2010 IB 5000 Ride Report #2
Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:54 AM
Riders gathered for a 5 AM meeting, where the next list of bonuses was handed out and we learned 9,200 points would keep us on pace to be finishers. They announced the top ten riders, a list that included my roommate Cameron tied for 4th place. By the look on his face I knew he was ecstatic.
This time route planning would be done “on the clock”, so efficient planning would be key. I was well rested and eager to get moving. I perused the rally book and found the four largest bonuses: Phoenix, for a Steve Kafka IB5K pin striping was worth 4912 points, Minneapolis for a coffee mug for 4111 points, the Live Oak Nudist resort in Texas for 2323 points, and a spot in Pennsylvania for 1333 points.
I looked at clusters, and there was a nice one around Atlanta, with close to 1500 points in and around the city to be picked up on the way to Spartanburg. The non-driving bonuses amounted to enough as well. A fuel bonus, rest bonus and two call-in bonuses amounted to 1751 points. Complicating factors included the time zone changes and the loss of two daylight riding hours, and southern heat.
I plotted a route from Denver to Minneapolis down to Atlanta then over to Spartanburg. Many small bonuses lined up so perfectly on the route that I felt I had a route I could live with. I honestly didn’t consider a route from Bob’s Java Hut in Minneapolis to the Live Oaks because I felt there were so many small bonuses lined up on my route that I could make up the difference by riding fewer miles and saving time. I wanted to get the first two days plotted then play it by ear on the final portion of the rally. I entered my coding system to the bonuses along the route then announced to Cam that I was heading out. We shook hands wishing each other a good ride and told each other we’d meet in Spartanburg at the finish. He would leave about an hour after me.
I loaded the bike and headed to Nebraska by 8 AM, back on I-25 north up to I-80 east, then north on Hwy 71 to Scottsbluff and just beyond to the Lake Minatare Lighthouse. The lake looked inviting as it was another blisteringly hot sunny day. From there Alliance, NE was not far off. Carhenge would be the stop at an auto art field; many of us were there taking photos.
The next stop was at the Bryan Bridge historical marker about 145 miles away. I was already 315 miles into the fuel tank, meaning before the next bonus I would be stopping for gas. With my Shell prepaid gift cards, I was planning on stopping at the first Shell station after 400 miles showed on the trip odometer. Shell stations are plentiful all over the U.S. so I wasn’t particularly worried - in a pinch I could use another brand. But on this lonely stretch of Nebraska highway there were no Shell stations, in fact fuel was scarce period.
I had the GPS doing a continuous fuel search and found a Shell station, ninety miles away in Valentine, NE. I was down to two bars on the fuel gauge and wasn’t sure I would make it. In desperation, I cut my speed and ducked in behind a slow moving car to stay in his draft. When I was down to one bar, I opened up the fuel cell valve again and sucked out every last drop of fuel. It went up a notch. Still seventy miles to go but I liked my chances.
The GPS showed gas ten miles off my route, a twenty mile round trip I couldn’t afford to take from a time perspective. I knew it was a gamble to bypass a sure thing, but I also knew I could get at least 40 miles on reserve. The goal was to avoid the countdown timer until I was close to Valentine.
I monitored the wind, out of the west giving me a nice tailwind. Every little bit helped. I was flashing reserve with 49 miles to Valentine. I was confident, but cautious. A steady speed was maintained behind the car. Thirty two miles from Valentine I passed a Sinclair station. I knew none of them had decent receipts so I kept moving. Would I regret that decision?
Well I’m happy to report I did not, riding 460 miles from Denver to the Shell in Valentine. The bike took more fuel than I had ever pumped into it. The receipt was good, although I noticed I had lost an hour already. Just a few miles down the road at the Bryan Bridge historical marker I met Brant Moteelall on his FJR. He told me his bike’s thermometer was reading 108 degrees. We snapped our photos and took off.
People sometimes wonder what runs through a rider’s mind on a long day between stops. Anything and everything. Along the way I postulated that seat comfort is inversely proportional to temperature. Working out the mathematical formula would be an interesting exercise. This was something the motorcycling world needed. I resolved to settle it before the rally was over.
