Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life *is* time--there is nothing else we are given. MHP

If you all have not read, "The Perfect Vehicle" by Melissa Holbrook Pierson, you owe it to yourself to do so. If you have and it was a while ago or you want to keep reading Ms. Pierson, here's the link to her latest blog post (topic reflected in this post's title): http://bfskinnersbaby.blogspot.com/2010/08/time-like-bridge.html

And yes, I know I still owe you all a ride report :) I got a bit distracted running a relay half marathon this weekend. There were a number of great photographers I'm checking with to see about enhancing the post with images, so the wait will be worth it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Cheater" Post...

So, I don't have my ride report done yet, there are just so many great stories!.  So, I thought I would at least give quick access to the reports written during the rally by Iron Butt staffers Tom Austin and Ira Agins... if you've already read them, they are still entertaining... if not, ENJOY!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pack up the kids Ma! Reporting from IB5000 HQ

It's a lovely overcast and less humid morning in Spartanburg, SC at IB5000 headquarters.  Got in last night after a 10 hour drive of my own, but it's nothing compared to the fast feet Kirsten has been making to try and pull enough points to finish.  Sitting in the hotel lobby I can watch riders pull in to the check-in area outside.  People have pulled up some chairs and are just chatting and waiting for their friends and family members to arrive.  As the riders dismount, road worn and tired, most have very big smiles.  Already saw some good friends who are set up at the scoring tables.  (And heard some complaints from a couple riders about the decaf coffee in the urn outside the scoring room - I mean REALLY - these people have just ridden several thousand miles!)  The rookie rider who hit a black bear (yes - black bear) is here with his happy girlfriend.  He totalled his bike, but is fine.  So, apparently is the bear, who was stunned but got up and walked away after a few minutes.  The young man flew here to be able to attend the conclusion of the rally with everyone.  He's gotten several hand-shakes and slaps on the back.

Kirsten is making her way here and I think picked up another good bonus location early this morning.  Riders start to get penalty points by 10:00 a.m.  That's about 1.5 hours away.  And we'll find out the overall results at this evening's banquet. 

Will post some more pictures later.  Stay tuned!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 4 - Rest Break

Talked to Kirsten briefly last night at the beginning of her rest break.  She's doing well - and thankful for the 1 ft. curb outside a BMW dealership late one night that provided a perfect "pillow" for an Iron Butt nap.  She was going to take a little time to try and figure out how she's doing on points, but then sleep.

Ride is going well - seeing beautiful country.  Had a huge rainstorm that flooded the streets in one state as she was going through town.  Moving was ok, having to stop and put her foot in water that was over her tire rim was not fun.  It's an RT, not a GS, but it's scrappy!

Here's to the miles between Day 4 and Day 5 finish Saturday morning.  Keep sending those mental good vibes!
Kirsten during her Coast to Coast to Coast IBA ride last year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 3 - Check out the choices!

Day 3 IBA Report

Check out the Leg 2 bonus choices on page 2!  Considering Leg 1 covered the blank part on this map, this rally is giving riders the choice - let's say opportunity- to see the USA in 5 days.  And Kirsten, back on the road, is doing just that.  She's needs 9,200 points on this leg, and needs to make up 1,000 points from Leg 1 in order to finish the rally.  For those who don't know, you can ride the whole rally, get to the end, and if you didn't get enough total points, you could still be listed as DNF- "did not finish."  Kirsten's goal all along has been to finish this rally.  With the number and location of the "OK" messages from her SpotTracker, I think she's on her way to that goal.

Thankfully you also get points for a mandatory rest break bonus!

If you read the IBA report, you'll see how the room cleared in a matter of minutes after handing out the Leg 2 locations.  I gave some volunteer assistance to this year's Mason Dixon 20-20 Rally and experienced that room-clearing moment.  It's very strange to go from the high excitement and anticipation level of all those riders, to the quiet click of the last coffee cup spinning on its saucer.  The best part is at the final banquet when they all return and you hear how this one rally was really like 65 different rallies all rolled into one - because each rider rides their own ride. 

Today's photo is of Kirsten and her ride when it was brand new.  The RT is now a little more banged up and decorated, but still the seat that will bring her home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leg 2 Begins

Kirsten called late last night, safely back in Denver.  She didn't make it to the shop before closing, but they came in a little early this morning to check over her bike before they opened.  That allowed her to get her rally pack and do some routing before getting the green light that her new tire was fixed and ready.  And so she's rolling again--on Leg 2! 

