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Long Distance Riding Iron Butt or Endurance rides.

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Old October 30th, 2015   #1
arjay3rd
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Default First SS1000 report, A Great Day of Riding...

I have had that odd fascination with endurance riding for some time. More than a few hours have been spent on the IBA forum and following the Iron Butt Rally every other year. This summer I decided to quit thinking about it and give it a try.
OK, my mind is made up and my wife has given consent to the challenge. Now it is about planning the route and deciding on when. The experienced riders on the forum and the IBA suggest you do either a one way 1,000 mile route or a simple out and back for your first attempt. These are easier to plan and can be done on straight interstate which makes the challenge easier. I decided to do an out and back for my first challenge. Since I live in St. Peters, MO, which is just west of St. Louis and am very close to I-70, the route was going to be simple. Head west on I-70 all the way across Missouri and about two thirds of the way across Kansas, turn around and head east on the same interstate until I get home. Simple route, easy to find fuel, fast for making time and mind numbing BORING!
OK, time to think of other options. If not an out and back, how about a large four corner route? It is more challenging this way due to the need to verify each corner. That’s OK; I can figure that part out. I started looking at various options for a four corner and settled on one that would allow for a couple of family visits. The plan changed to west on I-70 from home for about 20 miles, then north on Highway 61 up to Iowa City. Next it would be west on I-80 across Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska. From Omaha it was south on I-29 to Kansas City, Missouri and then 60 miles east on I-70 to Highway 13. I was taking Hwy 13 south through Warrensburg, Missouri and all the way to Springfield, Missouri. Then I would jump on I-44 and head east back to St. Louis and home.
Now that I had the route, I spent time planning it out on Google maps with stops for gas indicated and locations to reach by the hour to track my progress. My goal was to complete the ride in 20 hours, which is not unreasonable. With the route done, it was time for a little logistical planning. The ST1300 can go 300+ miles on a tank of fuel. But there was no reason to push it with the time that I had. I decided to stop every 125 miles to get off the bike with fuel being added every other stop. This really eats up your time but it kept me very fresh for the long day.
A weekend in September was chosen and the bike was prepped. I put new tires on front and back and had an oil change done. Everything else was up to date so no added service needed. My bike was loaded with a few more items than normal. In addition to the Camelback for water I had some Cliff bars, energy chews, flashlights, wet weather gloves, a more extensive tool bag as well as my flat repair kit. I can say that for some reason I was very nervous the week leading up to the ride. I assume it was a bit from the unknown mixed with the fear that I may fail on the attempt. The thought was in the back of my head that I would be so sore or uncomfortable that I would need to stop before reaching the end. The nerves were there and I thought many times of cancelling the attempt, for whatever reason.
I went to bed a bit early on Friday, September 18 with the plan to rise early and be riding at 4:00am. The weather forecast looked terrific with clear skies, temperatures in the low 70’s for the high and no rain was forecast for any location on my route. Everything started as planned and I was geared up and out the door just about 4:00am. The temperature was only in the 50’s at that time so the heated gear came in handy. I stopped at the Mobil by my house to top off my tank and get my receipt that starts the clock. 4:04 a.m. and the clock has started. Since the gas station that started my ride was very close to my house, my wife was available to sign my start form. That eliminated the challenge of looking for a witness to my ride. My goal was to be back by midnight, would I make it? Now it is time to start ticking off the miles and the hours.
I stopped at a QuikTrip for gas and a receipt when I headed north on Hwy 61 to show that corner of my route. Now it was time to get on the road, set the cruise and eat up some miles. As I headed up Hwy 61 I was still having the “what the heck am I doing” thoughts. Should I just turn around, head home and put an end to this foolishness? No, can’t wimp out now. Too many people know what I am doing and I don’t want to chicken out.
Now it is just about the riding, stopping to stretch, riding, getting fuel and riding some more. I am one of those riders who has no problem riding interstate and chewing up miles. There is still plenty to see that occupies my mind. This first part of the journey was spent waiting for the sun to rise. That has always been one of my favorite parts of a road trip. The night was clear and I was constantly looking over to my right waiting to see the sky begin to lighten. When the sun finally appeared, what a beautiful morning! The scenery slowly changes from black and white to beautiful color. Everything was going well and I was feeling good. My first stop was in Canton, Missouri at 6:30am after 131 miles just to stretch. I ate a Cliff Bar for breakfast at an early gas stop and kept hydrated from the Camelback that I wore.
Next corner, Iowa City. I stopped for fuel there to mark my corner and headed west on I-80. It is 8:20am and I have ridden 243 miles. My body feels fine, nothing is sore or uncomfortable and I am feeling much better about the adventure. The University of Iowa has a home game this day. As I head west on I-80 I see caravans of Hawkeye fans heading east to take over the city. Big time college football may be the second best way to spend this beautiful September Saturday. I have made the trip a number of times from Iowa City to Des Moines but not all the way west to Omaha. This is a beautiful interstate. Iowa is all rolling hills and the western half is dominated with majestic wind farms. Everything is on schedule and I feel good. I stop in Stuart, Iowa at 10:50am to get off the bike and stretch. I am on schedule to reach Omaha, Nebraska about 1:00pm. That is my planned lunch stop as I have a sister visiting her son that day in Omaha. A double family visit in one for me. I call my sister from this stop in Stuart to let her know my schedule and then it is back to chewing up miles across Iowa.
At 12:45pm I reach the Omaha area and I find my nephews house with little drama. My wonderful sister has a nice meatloaf sandwich waiting for me. I visit with them for about 45 minutes and let my nephews two young daughters sit on my motorcycle before I leave. The temperature is now in the low 70’s so that heated liner goes in the side case. I was back on the road and heading for my next gas stop when I realized that I took no pictures with the family. Oh well, next trip.
I-29 south to Kansas City goes by quickly. I do stop in Independence, Missouri for some fuel and a stretch. It is 4:40 in the afternoon, I feel great and I have ridden 680 miles. I reach Kansas City and make a quick stop for fuel to mark another corner and I am heading east on I-70 towards home, but only briefly. My St1300 is like a horse that can smell the barn. It just wants to fly east on I-70 back to home near St. Louis. But, that will leave me well short of the miles needed. About 60 miles east of Kansas City is Hwy 13. This will be my road south to Springfield. 30 miles south of I-70 on Hwy 13 is Warrensburg where I meet my 25 year old son and his girlfriend for a quick dinner. Another family visit taken care of and I am on my way. This is the part of the ride that we all dread a bit. I am heading all the way to Springfield on a state highway as dusk approaches and then the sun sets. It is time to watch for any sign of shining eyes on the side of the road. Like all riders, I worry most about a deer strike at this time of the day. I really think this is what kept me alert down Hwy 13 to Springfield and for most of the ride east on I-44. This was also my first logistical error, but nothing major. As I was leaving Warrensburg it was beginning to get cooler. I did not want to put on my liner yet, figured I could make it to Springfield. Bad decision! As the sun set it got cool quickly. So it is time to find an exit, take off my jacket and gloves, put on the liner, suit up again and get back to the highway. Total time lost was only about 10 minutes and I had plenty to spare. But, if my time would have been close this is the type of rookie mistake that can end the quest.
I hit Springfield at 8:24pm and 856 miles down. The bike is fueled up to mark another corner and I am headed home on I-44. I have been on the bike for a better part of 16 hours and I was still feeling very good. My body was not sore and I was not feeling fatigued at all. There had to be a bit of adrenaline going based on the excitement of my first long distance try. My body felt so good that when I reached Sullivan, MO and 950 miles I started to rethink my Saddle Sore 1000 attempt and contemplated stretching it to a Bun Burner 1500. My thought was to continue my route to my home, sleep for a couple of hours and then head east on I-70 towards Indianapolis. When I get past 250 miles I could head back and hit the 1500 mile mark. How hard can that be, I have ridden this far. But, I put those thoughts aside and decided to just go with the original plan and leave that one for next time.
I hit Fenton, Missouri at 11:40pm for fuel and to mark another corner. By the odometer I am at 1,053 miles by now. Wow, I did it. Although I don’t feel like the ride is complete until I finish the planned route I still have the satisfaction of knowing the balance is gravy. Now I head up I-270 to I-70 where it was west to St. Peters where it all started. At 12:20am I got my final fuel receipt at the same Mobil where it all began just 20 hours earlier. The final tally was an odometer reading of 1,083 miles and 1,067 miles according to Google Maps. Rode a mile to my house, parked the bike and it was time for nice night’s sleep.
Many people have asked me why I did it. “Why did you spend a full day doing nothing but burning gas and using up your tires?” Well, I figure our weekend club lunch rides are often 200 to 300 mile days with a meal in the middle. I just got three rides done in one day. I rode for breakfast at a gas station, lunch with family in Omaha, dinner with my son in Warrensburg and then home via Springfield.
I fully understand that this is not for everyone. But I can say after getting this done, I am excited for my next one. This was truly one of the most fun days I have ever had on a motorcycle. The planning was enjoyable, the tracking stops and estimating the time to reach each location was a challenge and pushing to do something that not everyone can or wants to adds to it.
So what will I try next year? A longer ride? An extreme ride? Maybe a 24 hour rally. So many choices!
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Old October 30th, 2015   #2
PaulRB
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Default Re: First SS1000 report, A Great Day of Riding...