The Clopton historical marker was less than an hour away than the Bryan bridge marker. I took that photo, recorded the details then headed off down Hwy 12 to Niobrara. This was another of Eddie’s favorite places because of the great respect he had for Danny Liska and his first wife – who still lives in Niobrara - both early adventurers back when BMW made dependable motorcycles.
Another rider arrived at the Two Rivers Saloon at the same time I did, Wayne Boyter, the only fellow, American or otherwise, I’ve met who knew how to pronounce my name in French. We talked briefly then I watched him head off. I checked the distance and arrival time to the next stop on my list at a Wal-mart straight north in South Dakota. There was no hope of arriving before 10 pm, so I opted for a stop in Newcastle, NE, the historic marker describing an alleged volcano.
There, Wayne and I were joined by the team of Winterer and Senty. Although our paths had crisscrossed since leaving Denver, my only thought at the time was “how can these guys ride together?” They were like a Vaudeville act. They never shut up. They talked, argued, and jawed incessantly in a comical routine from the time the bikes stopped, through the photo taking up until they got moving again. I didn’t realize at the time they were putting together one of the better 2nd legs and this was just their way of getting through the long days.
From Newcastle, I backtracked a few miles then headed north into South Dakota. I intentionally rode by a 46-point stop in Volin and unintentionally rode by a 51-point bonus in Luverne, MN that I would have stopped for had I been paying better attention. My goal was to try to make it to Zanz before closing or, at the very least, position myself close to Minneapolis for the early morning bonuses at Bob’s Java Hut and Martini Acres at the edge of Willow River State Park.
I was going to be late for Zanz but I wasn’t worried about it because I knew I could pick it up the next day, so I continued along I-90 East, then north on I-35. I stopped about an hour out of Minneapolis in a town called Owatonna, MN. I found a room at the AmericInn across from a 24-hour Holiday gas station. It was midnight local time, and I thought that now would be the perfect time to take a thousand point rest bonus.
I put fuel in one tank of the bike, and pulled out a receipt that revealed a store number only, no address, city or state. Repairable as a gas receipt but two of those as a rest receipt would be unacceptable. So I backed off the rest receipt, grabbed four hours of sleep and focused on getting organized for Thursday morning’s bonuses. I could still grab a rest bonus anytime before midnight on Thursday.
Thursday – Day 4
Traffic was light but steady as I made my way into Minneapolis at 5 AM. The sun rose as I approached Bob’s Java Hut, a prominent location in many of Eddie’s rallies. It was within easy reach of the freeway. Four bikes were already parked out front minutes after 6 AM, the opening time for the bonus. I was greeted by some very enthusiastic people, sitting out on a bench at the front of the shop, who took photos and welcomed me to Bob’s. They just seemed so damn happy and upbeat that I was caught off guard. How could these people be so energized at this hour? Was it the city, the water or something in Bob’s java?
I entered the coffee shop and purchased the coffee mug and obtained a receipt as the bonus required. I held the cup up and looked at it thinking that my entire 2011 Iron Butt Rally entry hinged on me getting this cup back to the finish in one piece, not as simple as it sounded. I carefully wrapped the cup and stuffed the inside as well, then put it in luggage that would be protected in the event the bike fell over. Stories of riders in past rallies who had dropped the cup on the way to scoring ran through my mind. Having already been in one accident the week before I wasn’t assuming the cup was automatically safe. Funny, but in route planning none of these thoughts had crossed my mind.
I hated to leave. These people were so positive and upbeat that even ten minutes with them put a smile on my face for the day. I rode down the street and within minutes I was on the interstate that would take me to the Martini Acres bonus. That bonus was tucked into a residential area in Hudson, WI, less than an hour from Bob’s. The coordinates led me to a treed in driveway where I stopped to see if they really wanted me to keep moving onto the private property. The driveway led to two houses. I drove passed the Martini Acres sign at the first house, then looked around at the second, saw nothing so I turned back. I stopped in front of the first house again and noticed the sign this time, difficult to find hanging from a tree. I approached and got the required photo, filled out the paperwork, then watched another rider go through the same exercise I just went through. It was a good size bonus at over 300 points and in the first two hours of the morning I’d picked up nearly half the required points for leg 2. This was going to be a productive day!