Now that the crisis of Leg 1 is over, I can't really talk about her location or planned route - IBA regulations.  I can say that she's doing well and seeing beautiful country.  I got an "OK" message from her SpotTracker a little bit ago- which is so much nicer to receive than the "HELP" message.  I suggest that you peruse the official IBA daily reports for your entertainment.  Kirsten is featured in today's!  Certainly not the standing or feature mention she was hoping for, but you'll be impressed with the photo.  (And hopefully her skill at staying safe in spite of it all.)  Day 2 IBA Report

Her mom, after viewing that photo, sent me this one, saying perhaps it captured the spirit of the RT's experience over the past couple days.

I should remind Kirsten to pack the shopping cart and hand truck next time......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Have Tire - Will Travel!

As of 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Kirsten is back on the road!  She has a new tire and is making her way back down to the Denver BMW shop for a full safety check (especially the front brakes that the bent rim was slapping against as she was trying to move to the side of the road).  She's still trying to beat the clock and get from the shop back to the IBA rally check-in by the time limit for leg one.  If she does, she can take a breath before receiving the Leg 2 waypoints at 5 a.m. Mountain tomorrow morning. 

I know that she'll post more (and photos - "you won't believe it when you see this tire") after the rally.  But I MUST thank several people.  The two guys who were on a hay run, saw her on the side of the road and helped her pick up the bike and gave her the name of a tow company.  The tow truck driver who got both rider and bike back into Casper and then told the receptionist at the hotel, "This young lady just got this bike to the side of the road with no front tire and didn't drop it!  That's impressive!"  Bill from Canada pretty much orchestrated the rescue mission I understand.  (If you're in SC this weekend, I'm SO giving you a hug!)  The BMW dealer took a full front wheel assembly off a used RT, put together tools and instructions, and gave it to an IBA volunteer.  He then strapped it all on his Goldwing and made the 4-hour one-way trip up to Casper so they could change her tire.  The folks at the motorsports shop in Casper, I'm sure helped in this.  And a HUGE Motor Maid thank you to Ruth and Mary who were in Casper and gave Kirsten a cool living room couch and company to await the arrival of her tire saviour.  And on the homefront all our FB and rider board friends who posted ideas and support.  To all of you and all the others I don't even know - I thank you... and Kirsten's mom thanks you!  It's hard to be half a country away when all this is happening.

And this was just Leg 1.  Imagine the full 11 day Iron Butt Rally.

Before I close today, I want to give you the post I wanted to blog yesterday.  In the midst of traveling, preparation, attending the IBA conference and everything else, Kirsten found time to send me this yesterday!
These beauties were delivered to my office - a wonderful surprise as she was just heading out.  Here's a smile and hopes for a much less eventful Leg 2!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not the First Post I wanted: ASSISTANCE NEEDED

Kirsten called about 7:30 Eastern and a truck threw a board, which hit her tire and bent the rim.  She's fine, didn't go down, but the bike high-sided when she put it on the stand (because the tire was blown with a bent rim!).  Just talked with her again (8:15 p.m. Eastern) and the tow truck is there.  She's getting towed back to Casper, WY, but she needs a new tire for her 2009 BMW R1200RT.  Lisa posted to the LD Riders board and I put on Facebook for the BMWST.com folks in case you're reading (here or there).  There's a Honda shop and a scooter place in Casper, but not sure there's anyone there to assist or to have the tire needed. 

If you are in the area of Casper, WY and have an idea, or can assist, give her a call directly if you have her number.  Otherwise, if you're on FB, send me a personal message - Jennifer Talken-Spaulding.  Don't think there's a good way to share personal numbers securely through this blog.

Good news - she's fine.  Bummer - she was doing great in the ride so far and this is a real set back.  She's still hoping to get a new tire and get back on the road tonight so she can try and salvage Leg 1 and get back to Denver on time. 

Mr. Happy Goes to Denver via Kansas

Since the first part of the trip from home was more or less an exercise in "sit there and twist that" abilities, I won't dwell on the wonderful ride that included beautiful scenery and a bit of warm weather (at one point, the bike gage read an air temperature of 101 degrees). My goal was to get in the vicinity of Kansas City.

