How I Failed My Way into 2 Iron Butt Awards

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Slippy Chips, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    5 minutes late???

    I rebooted my GPS and recalculated.

    This time it said 6 minutes late. At first there was panic. Then that shifted to confusion. Then I felt a little rage coming on before starting back at panic. My hopes were so high only to come crashing back down in flames.

    Where had I gone wrong? I had gone over 480 miles and only stoped once. After the traffic and border patrols I had ridden perfectly (well, Carter and I had...). I had been cruising comfortably over the posted speed limits and had done nothing but lose more time... 20 minutes to be exact.

    I hated myself for not getting my act together earlier that morning. I was pisssd off at El Paso traffic. I was mad at the guy at the gas station in New Mexico who had to play 20 questions about my bike while I was clearly trying to get back on the road "How many miles you got on that thing?" "How many gallons does that thing hold!" "My uncle's neighbor's preacher has a Harley..." If only I could have some of that time back from that morning I would be set.

    I realize GPS units aren't exact but I also know they get more accurate the closer you get. I was getting closer and I was getting later. The trend was very clear. At that rate I'd be more than an hour late and arriving at 5am EST didn't sound like fun. I also knew that I had to stop again so it would only get worse. I still hadn't even finished filling up where I was. I knew I couldn't ride much better than I had and there were some complicated, unknown (to me) elevations that last 100 miles.

    Before I stopped I only kinda hoped I had another 5 hours in me that night. I was at the margins of what was safe. I didn't think it was worth pushing past those margins to be late.

    Maybe it was denial, maybe it was biology. Either way I had to go to the bathroom. So I went and tried to decide what to do.

    I decided to do what I do, apparently, when the going gets tough... I quit again.
    #21
  2. WYO George

    WYO George Long timer

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    The 10-48 is also on the list, my biggest issue is working in the motorcycle industry puts my summers incredibly busy and winter is a bad time to try any long distance rides, especially being based out of WY. Maybe I'll sneak a week away in 2017, maybe it'll have to wait until 2018. Either way I'll do it if I live long enough.
    #22
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  3. WYO George

    WYO George Long timer

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    Don't quit on the ride report!! I'm waiting semi-patiently...
    #23
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  4. klrhino

    klrhino Adventurer

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    Mate it sounds like your a human. I think we can all relate to the things you write.
    Chin up mate. Loving your story. Cheers from oz.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #24
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  5. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    Thanks! I grew up in Adelaide. Mum is still there! Thank you for the encouragement!
    #25
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  6. Sl0rider

    Sl0rider Been here awhile

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    An Adelaidean! no wonder I'm enjoying your tale so much!

    Thanks for writing.
    #26
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  7. rongsx1100g

    rongsx1100g Adventurer

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    Thanks for the story, I really enjoyed it.
    #27
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  8. Motormom

    Motormom Been here awhile

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    Can't wait to hear the rest......
    #28
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  9. Dave Bell

    Dave Bell Been here awhile

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    LD riding is sure not for everybody. Me, for example. I did my Saddlesore 1000 but haven't been interested in anything else. I started a B2B from Mexico to Canada but succumbed to a horrible ache in my neck pretty close to home (NE Texas) and quit. I like to do about 300-500 miles per day and then get a motel and a cold beer.

    I have a buddy who has done a lot of extreme rides. He even invented one of the Iron Butt Rides that involves hitting a bunch of bays around the USA and Canada (maybe, not really sure about the Canada). He was in the Iron Butt Rally and ended up crashing his Gold Wing and getting a concussion. He is a lot tougher than I am.
    #29
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  10. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    This was just last week so it's still pretty fresh. There are some thoughts that I am still unresolved about. For some time I will probably continue to both regret my decision to quit and be satisfied that I made a wise decision.

    The regret is because I know I could have done it, I spent a lot of money to attempt it, and my pregnant wife sacrificed a lot to keep the kids alone while I chased some goofy award for a week.

    Now that I have baby #4 on the way and the fact that I don't even own a motorcycle anymore means I probably won't get to give it another go for years (if ever). It's one of those "so close yet so far" situations.

    The other side is that quitting the challenge was probably the wise thing to do. I was obvious very fatigued. I was halfway loony. In "Iron Butt world" 360 miles and 5 hours is no big deal. In the REAL world an extra 360 miles -after you've just gone for 2,000 - is just nuts. I didn't know much about the rest of the way but I knew there were mountains in between. Crossing mountains in my shape may have been disastrous.

    I had officially quit for the second time (that day no less). So I made a reservation at a nearby hotel and rode there mad at the world. I paid $60 for a room and felt like I absolutely got ripped off. When the AC worked it sounded like a freight train. It would run until the room was 55 degrees and then turn off until it was 78. I took one look at the shower and refused to get in. I may be a useless coward but I am no diva. That shower was just that nasty.

