Motorcycling gets in to your blood. In my case it started in childhood and has progressed from play, to transportation, to day tripping, to touring, to endurance/long distance riding, and has culminated in competitive long distance endurance rallying. The road from the beginning up to the start of the endurance rallying is captured in my "50+ Years of Motorcycles".
What is "The Road"?
Is the road a stretch of pavement, a means to an end, a lifestyle, or the reason for existance? Ask ten people and get as many different answers. For me, the road represents many things, the open air, the freedom, the destination but most of all it is on the road that I learn about myself, my strengths, weaknesses, and personal foibles.
I'm Mike Langford going by a psuedonym of IB Pete. Feel free to browse my web and share in my experiences .
Getting the K1200LT in August of 2000 meant that I would have to do some serious touring to justify having a big road bike. It just didn't seem fair to the beemer to tie it down to commuting and short day trips. Enter the Iron Butt Association (IBA) .
Somewhere between August of 2000 and July of 2001 I stumbled into the Iron Butt Association's self directed tours and decided this was just the thing. The IBA is a loose knit organization with only one way to earn membership, ride 1000 miles in twenty four hours. Family and friends are in Kansas City and it is nicely situated slightly over 1000 miles from my home port of Raleigh, NC. The perfect destination and I logged my first Saddlesore 1000 (1000 miles in less than 24 hours).
At the time, I did it just so I could say I had done it and get the pin and the certificate. Frankly, I thought that would be the end of it but the personal challenge one faces on an endurance ride and the satisfaction of succeeding in "riding the plan" doesn't fade away. Long Distance Riding is the pastime of riding motorcycles over very long distances in defined times. The basic goal of endurance/long distance riding is to explore time/distance/physical endurance while riding a motorcycle.
Before long I'm thinking of other IBA rides. In summary, (details are in ride reports) I have racked individual challenge rides. These self directed rides are great for an individual challenge, a great way to see the country, a great way to get cool pins for your jacket, and a great way to demonstrate to your friends and family that you are certifiably insane—you have the IBA certificates as proof.
As fun as all this may sound, after you log a few of these, the miles and miles of droning interstate can get quite boring and I began to search out new challenges.
This all started as an individual challenge but I soon discovered that the IBA truly is an "association". It was through the guidance and advice of members of this community that I have learned many valuable lessons and how i was introduced to Endurance Rallying.
Endurance riders sometimes engage in endurance events known as rallies. Most rallies have been referred to as "advanced scavenger hunts" and take on a multitude of formats, differing in duration (anywhere from 10 hours to 11 days), style, types of roads ridden and so forth. They require participants to successfully locate a list of specific locations (a series of "Washington" related locations, for instance), perform specific tasks (take a Polaroid photograph of a giant baseball bat, write down time, date and mileage and so forth) and sundry other items during the duration of the rally. The list of potential bonus locations (oftentimes referred to as "boni") is far longer than what can actually be achieved during the allotted time. The problem then becomes a "puzzle" of a rider's personal capabilities and riding style versus the time/speed/distance equation of finding the optimal route. That is; the route, which the rider can achieve, that will garner the most points in the alloted time. Longer, more challenging rallies, require that you perform this route planning while you are "on the clock". With these, each minute spent planning the route reduces the amount of time available to execute the plan. There's the rub.
For example, let's say you have 48 hours to get from the start to checkpoint one, a distance of 1850 miles via the most direct route. For the long distance rider this is a fairly easy trip, ride an average speed of 46.25 mph for 40 hours, and accumulate no more than 8 hours of stop time (fuel, food, convenience, and rest). The rallymasters, in their infinite wisdom, rarely make it this simple. The boni are not on this direct path AND you have to make stop to acquire the bonus, as well as for: fuel, food, convenience, sightseeing, and rest. Average speed drops like a rock with these stops.
It is quite a game and I have been bitten. See quote at left.