My Garmin 550 hadn't been receiving XMradio for some time and I'd eliminated the special antenna as the issue. So, since Olathe, KS was more or less along the way, I figured I stop by and see if there was anything they could do for me. Well, in less than two hours I was back on the road with a new Zumo 550 that had all the data from my misbehaving one transferred to it, including all the latest maps. Awesome! When I asked the technicians if I could be cheesy and ask for their picture, they kind of smiled and agreed. Coming back from the bike, I had my camera in one hand and Mr. Happy in the other. The look on the 6 foot plus guy I handed him too was awesome. When I got in the picture Ryan said, "Oh, she's going to put him on." It was priceless and so was their service. Thanks guys!

Ryan, me, Mr. Happy, Brad, and Javier
From there we traveled north to catch Route 36 across Kansas and on to I-70 into Denver. There was all kinds of road art along the way.  This pony express rider seemingly randomly placed along the road inspired a stop in Marysville, KS where the first Home Station of the Pony Express still stands.

While there are a few Relay Stations and Home Stations still in existence, this is the only one still where it was when it was used during the 19 months when the Pony Express ran.

Mr. Happy and I learned that horses can go 15 miles or so at a hard gallop without hurting themselves, so there were relay stations along the route from S. Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA about every 12-15 miles. A rider would blow his horn to alert the relay station that he was near and then take just two minutes to change horses. It was at this point that the guide told me that's why there were no women riders... they obviously have never seen an Iron Butt woman take care of business. The trick is, don't wear a one-piece riding suit :)

About 12 hours from St. Joseph, MO would be this first Home Station where the rider would end his tour and another rider would take off for the next leg or the 10-day run, 15 days in the winter. There were 150 stations along the express route. While most of the mail was government, a person could send a letter for about $5 and in 1860-61, that was big money. But it wasn't the cost that killed the service. After less than two years of service, the transcontinental telegraph line was completed and the need for the riders was no longer needed. During its short run, the Pony Express had 500 horses.

We got to tour the museum and see some cool, local stuff, some of it even related to the Pony Express, but for $4, it was worth it. The original stable was still dirt floor and you could get a feel for what the conditions were like for the boys.
Mr. Happy didn't really want his picture taken as a bronco rider, but I tried to get him to think of it as fun.  He kind of thought it was just sort of lame.  Ah well.
"Mr. Happy, look up at me!"

New batteries installed!
Not so happy now :(
We left Marysville and continued along Route 36. My job was to safely pilot the bike. Mr. Happy was supposed to press the track and okay buttons on the SPOT. He did that just fine, but forgot to check the batteries.

So, if you all noticed a break in the track, that's when MH missed the red warning light. Putting in the special lithium batteries and we were back in business.

As you can tell, we rode at a leisurely pace. In the Iron Butt Magazine Ron Ayers talked about long-distance riders enjoying the things along the road just as much as others, it's just that we are like speed readers, making our way without a lot of stops. Long stretches on the road each day are not about speeding. They are about not taking long stops and going for many hours. But like I said, I was in no rush, so less than a half hour or so out of Denver, MH and I took a hotel and called it a night. The morning was rather slow as well, but we were at Iron Butt HQ early after running a few errands in town. You see, I’d packed a bag for Jennifer to bring down to South Carolina for the closing banquet and such and I’d packed for the rally, but I forgot to pack cloths for the National Meet. With just a single pair of pants, I was styling.

Well, it’s just 15 minutes before the mandatory rider’s meeting so I’m going to have to cut this off. Passed tech inspection yesterday and finished out my paperwork this morning. Now it’s time to get our marching orders, including a safety briefing, and our rally packs with our first group of bonuses.

I going to have to sign off for a while.  I don't know that Jennifer will get much info from me during the rally.  But know I'm thinking of you all and doing my best to both have fun and be safe.  So for now, I'll need to be your shadow rider.

Here’s the link to the most recent official IBA report: http://www.ironbuttrally.com/IBR/2010/2010IB5000Day-2.pdf

To go directly to the reports, go to the Iron Butt Association website (http://www.ironbutt.com/) and click on the reports in the “News” section on the right.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Reports Begin...

For those familiar with past Iron Butt Rallies, you already know there is an official "reporter" giving daily progress reports of the ride.  Well, Tom Austin, noted IBA author, has published the first report.  They are well written and wonderful reading, often including riveting tails of rider's trials and tribulations.  A quick read has already given me some key information for my route planning... see if you can figure out what that is.