    The room had one redeeming quality. It was the single most comfortable mattress I have ever slept on. And sleep I did. You could have fired a cannon by my head and I wouldn't have budged.

    Even after sleeping I woke up grouchy. I walked down to the breakfast buffet. I put some instant eggs on a styrofoam plate. And then I just sat there and looked at them. Out of curiosity I pulled out my phone to see how far I had come since Jacksonville Beach: 2,012 miles. Really? "That's pretty good" I thought. I looked at my check-in time and that put me there 45 hours.

    I pulled up the Iron Butt website and discovered that i had completely unintentionally qualified for the Saddle Sore 2,000 (2,000 miles in 48 hours). Along with the Saddle Sore 1,000 I had qualified the first day it meant that I had earned 2 separate Iron Butt awards while failing to get the 50cc I was trying to get. I'm a part of the generation who feels like they need a shiny medal for every little thing and that seemed to perk me up a good bit. It was not a bad consolation prize. I hadn't planned on stopping when I did. It was purely a coincidence that I quit after just barely passing the 2,000 mile mark. I immediately went and had the hotel manager/owner/chef who checked me in sign my witness form.

    Then I had a coast to get to.
    #30
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  11. IdahoGaucho

    IdahoGaucho Adventurer

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    Thank you for reporting your ride. I did the SS1000 a couple of years ago and the B2B Insanitty ride last year. I have a great riding friend who did them both with me. We have a similar riding style so it worked really well. It works well for me to ride with someone else so we can encourage each other and also monitor each other's mental state. He's wanting to do the 50CC in 2017 but I'm not sure I can find the time with the other commitments I have. Thanks again for your report. I could really relate. My ride report is Border 2 Border Mexico to Canada in the Day Tripper Forum.
    #31
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  12. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    The thought occurred to me that maybe I could make it in 60 hours. And if you squint some 60cc kinda looks like 50cc. So that became the new goal. But I wasn't going to kill myself trying to get it. At this point I was just going to enjoy the ride.

    The good news is that I actually stopped to take some pictures. So from here on out the rest of the ride report will be a little less drama and a bit more visual.

    I headed West I-8 across Arizona. It was another beautiful day and I was feeling good in the saddle. The road was as strait as an arrow and relatively vacant.

    I pulled up to a rest area a mere 80 miles in (my shortest stretch by far) and handed my $700 lifeline to the world to a complete stranger to take my picture: IMG_1791.JPG

    Arizona had some of the most... umm... robust smells I have encountered. The fertilizers they were putting on the crops made my beard curl.

    By the time I hit Yuma it was 90 degrees and I could feel all of them. What wouldn't I have done to have had 10 to 15 of those degrees on the front end of the trip?

    West of Yuma there is a stretch where you pass through some amazing dunes. I pulled out my GoPro out to film some of me riding through there. Instead I filmed an hour and a half inside my Tank Bag. Have I mentioned that I'm incompetent?

    The last 100 miles are pretty interesting. You go from ~50 ft below sea level in El Centro, up to over 4,300 ft, then back down to sea in San Diego. On some stretches the westbound and eastbound lanes are several miles apart as the road weaves through the undulations.

    As you head West on I-8 the mountains grow higher and higher. When you arrive they seem to jut strait up from the desert floor. The road is lined with hundreds windmills. On this particular day they were all spinning around quickly and I could tell this would be an interesting ascent.

    In pictures you just don't appreciate how incredibly massive those windmills are. It just doesn't seem possible that something so large could be affected by air.

    I took my time climbing the mountains. It was good to use a gear not named "6th" for the first time in days. The wind wasn't as bad as I feared but the gusts were unpredictable and strong. Fortunately traffic was light and the drivers weren't nearly as crazy as they would be on the other side of the mountains.

    At exit 73 I stopped one last time to compose myself for the final stretch. 3 stops in less than 300 miles is not something I would have entertained a day earlier.

    You can still see sand on my boots from Jacksonville beach 2,200 miles ago:
    IMG_1821.JPG

    I kept asking myself if this is something I could have done the night before. I wanted to know if maybe I could have made it after all. No doubt the stretch from Tucson to El Centro was possible. The climb was more uncertain in my fatigued state. I was forced to conclude that "maybe I could have. Maybe I couldn't." It only takes one mistake for things to end badly so maybe I did make the right call. Maybe.

    The decent down into the chaos of San Diego was eventful. There was a 6% grade for 25 miles. I got passed by the same kid in a Lexus 3 times because he got pulled over twice on the way down. Once down in the city I got passed by someone who didn't even get out of my lane when they passed. Generally there was almost no regard for space around motorcycles.

    Finally I pulled up to the traffic light at the end of I-8. I was only blocks from the beach. I was such an acomplished rider! When the light turned green I stalled dead and dropped my glove in traffic. I caused two lanes of angry drivers to miss a full cycle at the light. I rolled off to the side. Ran like "Frogger" through the traffic to get my glove. I wanted to cover over the "GEORGIA" on my lisence plate because I know what people out West think about slow people from the South.