From Martini Acres it was off to Zanz food outlet, another standard bonus location in Eddie’s rallies, requiring a computer generated receipt and a purchase. It opened at 10:30 AM, about an hour later than my ETA, but I would make the stop more rewarding by doing a call-in bonus while waiting for them to open. On the way there I stopped at a Shell station to fill both tanks, a stop that would have little bearing on my arrival time. I was still going to get there too early.
I pulled up to the restaurant and was pleasantly surprised to find some covered parking slips. Out front were some shaded concrete tables that I could do a little work at; I brought my paperwork up to date and looked at the routing for the day on my computer. It was here that I realized I could just make a daylight only stop in St. Louis at the Bridge of Rocks. That would be today’s goal.
After the call in bonus, I kept busy re-packing the bike. At 10:30 I entered the restaurant and told the server what I needed in the way of a timed receipt. She called her manager who got his instruction book out and proceeded to reset the time on the cash registers.
“The guys last night were pretty happy,’ he told me ‘we just never reset them for daylight savings time.” With the clocks reset, I got a 10:34 AM receipt. After getting my food, the manager approached me and asked what kind of rally was going on, and why his place seemed to be a stop every year. “I really like it when the riders come in,” he told me.
With that I headed south to a bonus that I was very interested in. ‘The Day the Music Died’ bonus involved a photo of the memorial at the site of the plane crash in a cornfield near Clear Lake, IA, that took the life of three of rock and roll’s earliest stars, in February of 1959. As I approached, a pair of black rimmed glasses by the road hinted as to what was along the trail. I hopped off the bike and started walking for several minutes along a well worn trail, passing Art Garvin who was heading the other way. Other people paid their respects at the site as well. I took a couple of photos to make sure I had every part of the memorial displayed.
Then a walk back between the rows of corn in the heat, a quick drink, and off to Des Moines, IA, for two bonuses. Along the way I continued working on my theory, imagining what the formula would look like and what the constants and variables would be. Because seat comfort is inversely proportional to temperature, as temperature increases seat comfort decreases. The formula for seat comfort would have to look something like this:
Comfort = k(material constant) x Distance x lean Angle of rider x Layers of clothes
Temperature x (.6 x Weight)
At this stage I thought I would let Tom Austin work out the details.
By 2:15 PM local time I joined Connie Gabrick at the cemetery stone of Eddie’s father, Edmund James. Her next stop was at the Bridge of Rocks in St. Louis, and she asked me if I’d like to tag along for the ride. Because she was a few steps ahead of me I told her to get started and I’ll catch up to her. I still had to do paperwork and grab the second bonus in Des Moines, a photo of Big Daddy’s BBQ joint about six miles away. I joined a couple on a Gold Wing at Big Daddy’s for the required photo of the now closed BBQ place. I got the feeling Eddie knew a lot of food places around the U.S., some of questionable quality.
Back on the road, I was intent on catching up to Connie and her Bat mobile-like Victory Vision. With a gas stop in Ottumwa, IA, I was so far behind her there was no chance of catching up. I followed the divided highway as I cut diagonally across the map for St. Louis. I passed Hannibal, MO, made famous by Samuel Langhorn Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. I was now in familiar territory, roads I had ridden in this year’s Not Superman Rally. At this stage, I was paying particular attention to the sun over my right shoulder, and the ETA which was going to be right at sunset, assuming I didn’t get stuck in traffic. I rode as efficiently as I could, making sure I took no wrong turns and that I stayed in lanes where traffic kept moving. I was going to cut it real close. With the sun in my mirrors, I knew it’s just a matter of time before the GPS’s rolled over to night mode.