Official IBA daily report #1 of the 2010 Iron Butt 5000 (pdf file format)

Soon I will be knee deep in the rally and will hand over the keyboard to Jennifer.  If it turns out that she is not able to post during the rally, we'll try to provide links to the official IBA daily reports.  And hopefully I can give a ride report after the finish.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

... Mr. Happy meets Giant Prairie Dog

And so, in our previous story Mr. Happy (MH - if you'd like to suggest a better name, feel free, but remember, this is a "family" website) let me know in no uncertain terms that he wanted to meet the giant prairie dog we saw while traveling down a rural Kansas road.

With nothing better to do but kill time on my way to Denver, I thought, "Why not? This could be fun."

Slowly we approached the stoic looking rodent. I wondered if we should make some kind of plaintive gesture to ensure the creature knew we meant no harm, but one never quite knows when they haven't seen an episode explaining the intricacies of giant prairie dog behaviour on the Discovery channel.

Mr. Happy & P-dog
Making our way up the hill in a cautious but determined manner, we soon realized P-dog (as we found out he likes to be called) enjoyed entertaining company. Soon he was holding MH and they were carrying on like old friends. I, on the other hand, was just cooking in the mid-day sun and requested to we continue on our journey west.

But this was not MH's first adventure. It started in Olathe, KS when I stopped at the mothership for all Garmin GPS units. But that's a story for another post.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet my Riding Buddy...

While I don't usually ride with anyone other than Jennifer, since she couldn't come, she wanted to make sure I wasn't by myself for thousands of miles.

Meet Mr. Happy

Yes, if you've never been a consumer of Aerostich stuff you might not know him, but he gets around and knows how to travel long distances.  So, I'll be sharing my ride reports with him.

As a bit of a teaser, let me leave you with this.  Going across Kansas Mr. Happy started to yell at me to stop and turn around.  Now mind you, we were travelling at highway speeds on a simple two-lane road, but thankfully there was no one behind us... actually there was no one anywhere to be seen.  What could MH be yelling about.

"I want to meet him."
What?  "Who are you talking about," I asked.
"Him" and I followed the trajectory of MH's stubby little arm to see what he was pointing at.  And there, in the distance was the biggest prairie dog I'd ever seen.  So I made a u-ie in the road and got as close as I dared.

Stay tuned to find out what happened next......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

T-minus 8 Hours

and counting.  The bike is packed and I'll depart when Jennifer leaves for work.  She'll head north to DC and I'll head south to pick-up I-64 to head west.  My first target is Kansas City, KS.  I'm headed straight for the U.S. Garmin HQ to see if I can get my GPS fixed.  We'll see.

With a bit of timing luck, I'll get some nice shots as I travel across country. 

Check out the "Ride to IBA" SPOT tracker --->
to see where I am throughout my trip to Denver, CO.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Rock Steady!

This morning was rockin! Just after 7:00 Jennifer and I began our last run together before I head for Denver, CO on Monday. Since just after returning from the Iron Butt 5000 rally we'll be running a relay 1/2 marathon, I wanted to run at least 6 miles to have firmly planted in my brain that I *CAN* do it.

So, we were off to our favorite local national park, Prince William Forest Park. Along the forested road with the left half reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists, we headed out. Less than eight months ago we began running amidst some of the worst winter weather the east coast had seen in decades. Following a training schedule that started us with 30 second jogs followed by 60 seconds walking, we progressed. The first time we jogged for a solid 90 seconds, that minute and a half seemed to last forever. But today would be different.

After completing a warm-up walk of 0.3 miles, we began our jog and before we knew it, we were a mile down the road. After two miles, Jennifer suggested we run three and a half miles before turning around. Copy that! And so we jogged a solid 3.2 miles (+ the 0.3 warm-up) before we turned around. Jennifer had to adjust a shoe and so we lost a little bit of our average speed, but we'd done the 3.5 miles at a respectable 5.5 mph (11 minute mile). Just before we reached five miles total Jennifer could feel the effects of the longer run and walked a brief 1/10 of a mile before jogging on. With the temperature rising and humidity of the day building, we still put in a decent jog. In the end, we both finished strong. We eventually traveled a full 7 miles with less than 3/4 of a mile walking (including the warm-up walk at the beginning). Jennifer pumped out the last 1/4 mile at nearly a full run and crossed the "finish line" at 78 minutes! At just under 5.5 mph, we couldn't be happier and I feel strong as I get ready to travel across country.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

To Track or Not to Track...

