My successful 40-40 Insanity was a tough ride. Combine the usual Interstate traffic, construction, crash delays with bad weather and it become a slog. But hey, that sometimes happens on long-distance events. Its what makes hard riding adventures...hard.
Planning for this ride began back in September at the end of the IBA Senior Butt Rally & Big As Texas Party. Dave and I talked about his 40-40 brain child and I volunteered to ride it. I decided to try the 40-40 in conjunction with the annual Pink's RTE event in Hollywood on Saturday 23, November. Depending on the weather, I would either do the 40-40 as a ride in before or ride out after Pink's. I wasn't concerned about bad weather, just known or forecast icing. The Thursday and Friday before Pink's worked good for me. See the 40-40 'Insanity' to Bite the Weenie page for the details.
|BaseCamp 40-40 Insanity (all times CST)|
SPOTWALLA MAP LINK
When I got to Wilmington I scouted out the gas station I would get my starting dated business receipt (DBR). At the beginning of I-40 there are two good stations; BP and Exxon. Both had complete and accurate DBR information required by the IBA for certification; city, state, date time. The BP was closest to I-40. I checked not a hotel and settled in for rest.
Leg 1: Wilmington to Amarillo, 1,594 miles 21:53
I broke the 40-40 distance into two legs centered on a rest stop in Amarillo TX. I wanted to include a Bun Burner Gold (BBG: 1,500 miles, under 24 hours) as a nested event. At 40 hours to cover the 2,560 miles, the overall average ride pace is 64 MPH and slightly higher than BBG standard 62.5 MPH. Amarillo was around 1,595 miles from Wilmington. My planned departure time was 0400 CT (0500 ET). Starting at this hour matched my circadian rhythm nicely and would put me in Amarillo around 2 am. So, this longer first leg would be done when I was most rested. The BaseCamp route schedule was to give me information about the actual ride pace vs plan. I would use the 4 hour rest period to take up the slack from delays on the first leg.
I departed Wilmington a couple moments after the planned 0400 CT, with temperatures in the mid 40s. The DBR time was 04:59 ET (03:59 CT). A SpotWalla track is required by the rules for the 40-40 Insanity. I was using Bubbler GPS Pro to support documenting my ride. I took pictures of each DBR and posted them as Gas Stops via Bubble. This technique would give me three layers of documentation back up; paper DBR, picture on phone (cloud backed up) and on each SpotWalla gas stop marker.
(Note that the Bubble time stamp is after I had arrived at the pump, dismounted, fueled, taken the DBR picture and finally punching the send button on the app. This was typically 3-5 minutes after arrival at the pump.)
Pit Stop 01: Statesville NC, 07:34 plan, 07:59 actual, -25 mins. Morning traffic delays through Raleigh
I received reports that I-40 was closed at NC mile markers 12 & 15 near the TN border. Thanks Russell Dickerson! That detour would add 45 minutes to the plan. I selected a route that would get me around the closures while keeping me nearest to I-40 as possible. The draft IBA rules allow for official detours. Official detours do not lengthen the time allowed for the ride so it is in the interest of the rider to select the shortest/quickest distance while remainingas close to the Interstate as possible. As it turned out the NC DOT opened I-40 to single lane traffic by the time I arrived near the TN border. Traffic slowed for approximately 5 miles through each of the repair zones.
Traveling though eastern TN the temps were warming up to the mid 50s. Traffic was light and flowing well. I had been monitoring the weather conditions and forecasts along the entire route. In addition to the Weather Channel coverage I was using the I-40 End to End - Weather page created by Greg Rice.com. Simply outstanding! Thank you Greg. I was enjoying this relatively good riding weather but knew I was in for wet and more cold ahead.
Pit Stop 02: Crossville TN, 11:39 plan, 11:55 actual, -16 mins
Traffic through metro Nashville was good. I was riding with the flow of traffic, not using excessive speed or going faster than the obvious speeders. I work at maintaining a consistent ride pace that takes advantage of the flow of traffic without making my speed an issue. In addition to the Garmin Dezl 770 GPS I was using Android Auto as support navigation. It has a nice "Speed Trap Ahead" function that works well. Still, I have learned maintaining a consistent ride pace that keeps me "under the radar" is less stressful than excessive speed. Scattered showers had caused the road to be wet. The spray from large trucks was as bad as riding in the rain. Temperatures were good at around 60f.
