Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 Iron Butt Rally

"More humans have gone into space than have
  finished the Iron Butt Rally" ( ? )

This is the premier long distance endurance motorcycle rally event in the entire world.  Spanning 11 days riders typically log 11,000 or more miles.  Finishing the IBR is the goal of most riders who are drawn to participate.  But, there is a small cadre of elite long distance riders who compete against the elements, the vast distances and the physical challenges to stand on the Top 10 finishers podium. 

The Rally would be held starting in Seattle, WA, on June 20th and ending in Ontario, CA, on July 1st.  Of the over 1,500 applicants, and some 100 drawn participants, 87 would be at the starting line in Seattle.  At the finish line only 76 rider successfully completed the 2011 Iron Butt Rally.  What follows is the story of my ride in "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally"

In late September 2010 I was notified by email that my name was drawn to participate in the IBR. I was at first very excited and honored at having been given the opportunity to ride in the IBR.  Soon, the excitement morphed into dread.  You see, I had never participated in any motorcycle rally before.  Sure, I'd been lots of biker rallies but never a long distance (LD) motorcycle rally of this kind.  These are organized as orienteering on a motorcycle and generally more than 1,000 miles within a 24 hour period.  Some are multi-day events with the IBR being the "Olympics" of LD community.  I had my work cut out for me if I were going to organize my time to train for this event.  I had about 9 months to figure out planning, navigating, and riding tasks necessary to reach my goal. 

Establishing an achievable goal was my first task.  It had to be something more than just finish the IBR.  I wanted to finish in the "color."  The IBR typically awards finishing status based on points awarded by riding to the bonus locations and completing the rigid documentation requirements for each leg of the rally.  The IBR finisher status are:  
  • PODIUM - Top 10 finishers
  • GOLD - Top 20-25 finishers (includes Podium)
  • SILVER - Next 5-10 finishers
  • BRONZE - Next 5-10 finishers
  • FINISHER - All other finishers
  • DNF - Did Not Finish
The 2011 IBR format was a change from past rallies.  The theme of this IBR was 48 States.  To be a considered a finisher a rider had to ride to and document by way of a  picture at the State capital or a date business receipt DBR each of the lower 48 States.  A rider would be considered a Gold Medal finisher if successfully riding to all 48 States plus the Four Corners; Blaine WA, Madawaska ME, Key West FL and San Ysidro CA.  My goal was to ride the Four Corners for the Gold!  I had completed the IBA 48 States in 10 Days challenge ride in 2009, in 7 days, 13 hours and 23 minutes.  So, I was confident of completing the ride for the 4 corners and all 48 states.

Below are the Garmin Connect tracks (Start to Checkpoint City) of my GPS for each of the 2011 IBR Legs along with the statistics of ride for that leg.  See my SpotWalla Map

LEG 1:  Seattle WA to Buffalo NY - 103 Leg Hours - My Leg 1 goal and strategy
  • Distance:  5,074.48 miles
  • Time:  102:14:51
  • Moving Time:  80:14:17
  • Overall Avg Speed:  49.6 mph
  • Avg Moving Speed:  63.2 mph
LEG 2:  Buffalo NY to Jacksonville FL - 61 Leg Hours - My Leg 2 goal and strategy
  • Distance: 2,993.87 miles
  • Time: 58:52:55
  • Moving Time: 48:05:18
  • Overall Avg Speed: 50.8 mph
  • Avg Moving Speed: 62.3 mph
LEG 3:  Jacksonville FL to Ontario CA - 85 Leg Hours - My Leg 3 goal and strategy
  • Distance: 3,823.47 miles
  • Time: 78:52:54
  • Moving Time: 57:14:05
  • Overall Avg Speed: 48.5 mph
  • Avg Moving Speed: 66.8 mph
I completed the 2011 Iron Butt Rally as a Gold Medal Finisher in 23rd place logging an IBR official (MC odometer) total of 12,096 miles.  I am the 415th person to successfully complete "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally"   It was the ride of a lifetime!

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