Although I know you all have fun just watching floating dots moving around on maps, there may be a prohibition to open SPOT trackers during the Iron Butt 5000 rally.  If that's the case I'll need to password the IB5k link.  If so, I'll follow-up with info on who I'm allowed to share that with and such.

So, here's the good news:
* Regardless, you'll still be able to follow the "real time" feeds of my travels to/from the start/finish
* I should be able to post the tracker map after the event so you can see my completed  (oh please, let me be a finisher at least) ride of the IB5k.

I'm back on the '07 F800ST (shameless plug, it's for sale) today for my commute.  Why?  Because momma's gettin' a new pair of shoes, fresh Michelin Pilot Road 2 tires.  Plus, I made the appointment for the 42,000 mile service once I return!  Yeah Morton's BMW :)

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday will be packing.  The zumo was updated with the latest maps last night.  Things are clicking along.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Week Away...

and I'm just a wee bit nervous and excited.

This weekend included drilling out a water cooler to add a drinking hose. It takes a fraction of the time to fill and will keep me from wearing anything on my back (good safety improvement).  While that means I won't be able to blow air into a camelbak, arch my back, and squeeze the bite valve to send a stream of water down my back, I won't be leaving myself to roast.  As I did for the 100CCC, I'll strap a cooler onto the passenger seat where I can have V-8 juices iced and at my fingertips.  The newly drilled hydration system will also fit so it'll have ice on the inside and out.  Then, I can dip my hand into the icy water and then pat myself down to get a little Iron Butt AC going on the bike :)

One thing that will be missing is an auxiliary fuel cell.  I got focused on other things to get "the" system I wanted so now I'll just have to go without.  Not a killer, but here's what I'll have to add to the mix when I'm routing.  A lot of folks say, "Don't worry.  You won't really ride 250 miles without stopping anyway."  While that may be true (and more often it's not), the real issue is not being able to find a station when it's needed.  At ~50mph I can stretch out my fuel to go 300 or so miles.  If I'm out west somewhere or in western Canada and am able to actually tank-up at 10pm... (quick bit of math: 300 miles/50 mph = 6 hours) will I be able to find a station open at 4am or even before in order to top up and keep going?  So, my routing will need to take into account even more when I'll need fuel, if there are stations there, and if the station will be open when I need it.  It's all part of being in rally mode.

Those who followed along on the 100CCC ride will recall the stellar job Jennifer did posting trip reports.  I'm hoping to be able to check in with her to share stories along the way, but know that it might not be possible.  So, here are a few things to look for.

I've already set-up my tracker pages >>> just over there on the right of the page.  Until I start traveling that portion of the ride, you'll get a message that there are no posts if you click the link.  That's normal - it's not broken.  Also, the association usually does write-ups daily during the rally.  I'm guessing they'll be doing them this time and posted on the Iron Butt Rally website, but I'll try to post any updated information I receive on following the event.  While I don't expect to see my rookie name anywhere in them (and I don't want it to be listed for all the wrong reasons), it is great reading and I highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in this kind of insanity.  The past year's rally reports were listed as required reading for the IB5k.

Finally, I'm compiling a list of folks I can call while on the road.  During the 100CCC it was great knowing that Richard was working night shift and I could call him at all hours.  And I did, just to hear a friendly voice and to be reminded that I can do it.  Sage advice, a listening ear, that kind of stuff is important.  So, if you are someone who'd like to be on the call list, drop me a note.  Assistance with the rally is prohibited, but me calling to whine, cry, or cuss is not!  Since this is an open blog, please don't leave any phone numbers in the comment section.  If you think I've got your email, I'll contact you off-blog to get call information and times you're available.  If you know I don't have anyway to contact you, please go to my facebook site and send me a fb message with the info.

Thanks for being there and thanks for being a part of my preparations.  The wait is almost over!