Pit Stop 03: Stanton TN, 15:26 plan, 15:42 actual, -16 mins
I was riding through Memphis during early rush hour. Sunset was upon me and the cloud cover make it dark. By the time I got into AR the rain showers had turned into downpours. The rain showers were intermittent lasting 10-20 miles at a time. I was wearing the best riding gear I could get to protect me from the elements, Gore-tex from neck to toes. Protecting my head is the Schuberth E1 Adventure helmet. In it I added a 1 inch thick foam block lined with a swatch of LD Comfort material. My riding jacket is the Klim Kodiak, in black of course. Covering my lower half is a pair of Aerostich AD-1 riding pants. My boots are tough TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex adventure boots designed for long distance. I use Dr. Scholl's compression socks. Under it all are the most important LD Comfort ensemble of long sleeve shirt and full leg length base layer. Between the LD Comfort shirt and Kodiak jacket is heated Gerbing jacket.
The weak point in my protection at this part of the ride were my gloves. I was wearing a pair of mid weight leather Harley gauntlets over a pair of Klim glove liner 1.0 inserts, which kept my hands relatively dry and comfortable. But the leather Harley gloves were soaked after 500 miles of slogging through the wet weather. The temperatures were hovering around 60f as I was reaching the end of the showers east of Little Rock AR. I had two more sets of cold riding gloves but elected not to use them until after the wet. I did not want to be riding in the forecast COLD with wet gloves.
In Little Rock I passed the 1,000 mile mark. West of Little Rock the radar show clearing as I entered the cold front. Temperatures dropped from near 60f to below 40f inside of 20 miles. I had switched to dry heavy duty gloves at the last pit stop. I was settling in for the long cold ride to my rest stop in Amarillo. Between the heated Gerbing jacket and the heated grips of my BMW I was comfortable. I could feel the cold but without 'comfort stress.' Somewhere along this segment I ate my one meal of the day; trail mix and a low sodium V8. I would not eat again until arriving in Barstow at the end of the ride.
Pit Stop 04: Clarksville AR, 19:10 plan, 19:35 actual, -25 mins
West of Carlisle AR, traffic stopped. I could see nothing but solid taillights for miles. I put on my bike flashers and Federal Signal Micropulse Ultra yellow caution lights and began filtering through the backup. The Denali 4.0 high intensity aux lights on my GSA are controlled by a HEX canbus unit that flashes the Danali lights opposite of the bike flashers. I had little trouble filtering to the detour exit being manned by the local Sheriff's Deputies. Seems there was a huge crash with fatalities and LEO was directing traffic onto the local county roads. Even with continuous moving I lost about 30 minutes during this significant traffic event.
Pit Stop 05: Oklahoma City OK, 23:02 plan, 23:01 actual, -1 min
Getting fuel in Oklahoma City was cold. I was warm while plugged in and moving. While stopped for gas, I struggled to say warm in the high winds and 35f temperatures. I was on the cold side of the cold front. I was feeling the 19 hours of hard riding and almost 1,500 miles. My body struggled to stay warm by shivering. Departing OK City I couldn't remember if I had sent a Bubble msg so I did it again. A sure sign of mental fatigue. But the next pit stop was my planned rest in Amarillo. The segment from OK City to Amarillo was a dreary slog through desolate country, at night and in the cold. I did have Amazon Music to keep me company, piped from my Samsung Galaxy S9+ through my Sena 20s Evo. But even that was not enough to keep me cheery. This segment was a hard riding slog and I just wanted it over. A few miles after crossing the TX border I hit the BBG mark at 01:28, 21:29 after starting in Wilmington NC. Not too shabby a ride pace for a 69 year old guy.
Rest Stop 06: Amarillo TX, 01:52 plan, 02:55 actual, -63 minutes
I pulled into the FlyingJ travel center and immediately sent a Bubble msg to mark my arrival time. I would use a gas fillup DBR to make my departure. I couldn't wait to get inside and warm up. I took my tank bag to have the items in it available to me inside. This FlyingJ had a Denny's so I went into the restaurant. I was met by a smiling waitress who directed me to sit wherever I liked. As you might have guessed the place was empty, save for a couple of truckers having coffee. I told the server I was going to remain until a little after 5 am and asked her to bring me hot water for tea. She motioned me to the spacious semicircle booth in the corner where I could relax out of the way. I sipped on some Red Zinger hibiscus tea while I plugged in my Sena to recharge. Setting my phone alarm for 5 am I put on my boonie hat, snuggled my face deep in the Gerbing jacket neck and dozed off. I got 1 or 2 good REM cycles in before I awoke just before 5 am. I got up, went into the adjoining FlyingJ to get a cup of their fresh ground coffee. I was ready to go. I gassed up and departed several minutes before the plan 6 am start.
