In this Dukes of Hazzard meets Cannonball Run adventure, Appfire's Randall Ward and Mick Flanigan provide a front-row seat to their adrenaline-fueled sprint to Atlassian Summit 2011. Stay tuned here at HotOnCollaboration.com and on Twitter with the hashtag #SprintToSummit for all Appfire's exciting updates from the road. See you at Summit!
We left Winnemucca just after dusk. Remaining between us, and Reno, was a 145-mile stretch of straight, flat, open road … our favorite!
It was around 9pm by the time the car was re-fueled and at this point we had been traveling for about 15 hours straight. Not all of that was driving time, but having started with only 3 hours of sleep the night before, Mick and I were pretty spent and absolutely famished. It took just about everything we had left to convince ourselves not to stay the night in Winnemucca.
We set a new goal: Push one last Story and make Reno our stop for the night.
This was our first stretch of road driving through the pitch-black during our #SprintToSummit. Outside of Alaska, this particular road is known as one of the most remote and deescalate locations in the entire country. There are no street poles to light the way. There’s no traffic in front of you to help by acting as directional beacons. (During the entire stretch, I can remember only two on-coming vehicles.) Complicating matters, it's common in this part of the country for random herds of deer and antelope to blindly dart right across the road. We both had to be on high-alert! Instead of keeping my eyes on my laptop, the navigation or the other instrumentation, I focused intently on the road ahead with Mick. Luckily, only a few stray rabbits and a single (very unlucky) bat wandered across our path.
We arrived in Reno around 11pm on our first day. Tired and hungry, we parked, found some quick food and then slept.
Story 7 - A Long Pass
Our last stop before California: Donner Pass. We woke to a pretty gloomy day. It was raining hard and the temperatures were unseasonablly cold (hovering around 45 degrees). Donner Pass sits just above 7,000 feet in elevation, so we were nervous that the rain at the base in Reno would turn to snow (or worse) at the top of the Pass. Instead of pushing to get on the road early in the am, we elected to stay and have breakfast at an un-sponsored location (see previous post). Donnor Pass certainly has a dark past already and neither of us wanted to be part of updating the history books.
Extra time would allow the temperatures to climb and would hopefully fend off any weather at the top. So, we took the opportunity to review and uploaded our pictures and to process some of the amazing video captured from our window-mounted GoPro camera. Watching some of the incredible high-speed lane changes and cornering in those videos was just what we needed. Just like that we were re-energized!
Filled with tons of caffeine, we decided it was time to get on the road and tackle the last real challenging portion of the trip. Harnesses back on, gear and gadgets all powered-up, we were on the road again!
Our sights were now set on our pit crew: the fine folks over at JHMotorsports in Lathrop, CA. They’re the amazing pit crew team that kept us safe throughout our journey and who helped Mick get his car tuned up and prepared for the onslaught that we’re now putting it through.
Though it was extremely wet, Donner Pass thankfully was not the snow-bleached frozen pavement that we had feared. Our plan to wait it out was definitely the right strategy. At this point we could feel ourselves getting closer to out Sprint’s finish line. Our focus was back and our energy levels were high.
At that moment we just knew that our Sprint was going to end with a success!
Building on the confidence that came from our handling of prior impediments, we started to push harder than we had in the previous 6 Stories. We arrived at JHMotorsports around 2:30pm. Dan, our tech lead, already had the garage bay open and was ready for our arrival.
What an awesome extension to our team!
Story 8 - Destination Summit
Story-8, originally called for us jumping on the Caltrain and taking it all the way into San Francisco.
However, after seeing all the bags of electronics gear, clothing and prizes (details to follow) that we had picked up along route, Dan offered to drive us directly to our hotel. What a guy!
We officially arrived in San Francisco around 4:30pm on day two. Looking at the trip computer, we had been driving just over 14 hours.
Mick and I decided to spend some time at the hotel reviewing our trip results, the data, and the pictures and videos we captured along the way. What truly amazing adventure filled with majestic views, rich in history. What a build up for Atlassian's Summit 2011!
A special thanks is due to the team back at Appfire who were constantly supporting and encouraging us throughout the trip. Also, another big thanks to JHM for their pit crew support, coming in on a Saturday, and the direct ride into the city! Thanks to the A3 groupies (Appfire, Atlassian and Audi) who we met along the way and to all our followers on Twitter for their RTs and DM messages. Your encouragement and support kept us sprinting forward! We would also like to thank the countless truckers who ate our dust, who only saw a blue flash of light passing by.
Atlassian Summit 2011 officially kicks off in a few short hours. Mick and I will take the opportunity (and some much needed downtime) to reflect on our trip and run a retrospective on our Sprint. We will post the results in the coming days.
Over and out!
Inside the Car
During our entire #SprintToSummit, Mick and I regularly recorded our own emotional "moods". The goal was to evaluate how our collective mood or "emotional tone" had been affecting our Velocity throughout the Sprint. Let's not forget, the Audi wasn’t the only complex machine that needed to stay in tune for our Sprint to succeed. We obviously needed to make sure that we stayed in tune and motivated as well! We did this using Appfire's new Niko-Niko Plugin for JIRA.
With Story-1, our mood started off "happy". Our energy was high and the car was operating at peak performance. During Story-2, we experienced mechanical issues and had to stop to have our rear tires re-balanced and spacers removed. At that point, both of our moods changed from "happy" to “worried”.
With Story-3, Mick returned immediately to "happy" having resolved the issue quickly, but my mood remained "worried". I questioned whether the mechanical issues were fully resolved. It was difficult for me (not being in the driver’s seat at the time) to evaluate the vehicle’s operating condition.
By Sprint-4, my mood normalized and returned to a "happy" state. The two of us then remained "happy" until the end of Story-5, where we started to doubt our planning. Here we logged our moods as "sad". Once we completed Story-6, arriving in Reno, we again returned to "happy". Our moods then stayed relatively consistent for the remainder of the trip (minus a little rain-induced malaise to kickoff Story-7).
When you look at this data, you can clearly see a correlation between our emotional tone, our behavior and our output. Usually it was when we felt "sad" or "worried" that we were not operating at peak performance.
We had the performance data captured, we had mechanical data captured, and we had our emotions logged. Effectively, we had a 360-degree view of the vehicle and on our human performance at all times while driving. This rich set of data allowed us to monitor our trip and helped us to adjust our Sprint plan as needed.