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 ~~~