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Thread: The Iron Butt Rally (11,000 miles/11 days)

  1. #31
    On the Road moterbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    BOAF Caves
    The rumours said it was gonne be Goose Bay, with all the rain this year that could be a bad bonus

  2. #32
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    From Bob:

    Primm, Nevada
    August 12, 2003
    Day 1

    Ernie Pyle And Me

    Someone, maybe von Clausewitz, called it the fog of
    war. Information comes in. It sounds good, but it turns out to be
    bad. You think it's true, but it's crap. Yesterday morning a woman walked
    by me in the motel parking lot. Smoke from fires in the mountains west of
    the city wafted through downtown Missoula. It looked like Los Angeles
    during the riots. A woman walked by me. "Lolo pass is closed," she
    said. "I just heard it on the radio."
    There are really only two main ways through the Bitterroot
    Mountains. One is via I-90, which once was a U.S. highway and before that
    a state highway and before that a wagon trail and before that a trapper's
    route and before that an Indian path and before that a deer track. In that
    sense, I suppose, it's fair to say that I-90 was originally mapped out by a
    jack rabbit.
    The other route is by way of U.S. 12. It runs west over Lolo pass
    toward Lowell, Idaho. On the Montana side is Lolo Hot Springs where in the
    movie "A River Runs Through It" Norman MacLean's brother was beaten to
    death in a bar. The real Paul MacLean was actually murdered in
    Chicago. The fog of poetic license.
    The Montana-Idaho border lies at the top of the pass. To the west
    one of the world's great motorcycle roads begins, a section of
    uninterrupted curves for 77 continuous miles. At least some of the riders
    would have taken that road to reach bonuses in central Washington. If Lolo
    were really closed, they might not have gotten through. At that point, I
    thought, they might have backtracked to run south on U.S. 93, a highway
    that has been closed off and on because of fires during much of the past
    several weeks.
    I went inside to the hotel receptionist. She had just been on the
    telephone with fire and highway officials in Montana and Idaho. Lolo was
    open. Really? Really. But was it really? Is a radio faster or more
    accurate than a telephone? Fog, fog.
    Sometimes I tell people that I know what Ernie Pyle's life was
    like. He was a war correspondent in the Pacific during World War II. It
    is a tough, scary job. Accurate information is rare. Fog is
    everywhere. People really are out to get you. Ernie was killed by machine
    gun fire near Okinawa. A nation mourned. Some motorcyclist, angry that I
    have commented unfavorably on his riding style, will one day rearrange the
    back of my skull with a brick. The last thing I will see is fog.

    How To Get From Montana To Nevada

    The first thing a rider must decide when the list of bonus
    locations is dispensed at the beginning of a leg is the route to be taken
    to the next checkpoint. Some factors to be considered are the length of
    the proposed ride, the value of the bonuses, and the kinds of conditions
    --- principally roads and weather --- likely to be
    encountered. Additionally, experienced riders know that as the rally
    progresses, the bonuses invariably increase in value. The vagaries of
    human emotion also must be recognized and controlled. Conservative riding
    will trump greed every time.
    In the first leg of the 2003 Iron Butt, there were three basic
    rides that looked appealing: 1) Ride west to Washington, south to the
    Nevada desert to reel in some easy bonus points, pass up the hard ones
    (like Bristlecone Pine forest and the charcoal kilns in Death Valley), and
    then to the checkpoint; 2) Ride south to the Nevada desert, pick up all the
    difficult bonuses there, and head to the checkpoint; 3) Ride south to the
    Nevada desert, skip the difficult desert bonuses, and grab the bonuses in
    downtown Las Vegas and Boulder City. Stay out of the desert as much as
    possible, especially in the afternoon. Conserve your strength. It only
    gets harder.
    Before this first leg began, the administrators felt that Route #1
    was a poor choice because it was much too long for this early in the
    rally. Route #2 fared little better because some of the desert bonuses
    would be challenging for even highly-skilled motorcyclists. That left
    Route #3.
    Did the length of the Montana-Washington-Nevada route deter any
    hot shoes? Not a chance; seven of the top ten riders listed below went
    that way. Was the weather much of a factor? Bob Ryan and Bob Cox started
    this morning with the temperature seven degrees above freezing. In the
    late afternoon they were riding in heat of 114F. Did road conditions
    affect the ride? The Jungo Road in northern Nevada, as usual, took no
    prisoners, and the normally hard-pan, dry lake bed of the Black Rock Desert
    at Gerlach was wet enough in places this morning to trap more than a few
    bikes. Fortunately, volunteers were able to yank them out. Mark Kiecker,
    trying desperately to escape the mire, burned the clutch out in his Honda
    VFR800. He used a piece of a Folger's coffee can to repair the damage and
    made it to the finish.
    When the dust had settled at the scoring table, the guys below
    were setting the pace. The web site will soon list
    complete scores, along with the bonuses that each of the 117 starting
    riders earned:

