Saturday, May 25, 2013

Texas 10,000 Miles in 10 Days

Starting around 0600 on Saturday, May 4, I'm riding 10,000 miles in 10 days all in Texas.Xtreme! Iron Butt Association certification event challenges a riders' ability to manage risks, resources, problems and stresses of repeated long distance rides over a 240:00 hour period.  I'm doing this ride as an on the clock training exercise for the Iron Butt Rally (IBR) coming up in July.  You can follow along with me on the big Spotwalla Map below or zero in on the day by day tracks.

Spotwalla day maps  Click for current Texas Weather Radar
  1. Sat, 5/4:  Wimberley - Orange - Harlingen - Del Rio, 1,074 - 1,074 leg - total miles
  2. Sun, 5/5:  Del Rio - Big Bend - El Paso - Vega, 1,104 - 2,178 miles
  3. Mon, 5/6:  Vega - Texline - Follett - Texarkana - Orange, 1,069 - 3,247 miles
  4. Tue, 5/7:  Orange - El Paso - Van Horn, 1,016 - 4,263 miles
  5. Wed, 5/8: Van Horn - Waskom - Wimberley, 1,020 - 5,283 miles
  6. Thu, 5/9:  Wimberley - Laredo - Texline - Dalhart, 901/ - 6,185 miles
  7. Fri, 5/10:  Dalhart - Ft Worth - Beaumont - Houston - Buffalo, 1,016 - 7,201 miles
  8. Sat, 5/11:  Buffalo - Shamrock - Vega - Alpine, 1,012 - 8,212 miles
  9. Sun, 5/12:  Alpine - Harlingen - Burleson, 1,069 - 9,272 miles
  10. Mon, 5/13:  Burleson - Junction - Big Springs - Ozona - Abilene - Austin - Wimberley, 958 - 10,230 miles

Ride Report -- I write my ride reports around an organizing framework that captures the performance categories of long distance riding while under time requirements, or, "on the clock."

Riding and Risk Management:  There were no "close calls" while on this ride.  Unless, you consider a tornado warning a close call.  I define a "close call" as a surprise requiring an emergency action like a swerve, quick stop or evasive maneuver. Weather for the most part was good with some isolated patches of thunderstorm activity.  My rest management strategy helped keep me alert while riding.  I actively worked at managing risks.  Especially, in congested area, small towns, and while on open stretches of highway.  Anytime you can get back home in one piece after so many hours and miles in the saddle is a good thing.

The FLIR PathFindIR thermal imaging system I have installed on the GSA was invaluable.  It really helped me starting at dusk, through the night riding and early morning pre and post dawn riding.  The most dramatic plus is the reduced stress level riding at night.  I saw lots of warm blooded, heat generating, critters using the FLIR while riding.  In each instance I was better able to assess the threat and adjust the riding accordingly. 

Planning and Navigation:  The basic plan was ten legs of about 1,000 miles, +/- 100.  Riding time would start by 6 am and end before midnight.   I planned all 10 routes before the ride (see "Planning" below).   I purposely routed legs through large cities, small towns and over various types of highways and roads.  All the segment waypoints and the initial routes were loaded into by the zumo 665 and backup zumo 220.  I also had the MapSource/BaseCamp files on my computer which I carried with me on the ride to do mid ride re plans.  While navigating through small towns and congested areas paid special attention to how the zumo would route me through.  On several occasions I would over-ride the generated route in favor of a more effective path after zooming out the map.   I used the zumo 220 to do "what ifs" along the routes.  As the days progressed and the Spot track painted the paths on the map I wanted to avoid going over previous routes.  I changed several of the later leg routes to fill in the gaps on the map.

Ride Pace and Resource Management:  This was a major objective of this field training exercise.  I wanted to maintain a riding pace, over varying types of highways, through whatever weather, day and night.  This ride was about 80% op tempo of the Iron Butt Rally.  I also wanted to practice pit stop (refuel, refresh, repair) and rest stop procedures.  I spent each rest stop in a motel and got pretty good at down/up loading once parked at the motel.  During the IBR I will be spending most rest stops at motels so getting the routine down helped.  I kept an accurate log and documented each rest stop to IBR standards getting start and ending dated business receipts.  Because I'm using a Spot track I may not have to maintain a fuel log during the IBR but I plan to verify fuel DBRs and document the odometer reading on the DBR just in case. 

I hydrated while riding and most of my mid day meals were consumed while riding.  I use a 100 oz. CamelBak hydration system with insulated hose as well as a one litre drink bottle for tasty good no sugar drinks with electrolytes.  Morning meals consist of a high protein, low glycemic index bar with a cup of coffee.  Mid day meals are high protein bar, my own trail mix recipe with water or sugar free sports drinks.  I would eat another bar and some trail mix around sunset.  Upon arriving at the rest stop location I would pick a gas station/convenience store near the motel, get a pint of 2% or non fat milk, hearty sandwich, some fruit, chips and other goodies.  This purchase would establish the beginning of the rest stop.  I would return to the same location to get a cup of coffee, fill up and get an ending DBR. 