August 9:  Leave for Denver, CO
August 11-14: IBA National Meet
August 15: Iron Butt 5000 Rally check-in and tech inspection
August 16: Inaugural Iron Butt 5000
August 21: Final Check-in, Spartanburg, SCAugust 22; Head home :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just Days until "Go"

Here's a real treat... With less than three weeks to go before the Iron Butt 5000 Rally and just ten days before I begin my travels to the starting line, here's a link to last year's Iron Butt Rally DVD "ride report"... At the Jacksonville Pizza Party earlier this year we got to see some early snippets of the movie. All I can say is, "wow" and that I pre-ordered a copy right away. While we wait for the DVD to arrive shortly (probably next week), the developer posted a teaser of the film:


Monday, June 14, 2010

Training Body & Soul

More then ever I'm finding things that, while they take physical strength, mental strength is a primary factor. This weekend I decided at the last minute to sign-up for a local 5k race. Since Jennifer was still recovering from an infection, this would be the first time I would be running a race by myself. We jog/walked an 8k in March and ran a 5k in April, making this my third race. So, physically I knew I could do it. After all, it's only 3.1 miles, right?
With Jennifer's reminder not to "take off" at the start and risk burn-out, I tried to find someone who was running at a pace that was comfortable, but not too comfortable. The first time I looked at my watch was less then five minutes into the race. Not good. How could I keep it up if I was already "feeling the run" before I even passed the 1 mile mark?! By the time I did pass the little white sign on the side of the road, I still hadn't found anyone to pace. A quick look at my wristwatch showed just over 9 minutes (~ 6.6mph). Compared to the slightly higher than 11 minute per mile pace (~ 5.5mph) of our April race, this was really good, but could I keep it up already feeling stressed the way I did? Was I going too fast? Was I going to "give up" and walk? The mental gymnastics had begun.

I knew this is where the “mental rubber” was going to hit the road. For the next mile I kept talking myself out of questioning my success. "Just reduce your pace when you feel like walking" I told myself. Despite walking being a good tactic to recover during longer runs, because I've jogged a full 3 miles before I knew, if I walked, I'd be admitting defeat to myself. At the water station between miles one and two volunteers struggled to provide water to runners in the brutally humid morning. I could only manage two sips while running. I poured the reminder of the cup on me in hopes of giving some cool relief. In dryer climates it would have been great, but in the high humidity I was now running with a heavy, soggy shirt.

At mile marker two I glanced at my watch. As predicted my pace was slower. Slower but still going, that’s what I reminded myself. Despite my head requesting that my body walk some, my legs didn’t get the message and I just kept going. My new mantra now became, “Where the heck was the 3km marker? I must have missed it.” This was wrong on two points. I needed to just continue my pace until I could see the end and put everything I had left in the tank into the final yards and… the markers were ticking off the miles and not kilometers. This last bit would come back to mentally bite me badly. By this point I had long given up trying to find anyone to pace. For the past while there was a runner just behind me who sounded like every step was a major effort. The sound of groaning and coughing had me wondering what I was doing.

Rounding the corner I looked down the street to see Jennifer. She stood up and began clapping. A wash of emotions came over me and I just wanted to stop and in fact I slowed to take five steps. Looking over her right shoulder Jennifer shouted and pointed at the right-hand turn in the road, “This is the last corner, you’re almost there.” I gasped back in despair, “It’s all up hill!” In my mind, I still needed to run up the grade we’d all come down at the beginning of the race. Despite Jennifer’s contradiction that it was all down hill, I rounded the corner thinking she’d lied… no, seriously, that’s where my head was… and then I saw the little white marker with the number 3. The two runners just ahead of me looked back and smiled as I let loose a rather colorful expletive, you know the one I mean. Remember, I thought the markers were for kilometers and not miles, so in my mind I hadn’t missed the 3 km marker and now I knew I had a LONG way to go (hence the expletive).

Time for mental toughness and to show my mettle. Instead of rising to the call I began to walk, feeling defeated. But after just three steps I started to think more clearly. Why would Jennifer lie to me? Do I really WANT to give up? No, I could do this. Now a new question came to me, what were all those people doing lining the race route? Grey matter reengaged I deduced my error and realized I really had less then a tenth of a mile to go. Did I have ANYTHING left in the tank? Could I push when I didn’t think I had anything left? YES! Arms pumping, legs kicking I gave everything. The volunteer braced when I warned her that I would need to hold onto her bucket to lean over to take off the race-timing chip from my right ankle. I had done it and had no idea what my time was because, for once, I forgot to look at my watch. Instead I was looking for a place to collapse. But I didn’t even give into my weariness. I had learned a lesson today.

