A TSD road rally is a contest of precision – being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. The winner is the team most able to run the course in exactly the correct amount of time. However, it will do you no good to be on time if you are in the wrong place.
Novice ralliers find most success by focusing on course following, and worrying less about staying on time.
All roads on the rally route are paved. If you find yourself on gravel, you are off course. All rally roads are public through roads. Roads marked dead end, no outlet, etc. are not on the rally route. (RRR 2.2)
Route instructions - You can't get there without them.
Route instructions may be written out plainly in words in sentences, cryptically encoded in abbreviations and defined terms, and/or drawn in diagrams and pictographs.
Route instructions tell you what to do and where to do it. (RRR 4.2, 4.3)
What to do:
• Deviations – L, LEFT, R, RIGHT, S, STRAIGHT, TURN. A change in course off the main road. (RRR 4.5)
• CAST – Change average speed to. (RRR 6.5)
• PAUSE (RRR 6.19)
Where to do it:
• Sign – All CAPS, in quotation marks, exact as close as graphically reasonable. (RRR 5.1)
• Landmark – Object identified by a sign. All CAPS, not in quotation marks, not in Glossary. (RRR 4.4)
• Official mileage (RRR 4.6)
• Term defined in Glossary – Examples: STOP, SIGNAL, T. (RRR 4.3)
Types of route instructions (RRR 4.1)
Numbered (NRI) – Complete in ascending numerical order. Complete each NRI in entirety before trying to execute the next NRI. When accompanied by OM, execute an NRI at that mileage.
Note – Unnumbered route instruction, active from introduction until canceled. Use each time the action point is encountered. Supersedes but does not cancel NRIs. Independent of and may overlap NRIs.
The main road - The route is out there.
In the Cascade Geargrinders TSD road rally world, a single main road exists at every intersection.
An intersection is a joining of rally roads from which the contestant could legally proceed in more than one direction without u-turning.
To determine the single main road leaving the intersection, apply the Main Road Determinants (MRDs) in the order listed below. (RRR 3)
For an MRD to apply, it must identify a single road leaving the intersection other than the one upon which the intersection was approached. If attempting to apply an MRD results in no choice or more than one choice, go on to the next MRD.
3.4 STRAIGHT AS POSSIBLE
The main road is the rally route you follow when you don’t have an applicable route instruction. (For example, when you haven’t yet reached the OM of the next NRI.)
In fact, there's more to it. You can execute a route instruction containing a course directing action (aka deviation) only when it takes you off the main road (usually). There are exceptions to every rule, but this is how it usually works.*
Once you know where the main road goes, you’ll know when and where to use the route instructions and how to follow the rally route.
*Exceptions: Execute a deviation that follows the main road when the deviation is labeled MBCU. (RRR 6.14) Execute a deviation that follows the main road when the instruction is accompanied by official mileage. (RRR 4.6)