The Great TB Race is a year-long race amongst travel bugs. The race will be of a slightly different design than a typical “how far will it travel” race. In this race, the race is for points. Points are awarded for meeting certain goals. Meet the goals and your travel bug earns points. Earn the most points by the end of the race and you win. Simple as that.

Entering the Race:

Now in its third year, we’ve changed the entry procedures. The planned registration period is from the the first week of October to about Christmas Day (subject to change). During the registration period, there will be a “Race Entry” tab at the top of the page. Click on that tab to read about how to enter the race. We’ve implemented an entry form to help organize the registration process and make gathering the needed details easier.   With the way the form is set up, we would like you to have a travel bug ready to go before you fill out the form.  You will be asked for a tracking number on the form.  This also helps to keep a more accurate listing of who has entered the race for use when checking in arriving travel bugs (we have usually had more registrations than actual entries in the past).  Besides filling out the form, what else do you need to do?

1.When you finish registering, you will be directed to a private pop-up page with details about the race.  Please read what is on this page as it contains important information (including the password you need to access this information) for what you need to do to get your travel bug ready for the race. It will also contain instructions for where to send your travel bug (see below).

2.Attach your travel bug to a traveler.  The traveler may be whatever you choose, but keep in mind that larger travelers have less caches they can fit into.

3. Activate your travel bug. The Great TB Race will provide a standardized race description for you to use on your Travel Bug page. It is not required, but the information is designed to help inform cachers about the details of the race and how they can help your travel bug.

4. DO NOT DO ANYTHING ELSE BEYOND ACTIVATING THE TRAVEL BUG. Part of the design of the race is that all contestants start in the same location. Dropping it into a cache near you before sending it to us will only result in me contacting you to delete the log, as it will screw up the Zero Point for the race mileage. You might be inclined to drop it into the starting cache when it is published. Do not do this either. Whomever is handling the start of the race will use the procedure of grabbing the bug and dropping it into the event as a virtual check-in. This also helps prevent delays by ensuring that all Travel Bugs are properly logged into the starting cache.

5. Wait for the race to begin and enjoy.

Starting the Race

In 2009, all contestants started the race in a cache located in Kansas City, MO. In 2010, all contestants started the race at an event held in Dallas, TX.  For  2011, the race will begin in Phoenix, AZ.

By providing a starting event, we help create a more equal start, no matter where the contestant’s owner lives. This eliminates any advantage one contestant may have over another that can develop if it’s started in an area that has a lot of cachers compared to the contestant coming from an area with fewer cachers.  Since the starting point will be an event, it also ensures that all contestants start at the same time.

The end of the race will be just that…the end of the race. This will take place exactly one year after the start of the race.

General Race Rules

During the race, there a few rules in place.

1. Dipping (or visiting) is not allowed.  However, we can’t stop this from occurring.  So how do we handle a dip?  If a dip occurs, scoring volunteers recalculate mileage from the starting point to the ending point, disregarding the dipped cache.  Any points earned from the dip will not be tallied, including pictures, borders, etc.  In some caches, this has resulted in serious point losses.  All travel bugs will have an attached tag that states the No Dipping rule.

2. Contestants in the race are forbidden from handling any racing travel bug.  Since we are in our third year, we add that if you enter the 2011 race, you may not handle 2011 travel bugs.  If you come across one from 2009 or 2010, you are more than welcome to move it.  This is done to prevent people from cheating by intentionally moving other entries to hinder their travels.  All travel bugs will have an attached tag stating that they are in the 2011 race.

3. Contestants are encouraged to track their own travel bug’s movements.  Each month, the race standings will be updated with the scores for all entries.  If you feel that your entry’s score is incorrect, or you feel that you have miscalculated, please contact the race organizer for assistance, along with details.

4. There is an inherent risk in releasing any travel bug that it might go missing.  In the event this occurs, and evidence points to it clearly being gone (and not just mislogged), please contact the race organizer.  If it is truly missing, you may be allowed to re-enter the race using your copy tag.  Final say is up to the race organizer.  It is helpful if before contacting us, you have already made contact with someone to verify if it is missing and if any information might help track it down, and that info is provided when contacting us.

Earning Points

In 2009, race contestants voted on the rule of NO DIPPING, and we have kept that rule. If a travel bug is dipped into a cache, the points gained will be voided. Only the final location will count for points. To aid in evaluating how points are awarded, rules (and restrictions) will be in place regarding the goals, as follows.

1. Points for caches visited will only be awarded once for a cache. Once a bug visits a cache, any subsequent visits to that cache will not count for points. Only one cache will be counted per cacher.

2. Points for mileage will be based on the mileage counter on each bug’s page. If dipping occurs, mileage will be recalculated using Google Maps, the same system used on the Geocaching site.

3. Points for crossing state lines will be based on a straight line model, using the travel bug’s map. No matter how a cacher travels as they carry the travel bug, a straight line between cache A and cache B will be used to determine which state lines are crossed and how many times they are crossed. If a travel bug leaves the United States, only country borders will be counted. Province/state borders within other countries will not be counted for points.

4. Points for posting pictures will only be awarded once per photo per cacher. One cacher posting multiple pictures will not gain additional points, though it is encouraged if the poster desires to help document the travels.

5. Points for being exchanged with a trackable item require that you identify the trackable item you traded with in your log. Failure to identify the trackable item will result in no points being awarded. This is done to help verify that an exchange occurred, whether you dropped or picked up the racing travel bug. There are two ways to do this. Either list the item Name or the item’s Reference Number (listed a few lines below the item’s name on it’s profile). Please do not post the tracking number listed on the item.

7. If a travel bug visits a cache that has either a difficulty or terrain rating of 2.5 or higher, it will earn points for D/T.

7.Points for attendance at an event is only awarded once per event.

8. If a travel bug attends a CITO event, it will earn bonus points. The item will only receive points for one race type per cacher. In other words, attending a CITO event does not gain points for both the Event goal and the CITO goal. Only the CITO goal will be counted (the same applies to MEGA and CITO).

9. If a travel bug attends a MEGA event, it will earn bonus points. The item will only receive points for one race type per cacher. In other words, attending a MEGA event does not gain points for both the Event goal and the MEGA goal. Only the MEGA goal will be counted (the same applies to MEGA and CITO).

Bonus Goals

Several people had suggestions to have bonus goals in past years. In 2010, we implemented monthly bonus goals. While interesting in design, it was hard to evaluate for points. So we are doing away with monthly bonus goals.  But, we can still have fun with this.  At the end of the year, we will have some “end of the year” goals for bonus points.  No telling what they may be, but we might award points for whomever has the highest score in any one goal category, or for some other goal that we come up with.

If you have questions regarding the rules, check the FAQ’s page before sending them in. It might have been answered already. Once the race starts, no rules will change.