I was watching time of day, distance to the bonus, and ETA. In my mirrors the sun was still just above the horizon, the GPS’s were still on regular daylight settings, and I was ten minutes from the site. Traffic kept moving nicely as I got onto I-270 and kept moving briskly east. Seven miles. Five miles. At two miles the GPS’s changed over so I knew the sunset time had been recorded and I had about a half hour to collect the bonus. I exited the freeway and pulled up to the bridge, joining Connie and Bob Wilensky.
“I don’t think you’ll make it,’ Bob says, ‘you’re a bit late.”
“I’ve got a half hour. How far is it?”
“It’s a long walk, better get going.”
I grabbed my camera and flag and walked briskly to the bridge. The bridge was long, very long. The bonus requirement was to take a photo of the historic marker in the middle of the bridge. I was taking photos of everything that looked historical as I passed the middle of the bridge. There were signs in the “middle” of the bridge about 3/4s of the way across to the Illinois side. Once satisfied I had all the photos I started to walk back to the Missouri side. Car lights approached from behind as I walked west on the bridge. It was a police car.
“Are you parked at the far end?” the officer asked me.
“Yes,” I answered.
“You better get moving, we’re about ready to lock it up.”
I started jogging in the heat, with full gear, minus my helmet. I couldn’t run all the way, so I jogged and walked, jogged and walked towards the headlights sitting there waiting for me. Finally I got to the far end, noticed a sign that says they lock the gate a half hour after sunset, and joined Connie and Bob still chatting by my bike.
“Did ya get it?”
“Got it!” I was extremely pleased. The timing could not have been more perfect. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next, although I knew I needed a cold drink.
We all took off. I headed west thinking I would go to Rolla for a 200 point bonus there, but I really wasn’t sure that was the direction I wanted to head in. So I pulled over in Westport, MO a suburb of St. Louis and found my way to a 24-hour Shell station not far from a Hampton Inn. The rest start was about to begin, just before 9 PM. It was time to check in, have a shower, and go over the game plan for the final 36 hours.
They let me park right in front of the hotel, so I left pretty much everything on the bike and covered it over. Inside I got some laundry done, grabbed a few cold drinks, got on the computer to route, check e-mail and read the daily reports. I read that some riders were out after hitting animals at night. By midnight I was in bed with a 4 AM wakeup call.
Friday – Day 5
Before 5 AM on Friday I was back on the road, this time heading for Metropolis, IL, to get a photo of Superman. I had rearranged the route to include an area I was already familiar with. I wasn’t taking any chances; I was determined to get to the finish on time. With the photo of Superman in the camera, I headed over to another small bonus, less than an hour from Superman south of Calvert City, KY: mile marker 1 on Scale Rd. just off my route to Nashville, TN.
After the mile marker photo I got back on the Interstate and headed to Jack's BBQ in Nashville. Jack's opened at 10:30 AM, and I joined a slew of riders who had been waiting patiently for the place to open. I can’t tell you how good that award-winning BBQ smelled. But all I could have was a cold drink and a load of ice. With a receipt tucked away, it was off to the Jack Daniels visitor’s center in Lynchburg, TN.
At the Jack Daniels distillery we were expected to have someone take a photo of ourselves standing beside the life size photo of Jasper Newton Jack Daniels. This was a busy place so finding a young lady to take my photo was no problem. By noon hour CT I had the photo on the card and I was on my way to Atlanta. Along I-75 I hit some interesting geography going through Chattanooga and Dalton. There were some good steep climbs and extended descents. I stopped at a Shell in Dalton before the skies opened up as I neared Atlanta. I rode through the rain, expecting it to end in a short time and sure enough, within ten minutes it was over, and I was back in the heat.
I found my way to Eddie’s grave joining Bob and Connie in the Crestlawn Cemetery at 4:46 ET. Next to the Bob’s Java Hut and the rest bonus, this was the biggest point bonus of my second leg at 650 points. It was a stop that pretty well everybody needed to make, even those who went to Phoenix and Live Oaks, and with good reason. This was going to be Eddie’s rally before his untimely demise. It was important all of us tried to get here. After paying my respects and getting the photo of the bench engraved with Danny Liska’s words, we decided to head over to the Varsity restaurant for a small 74-point bonus.