Lesson of the morning, being fit is important, but it will do you no good to be able to physically handle a task if you first don’t convince yourself that you can do it.

Official Notice of Race Results:
"Congratulations Kirsten you finished the SPCA Rescue Run 5 km on June 13, 2010 with a time of 00:29:42. You placed 213 of 476 runners, 92 of 287 Female runners and 14 of 48 in the Women's 40-44 division" – to all the runners out there, I know this isn’t anything special, but I also know this is a personal best for me. I had hoped to run at least at 6 mph (10 minute/mile) and I did even better!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Learning to Punt....

This is what the motorcycle that I was going to compete on this weekend looks like...

at least the front half...

Yep... I won't be riding my trusty steed for this endurance rally.

I've had this bike barely a year and I nearly cried when I saw this.

I can only imagine what a rider might feel with a bike they'd had even longer...  or that was like this from an accident.

Why is the RT so torn up?  NOT from an accident, but it's actually a good thing.  I waited too long before booking the RT's 36k service and when I noted that the shifting seemed off, the shop (Morton's BMW) took me seriously and looked at the splines.  Not happy with what they found, they requested that they be able to address the maintenance needs and bring her back up to full status again.  Scary looking, yes, but I'm so happy the shop, 1. listened to me, 2. took what I said seriously, 3. during a very busy time took the time to investigate, 4. communicated what they found, 5. is working with corporate to get the issues addressed within warranty, and 6. had what I needed on hand to quickly rig my little bike to be a defacto endurance bike!

So, at 9:30 last night I was pulling the fairing off the F800ST to hardwire in the Garmin Zumo 550 and set-up the audio.  Just before 2AMI packed it in having stayed up to load my planned route into the GPS and do some gathering and re-packing for a bike with substantially different capacity to carry all my junk.

Up again early this morning, the best laid plans from last night/early AM hours came to naught when I tried to load everything onto the smaller motorcycle.  Out when the rally clipboard, replaced by a quart Ziploc bag and clipped in when the Autocom only to find the lead had shrunk some how and now I've got a rather short tether between the bike and my helmet.  I won't be riding with a cocked head, but I don't really have any room to stretch either... guess I'll have lots of stories to share after this ride :)

SPOT tracker seems to be pingging fine from its new perch, so check in tomorrow (~5AM to ~Sun 2PM).
Linky thing:  Spotwalla Page

Oh yeah, here's the back end of the RT

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Time for a Shake Down

In less than 24 hours I'll leave for Hagerstown, MD and the start of this year's Mason Dixon 2020 Endurance Rally.

The riders, many Iron Butt 5000 Rally entrants, are all hoping to test out their routing prowess and perhaps place well in the pack.

I'm waffling between just wanting to have fun on a challenging ride and really putting it out there to see if I can make the top five. Last year I just rode, enjoying a spirited ride that ended up placing me rather well. Crazy part was, I had NO idea that my route was a good one until it was all over... and even then Jennifer and I kept looking at each other as the Rally Master failed to call my name early on. Fast forward and here I am again, looking at my route and wondering just how I rate in comparison to my companions. There is certainly an air of expectation as many are no doubt wanting to show they have what it takes for the IB5k. We shall see.

What changes have I made to the motorcycle since the 100CCC last fall? Not much really. I deleted the XMP3 satellite radio (it was raining most of that ride so I wasn't using it anyway) and add a used Garmin Zumo 550 with GXM30 antenna, integrated my GPS system and XM radio. I also upgraded my cell phone to a Droid Eris, giving me quick connectivity. Riding gear is staying pretty much the same. Tonight I pack after I pick up the bike from its 36k service this evening.... yeah, I know, you're not suppose to do any major services before big rides. It just worked out that way.

