Author Topic: Ride Report - SaddleSore 1000  (Read 1774 times)

Offline franknsr

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Ride Report - SaddleSore 1000
« on: October 23, 2019, 06:28:24 AM »

Hello all-
Got a suggestion from Keith that I do a ride report on my Iron Butt eXperience. Sorry this is so long, guess I had a lot to say.

Been thinking about doing an Iron Butt ride for a while and spend some time on their website reading everything I could find relating to the SaddleSore 1000. I knew I wanted to go and thought this was one of those “someday” plans. On my way home from out of town last Friday my thoughts turned to Sunday; my birthday. I knew my wife was going to ask what I wanted to do and I already had my answer. I’d spend the day doing the SaddleSore 1000.

I’ve got two bikes; an 81 FLT that needs a rear tire and possibly a lifter, and the Super X. I wasn’t quite sure the X was up to the trip but it was my best option for actually making it home, so I loaded up some tools, a tire repair kit and planned on heading out early Sunday morning. The next thing I did was to hook up the trailer to my car and make sure there was a ramp and ties downs in the trunk just in case my wife had to organize a search and rescue mission. It wouldn’t be the first time. I then printed out the forms to be filled out along the way so I wouldn’t miss anything. I’m not the kind of guy who is real comfortable approaching a stranger at a gas station and asking them to sign a witness form so on Saturday I contacted folks I knew near St. Louis, Kansas City, and Des Moines and asked if they wouldn’t mind helping me by being a witness at those stops. My friend in KC was out of town so I turned to the EH Facebook page and shortly after David McQuitty and Julie Driski came to my rescue and agreed to meet me at a gas stop. Turns out they are wonderful people and I feel richer for having met them. (Would you expect anything less from the X community?)

Sunday morning I was up at 5:30 and my son was up and ready to sign me out so he could go back to bed. It's a tall task for a millenial gamer who was up half the night to be up at 5:45 to see me off, but he’s a good guy. I rolled out at 6:15 am wondering if I had over dressed because I put the liner in my riding jacket and was wearing my overpants and gloves. I could always take them off later I thought, but once I hit the 52 degree morning I realized this was a good call.

Per the ride requirements I stopped near my house and gassed up. At each gas stop I would snap a picture of the receipt clearly showing the date and time next to my odometer as suggested by the Iron Butt folks. I would do this 11 more times in the next 24 hours at gas stops in four states.

Halfway to St. Louis I started to think that I was actually going to make it. The bike was running great, I was a little cold but feeling good, and life couldn’t be any better. I knew the challenge would come much later in this journey but right then all was right in my world.

I rode over the Mississippi and headed out to Warrenton to meet my friend Diana. She takes care of an elderly gentlemen (who just turned 100!) and they would be having lunch at Denny’s around the time I rolled through. The timing worked out great and Diana was familiar with the 1000 so she signed my witness form, said a prayer for me and kicked me out to my bike. Diana is an long time friend who has more two wheeled miles that most of us so when she says go, you go. ;-)

Across the street for a quick gas stop and cheeseburger and I was ready to get back on I-70 heading west. Before I did that I dropped a quick text to David letting him know my ETA to our agreed upon gas stop would be about 3:30. Another gas stop and a missed exit later I arrived at the gas station at 3:45. As I pulled in I saw a couple sitting at a table outside with 2 adorable dogs and knew I found David and Julie. We chatted for a few minutes, I gassed up and after I realized that there was no way Julie was going to let me leave with one of those pups in each saddlebag, I suited up and headed to I-35 North.

The quart of oil in my saddle bag was leftover from my last oil change and I didn’t realize this until I added oil in KC. Next stop; Walmart for some synthetic oil. I also remember that cold morning ride so I added a sweatshirt to my list. Had I taken more time to plan this ride out I could have gained some valuable miles instead of shopping during this trip. I was a little frustrated with myself for these oversights. It wasn’t really about the time to complete this. 24 Hours is plenty of time to complete the ride safely. My concern was losing mileage during daylight and turning this into an overnight adventure. I still felt good but had a feeling that the last few hours would be a grid. I was afraid of how this could go and those fears would come to life around 1:00 am.

