Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 IBR Leg 3 Goal and Strategy

Jacksonville FL to Ontario CA 

The goal for Leg 3 was to score the Four Corner bonus locations of Key West FL and San Ysidro CA.   Leg 3 was 85:00 hour in length.  I had only the bottom states left to score having consumed all the northern and middle tier states during Legs 1 & 2.  Leg 3 was a relatively easy ride.  I left the hotel in Jacksonville just after the 10pm rider's meeting and headed south to Key West.  I stopped at a rest stop a little after 3am for an hour or so of sleep.  My circadian rhythm causes me to get sleepy between 2am and 4am.  I had been to Key West the year before doing the Ultimate Coast to Coast challenge ride so I know the slog from Homestead to Key West would take some time.  It was raining by the time I left Key West heading north after scoring the Four Corner bonus at the PO.  I ran into thunder storms all the way to Tallahassee where I scored the capital and did the Rest Bonus stop.  I stayed in a hotel and got some quality rest.  Departed just after 6am heading west on I-10.  Through AL, MS and on to Baton Rouge LA for a capital bonus during the day.  Next, up to Texarkana AR where I stopped for a DBR.  I gassed up the GS, and made my last Call-In bonus call.

Call-In bonus calls had a strict procedure to be scored correctly.  The rider had to call the number and leave the follow elements during the time window for the call;  Name, rider number, current location, last bonus scored, next bonus location.  On the two previous Call-In bonus phone calls I wrote the information down lest I forget something.  But, I had just spend the last rest stop in a nice hotel bed after a nice hot shower and I was feeling rested and in full control of my faculties.  So, I dialed the number, waited for the message then said, "This is Tim Masterson, rider number 29, I am in Texarkana AR, I just scored Baton Rouge, and I'm on my way to Texas."  I logged the call in my Passport book, mounted up and headed out.

The ride through the northeast corner of TX up through Indian Country in OK to I-40 was pleasant and uneventful.  Except for technical issue with my tire pressure monitoring system.  I'm riding on the toll Indian Nation Parkway with the bright red LED light started flashing a low pressure on the rear tire.  Rolling off the throttle I applied a little front brake to avoid too much stopping pressure on the rear tire.  This was my first mechanical issue the entire rally so far.  As I dismounted, put the MC up on the center stand, I did what any red blooded bike would do....I kicked the rear tire.  It was hard as a rock!  Hummmmm.....I said, and pulled out my tire gauge to check the pressure.  It was right where it should be.  Inspecting the tire I did not notice any damage, holes, or anything.  I then went to the tire pressure monitoring receiver to check it.  Sure enough it show the rear tire at 5 psi.  I turned it off, then back on. Bingo, it registered 49 psi on the rear tire.  I concluded it must have been an erroneous radio signal to the monitoring unit that set off the low pressure alarm.  Excitement over, I mounted and headed on my way.

I had stopped for rest again just outside of OK City.  Riding across OK, TX, NM, AZ and through the bottom tip of NV was uneventful.  Once in CA the goal was to navigate to the final Four Corner bonus location in San Ysidro, suburb of San Diego.  This was day 10 of the rally and I was feeling the affects of chronic sleep deprivation.  The sleep monster was getting stronger and more frequent.  On I-15 in the desert I noticed my ability to hold a steady visual focus ahead.  This is a clear sign of the onset of "micro sleep."  Spotting an exit ahead I decided to stop for a nap.  I was around 8pm, just dusk, and I had plenty of time cushion.    After a short refreshing power nap I pressed on to San Ysidro for the GOLD.  I arrived around midnight, took the final photo of my GS, my Rally flag and the required post office building.  Now, a final fill up and DBR before heading north.

The ride to the finish Checkpoint in Ontario was a struggle.  I was less then two hours normal driving time from San Diego to the finish hotel.  The GPS was homed in on the location, the route painted on the screen and Greta Garmin was urging me on.  But the sleep monster was really roaring at me during the early morning hours.  I had plenty of time before the Checkpoint window so I stopped three times to nap and refresh before arriving at the finish.

Done!  At the finish in one piece, and scoring all Four Corners to achieve my goal of finishing in the color.....GOLD!  Scoring was a routine and the staff was very efficient.  There was one hitch though.  I was informed there was a problem with my Call-In during Leg 3.  This was a surprise to me as I was very confident I made it and remember it well.  I was escorted over to Tom Austin, chief IBR scorer, for the full story.  He informed me I gave the WRONG rider number during the call.  I was SHOCKED!!!!  He lifted his laptop up, pressed play and I could hear, "This is Tim Masterson, rider number 29, I am in Texarkana AR, I just scored Baton Rouge, and I'm on my way to Texas."  My official Rider Number is.....wait for it....73!  I have no idea why I said 29 instead of 73.  It cost me 500 points and a top 20 finish in the 2011 Iron Butt Rally.  I finished a respectable 23rd and in the IBA record books for riding more than 12,000 mile in the IBR.  Not too shabby for a Rookie!