|Posted: 31 August 2010 at 12:23am | IP Logged
Participating in the IB5000 was a life afirming experience. Mike Kneebone and Lisa landry have to be seen in this or even better, the IBR environment, to truly appreciate how truly wonderful they are and the IBA organization in total.
This report was initially going to be a long narrative, but I have decided to approach it in long but different manner.
Rider: Jerome Byrd Age: 65 Location: Philadelphia, PA
Bike: Majesty 400 scooter (400 cc – purchased 11/2007) Fuel capacity 3.7 gallons Mileage: 31K+
LD Resume: In-State SS1000: PA, MD, VA, and Legends Ride FL, BBG, MD2020 2010 (1300 miles)
Factors (Speculative) leading to selection for IB5000: Hopeless of the Hopeless class, Met Mike Kneebone when I was soaking wet after having ridden through torrential rains in the “Redwing 19” In-State-VA SS1000 charity ride, and was an early finisher among the 300+ riders, all of which had substantially larger machines.
Planning – “I see the trees, where is the forest?”
I got it into my mind that ‘routing’ was the key to success (Too narrow a focus for sure). I knew I could ride for long miles. I figured that most bonuses would be on back roads at best. I therefore did a lot of riding with three local clubs (Philadelphia, PA): Ezriders(Maxi-scooterist), PMRG, and the KSU. The groups hated the interstates and always took routes that were secondary highways at best. I got in several thousands of miles riding back roads and such, an area I had previously avoided. I like the interstates, the 24 hr service areas, rest areas, wider roads with greater chances of seeing critters early, etc.
Computers have been my livelihood for three decades so I was comfortable setting up Access to do my bonus id enhancements, sorting, queries etc. I tried it on IBR 2009 data and felt satisfied I had conquered the most important preparation task. I put in a new clutch, belt and rollers on the scoot as well as new tires, spark plug, brake pads, and changed all fluids. I would test myself and machine by doing a 1100 miles the first day of the 1725 miles to Denver, I would have several days during the IBA National Convention to rest and work out any bugs that cropped up during the ride.
My wife, who is not into MC on any level, decided to visit some friends in Denver and flew out to meet me and stay with me for 3 days at the last minute. I attended a few seminars but missed the nightly banquets as I did a “Quid Pro Quo” with the misses. I had booked the hotel for Monday night so I wouldn’t have to carry my luggage during leg1. I was also setup to do an oil change after leg1. The riders meeting came and I went up stairs, created my bonus database and selected what I thought was a conservative but ample route to finish leg1 with 1900 pts plus a little padding.
Leg1 – “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”
Due Diligence - I thought I had done it, but in reality I hadn’t done nearly enough, as follows:
*I created a packing list and check-off list, but DIDN’T plan exactly how things should be pack for maximum efficiency and speed when loading and un-loading bike. This would cost me big time.
* I DIDN’T create a check list and solid procedure for handling “free bonuses”. In the heat(100 F) of battle you will barely know your name least alone what time it is in a time zone you are not currently in. I didn’t create a system before the rally start to handle call-in bonuses. I could have set one of my gps to PDT or simply purchased a cheap watch/pocket-watch that would be set to PDT; that way, no translation would be required. This cost me pts during both Legs.
* Fill out rest bonuses/call-ins as soon as you start them and not later back at the hotel when you are more focused on do you have the proper receipts. Free bonus points are critical to successfully making the cut and one should make sure that they are handled with a check-list procedure like the ride-to-bonuses. I failed to do this and it hurt really badly.
******* carry an am/fm radio to check highway traffic alerts when in the boondocks. Look at Google aerial map views; search the internet for information on roads in your route that appear to be isolated and are perhaps dirt/gravel. My failure to do this, along with my final “due diligence” point cost me any chance of being a “qualifying finisher”. I saw the sign blinking yellow (“tune to 1610 am for important traffic information”) but I had no radio, and rode on into the valley of the shadow of death.
I arrived at “Beartooth Pass” (11,000 foot climb) in light rain, the road totally torn-up with construction crews actively at work. What was left of hard sections was slick as ice with rain and mud, and the rest was gravel road bed, or mud. I was behind some IB5000 riders on a GS, KLR, and V-Strom and ?? I made it up about 1.5 miles out of ~ 5 and had to stop as the little scooter motor over heated trying to pull through the mud, and the constant speed up and slow downs and the climb itself. I waited about 30 minutes for a “pilot truck” leading a group of cars back down, and probably had gone no more than 10 feet at about 5 mph when the scoot started to slide in the mud. I knew it was going to go down and I also knew that I couldn’t let it hit hard such that anything would be damaged that would make riding it impossible. I would not only be out of the rally but I would probably be looking at a lot of cash outlay to get myself and scoot back to Denver. I held on tightly to the throttle side of the handle bar, but the wheel twisted such that I had no leverage of the left side so I grabbed the windshield and gently laid the scoot down. The windshield obviously couldn’t withstand the stress and it and its holder came ripping off. I made it down the mountain without further problems and rode with the windshield bungeed to my top box, and with the scoot and my left side covered with mud. I rode until I needed gas and luckily came upon a fairly decent size little town called Riverton, WY, which had an open gas station and a Motel 6. I cleaned myself off, best I could, and the next morning I borrowed the hose from a friendly housekeeper and hosed most of the serious mud off the scoot. I then went to a hardware store and made a makeshift covering for the gaping exposure in the front above the lights. All the electric panel circuits were exposed. I looked at the possibility of still making it to Salt Lake City, but it would require a brutal ride and I might miss the easier Denver bonuses. I knew Leg2 was the key so I would have to suck it up and go into leg2 with a 550 pts deficient. (It should have been 450m pts, but I missed the call-in Bonus!)