Pulling into the covered auto stalls at the Varsity I saw the similarity with Zanz in Minnesota the day before. Eddie should have been born a few years earlier. He loved those covered drive-in restaurants, like the old A &W restaurants I remembered as a kid. We ordered dinner, a very small but inexpensive cheeseburger then made our way out of town in heavy Atlanta traffic. I was convinced now Eddie had questionable taste in food or an iron stomach. Those were among the worst burgers I had ever tasted.
Getting out of Atlanta at rush hour was going to be fun. Bob was looking for a gas station, and Connie wanted to head counter-clockwise to Rockford, AL, so I dove into traffic on I-285 and somehow made my way south on I-85, aiming for the post office in Gay, GA. This was a pretty standard bonus, pull up and get the photo.
After a fuel stop at a Chevron along the way (I had Chevron gift cards as well) I saw Bob go riding by. I caught up before we got to Kadie the cow in Columbus, GA. Apparently the Best Buy occupies the site of a former Dairy and that explained what the cow was doing there in the parking lot. On our way in and out of town we passed many small towns, all heavily policed either entering or leaving. The Valentine was working overtime.
Less than 100 miles away, Bob and I reached the bonus at the Rosa Parks library in Montgomery, AL. This was a bit of trick bonus because we were asked to locate the historical marker that didn’t actually mention Rosa Parks. This was her block, in front of her library. But on the back side of her historical marker we found the one thing that didn’t mention Rosa. It was a Hank Williams “the Alabama Troubadour” historical marker. I thought “what an insult to Rosa: diminishing Rosa’s marker by piggybacking Hank Williams on her special part of the world.” They could have put his marker across the street, or a block away, or better still in Nashville.
While there Connie pulled up on her Vision. She was miffed.
“You guys, don’t go to Rockford, you’ll never find the bonus. Don’t waste your time. There is no super secret celebrity. I had a local helping me and we couldn’t find anything.”
Connie was really upset after traipsing around in a dark cemetery with a stranger, but I knew from past Butt Lite rallies that the ‘super secret celebrity’ in Rockford, AL was none other than Fred the dog. Before leaving on this leg, I double checked by googling Rockford and sure enough, Fred the dog’s grave showed up.
“It’s Fred the dog,” I volunteered.
“What do you mean ‘Fred the dog?’ I was looking for a dog’s grave?”
Connie was really disappointed like the air just got sucked out of her. She had no idea she was supposed to be looking for “Fred the dog”, although the bonus code clue was FRD.
I looked at the clock. It was now just after 8 PM MT, 10 PM ET. I just remembered there was a call in bonus between 3 and 9 PM ET. “Isn’t there a call in bonus today?” I asked Bob and Connie.
“Ya missed it,” they said in unison.
“You’re kidding me.” I missed the easiest 126 points on the menu. With my conservative route I needed every point I could get.
There was no time to dwell on it. Bob and I needed to get to Rockford to find the super secret celebrity that Connie couldn’t find. Bob followed as I illuminated the road with full HID high and low beams. The lights were outstanding on the two lane country road.
We pulled into Rockford at about 9:30 PM local time. It was dark. We turned left at the only major intersection in town, went in a block then turned right onto a side street. The house on the street looked familiar from my google search so I instinctively stopped, but Bob kept riding up to the next small street which was where the GPS wanted us to stop. He turned and came back.
“GPS says it’s a block up.”
“This house looks familiar; the grave has to be around here.”
We continued our discussion as a local resident stumbled out of his mobile home to check out the commotion. He was in jeans, no shirt, bearded, with scruffy looking hair. It looked like he was having a bad day. I’d seen this type before, in one of those reality cop shows.
He started walking towards us. Before we said anything he opened up to us. “I’ve been good, I swear, I ain’t dun nuthin’ wrong. Look I’m not armed.” He lifted his arms. He made a passionate plea to avoid definite incarceration.