    After all of that my arrival at the beach was completely anticlimactic. There were no fireworks or welcoming committee. I pulled in to an empty spot by the sand and waited for someone to walk close enough by so I could ask them to take my photo. When a lady finally did I told her what I had just done and why I wanted a photo. She said "that's nice" and went back to eating a lump of something locally-grown-gluten-free-organic.
    IMG_1813.JPG

    So now what?

    I had the rental bike for a few more days and a flight in Phoenix to catch.
    #32
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  13. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    Ya can't impress a tofu princess with your feats of earthly travel. :nono

    You should have told her you were visiting from another planet and that her aura had nice hints of blue, but that you could help her achieve an even greater peace by taking your aura-adjuster (winking when you handed her your iPhone for a "picture"). She would have followed you anywhere. Or at least giving you more respect than "that's nice" :nod

    :lol3


    :clap :clap :clap Congrats on realigning your value system and enjoying the accomplishments you did achieve. :deal
    #33
  14. rascalman

    rascalman GhostRider, the clock is ticking

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    If those wall ornaments are that important then I am glad you "backed in" to two of those awards. But more importantly I am glad you assessed your situation and did the right thing for your physical/mental state. Even better you were able to escape those shackles of pressure and truly enjoy that last segment of your ride on your own terms. You accomplished something a very small percentage of riders ever get to do, regardless of the time it took, you rode from one coast to another and that is a major accomplishment in and of itself. Congrats.
    #34
  15. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I enjoyed this. Congrats on getting to the Pacific safely. You kicked the crap out of any time I might have logged.
    #35
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  16. refokus

    refokus Hmmmmmm

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    North Phoenix
    I enjoyed reading your ride report like many others. It must have been devastating when you threw in the towel and called it quits.............but..........you made the perfect call. You admittedly were very fatigued and you were unsure of your mental state to push on for what? The risk of your family losing there dad/husband. You made the Perfect Call! Congrats all the same for a very accomplished attempt. Now, go hug your family! :thumb
    #36
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  17. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    Thank you! I'm blessed to have been able to go on such an adventure. It was a worthy farewell tour for my riding career.... at least for a few years.
    #37
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  18. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    The awards to put on the wall are nice. But really it's about setting a challenge before yourself and doing what you can to rise to the occasion. I had an adventure along the way and have a nice story to tell about what happened along the way. I live/work in a pretty safe bubble. I work in a job I'm really good at that is very rewarding. I need challenges like this to pull me out of my bubble. The awards give us a common set of terms to talk to others about and are a good reminder as time goes by.

    After I had arrived at Ocean Beach, CA I will had a few days left on the rental. That day was supposed to be a rest day but since I was behind schedule I thought I might do some riding anyway. But for the rest of that day I needed to do at least a little recovering.

    My wife had cashed in some points and set me up in a nice hotel right downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter. I had 2 main needs: to sit on something flat and to eat a REAL meal.

    When you've been eating beef jerky and trail mix in gas station parking lots you find the biggest burger in the city:
    IMG_1818.JPG
    IMG_1817.JPG
    There was a large convention in town so the city was full of life. There were people from all over the world to watch.

    The bellman was also a rider and he drew out a map for what he thought was a good ride. Apparently we have different ideas of what is a "good ride" but it turned out to be a fun way to spend the day.

    I explored Ocean Beach some more and spent some time watching the waves crash in:

    IMG_1844.JPG

    Then I worked my way up to La Jolla where I ate some amazing tacos by the beach:
    IMG_1929.JPG

    The tires had developed some significant flat spots during my ride out so cornering was a little hairy when I'd get up on the edge. Still, working my way through the gears and cornering was a nice change from the previous days.
    #38
  19. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    That day was an enjoyable day in its own right. It was a very different kind of day to the others but I knew going into it that the week would be made up of two very different kinds of trips. I explored random roads and took lots of detours. I went back to the hotel with a lot left in the tank knowing I had to head out to Phoenix the next day to catch my flight home.


    IMG_1927.JPG

    My favorite thing in all of San Diego was the Apple Pancake at Richard Walker's. I've never paid $15 for a pancake before but it was worth every dime:
    IMG_1859.JPG

    Here are another couple of pictures from my short little jaunt along the coast:

    IMG_1834.JPG
    IMG_1857.JPG
    #39
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  20. Slippy Chips

    Slippy Chips Been here awhile

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    I think doing with another rider who has a similar style would make all the difference in the world. Especially if you had some sort of Bluetooth communication system. More than 2 or 3 would be a challenge though. Originally I was going to do it with a friend. In the end he was not able to work it out so I just decided to go it alone.

    I made lots of other mistakes but going with someone else would have helped overcome a lot of them.
    #40
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