    1. Eric Jewell BMW 3,690
    2. John O'Keefe BMW 3,506
    3. Jeff Earls BMW 3,506
    4. Jim Owen BMW 3,461
    5. Todd Witte Yamaha 3,483
    6. Tom Loftus Honda 3,434
    7. Manny Sameiro Honda 3,431
    8. Paul Pelland BMW 3,385
    9. Jeff Powell BMW 3,282
    10. Leonard Roy Honda 3,282

    The Casualties Continue

    There are five cell phones, six laptop computers, and two
    satellite radios in Moron, the van from Hell. Warren Harhay says that the
    contents are worth more than the vehicle that's carrying them. Cell phones
    are the worst annoyance; the closer we are to a checkpoint, the more
    frequently they ring. Sometimes two go off at once. I shudder when even
    one lights up. No one ever calls with good news.
    Yesterday we reported that Ken Morton's beater had crumped due to
    electrical issues north of Idaho Falls. He revised his diagnosis to blame
    carburetor gunk. If he's right, we'll move him from the category of In The
    Toilet to In the Bathroom. It's not anywhere close to On The Podium, of
    course, and it may not sound like much of an improvement to you, but Morton
    will take it.
    Homer Krout called late yesterday afternoon. His Harley had
    overheated in a 25-mile traffic jam north of Ogden, Utah. He was unable to
    restart it. Fearing a burned out something or other, he was towed into
    town. The mechanics found nothing fried. Krout is back in the hunt.
    Speaking of fire, Dennis ("Sparky") Kesseler saw enough of it this
    morning to last him a lifetime. He and Paul Taylor had just bagged the
    large bonus in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, the home of some of the
    oldest living things on Earth. Kesseler suddenly noticed that both he and
    his Aprilia Capo Nord were on fire. He jumped away from the flaming
    machine and rolled in the dirt to extinguish himself. The bike's tank then
    exploded. A moment later his four-gallon fuel cell also erupted. A ball
    of blistering, stinking, black smoke shot high into the air. Could
    Kesseler's day possibly get any worse?
    Yes. Before he could regain his footing, flames from the bike
    started a brush fire. Think of it: For 4,500 years those aged trees have
    withstood everything the planet could throw at them --- rain, hail,
    lightning, snow, and sandstorms. Then an Iron Butt rider shows up on his
    blazing steed. The horror, the horror.
    Fortunately for everyone, the fires were quickly
    controlled. Dennis headed for Los Angeles in a rental car to borrow a bike
    and rejoin the rally. He was time-barred at the checkpoint tonight, lost
    all the points he had accumulated during the first leg (including the
    points in the bristlecone forest), and will be barred from chasing any
    bonus points on the next leg. Then it gets worse: Changing machines in
    mid-rally invokes a 10,000-point penalty. When Dennis arrives at the
    second checkpoint in Florida in a few days, his total score will be
    -10,000. It is the rare and nightmarish triple crown of Iron Butt
    disasters. And it's no wonder those old trees have lived so long; they
    always get the last laugh.
    Other stories from the day weren't nearly so humorous. Dan
    Lowery, who had retreated to Wyoming before the rally started to pick up a
    repaired bike, managed to return to Missoula, hours behind the other
    riders, only to develop an intractable clutch problem. That was the stake
    through his BMW's heart. A forest rat --- you may know these vile animals
    as "deer" --- jumped in front of Stephan Russell near the Oregon-Nevada
    border early this morning. The front end of the Honda was demolished;
    Russell, shaken, didn't have a scratch. Finally, Patrick Jacobson's Harley
    sidecar rig was another to be hammered by the Black Rock Desert. His
    suspension system may have suffered damage that cannot easily be repaired
    in time for him to continue.
    But at least he didn't burn down anything.

