It’s time to announce the final goals list for earning points in 2010. But not only are we going to show you the list, but we’re going to show you what the tag looks like that was attached to YOUR entry.

Now imagine that folded in half and laminated. That is what will be attached to each and every travel bug. I have a huge roll of these already laminated, ready to be cut out and attached, which will be done once I get down to Dallas.

On the left side of the tag is some basic information about the race. This helps explain the mission to any geocacher who picks up your racer. A few things that I tried to highlight include the rule against dipping. Hopefully, with that listed on both sides of the tag, we can greatly reduce the amount of dipping this year, which does hinder both the mileage calculations and the identification of border crossings.  We also highlighted the planned monthly goals and their location on the race website, which is provided.  I also threw in a note about keeping the item moving.

On the right side (or back side) is the list of year long goals, along with a reminder to go to the race website to see monthly goals and not to dip the racer.  Also note the parenthesis next to some goals, for example identifying the exchanged item in the log.  This will hopefully reduce the few instances I came across where someone met the goal, but didn’t provide the required info.  Here is our final list:

  • Every cache visited – 1 point
  • Every 100 miles traveled – 1 point
  • Every state/country border (no province borders) – 2 points
  • Every picture taken (1 per cacher) – 5 points
  • Exchanging the racer with another trackable – 10 points
  • Visiting a cache with a Difficulty or Terrain greater than 2.5 – 15 points
  • Attending an event – 20 points
  • Earning an FTF (with a photo of the item with the logsheet) – 25 points
  • Attending a CITO event – 30 points
  • Attending a MEGA event – 40 points

I decided to split up the CITO and MEGA categories just to provide another option.  MEGA’s are more rare than CITO’s, so extra points seemed appropriate.  I know we had a handful of racers attend Geowoodstock VII this year, so under next year’s rules, such a visit would be worth more than the regular event.

Now we are still looking at monthly goals.  Monthly goals will be worth bonus points if that goal is met during the assigned calender month.  This means that if a January goal is met in February, it won’t count.  Depending on the ideas that come forth, we may have more than one goal each month.  Monthly goals will be published on the last day of the preceding month.

Now that we are less than two weeks from the start of the race, what can you expect in the intervening time?  First of all will be an e-mail sent out to all race participants in the coming week.  This e-mail will include information about what you can put on your travel bug page to best serve the geocachers who come across your racer.  This will include a brief mission message and a points table that you can put on your page.  Actually, thinking about that last part, it may be easier to post the instructions on here.  An e-mail will come out to everyone notifying you of this post as it is important.

As the year goes on, it is important for your travel bug’s survival that you keep up with your item.  We lost 40 travel bugs this last year.  From what I’ve seen in logs, about half of those could have probably been avoided.  They were items that were left in one spot too long, or someone grabbed the item but never placed it.  Now I occasionally posted notes and sent out e-mails as I did points updates, but sometimes it was too late, and it increased the work load of updating points.  So this planned post will talk about things YOU can do to help keep your travel bug alive in this race.  Hopefully, we can reduce the amount of travel bugs going MIA.

In the last week before the race starts, I will begin changing some of the pages on this site.  For example, the Checkpoint Cache page will be removed.  The rules will be updated for this year.  The 2009 information will be set up under a single page.  Some basic reorganization to make the site easiest on visitors.

Once the race begins, a contestants page and standings page will be started for tracking the racers throughout the year.  This also brings out an important reminder.  Most announcements for the race are done through this site as opposed to mass e-mails.  There are two ways to keep up with the race.  Bookmarking the site and checking in once in a while is one way.  The best way is through e-mail subscription.  On the right side of the site are various options, including one at the top for Email Subscription.  Signing up for this will cause the site to send you an e-mail whenever a post is made.  Once the race starts, there will be an average of one to two posts a month, and that includes announcements about race standings.  The subscription is the best way to make sure you are notifying when the site is updated.

Last but not least.  Last year, much of the work on this race was done by yours truly.  As the race went on, this became more and more labor intensive.  Thanks to the many generous cachers who have volunteered to help me with this in 2010, I feel a lot better about how smoothly this will go.  Based on the amount of help, instead of one person updating points for over 80 items, its looking like we can knock it down to 10 people updating points for 8-10 items.  This drastically reduces the workload (TRUST ME).  So, I can much more safely say that we should be able to keep up with updating the race standings once a month (I’m dropping the twice a month theme I started with last year).  More volunteers are always welcome. 🙂

So with that, I end the post with the announcement that at midnight tonight (Central Time), the entry period for INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES will be closed.  If you live in the United States, you can still enter up to midnight Christmas Day.  This is being done because after today, there is no way to guarentee that travel bugs will arrive on time if shipped from overseas, without a huge increase in shipping costs.