Ride Pace Stats:
  • Total miles -- 10,230.2 GPS
  • Total time -- 231:49
  • Total moving time -- 147:28
  • Total stopped time --  84:21
  • Moving average MPH -- 69.4
  • Overall average MPH -- 44.1

Fuel Consumption Stats:
  • Total fuel stops -- 40
  • Total fuel consumed --  271.05 Gallons
  • Most fuel pumped  -- 9.147 Gallons
  • Lowest/Average/Highest MPG --  30.2 / 37.5 / 42.8
  • Total fuel cost -- $987.80
  • Lowest/Average/Highest PPG -- $3.16 / $3.64 / $4.05
Lodging, Meals and Incidental Expenses:
  • Lodging -- $582.29
  • Pocket cash - $218.54
  • Repair parts -- $69.55
Grand Total -- $1,858.18
Problem and Stress Management:  I was plagued by GPS audio problems starting on the first day.  This is an issue I have been experiencing with the zumo 665.  I am currently on my 3rd refurbished unit after the original failed before the 2011 Iron Butt Rally.  All the usual remedies seemed not to solve the issue.  While on the road I ordered a new wiring harness (cradle assembly) and had it over-nighted to my home near Wimberley.  At the end of day 5 I stopped at home to install the new cradle.  It seemed to work for some time, about 12 hours.  But, the issue came back.  I suspect the cradle is not stable at speeds over 70 MPH as the unit osculates somewhat in the Touratech mount.  So, doing the ride without audio is an inconvenience but not a critical issue.  It did cause some stress, as one might expect, until I resolved to ride without the audio for turn by turn or XM radio.  Navigation and WX radar were working just fine.

I was spending each night in a motel and getting quality sleep.  On the road I had several instances of bladder stress, 'cause I'm old, and I enjoy a couple cups of coffee in the morning.  I usually get about 2 hours down the road before I have to pay the 2 minute price of a comfort pit stop. 

I also experience a engine performance issue with the GSA which required a stop at Alamo BMW on day 4 to resolve.  They quickly identified the issue and applied their considerable expertise to correct the problem.  Kudos to Alamo BMW!!!  Thanks Comrades.

Personal Courage and Commitment:  This event has been on my bucket list for some time.  According to the IBA records no rider has ever done an "in state" 10,000 miles in 10 day or a SaddleSore 5,000 in Texas for the matter.  So, I figured with a little planning, some time and money I'd give it a shot.  My goal was to complete the ride and get home safe and sound.  I was prepared to stop the ride if pushing meant I'd have to exceed my skill abilities, the capabilities of the motorcycle or the limitation of the environment.  Also, I would not employ excessive speeds to make up for problems and delays encountered during the ride. Since I planned in more than 6 hours each night I would use that cushion to spend on delays.  During the IBR I will maintain rest discipline while striking a balance between task and pit stops to compensated for delays.  I plan on dialing back my planning OA/MA numbers to build in more slack time.  This will require me to plan better routes and riding the route more efficiently for all three legs.  My individual goals the IBR are better than 23rd position and another Gold Medal finish status.

On The Road Musings:  Around the edges...side to side...up one way...down another...and a whole lot of in between!

Monday - End of the ride -- 10,230.2 miles.  Ok, back at home safe and sound.  Stopped in Austin to get a picture of me and the GSA in front of the state capital.  Over the next couple of days I'll be doing up the IBA certification paperwork then update this posting with all the details about the ride.  So, check back if you like.

Friday -- End of Day 7, the GPS is showing 7,200.4 total miles.  At the end of day 5 when I stopped at home I was at 5,283.  So, lost a few miles over the last couple of days.  The GPS audio is working fine after I installed the new wiring harness while doing a pit stop at home on Wednesday.  I've noticed a couple more things I want to modify when I get back home.  On Thursday it was raining like crazy, huge thunderstorms, hail and even a tornado warning.  Most of the bad stuff was east of me as I was heading north.  Weather was good on Friday.

Tomorrow, Saturday, I work my way back through Dallas up towards the Red River then do a chunk of I-14 before heading to Alpine.  Tomorrow is scheduled to be an easy day with just over 925 miles.  I'll plan to pad my total miles with the wrap up rides on Sunday and Monday. 

