Anyone who has been on social media for the past month could not help but notice the buzz as riders prepped for the Big Dance. With Eric Bray posting helpful reminders like, “Keep Calm, Only 14 Days to Go!” who could forget? He was one of the first to arrive at Rally HQ. Irishman Chris McGaffin is on his way, after riding the 1,000 mile loop around Lake Superior. It’s only fair as he just hosted our loop ride around his native Ireland (more on that fantastic rally-prep ride later). Tina Venters made a trip to MN a few weeks ago, dropping off her bike in preparation to ride her first Iron Butt Rally (YES!!), making a smart trip to the start this week via airplane. Troy Martin, after being trapped by flooded roads at work, then adeptly stuffing his 10 lbs of crap in his 5 lb. bag and driving all night, has arrived. And Chase Van 2.0 arrived this afternoon after passing an IBR rider with a tell-tale high vis helmet (faded on the top) outside Madison, WI (I’ll get your photo to you!).
We had a small kerfuffle off-loading the bike, which now requires a new right front peg and an inspection of the valve cover, though it just looks scraped with no leaks. We’ll take care of that in the morning. Leo’s South said they will grab a peg off an RT they have; and we’ll be there bright and early. However, we are currently icing Kirsten’s knee (which I’m SURE would not be happening if I wasn’t here) while enjoying a cup of coffee and a ginger cookie (which probably would occur regardless).
In the spirit of getting bike troubles done early, sounds like Aussie Olaf Moon is making progress on his bike repairs. As of 3:00 p.m. Friday, he’s hoping all will be complete and he’ll arrive at Rally HQ early Saturday morning. We are pulling for you Olaf! And in KY – Jeremy Loveall has Plan B all loaded up on the trailer and ready to bring out if needed. There is another bike waiting for him in Minneapolis if needed and Hammy had Plan C ready in Philly. And just as we were discussing options in the Rally HQ parking lot tonight, another rider loading his bike on a trailer mis-judged and road it off the end. Ten or more rally riders ran over to help stabilize him and the bike, avoiding another top-down dump (check out today's IBR report for another tale of woe). Deep breaths and strong backs got the bike back on the trailer and settled…and a scrape on Jim Owen’s elbow for his helpful efforts. You guys, springing into action to assist wherever you are, doing whatever you can….somethin’ in my eye already….
A few riders are still filing in and the parking lots of the Minneapolis Marriott and the La Quinta have sprouted motorcycles. IBR staff and volunteers are prepping for the big day tomorrow – packing the swag bags, tech inspection dry runs and the million other things that need doing. Like every pro sport – it’s the staff that make it work for the rest of us!
And the official daily reports have begun T minus 3 days out! Friend and IBR veteran John Harrison is this year’s scribe. To follow along with the Iron Butt Rally 2017 dailies, visit the swanky new site with loads of good info: http://ironbutt.com/2017ibr.cfm