In my last post I showed you the nuts and bolts of an Iron Butt rally ride. I posted pictures of the check-in, breakfast, and pre-ride meeting as well as all 12 picture stops. After reflecting on that post, I realized I didn’t reveal the mental processes of preparing for and doing the ride.
The excitement of the ride begins a couple of days after New Year’s when the Daytona Party is announced and the website for registering for the dinner and ride is opened. “Premier” members of the Iron Butt Association have first crack at registering for the party. There are about 300 openings and they sell out every year. Not all of the 300 attendees go on the ride, but all attend the banquet.
I registered and paid for the dinner and ride as soon as I received the notice. A couple of days later I was given a link to register for a room. The hotel reserves all their rooms and some across the street at another hotel. They give the IBA first class service.
The next step is to wait about 6 weeks until the ride details are sent to the participants. I use my GPS mapping software to plot the route and determine the distances between each stop. Next I determine the places where I’ll stop for gas. My bike holds enough fuel to allow me to go 200 miles between gas stops. Normally I’d make 5 gas stops in 1000 miles, but this rally was longer – 1090 miles, so I had to add a 6th gas stop.
Once I have the photo and gas stops plotted, I add the route to my GPS and enter the points and distances in an Excel spreadsheet. In the spreadsheet I enter the anticipated speed for each leg and the anticipated stop time. I allow 10 minutes for a picture stop and 5 minutes for a gas stop. One of the stops I designate as a meal stop and allow 20 minutes for that stop. The final calculations indicate the departure time for each stop. I print out the anticipated departure times and put the list in my tank bag.
I was planning to ride this rally solo, so I had another issue to deal with. Without a partner to help, I needed to prop up the flag while I took the picture. Beth had a great idea; she suggested using a wire music stand. I ordered one and it worked great. The stand fit easily in my saddlebag, I could set it up quickly, and it was easy to hang the flag on the wires.
The day of the rally I start my GPS and let it lead me. In addition to watching traffic, I think about my comfort. I don’t want to be too cold or too hot. Also, I keep myself hydrated. I have a Camelback water bag in my tank bag and can take a drink without stopping. I snack on peanuts or protein bars at each stop.
Aside from the fun of riding and taking pictures at the stops, I watch my progress time to see if I’m on schedule. I was elated to see at the 5th stop (740 miles, 13 hours) that I was a half-hour ahead of schedule. The evening didn’t go so well. By the end of the trip I arrived 1-1/2 hours after my anticipated arrival time. I lost a lot of time in Tampa traffic and in setting up my flag in the dark. The flash on my phone wasn’t working properly, so dealing with that issue took some time.
At the end of the ride I was tired and eager to go to sleep. There wasn’t much time to relish the completion of the ride, but I was content that I had finished in a reasonable time and pleased with the planning I did.
Stay tuned: Tomorrow I leave for an extended riding odyssey. I’ll be meeting my Road Glide friends and heading to West Texas, Eureka Springs, AR, Laughlin, NV, and possible other points unknown at this time.