If I've set it up correctly, you can follow along with the ride via my SPOT tracker page. The ride will begin before dawn Saturday and end (if I make it before the penalty points start) at 2pm on Sunday. Please follow along and leave messages. I'll ask Jennifer to keep an eye on the page too (perhaps she might even add to it). And, even if you don't post, please keep me in your thoughts. I really love to do these rides and part of that is being cognizant of the stresses it puts on me and my family.
~~~ More Later ~~~

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How did that happen?

Okay, have you ever been just going about your business and all the sudden you realize you've crossed a milestone and not even realized it? For a while, I thought rolling 30k on the new bike would be a "wow" kind of moment. Now I realize rolling a bunch of miles on a motorcycle isn't the milestone, it's what happened during all those miles that matters.

The first thousand miles were gone in a week and included a bit of traveling locally. Yes, when I picked up the R1200RT I scheduled the 600 mile start-up service for that weekend :) Next, I had the great pleasure of once again competing in the Mason Dixon 20-20 endurance rally. I still remember the look on the volunteer's face when I went to complete the odometer check before the rally. I don't know that I had the lowest mileage bike in the event, but it had to be close. Beautiful mountain roads in West Virginia (Rt. 50) at 2:00 am included a few deer, light rain and mist rising off the tarmac, and a Bubba in a pick-up truck. And the goal? In part it was to get back to where I'd been less than 24-hours before, but more so, to get safely back to Jennifer waiting at the finish line. In a bit over a month I was at the shop to schedule my first 6k service.

Since then the motorcycle and I have traveled to Canada, been to the top of Mount Washington, sat with family in Michigan to watched the Woodward Cruise, and then we did a little jaunt across country (check the September 2009 archives for more on the 100CCC).

It is in no small part fitting that I rolled the last few miles of my "30,000 or 3 year" warranty out on my way to the Iron Butt Association's Florida "Pizza Party" for 2010... with the man who sold me the bike. It is the people and the places we share on our travels that are the milestones, that make up the cathedrals of our lives.

This is what I will try to remember as I compete in the Iron Butt 5000 Rally this August. But tonight, I'll get home late after a quick ride home from the city, park the motorcycle, put a leash on the dog, and got for another late-night jog for a few miles without wheels.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Time to test the training...

Just got back from a WONDERFUL trip to JAX, FL to kick tires and talk riding with some of the world's most accomplished long-distance motorcycle riders. To say this was a "who's who" of the Iron Butt Association wouldn't do it justice.

But it's time to put some of my IB5k preparation training to the test. The quick down and back to Florida (700 miles each way) confirmed I haven't lost the ability to, "sit there and twist that" for hours on end. Tomorrow Jennifer and I see how our seven weeks of training for our first ever race pans out. Less than two months ago neither one of us felt like we could jog more than a minute... and even then we were out of breath. We're up to 2 and a half miles at a time. So, with a bit of quick stepping in the middle to cool down, we're shooting to finish the race in about an hour.

Yep, tomorrow morning we start the 8k (~5 miles for all those folks who don't remember their metric schooling from back in the 1970's). I just received my replacement SPOT tracker, so I'm going to see if we can get it up and you can follow along. And no, you do not have to get up and run along with us at 8:00 tomorrow morning. I'll post the map if this works. But if you do want to check it out before I get it posted, link to http://jasonjonas.org/spot/tripViewer.do?id=4184

Wish us luck, and legs that won't quit!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowpocalypse shows its true color... WHITE!

As I stare out my window at the birds flying like crazy and the gray sky getting more moisture laden, it seems that snowpocalypse is just getting bigger. By the look of the roads yesterday during my jog, I won't be on two wheels for a while longer. Took this video as it began to snow on Friday, February 5th, before I knew we'd get another blast today!

Friday, February 5, 2010

No teacher like experience...

Sorry it's been too long since I provided an update, but there's actually been a good amount of prep going on.

Beside the bike (I'll tell you more about that in another log), I've been physically and mentally working on my preparations.

First, three months ago I started working out (bootcamp stuff and yoga). Three weeks ago I added walking/jogging with a goal of doing an 8k in early March. In the past, long days have led to stiff joints because I haven't taken the time to stretch enough. These workouts are giving better tone to my muscles and teaching me more stretching techniques.

And despite the seemingly uncharacteristic wintry weather, I've been riding to work (>40 miles one-way) every day... well, the day after it snowed six inches and there was packed ice covering the two miles to the treated roadway, I accepted a ride into the office, but I've ridden so much, the security personnel finally asked in disbelief one day if I really am on a motorcycle. Yeah, it's been that cold and that much snow.

Yesterday, the guard at the parking lot stopped me to shake my hand and check out the bike. He just started laughing when he realized it was a girl on the bike. What a great smile :)

So, I'm getting physically stronger and mentally building my "can do" spirit. I'll need both to be in high gear come this August!