Bob and I looked at each other and thought the same thing: the guy thinks were cops, and we’re here to arrest him. By that time I was off the bike with a flashlight, walking towards him with my helmet flipped up, showing a headset with Bluetooth system that flashed blue. There was nothing there to dispel the notion that we weren’t cops. The booze on his breath dispelled any notion that he’d been good.
“Look we’re not cops, we’re looking for Fred the dog’s grave site.” It almost seemed silly to be talking about a dog’s grave when the guy was on his knees begging us to not arrest him.
He looked over to his right but he wouldn’t actually point in the direction. The fellow wasn’t buying anything I said. “I’ve been good,” he continued on, giving us more reasons we shouldn’t be arresting him.
“We don’t care, we’re not cops, just point to the grave and we’ll leave you alone.”
“You’re not cops?”
“No we’re not.”
“He’s over there in the grave yard.”
Bob and I got back on the bikes and rode up to the next small street corner, hopped off, and with flashlights were able to find Fred the dog’s grave. We laid down the flags took our photos and went back to the bikes.
“We gotta get outa here,’ Bob said, ‘let’s do our paperwork somewhere else.”
We rode down the small street and into the convenience store parking lot at the main intersection.
We had a good laugh, and an even bigger one as another rider went in shortly after. We wondered if he had to deal with the same welcoming committee. After a cold drink, we discussed where we would be heading. After missing my call in bonus I thought that I should try for one more - a daylight only bonus on the top of Mount Mitchell north of the finish.
Bob agreed to ride along with me. We were 320 miles from Spartanburg, 370 from MIT which would leave a 100 mile ride to Spartanburg. GPS’s said arrival at MIT would be about 5:30 AM with the finish in Spartanburg at 10 AM, meaning we had to be back on the road by 8:30 AM heading for the finish.
In Rockford, those numbers didn’t look bad. We set out from the convenience store, heading north passed Talladega, onto I-20 towards Atlanta. In Atlanta, listening to the GPS put me on the wrong highway north. Here’s what it sounded like:
GPS: Keep right on I-75
Keep right on I-75 (I’m in the right lane heading for I-75)
Keep left on I-85 (did she just say I-85 as I head right on I-75?)
Recalculating… (Yes, she did say I-85. Bitch!)
Despite a quick turnaround it took at least an hour to catch up to Bob who didn’t miss his turn. From I-85 we headed up a smaller highway that took us more directly to Asheville. The roads were wet, there were sporadic rain showers, it was extremely dark; roads were becoming more twisty with larger elevation changes the further north we went, and I was finding the ride difficult.
We made it to Asheville and stopped at a stop sign. Bob pulled up and we discussed timing again.
“I’m not sure if there is a gate at the park entrance, or if we can make it to the top of the mountain to wait for daylight. If there is a gate at the bottom, how long will it take us to get to the top?”
I had no answers. But we were putting forth some good arguments to drop the bonus.
“Do we really need the points?”
“So am I, let’s turn back to Spartanburg.”
And with that reasoning, we decided that the risk/reward ratio just wasn’t favorable enough to go after this bonus. It was certain to be a slower trickier ride at night on wet roads with unknown roadblocks. Forget it. It was better to be a finisher than a hero. Why risk it at this stage?
We were the first to arrive at Spartanburg, at 6 AM. Trust me there was no one from the rally around at that time. We went inside the hotel and got them all moving. There were however a few diehards up at that hour, like John Frick who greeted me as I pulled in.
“Welcome back. How was your ride?”
“Fine,’ I said, ‘I should be a finisher!”
“Did you hear about Cameron?”
“No. What happened?” My heart sank a notch. I have a strong suspicion what is coming next.
“Cameron’s O.K.,’ John reassured me, ‘but he hit a cow in Nebraska Thursday morning and he’s in hospital.”
“You’re kidding.” I remembered riding by those big black cows in Nebraska.