******** Have a back-up plan for critical portions of one’s route. If I had a backup plan, I would not have attempted “Beartooth Pass” under those conditions. I could have ridden north to Cody, Wy and cross on rt14. It was raining, the temps had dropped to the 40s and I was 100+ miles from any town (“Dubois, WY”), such that taking out the computer and trying to figure something out “on the fly” was not going to happen. I made it back to Denver and Lisa generously offered to take the undamaged windshield on the staff vehicle to Spartanburg. Lisa is way more than the best. The holding plate that fits into the frame that held the windshield is what was destroyed (probably also a few smaller esoteric pieces), so I had no way of re-mounting the windshield as leg2 started. With three days to go and all that time needed to gather points and make it to Spartanburg, getting a dealer and parts was not an option.
Leg2 “Wherever you go, there you are.”
When I travel the interstates I always pass several groups of recreational riders riding big cruisers (usually HD, but also others). I no they are recreational riders because they aren’t wearing helmets and other gear, and have no windshields on their bikes … real bad boys and girls. I always expected that when they saw I was on a scooter they would crank up the throttle and leave me in the dust … the nerve of the that … Such was almost never the case, however, and now I know why. They can’t really hold 80+ mph for very long, bowed out like a giant sail. That’s how Leg2 was for me, except I think worse than on a naked MC. The front of the scooter still blocked a lot of air, but it seemed to have created a virtual “jet stream” of turbulence aimed at my head. I ride a little cruiser with no windshield for local group riding, but the air hits all parts of me and does not bother my head more than other parts. The scooter without the windshield ripped at my head, and strained my neck muscles and hand and arm muscles as I gripped the handlebars fiercely and tried to pull my body forward at 75-80 mph to lower my head into a semi crouch. I could do this for an hour or so and then needed to stop. In the end I had to keep the speed at 65 mph tops to ride for long periods. I had plotted a route that if I had the windshield I had a 50% chance of success. I was going to pick up most of the pts missed from leg one by hitting Valentine, WY, and Pierre, SD. I would then take I-90 across SD to MN and the Java coffee mug bonus. From there I would head straight to the Nudist Resort in Tx, picking up a bonus on two directly on the route. Then I would be a hard ride to Spartanburg, stopping in Atlanta around sunrise for the 650 pts, and then to the finish.
Riding at 65 mph most of the time and running into nothing but construction on two-lane roads. I was late at Valentine and could not make Pierre (a DL bonus). I then decided to take a state road across NE instead of riding up to I-90, as I couldn’t hold any decent speed anyway. My plan was to be close to Minneapolis as possible before catching a motel and some sleep, and then get in and out right after morning rush hour. I never made it any closer than Sioux City, IA before early am and knew it was over as far as being a “qualifier”. I made the big Java mug bonus on Thursday, but got there and tried to leave at afternoon rush hour. I lost so much time trying to get in-out I stopped at a Subway to eat and waited for the traffic to thin out. After nearly 17 hours on the road I had only done 600 miles, my strength had dwindled very low. As I pulled into a motel for the “Rest Bonus” Thursday night I realize that the only thing that matter at that point was to get to Spartanburg on time and to not become an “incident”. I got a good night sleep and set out around 8am CDT, but would lose and hour very quickly when crossing into EDT. It was 993 miles to Spartanburg, and I had about 25 hrs. That’s less than a SSS000 pace, a piece of cake normally, but it was all interstate and I knew I would have to somehow find the strength to at least keep the speed in the 70-75 mph range less I get run over by the thousands of trucks. I somehow found the strength to keep up a decent speed and arrived outside of Ashville, NC around 0100 EDT, almost home. There was a great threat of rain and I remembered what “Warchild” had said about not embarrassing the IBA. I knew as I stood at the gas pump, it would not be good if an old guy on a scooter wiped out in the rain a few hundred miles from the end. Mike Kneebone had built a great organization with Lisa Landry, Warchild, Ira, Tom Austin …, one that I was proud to be a part of, and would not want to hurt in anyway. If I got caught in the rain, with no windshield, passed and harassed by trucks and truck spray, tired, in the dark winding curves of RT40, I might not make it. I took a motel room and left around 0630 EDT for the final 200+ miles, confident I would get there by 10:00 EDT.
When I rode to within a mile or so of the Hotel Spartanburg; I merged with about 5-6 other bikes and the Phillips rode one of the bikes. Tom Phillips after riding “twice” my mileage was still in good enough humor to ask me “Did you ride that thing all the way from PA?” I didn’t belong on the same street as the Phillips and other riders, but it felt good, nevertheless, to ride in with some of the “The world’s toughest motorcycle riders”. My “minimalist” (400cc scooter, 3.7 gallon gas tank. no Aux fuel cell, no hydration system, aux lights, etc) IB5000 attempt ended at Bear Tooth, but if I try again in 2012, I will have a much improved set up, and a whole lot more insight and wisdom. For the duration of my riding days (days period), my favorite drink of choice will be IBA KoolAid. Congrats to all IB5000 riders, and major props to all “qualifying finishers!” I hope to make 1-2 checkpoints of the “Big Dance” next summer and hopefully the 2011 IBA March Pizza Party. Keep the shiny parts up, the rubber down, and the windshield on.
IBA # 32785
Honda NT700V and Majesty scooter
".. A little bad, a little mad, and dangerous to know .."