    Bob Higdon
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  3. #33
    Thanks for the update. Poor Russell. When I first pulled through the starting area lot on Friday, after work, just to see how it was shaping up, he was one of the dozen or so that were already here. He introduced me to someone as an Iron Butt Rally groupie. The next morning when I arrived to help, I told him, "Hey, you came to my town, you're a Missoula groupie." Besides, Russell, I'm not the one that keeps entering the rally.

    On another forum I posted pictures of the more unusual bikes but left some photos untitled so they could try to identify them for fun (surely not profit), so this forum has only seen the GL500 (remember the roundel?) that sounds like it's resurrected and in the hunt again.

    Here's the Yamaha thumper that, as mentioned, had the tranny rebuild just last week, only to find it was indeed the weak point, apparently:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #34
    This is Leon's (don't know the last name, sorry) Kawasaki Ninja 250 twin. I named it the Stealth bike (and I'm probably not the first to do so) because that finish is not flat or matte black paint, that is spray-on bed liner. Maybe it helps the bugs, birds and deer bounce off?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #35
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    Today's Rob Report:

    OK. Got off the phone with Rob a bit ago. The rally has split into folks that took the blue pill and folks that took the red pill. I believe, if I can keep this straight, Rob took the blue pill along with about 90% of the participants. Those folks are off to Lakeland. The red pill people are doing something closer to an automotive time/speed/distance rally, the first portion of which involves riding to Lake Isabella, then to some Hot Springs in CA and then back to Lake Isabella, where they pick up more directions. Apparently, Kneebone told the heavies, the ringers and the heavily favored that if they wanted to win, they needed to take the red pill. Rob took the blue, hoping for a good finish, but not a win. The folks that took the blue pill are calling themselves the "Special Olympics." The riders are not happy. Not at all. Also, the red pill seems to involve lots of dirt roads. After Rob's experiences with the CVN-K11LT on Powerline road, he's glad he took the blue pill, but still somewhat distraught that he's pretty much riding for a good finish instead of contention for a win. Que Sera, Sera. Maybe I should email Rob a Doris Day MP3....

    Rob and I talked about the logistics of doing a TSD event on a motorcycle versus a car. Typically, in a car, you have a navigator that runs the clocks and the TSD computer to tell the driver what to do, how fast to drive and when to turn. I daresay that this could be a problem on a motorcycle, even if you're an overachieving red head with two GPS units (slathered in bird guts) hooked to a milspec tablet PC. Additionally, TSD rallies are typically built around traveling exactly at the speed limit or very close to it.

    I don't know about you guys, but neither Rob nor I saw that as part of an effective Nye riding solution.

    While we were on the phone, Rob asked me to find out what time the sun comes up on top of Mt. Evans, CO, which has the highest paved road in North America. Apparently, he needs to be there during daylight hours, which are probably different that what they are 15K feet lower. I think his intention is to ride up there in the dark, get his picture taken at dawn and then beat feet out of there.

    More later.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  6. #36
    Hey, someone should tell Rob it's latitude not altitude that will help with the time of sunrise, unless he is standing in the shadow of the mountain. Or maybe it's latitude not attitude? Or altitude not multitude of gadgets?

  7. #37
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    I just got a hugely broken up call from Rob. It seems he's crashed, but our connection was horrible.

    Stay tuned.....
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #38
    Jim Bud
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sedalia, CO

    Rob's location??

    Dave, did you get a location from him??

    Jim Bud
    Jim Bud...

  9. #39
    Rally Rat colt03's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    South Windsor, CT

    Keep us posted, hopefully Rob and bike are ok.

    I agree the blue route would be best, but am sorry to learn of Robs crash if true.