As casual as John could make the accident sound, I knew I needed to check for myself. It was too early to call a hospital. First I had to get myself organized, check bonuses, collect receipts, and make sure the gas log was properly filled out, then get scored. Jacques and Jennifer got me settled at a desk in their room so that I could work in peace. I was one of the first ones scored and was extremely pleased that I didn’t lose a point at the table this time. With a score of 9,944 points I was safely over the finishing requirements. My only real mistake was not doing Friday’s call in bonus, a mental lapse. That would have given me a score for leg 2 of over 10,000 points which was a decent score for a conservative route. Next time I will write things down on my windshield so that I don’t forget.
After getting scored and checked into my room I called my riding partner Cameron, who had been airlifted to the trauma center in Sioux City, IA after hitting the cow near O’Neill, NE early Thursday morning. He answered his cell phone.
“Hey Cam, how ya doing?”
“Peter?” That was the first clue. I listened carefully to his voice. I could tell he’d been hit hard. His responses were slow and I could sense he was searching for words. I promised I’d call after the dinner and awards.
It felt strange sitting at the finisher’s banquet with our Canadian contingent, including our honorary Canadian Bob Rippy, knowing our friend, the guy who got me interested in long distance riding, was lying in a hospitable bed, a DNF in a rally the two us wanted to use as a stepping stone to the 11-day IBR. There was a touch of sadness and guilt in my eyes as I received my finisher’s plaque for a 28th place finish; what should have been elation felt hollow, as if the job wasn’t complete.
After dinner in the bar we passed a phone around and several of the riders talked to Cam. I think he enjoyed knowing that we were thinking about him and how much we would have enjoyed having him there with us in Spartanburg.
On the way home the next day I had time to think about the rally in general and my performance in particular. The rally was extremely well organized in all facets with an incredible cast of volunteers and staffers. The GPS coordinates were all precise. The instructions were straightforward. The scoring was fair and precise. The food was good and well timed. Every rally rider should have a chance to participate in this kind of event. There is great respect and camaraderie among contestants.
As for my performance, that needs a little work. I think part of the problem with this rally from a rider’s standpoint is that all “finishers” were in fact winners. By giving all finishers a guaranteed entry into the IBR many of us rode very conservatively, and I’m putting myself out there as poster boy for this group. Several times I caught myself wondering if I had enough points to be a finisher then backed off a more aggressive route, or lopped off a bonus because I really didn’t need it, not because I couldn’t get it. This was a different mindset for me. The incentive to be a finisher was high; the incentive to be a top ten finisher was not so great. I know other riders thought this way as well. Imagine if only the top ten finishers got a guaranteed IBR entry. The competition would definitely have heated up.
Sometimes you stare at a map and think it’s impossible to get from one area to another in a day. I have to learn to think bigger. I can cover more ground than I think is possible. If anything this rally taught me that it is possible to get from Minneapolis to Texas in a day. Vertical drops on the map are easier than horizontal miles. Don’t be afraid to crisscross the map. Mapsource timing is remarkably accurate.
I’ve got to get serious about a hydration system that I can drink from at will. By Friday I finally caught on to the fact that wearing my Camelbak was better than having it attached on the bike, but inaccessible as I rode. Filling it up with ice in the morning gave me cold water until late in the afternoon. It was a real treat having a cold drink as I rode down the highway.
I was happy with my pre-rally preparation. I worked out 5 days a week doing three different exercise routines to get into shape physically; I felt very strong out there. I went over all IBR and Team Strange events to get familiar with the possible bonus locations. My reasoning is that rallymasters are creatures of habit. They have their favorite spots; my job was to get to know all of them. This helped a great deal also (ask Connie).
This was my first real multi-day rally. I know IBR staff encouraged riders to pace themselves, to save something for the second leg. I can now say that a five day rally with one checkpoint is more of a sprint than a marathon. If you save yourself for the finish like I did you under-perform on other days. I say go ahead, burn it up. Five days goes by real fast. Save yourself for day 8 in the IBR. Let her rip on a five-day rally.
Riding home alone through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia I asked myself if it was all worth it. Is it worth putting yourself out there in harms way, and for what exactly: a plaque, a license plate backer, a pat on the back? With my buddy lying in a hospital bed, his wife of two weeks at his side a thousand miles from home, it was very easy to get cynical about the whole thing. But for me rallies are always voyages of discovery - traveling to places I might never get to otherwise, and self-discovery. That in a nutshell is what it’s all about for me.
