will have to focus on riding their own ride instead of riding against somebody else? Again, we shall see.
And, we handed out the usual flash drive with GPS coordinates of the bonuses, but we also included points and availability so riders who use electronic planning aids could spend time routing instead of typing. And we included an electronic copy of the rally book for those who find that sort of thing useful.
So where are the riders going? Oh, we can't tell you that yet. But if you look at the public SpotWalla page at https://spotwalla.com/locationViewer.php?id=336, you can see that riders are riding in all four compass headings from Denver. 12 hours into the rally, it doesn't look like there's an obvious winning route. So far, so good.