  10. #40
    Have bike, will travel lancew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Central VA
    FWIW, at the same lat/long, a high altitude WILL get first light on any given morning (think about the top of Mount Katahdin Maine being the first place in the US to get a sunrise on Easter, in spite of there being lower land to the East).

    Unfortunately, that bit of information is not worth a p-hole in the snow if Rob has crashed... seems he's already been through his own personal Twilight Zone this year (how do you get pulled over in your own town!?). Life ain't fair, but it ought to be for the good guys... bummer.

    Hope all is well
    #92115 - '01 R1150GS

    Why don't they make a Nerf Martini Glass?

  11. #41
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California

    Thumbs up All good

    OK, I finally got through to Rob and he's all good.

    He was in Utah, outside Moab when he went down on an oil spill in the road. He lowsided on the left side and as he went down let go of the bike. The bike came to rest against a mile marker by the side of the road and Rob was able to get up and wander over to inspect it. His 'Stich is fairly shredded but still usable.

    The bike, however, needs some TLC. All the lights and stuff on the left side are trashed and there's some pretty good road rash on the bike. The biggest hurdle is a hole ground through the valve cover. When I talked to to him, he was in a 4x4 shop and they were TIG welding the hole shut so he could ride it.

    The plot thickens a little here, though, if that's somehow possible. The welder told Rob that up the road at Jiffy Lube a guy was in there with a siezed engine. Apparently, his oil filter fell off and the car puked all its oil out on the ground. Right about where Rob was. When I talked with him, he was going to go find the guy and have a discussion about the whole mess and what to do about it.

    He commented that the folks in Moab have been terrific and there a good three or four folks that deserve a steak dinner courtesy of the Rob Nye Iron Butt Travel Fund. He's pressing them to hook him up with a steak house so they can all go have a big feed.

    I asked him about timing on this leg and I think he's going to ditch the bonuses and just concentrate on mission #1 - get home safely. He's going to head to Lakeland, which he's got until Saturday to accomplish. I think even a dork like me could get from Utah to Florida in three days if I was properly motivated.

    I'm certain that Rob's properly motivated.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  12. #42
    Ritalin Poster Boy rob nye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Bristol, Rhode Island
    Through adversity lies the opportunity for excellence.

    This is something I gave to myself a long time ago and it remains true to this day. Unfortunately this year seems to be filled with more of these opportunities than I would like.

    After taking care to get some quality rest in Primm I departed this morning at around 4. Grabbed a gimmie bonus (casino chip from casino across the street) and headed back into Las Vegas for another. Then I went NE to Utah for some more before heading to Moab for a gas recipt and a picture of a bridge.

    8 Miles after getting gas I approached a sweeping left and found a big pile of oil while leaned in. I went down to the left and released as we hit. I slid (he's SAFE at second) with left arm up and the Darien suit did exactly what it is supposed to which is save my hide. The suit is abraded from the knee to the elbow. The bike fetched up off and down to the right, stopped by a mile marker. I needed help to get it up and used one person and the engine (remembering the guy who fried his clutch in the desert yesterday) to get the bike on the road and parked to the side.

    Meanwhile cars are hitting the apex, seeing me and hitting the brakes in the pile of spooge. I decided I would wait for the trooper in the *inside* of the turn. The trooper arrived and I walked back with him to the mess. He immediately called for back up as folks were not really responding to his lights and still sliding around. Ever see a veteran trooper nervous? I want back to the inside and sat for a bit.

    The damage is bent fairing bracket, lots of scratches, bent bar end, toasted lights and one antenna, foot peg, holed valve cover, missing engine protection bar, busted pannier and more scratches.

    The towing company arrived and we got the bike loaded. On the way to town he made a few calls to his buddies to see who could weld aluminium. We wound up at Moab Off Road which is a very cool shop full of the 4x4's you see in the magazines. The gave me a place to work and I removed the fairing, valve cover and other busted bits. Not only did they fix the problem (hole) in the valve cover but he PAINTED it too! I wish I had seen that as it took some time and I sorta wanted to keep the battle scars for a bit (and the adjuster). Now I have a bike with a servicable fairing, a funky left peg (passenger peg modified to be at the right angle but no spring and short) non functional ABS (after a whack the brain needs a reset) and some "minor" lighting issues. The mil spec tablet showed exactly why mil spec is mil spec, I hope they don't mind the little grinding on the corner when I return it.

