A Chronicle of My Adventures on "The Patriot"

Fortitudine Vincimus -- "By Endurance We Conquer"
ride hard, ride far, ride safe

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

So, how much is there to say in advance?  I leave Friday morning, August 2 for a 12-day ride to the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that runs from Monday, August 5 through Sunday, August 11.  But on the way to Sturgis, I will stop off in Salem, South Dakota to visit my niece Renee and her family.  Overall, it should only be about a 4,000 mile trip to tour the Black Hills and Badlands as well as riding out and back.  And yes, my pillion seat is empty.  I will post a trip report after I return, but until then you can check out some of the photos taken during my road trip at 2013 Sturgis Road Trip (iCloud).  You can follow my SPOT tracks to and from Sturgis at the links in the top left margin of this blog.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The 2013 Iron Butt Rally: 11,000 miles in 11 days

Ninety individual riders and six two-up teams began the 2013 Iron Butt Rally on Monday, July 1, at 10 am.  As described on the Iron Butt Association web site, the Iron Butt Rally is the ultimate competitive motorcycle endurance ride. Held in August/September every other year in odd-numbered years, it covers a minimum of approximately 9,000 miles in North America over an eleven-day period. Points are accumulated by arriving at checkpoints within the allotted time and by visiting optional bonus locations between the checkpoints. It is not a race, but rather a test of planning, preparation, strategy and tactics, riding skill, and endurance.

Their amazing 11-day journeys took them well over half a million miles throughout the United States and Canada. I was one of 30 to 40 observers and family members waiting at 4 am Friday morning, July 12, for some two-thirds of these riders to cross the finish line at the Cranberry Township Marriott. Those who arrived after 8 am lost 20 points per minute, up to the arrival deadline of 10 am. After 10 am, riders became a DNF (did not finish). Once a rider crossed the finish line, his or her odometer reading was recorded and their official time was stopped. Then each rider had to sit with a judge to validate the scores for bonuses they collected during their ride. We learned at the banquet that night that there were 67 riders (five with spousal pillions) that successfully completed this event of a lifetime. Even as an observer, I learned a lot about fortitude and perseverance while listening to the stories of the finishers, and not surprisingly, I also learned a lot while listening to the stories of the DNFs. To give one a sense of the magnitude of the accomplishment of finishing the Iron Butt Rally, reflect on the route of the top finisher, Derek Dickson, who accumulated 92,524 points while traveling 11,799 miles in 11 days on a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300:

On my way home Saturday from Cranberry Township, I stopped by Somerset County, Pennsylvania to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial. It was a very somber visit to sit in a light rain and imagine the bravery of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. During a break in the rain, I captured a quick photo of "The Patriot" at the entrance to the memorial:

Overall, it was a good ride from home to Cranberry Township at a leisurely 625 miles round trip. Maybe "The Patriot" will attempt the 2015 Iron Butt Rally!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Rides Begin -- Heading to Pennsylvania

I head out tomorrow morning to Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania to observe the end of the 2013 Iron Butt Rally (http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/2013.cfm) and to join the riders who just finished riding more than 11,000 grueling miles in the last 11 days in their celebrations and banquet.  The Iron Butt Rally consists of checkpoints and bonus locations around the United States that each rider must visit within certain very rigid time frames (http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/default.cfm).  For me, this trip to Pennsylvania is a casual 600-mile round trip, and you can follow my SPOT tracks to and from Cranberry Township at the links in the top left margin of this blog.  Although my ride to Cranberry Township is not remarkable in distance, it will be very remarkable to watch some 90-plus riders finish an event of a lifetime.

2012 in Review: 7,260 Miles Down the Road & Back

Although I did very little blogging last year, the good news is that 2012 was a moderately good year for riding.  In March, I traveled 1,540 miles round trip to the 2012 Daytona Florida Beach Week, and while there I participated in a 1,000-mile Iron Butt Association "scavenger" hunt through the panhandle and mid-region of Florida.  In August, I traveled 3,400 miles round trip to Denver, Colorado to participate in the Iron Butt Association International Meet (http://www.ironbutt.com/national/), and while there I participated in another 1,000-mile Iron Butt Association ride through the northern mountains and southern plains of Colorado.  And then in November, a friend and I rode to beautiful and scenic Appomattox, Virginia, in a relatively short 320-mile round trip through some of Virginia's most beautiful back roads.  All in all, not counting other short trips and commuting to work, I logged in 7,260 miles in 2012.  Not bad.  Lots of quiet time to think and reflect and enjoy being on the road.  My SPOT tracks for these adventures are available in the top left margin of this blog.  At the moment, my plans are to beat that number of total miles in 2013, and to do much better about writing at least a short blog for each adventure.