Heading north through West Virginia I perked up when I unexpectedly saw that I would be riding by a perennial Iron Butt Rally bonus location - the New River Gorge. I rode into the parking area and got off to check out the bridge and viewing deck, snapping a photo of the bridge. Preparation for the 2011 IBR had officially begun.
Daily Summary – leg 2 9,944 pts
Wednesday Aug 18
Lake Minatare Lighthouse, NE 79
Carhenge, NE 118
Bryan Bridge, NE 173
Clopton Marker, NE 112
Two Rivers Saloon, Niobrara, NE 426
Newcastle, NE 133
TOTAL: 1041 pts
Thursday Aug 19
Bob’s Java Hut, MN 4111 pts
Martini Acres, WI 303
Call in Bonus 1 125
Zanz, Mankato, MN 194
Day the Music Died, IA 121
Edmund James gravesite, Des Moines, IA 214
Big Daddy’s, Des Moines, IA 78
Bridge of Rocks, St. Louis, MO 317
TOTAL: 5463 pts
Friday Aug 20:
Rest Bonus 1000 pts
Superman, Metropolis, IL 89
Scale, Mile Marker 45
Jack’s BBQ, Nashville, TN 181
Jack Daniel’s Visitor Center, TN 319
Eddie James, Atlanta, GA 650
Varsity, Atlanta, GA 74
Post Office, Gay, GA 114
Kadie the cow, Columbus, GA 89
Rosa Parks, Montgomery, AL 172
Fred the dog, Rockford, AL 207
Call in Bonus 0
TOTAL: 2,940 pts
Saturday Aug 21:
Fuel Log Bonus 500 pts
TOTAL: 500 pts
2002 BMW R1150RT
1991 BMW K1
1974 BMW R90S (being restored)
"It's not just music, it's the soundtrack to my ride."
Posted 07 September 2010 - 02:38 PM
An absolutely amazing report!! Well done. Congratulations again on your finish and IBR entry. See you and Cameron again soon.
I too had the same thoughts about the risks of riding in the rally after hearing of Cameron's and Derek's accident. I remember thinking... if this can happen to rally veterans and great riders.... what chance do I have? About 6% of the riders hit animals in the 5 days..... scary stats. That said, the memories of the rally and times with friends will be treasured for a lifetime....
My personal blog - VisorViewpoint
Posted 07 September 2010 - 03:26 PM
For those of us who are novice to the IB LDR bonus system, this really puts light on it.
Thanks again, and a speedy recovery to Cameron.
A 'class act' for you to mention it in the report the way you did.
The simultaneous feeling of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that people experience when they encounter something of exceptional value.
Posted 08 September 2010 - 08:53 AM
Thanks again for posting.
I wouldn't change a fucking thing; I've lived hard, played hard, and I ain't done yet. I've paid some severe penalties along the way, but the rewards have been so much greater; even if for just have participating in the game of life with utmost abandon. It's not who rides the furthest in a day, but rather in a lifetime. CBA member #1, IBA #31845 and very proud of both.
Posted 08 September 2010 - 03:58 PM
Great report, and good luck next summer Peter!
Posted 09 September 2010 - 10:02 AM
Posted 13 September 2010 - 10:22 AM
Talking to someone at the Rendezvous Rally in Quebec last weekend I learned a great technique.
Imagine you're in a Rally. You pick up your one big bonus, worth a huge percentage of your points, like a coffee cup in Minneapolis, and realize you need to get it back in ONE piece. I was really worried about the prospect of getting the cup back in one piece.
Jacques Titolo's recommendation: Buy two, two separate receipts, pack them separately. If by chance one breaks, the other should make it.
I would also venture to say this would work with important receipts also. Get two. Pack them separately. If one gets wet, the other is hopefully better protected.
Anyways, thought I would pass that idea along.
2002 BMW R1150RT
1991 BMW K1
1974 BMW R90S (being restored)
"It's not just music, it's the soundtrack to my ride."