    Meanwhile the local grapevine is producing fruit and I learned that a fellow with a truck got an oil change at the local quickie lube and his motor siezed about three miles north of where I went down. I have the name of the truck owner and I am going to speak with him to see if it was a filter (which perhaps I could find) or the plug. Either way on my way out of town I am going to visit the quickie lube and show them my bike and stich. We may also have a "come to Jesus" chat as well. Without really trying I see around 3k of damage. My insurance company has been notified (and teriffic) and the police report will indicate the presence of oil. I was not cited for any violations.

    So.... Here I sit in an internet cafe in Moab pondering what is next. I am absolutely going to finish the Iron Butt, that is what it really is all about, just ask Paul Pelland. I came to Moab because I wanted to ride the roads here (good points too) and was planning on doing some riding in Colorado. I was around 24th in Primm and was hoping to be in the top 20 for the rally and felt I had a very strong route to Denver where I was going to take my sleep bonus and plan the rest of my leg to Florida. First I must take a time out of at least 8 hrs of sleep, a nice meal and the morning business mentioned above. I figure to go get the bonus I was heading to when I crashed, the rest is up in the air. Chief technical inspector Dale (Warchild) Wilson mentioned on the LDR list that every finisher of the IBR is a winner, I intend to enjoy this victory however hard the task.

    To clarify a few items that got confused in cell phone static, I really don't know anything about the red route because the blue crew left the meeting after we got our packets. I no longer think it is time on distance (I spoke with Dave between getting the notice and the meeting), I do know that the Iron Butt Rally is much more than just "sit there, twist that", it is a mental game as well. While I am a little disapointed that I can not directly compare my routes with the big dogs my plan in going blue was to have attrition from red give me that spot in the top twenty.

    While I have some less than wonderful tales at this time the IBR is to me the greatest field event ever. I can't wait to get back in the game and I look forward to Florida, Maine, Missouila and the dumpster.

    More to follow.

    Rob Nye
    Bristol, Rhode Island USA
    Proud to move oil

  13. #43
    Loading the Bike
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Truckee, California
    GO ROB!!!!!

    You have the right attitude and I'm sure you'll finish. Paul Pelland's amazing 2001 finish on the Ural (maybe I should say Urals - since he went through several bikes worth of parts) is an excellent analogy.

    Don't forget the other lesson from the '01 IBR - it looked like the big bonii were awarded during the first leg, but Mike Kneebone hinted strongly that there would be bigger things coming to those with patience.

    That may very well be the case in the '03 version as well. Hang in there and keep rolling.

    Pete Bansen

  14. #44
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California

    Early reports from today

    From George Mastovich:

    Paul Pelland is having several kinds of bike problems. He did well on the first leg, but seems to be fading as a result of the difficulties.

    Jack Tollett is in the hospital. He's sitting up. He has a bunch of broken ribs and a broken collarbone. Lots of pain, but he seems to be coming along.

    Allen Ledue is out. He crashed in UT or NV. He was pushing up a dirt road on his Goldwing. He says he shouldn't have been there. He has a concussion. He's on his way home by plane.

    Manny Samiero crashed. He hit gravel on a relatively low speed turn. He's got road rash -- but nothing like the last time. He's on his way back to NJ.

    The rally has been split between two route. The only way that the blue route wins is if the 32 people who took the red route all fall in a bottomless lake. That's a direct quote.

    There is a lot of whining going on. It is crap. People had a choice. The red route is not TSD. But it is a far tighter route. No room for either rookie error or whacking the throttle and speeding your way out of a problem.

    That's about all I know. The IBR crew is in Flagstaff and on their way to FL.

    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  15. #45
    Rob Nye writes

    "While I have some less than wonderful tales at this time the IBR is to me the greatest field event ever. I can't wait to get back in the game and I look forward to Florida, Maine, Missouila and the dumpster. More to follow."

    looking forward to it, thanks for the post.

    we will be in Lake city showing support, I'm Tom I'm be wandering around to say hey and wish good luck to a friend of ours Vicki.

    cya there!
    have fun


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