A couple more gas stops, up the road to Des Moines. I turned my GPS on guide me the final few miles to witness stop number 3. I followed Waze to the wrong house, then used Google maps to take me 15 minutes away to the right house. The only reason I knew to try this was the trouble I had with Uber when I came to visit my friend earlier this year. Apparently the Lyft app takes drivers to the right neighborhood and Uber to the wrong one. Learned the hard way that Waze has the same issue. Visited with Jeremy for a few minutes, got a signature and headed to the local gas station. Now folks, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world and have experienced a variety of food, but when your on the road and hungry there is something about a gas station hot dog that has a special place in my heart. You know that warm feeling that says everything is good right now. Of course there will be a rest area stop in the next 20 miles, but right now all is good.

Started to drizzle as I gassed up so I got on the highway and quickly headed east thinking I’d get ahead the rain. I waited for the downpour that never came. Score one for team Super X. This is where things started getting a little more intense. I had now been in the saddle for 14 hours of what I calculated to be an 18 hour trip, and my saddle was, well, sore. Very. Most of the afternoon

I had been moving my feet around on the floorboards and using the rear pegs more as time went on, but the situation was becoming uncomfortable. I began making rest area stops, then gas stops more often, then longer stops. In all my years of riding I never realized that the jeans I was wearing which fit me great a few years ago was the source of my sore saddle. Next time I will be wearing a nice pair of sweat pants under my riding pants.

The bigger issue was that I developed a killer headache. I took some ibuprofen but it really didn’t help. The point came where I just didn’t want to have my helmet on ,but at every stop I’d take it off and walk around. I felt better, but once back on the road this cycle would repeat itself over and over for the rest of the night.

This last leg of the journey which should have taken 4 hours actually took 7. With all the stops and walking around I was losing time, now I was starting to get tired, which led to frustration. I promised myself I would not ride if I was sleepy because it is better to stop and live to try another time. Crossing back into Illinois I pulled into a rest stop and while there I pulled out my phone and Googled Hotels near me, just in case. Turns out I had just past the last exit with any hotels for miles. No problem, I was just checking.

By the time I hit Geneseo IL I was really ready to stop. I rode ahead to Ottawa IL. So close, but I was ready to call it. I pulled out my phone again and checked my Hilton app for available rooms near me. Since it was now after 12:00 am, the check in time would have been 3:00 pm. I wasn’t sure how to book a room to check into now. I really didn’t want to call and try to explain this, but that little mental dance was enough to get some adrenaline pumping. Now I’m wide awake, head is pounding and I’m not sure how to book a room so I might as well ride. Now I’m heading to Morris IL and I decided that I didn’t want to come back to the EH group and say I didn’t make it. I was determined to make it these last few hours even if I had to stop every 15 minutes. Now, I do want to point out that if I were really tired I would have stopped and slept at a rest area if I had to. I do not believe in riding past my limits and definitely didn’t want to fall asleep and wake up in heaven. All that said, the thought of this group kept me going in those final hours. That is really a strange thought looking back now since I am yet to meet most of the good folks here. I think that needs to change. ;-)

In Morris I stopped for gas and my credit card had been flagged by my bank for suspicious activity. Who would think that the 10 previous $1.00 preauthorizations in less than 24 hours would cause a problem. Not me. The nice gas pump politely told me to see the cashier and I had visions of her cutting my card up. I handed her my card, she preauthorized $10, and I was on my down the onramp and eastbound on I-80.

Now I was getting excited. I was going to make it! I slayed this beast! Before my ego got to big my ass reminded me that I’m not Superman and I pulled into a rest area. A walk around then back on the bike for the final leg home. When I rolled into my town I pulled into an Amoco and ran my card. “See Attendant”. Man its 3:00 am and I just want to get my FINAL gas receipt, the most important one, and go home. There was a nice warm bed waiting for me just a few blocks away. I went to see the attendant and he was in a bulletproof fishbowl sound asleep. I was on the fence; should I wake him up and try to explain to this sweet sleeping man who knows english as a second language that I need him to preauthorize $1.00 in gas just so I can get a time stamped receipt and hope he understands as he slowly recovers from his slumber fog, or do I just take the cash drawer and leave? I opted for option 3 and went across the street to Shell.

There I saw my old friend “See Cashier” at the pump, so I obliged. I was greeted by a lady who really enjoyed working nights and dealing with people. Not. I was ordered to wait because she was closing out the register, running totals and then reopening. Then she would help me in a few minutes. At that moment I realized I would rather use my debit card and explain to the Iron Butt people why one receipt is different than the rest, so I did. I headed home and was greeted by my wife who waited up to record my mileage. If she was going to sign something saying I arrived at 3:15 am, by god she was going to witness it.

