Are you smarter than I am?
If you haven't done an Iron Butt ride and don't
intend to you certainly are!
If you aren't familiar with the Iron Butt Association you can visit
their website at www.ironbutt.com. The Iron Butt Association is all
about safe long distance riding and they, rightfully so, bill themselves
the World's Toughest Riders. I did a 1000 mile ride in 24 hours. Why
anyone want to do this you may ask. Don't ask me because I've done it
don't know why. I was asking myself this for the last 500 miles of the
trip. I think the reason they call it the Iron Butt Association is
nobody would want to be a member if they called it the Rock Head
Association! My first clue should have been that of the 14 riders that
on this ride I was the only woman. Not because I think woman are less
capable of men but because I think that we're usually a little smarter
men when it comes to these kind of challenges. Guess where this puts me
I rode with my husband, Brian, (this was a mutual decision and I was in
way pressured by my partner to do this...like it would have done any
anyway!) and another riding friend of ours, Frank. We started out in
Bellingham, WA at 8 am on a Saturday and had to ride to Ontario, OR and
back in Bellingham by 8 am Sunday. I have a Yamaha V-Star 1100, my
has a Honda VTX 1800 and Frank has a VTX 1300. We're all pretty
riders speed wise but I'm not as fast as they are through the twisties.
the riders did finish but our group was the last in a 7:29 a.m. This is
a race, just an endurance/distance ride. The other groups did not stop
lunch but I'm diabetic and when it's time for me to eat, I eat. They,
other 11, pretty much snacked as they were gassing up their bikes. We
stopped almost hourly as the temperatures were 95-101. I'd soak my
and it'd be dry within 10 minutes. The first 500 miles were fine if you
don't mind riding through hell (I don't as I grew up in Missouri).
For the first 1/2 of the ride I could see all the things we were driving
and not able to stop and check out. I crossed the 49th parallel, a
shaped like a teapot (I was NOT delirious at this point), the Oregon
and the Lewis and Clark trail. I'm not sure what else we passed, it was
going by pretty fast. I couldn't see anything but pavement from about 11
to 4:30 am. This contributes to the monotony. The last 500 miles were
difficult for me as my mind, not butt, was numb. (I've got to much
to have a numb butt and I don't think I got rid of any of it on this
which, I think, is grossly unfair.) To me there is something inherently
wrong watching the sunset from your motorcycle and then watching the
sunrise from said motorcycle. I was so tired at 2:30 am that I was
to maintain a constant speed so we stopped at a rest area in Yakima, WA.
take a break. As we parked the bikes at the rest area Brian and I were
laughing as the sign posted in the rest area said "Watch for Rattle
(honestly!) Gives you a sense of being able to rest doesn't it? I laid
down, or up, on a picnic table for 30 minutes to rest and clear my mind.
After that I felt much better and knew I could go the remaining 200
or so. When we got back and were checked in I found out that all the
riders seemed to feel about the same as I did, why do this? Of course,
everybody is tired and it's hard to remember why you've taken on a
challenge like this after being on your bike for 19-23 hours.
If you're an Iron Butt rider and you enjoy doing these rides I salute
and admire you, but(t) you and I have really different DNA. I like to
challenge myself but I like to feel like the it was a worthwhile
I am a pretty confident person and feel that I can do anything that I
my mind to but this just was not rewarding for me. My riding buddies, on
the other hand, are thinking about the 1500 mile ride.
Lessons I've learned (or think I've learned):
If I were doing it again
I'd ride a straight 1,000 miles instead of
turning around at 500 miles or I'd do a loop. Then you could ride back
more leisurely pace or have different scenery.
When you drop your
helmet at the gas station instead of trying to catch
it let it fall. It's better for the helmet to hit the ground then
your bike fall 3/4 of the ways over while trying to catch helmet.
People really do wear
bikinis when riding in places other than Sturgis...
- I'm at least smarter
than the woman riding in the bikini even though I
didn't look as good as she did. (This woman was a passenger and was
leaning against the sissy bar with her legs up over the drivers thighs and was
resting her nicely pedicured feet on the gas tank. The man she was
riding with had on boots, jeans and a long sleeve shirt. What was she
thinking? I'm scared for this woman!)
- I now fully appreciate
the line, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home...."
- Do not ride through a
desert like area.
- Start really early.
- Wear padded bike shorts
under your pants.
- Sheepskin is comfortable
to sit on.
- Sometimes a wet
t-shirt is a good thing.
- Take Aspirin.
- Wear earplugs.
(this is a Biggie)
Wear gloves with gel
pads and take extra gloves.
- Take cash for gas.
Debit/credit cards are limited as so many gas
stations are now linked to the same system and you can only use your
twice in 24 hours without having to get overrides, thus wasting time.
- 'There ain't
nothin I can't do...'
I will never do
another Iron Butt ride.
Sorry if parts of this are
unclear but my little gray cells are still befuddled. I also want to
Thank those people that sent positive energy and prayers my way. A big
Thank you to one of the finest people I've ever known and a true blue
friend, our official Iron Butt sponsor, Pam! I love that woman! Also,
thanks to my Buddy AerOwe (another true blue friend) who I think still
wanted to do the ride even after I told her how hard it was. What do I
get out of this ride other than the questionable satisfaction of knowing
I survived? Why, a certificate and patch of course....
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