Tuesday -- Day 4, over 4,200 miles and all is well.  Day 1-3 was all round the edges of the state.  Today was I-10, east to west.  Tomorrow will be I-20 from it's end just east of Van Horn all the way to the border town of Waskom, where I'll head towards Wimberley for a pit stop.  The riding has been great with lots of good weather.  I have had a few problems with gear and equipment.  First, the rear tire pressure sensor conked out.  Lost all the audio on my zumo 665 GPS.  No turn by turn, no XM radio, no MP3 player.  And if that wasn't irritating enough the wiring harness of the GPS is shorting out causing the unit to go wacko from time to time.  Called ahead for a new harness which is at home already.  Will got it changed out tomorrow.  The issue caused me to cut 100 miles off tomorrows' route to get home a little earlier to do the repairs.  Still, riding 1008 miles tomorrow so no sweat.

The GSA was acting up starting on Sunday.  I stopped at Alamo BMW and got it tended too.  The dealership was great and took care of the issue without delay. I was there about 1:20 minutes.  I go the owner to do a IBA witness sign off form.  All is good.

Planning -- See the Multi Route Leg Plan for details

Texas is a big state with lots of interstates and good highways. The planning strategy is 10 1,000 mile route segments each ending at a location with available motels.  The routes will crisscross the state using all available highways and roads.  I am on a 240:00 clock and  must keep an accurate fuel log, rest stop start/end receipts and account for time not riding due to delays.  I will be using Spot to mark key route points and for tracking as supplemental support information.  The Spotwalla day-by-day map links will be submitted to IBA as supplemental route documentation.  Start, enroute and finish witness forms are required for this IBA challenge ride. 

IBR Activities -- See An Organizing Framework for context
  • Planning and Navigation -- Plan the ride and ride the plan
  • Riding and Risk Management -- Ride within my skill limits, capabilities of the motorcycle and limitations of the riding environment
  • Ride Pace and Resource Management -- Maintain a steady ride pace while managing fuel, hydration, food and rest
  • Problem and Stress Management -- Apply critical thinking, understand the operational environment, solve the right problem, adapt to the dynamic conditions
  • Personal Courage and Commitment -- Push through the tough situations while doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason
  • Motorcycle, Riding Gear and Equipment -- Exercise the all the gear to discover opportunities for improvements

IBR Tasks Exercised
  • Select a Leg Route
  • Navigate Leg Route Segments
  • Conduct a Pit Stop
  • Document Activities
  • Conduct a Call-In 
  • Conduct a Rest Stop
  • Conduct Enroute Repairs
  • Prepare for Check Point Scoring


  1. Wishing you the best on your ride, Tim! Wish I had time to do that.

  2. Tim, Have a little fun in Buffalo, TX - That's my home town! Rex LeGalley

  3. Thanks Comrades....turning out to be a great ride with lots of problems to solve. The gear is getting a good workout.

  4. Is you Butt Sore yet? What problems are showing up? I'm thinking tires on those Texas Chip Seal Roads. I killed a rear tire, 5/32 of rubber in 2200 miles during the HOT Rally.

  5. Tim,
    I've enjoyed watching the Spot and reading the updates. Thanks! Very impressive undertaing... for sure!
    Nick (Igneouss on the IBA board)

  6. Last day!
    Realy remarkable!
    Seems like you reseved the last day with fewer miles and lots of time.
    Keep it safe!

  7. Yep, about 2 hours from home. Tim had me worried last night when he stopped short of Ft. Worth, instead of Abilene. Looks like he rerouted the last day to make Texas look like a spider web. Good Going Tim. I am looking forward to an extensive and overly detailed ride report!

  8. Yee haa! That was fun. Back home safe and sound. I'll be doing up the ride report in the coming days and will include it here in this post.

  9. Nice job - I enjoyed keeping track of the ride and very inspirational. I enjoy your details on LD riding and fact that you "ride the plan" - while taking copious notes.

    Good Luck @ IBR 2013.


  10. I'm disappointed Tim. You were that close to Clovis and didn't call me for coffee....

    Aikens - see you at the finish

  11. Impressive!

    I can only day-dream such "test" runs. Maybe when I retire...15 more years...
    One thing you forgot to practice, though:
    Engraving your rider number to the wind screen in front of you... ;)

    Good luck!

  12. Congrats on this ride. Texas is one of a handful of States where you could do such a ride. Great info for the rest of us as we sit and think about July 1. I have a 1150GS and have been watching your test of the Anakee 3's with great interest. See you soon. Larry in Jax, FL

  13. Great Report! Very nicely organized. I wish you well on the IBR.
    IBPete #341

  14. Great ride, Tim, and a good report. Helluva way to prepare for the IBR! As a side note...I don't know why IBA records would not show it, but Richard Buber did a 10/10ths in-state in Florida in 2011 as his "ride-in" for the IBA pizza party.

    Ray King

  15. Tim - congratulations from a local LD novice. I have a house in Henly and live in Cedar Park. Just completed my 1st SS1000 in May as part of Hoagy's Heros Temple based ride. Don't have my IBA number yet, but hope it's in the mail. At a 'not old 61', I look forward to following you on-line during the IBR next month. Safe travels!

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