If I have a couple takeaways from this experience it would be that I should have planned the ride better. Google said 15 hours of ride time, my calculations said about 18 with stops, but in the end it was 21 hours. All the extra unplanned stops really put me behind. Today I figured out that the bad headache was related to a lack of caffeine. I drink a few cups of coffee each day and on Sunday was anxious to get on the road so skipped breakfast. Later on the road I didn’t want to take time to let a cup of coffee cool so I could drink it. The other surprise is how sore I am a couple days after the ride. It really is mentally and physically challenging.

Would I do it again? Hell yes. Will I be doing the Bun Burner 1500? Hell no. But ask me next year. I have a feeling that answer may change.

Ride safe my friends
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 06:06:54 PM by franknsr »

Offline wytfut

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Re: Ride Report - SaddleSore 1000
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2019, 06:34:55 PM »
Well Frank.... in my book that was far from "too long" ..... a great report...   as I read, I felt I was following you.... LOLOLOL

Since we lost Jumper, we don't have near the stories reported I feel we had then, so yours is a very welcome read. ....

Congratulations......   pretty sure with my artificial hips, and crazy wrists, ... its probably out of my realm.... nice job...

Uh Frank.... you never said how old for your birthday....

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Offline Donkey Hotey

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Re: Ride Report - SaddleSore 1000
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2019, 09:16:19 PM »
Good job on doing that on a cruiser. As you found: the riding position is not really ideal for long hours in the saddle. My longest on a Super X was just shy of 700 miles. Road closures and construction in Yosemite meant that going home 'the short way' was going to take just as long as going over Tioga Pass and down the eastern Sierra. The day didn't start as an endurance run but, it sure ended as one.

The hot ticket for riding comfort is padded bicycle shorts instead of underwear. And as you discovered, the doubled-over seams on jeans pockets can cause people problems depending on your butt and where those pockets end up relative to the seat.

FWIW: the Saddlesore (1000) and Bun Burner (1500) aren't much different for the punishment you'll endure. The pain usually reaches a threshold but, doesn't get any worse. You've now realized your body has to have its caffeine fix or else. That's good to know. Taking ibuprofen before and during the ride can alleviate some of the muscle aches you'll get.

I kept an insulated water jug with 6-7 feet of plastic tubing in the saddlebag. It was routed up to the bars where I could get a drink of cold water any time. I kept granola bars in a handlebar bag for something to eat when I would start getting tired.

Back when I did them, they were administered by local clubs. You had to get printed receipts but, you also had to follow a prescribed route which limited the amount of interstate. This meant you were on two-lane, mountain roads, in the dark and all through the night.

I remember starting the ride on my Gold Wing and watched some guy take off on a GSXR 750. I laughed at the notion of riding a sportbike for 1,500 miles. The joke was on me when I passed his bike, parked at a motel in the middle of the night, then he caught and passed me sometime early the next morning. Twisty roads killed me on that Gold Wing and he was doing the most important thing: average speed.

When I did each, they ran the vertical length of California, criss-crossing the state multiple times on the route. There was no way to 'cheat' because there was no faster way to any of the checkpoints. I don't know if they share this on the IBA websites or discussions anymore but:

  • They usually started the 1,000 at midnight. That meant you rode through the night, watched the sun rise once, then finished by 7-8 PM. The theory was it's easier mentally than riding over the span of two daylight days.
  • The 1,500 similarly started at noon. That was to again minimize the mental effects of multiple days. Ride though one sundown, through the night and finish sometime the next day. In theory, you could even sleep somewhere for 4-5 hours and finish in plenty of time.
It's still a battle with your own mind and your willingness to stay in the seat and keep moving. Welcome to the club!

Now you know you can do 1,000 miles in a day if you have to. Draw a thousand mile circle around your house and see how many places you could go and still be home the next day if you had to.

Finally: I'm relieved this story ended much differently than how it unfolded in my mind...

Now folks, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel around the world and have experienced a variety of food, but when your on the road and hungry there is something about a gas station hot dog that has a special place in my heart. You know that warm feeling that says everything is good right now. Of course there will be a rest area stop in the next 20 miles, but right now all is good.

Started to drizzle as I gassed up so...
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 09:19:07 PM by Donkey Hotey »

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Offline franknsr

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Re: Ride Report - SaddleSore 1000
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 10:54:19 AM »
Hey Greg, thanks for the comments and info, much appreciated. BTW, the fact that you picked up on the subtleties of the story tells me you were paying attention. I can't stop laughing about how this unfolded in your mind, but lets promise each other that when we meet, we will never discuss it.

Finally: I'm relieved this story ended much differently than how it unfolded in my mind...

Now folks, I