Well done.

Next?
Get a MO map.
Throw darts at it from a great distance.
Plot a route to connect the darts in 24 hours.
Plan the ride, Ride the plan.
Enter up in the next 24 hour excursion.

The real addiction starts then.


Paul
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Old October 30th, 2015   #3
arjay3rd
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Default Re: First SS1000 report, A Great Day of Riding...

Paul, that sounds like a great idea for another 24 hour ride.
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Old October 30th, 2015   #4
PaulRB
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Default Re: First SS1000 report, A Great Day of Riding...

Something to keep in mind when you are rally routing is you are on the clock. Your sleep clock.

Most 24 hour rallies start at 7:00am Saturday.
Friday night 8:00ish will be the riders meeting.
It will generally last a half hour ending with the handing out of the bonus locations. Your sleep clock just started.
You need to plot your route to deliver maximum points within the guidelines of the specific rally, minimum mileage, , minimum bonus visits required, some will use a efficiency system where you may not have the highest bonus point value but you collected in a more efficient manner - points per mile so to speak.
Any, most, all can be used. The rally master does not make it easy.
The longer it take you to plot route the less sleep you are getting, something that will come back to haunt you at 3:00am the next night.
Chances are real good you will be required to be at your bike bright and early Saturday morning, 6:00am generally.

Generally you will see only brief periods of Interstate travel, some none at all. Lots of stuff cuts into your rolling average time, weather, it get seriously dark on the back roads at night, animals and after you see the first one even in the distance you can count on your moving average speed to drop and that drop can steadily drop after the second sighting.

Practice routing on the clock for your next 24 hour ride.
Get off the freeway.
Night time speeds will drop, plan appropriately.
We run in rain you know.

See if you can plot a 8-10 stop for photo plus 4 fuel stops and a 1000 corrected mileage minimum.
You will be rally ready.

I'm assuming no fuel cell in use.


Paul

Last edited by PaulRB; October 30th, 2015 at 02:21 PM.
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