Leg 2: Amarillo to Barstow, 964 miles, 17:05
The stretch of I-40 between Amarillo to Santa Rosa NM is bleak and dreary. But, the sun was about to rise and so my spirits. It had snowed the night before and the country side was cover in a blanket of the white stuff. The temperatures were mid 20s and I saw a low of 23F near Tucumcari. With the sun comes the rush of the cortisol hormone brought on by the circadian rhythm 'dawn effect'. This evolutionary adaptation to the human body give us a burst of energy and wakefulness to deal with the new day. I would use this to my advantage as I continued pressing west. It wasn't long before the temperatures where hovering around 30f with clear roads.
Pit Stop 07: Moriarty NM, 09:21 plan (Los Pinos), 08:36 actual, +45 mins
I breezed through Albuquerque around 9:20. By this time the sun was warming up things and riding was good. I was in the high desert and the roads were clean and good. My spirits were high. The temperatures were still in the mid 30s. I pressed.
Pit Stop 08: Holbrook AZ, 12:51 plan, 12:28 actual, +23 mins
My goal for the 40-40 Insanity was to finish the ride using around 39 of the available 40 hours. During the second leg I wanted to be able to extend the pit stop times. I had also planned to transit through the high elevations the Flagstaff mid day to get the best advantage, weather wise. Flagstaff in notorious for sudden severe weather. But, thanks to Greg's I-40 Weather page I was on top of the latest weather condition there. After Flagstaff is the decent into the lower elevations and warmer temperatures of the desert. I was ready for that for sure.
Near Williams I began to feel the telltale signs of sleep creeping into my brain. When my eyes (vision) start to bounce around that means the small muscles are unable to hold the focus steady and nodding off is not far away. I stopped for a break with about 10 minutes of my eyes closed. This seems to reset my brain chemistry and allow me to continue, refreshed. It's the classic 'power nap' routine.
Pit Stop 09: Franconia AZ, 16:39 plan, 16:15 actual, +24 mins
One short segment to go. As I crossed into California I reflected on the ride. Riding 2,500+ miles entirely on Interstate highways is not for everyone. Some riders prefer never to ride on the Interstates. To me they are wonder routes where I can maintain a consistent ride pace, with access to great services, improving cell phone coverage and relatively predictable enroute times. I-40 is notorious for its share of Interstate issues. But my 40-40 Insanity experience was classic Interstate end to end hard riding adventure!
40-40 Finish: Barstow CA, 18:57 plan, 18:28 actual, +19 mins.
The idea of riding 2,500+ miles of interstate highway is not appealing to the vast majority of motorcycle riders. In the long-distance riding community we see the interstates as the quickest way to get to a place with the riding is much more enjoyable. Therein, lies the challenge of the "Interstate Highway - End to End" precedent setting 40-40 Insanity prototype. Interstate 40 was full of traffic delays, construction slowdowns and even the inevitable closure. Add in bad weather for all but the last 200 miles of the journey and you have the makings of riding drudgery of the first order.
My long-distance riding career has been filled with just these kinds of rides. I thrive on the challenge. Over the years I have collected the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to maintain a consistent ride pace, manage the risks and achieve my navigational goals. I a word; Ridecraft!
This is my last Iron Butt Association long-distance challenge on my 2016 BMW R1200GS Adventure, for 2019. Next year I am embarking on new and challenging hard riding adventures. I'm going to return to the roots of my LD passion. I'm going to start all over with the entry level of IBA ride, the SaddleSore 1,000 miles in under 24 hours. Then I'm going to work my way up the IBA ride list one at a time. By next June I will be riding the 48 States in 10 Days challenge as a practice ride for 2020 Iron Butt Rally, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally" all, on a Janus Motorcycles Gryffin 250 (229cc, 14hp, top speed <70 mph)
RIDE PACE STATISTICS:
- Total Miles: 2,563.7 GPS, 2,535 MC Odo
- Start: 03:49, 21/11 CST
- Finish: 18:33, 22/11 CST
- Total Time: 38:34, 66.6 Ovg MPH
- Moving Time: 33:50, 75.8 Mvg MPH
- Stopped Time: 04:44
- Pits Stops: 01:20 total, 9 enroute stops at 0:09 avg each
- Rest Stops: 02:50 total, 02:25 Amarillo + 0:25 AZ
- Traffic/construction delays accounted for approximately 0:35
- Fuel Consumption:
- Total: 70.9 at $208.28 for $2.94 per gallon
- Overall MPG: 36.2 miles per gallon