I knew I should'a turned left at Albuquerque!
August 23, 2005 3:57 PM   Subscribe

2005 Ironbutt Rally Begins Ninety motorcyclists will be criss-crossing North America for the next 10 days, riding thousands of miles and visiting obscure spots of every description. Robert Higdon's reports are an entertaining way to find out what's happening to whom. Previous years' reports are interesting too.
Some people have competed on totally inappropriate machines.
You probably can't get invited to run in the Rally, but you could ride one of your own.
posted by spacewrench (11 comments total)
I bought a motorcycle from a guy who was a regular in this series, the bike had almost 200,000 miles on it when I got it and I ran it for another 30,000 before some tool made an illegal left in front of me and launched me like a catapult and destroyed the bike in the process.

The IronButt is hardcore riding and anyone tough enough to do it is tougher than I am. And there is no way I'd even consider it without one o' them big honking Honda GL1800's.
posted by fenriq at 4:15 PM on August 23, 2005

And there is no way I'd even consider it without one o' them big honking Honda GL1800's.

A friend of mine calls them the "Hondapotamus" .
posted by snsranch at 5:23 PM on August 23, 2005

Back in the mid-70's, I used to ride motorcycles exclusively, and didn't own a car for about 10 years. Living in the American South, I made a number of long distance trips to Canada, Mexico, and the West Coast, doing upwards of 7,000 miles on one 9 day trip. But I actually put a lot more miles on my bikes on the 250-300 mile "evening rides" I used to do several times a week. A '74 BMW R90S I traded in '77 for an R100RS had 156,000 miles on it at trade, and I bought it new.

But I'd have to say an "iron butt" doesn't factor into long distance riding, until you hit the 16 hour + mark, where the foam in your saddle has taken a "set." Driving any vehicle upwards of 800 miles in a day, over normal highways, is going to cause some physical wear and tear on the driver, and riding a motorcycle to the point of discomfort rarely seemed like fun to me. But I have, on a couple of occasions, had to do as much as 950 miles in a day, but generally, I found my sense of adventure flagging reliably at about the 700 mile mark in any given day.

Otherwise, a well maintained motorcycle, decent riding gear, and a sensible riding style are the keys to rolling up lots of enjoyable miles, and seeing, smelling, and tasting large swaths of the countryside, as only motorcyclists do.
posted by paulsc at 7:49 PM on August 23, 2005

Next report's out!
posted by spacewrench at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2005

Heh, I've done a few 1000+ days, but doing a week of them in a row over dirt roads, through fields, and over dale is a bit much.

I remember a few years back, the bonus site from the checkpoint in Pomona CA(Leg 2) was in Denali(with extra bonus points for Prudhoe Bay) with the next checkpoint in WA.
So you had 2 days to the damn Artic Ocean and back.

And just to rub it in, the Bonus on leg 3?
Yup, you guessed it. Alaska.

Alaska is on the way to Alabama, right? heh.

Crazy, I tell ya, once I get a couple of 50CC's and a 4 corners, I wanna play too!
posted by madajb at 11:16 PM on August 23, 2005

Why is a Helix inappropriate? If someone can do it on a Helix, then it must be appropriate.

Hmp. I want to iron my butt someday too.
posted by scratch at 6:27 AM on August 24, 2005

I loved the Helix!
It may be inappropriate because of it's limited range on a tank of gas?
posted by nofundy at 7:32 AM on August 24, 2005

Re: Helix: There used to be a "Hopeless" class that people with 250cc bikes, jalopies, Urals, etc. could enter... but the rally's changed significantly in nature over the past few years and that class was eliminated, in significant part because many of the riders who rode in that class had pretty bad accidents when a bike that was not built to take the punishment ... and to keep the punishment off of the riders ... broke or wrecked.

I'm a huge fan of the rally, and I hang out with a group of long-distance riders. One of the things we're watching this year is a few of the contestants that have sattelite tracking radios on their bikes. There were 13 at the start, but one has since dropped out. Check this out: http://rally.star-traxx.com/rallyview.asp?Rally=30... most of us at sport-touring central are following it pretty closely.
posted by SpecialK at 8:52 AM on August 24, 2005

Oh, and I usually refer to the Goldwings as "Two-wheeled winnebagos"
posted by SpecialK at 8:53 AM on August 24, 2005

8-}...it's nice to hear from some serious riders on this topic. I get my fun asking the RUBs what their "longest day in the saddle" was.

1,000 miles per day for 11 days; that's the Real Ironbutt. Trying to explain to people how to do an SS1K (Saddle Sore 1000, yup, 1000 miles in 24hours or less) in order to qualify to join the Ironbutt Association is always so much fun. Most folks just can't understand that it's a matter of discipline, planning, will, and yeah, a little luck doesn't hurt.

Hey, SpecialK, you wouldn't be riding one of them K-whiner German bikes, now would you? (He sez, fondly rememberin his 1996 K1100RS and the Blitzes to Branson).

Keep the shiny side up, guys (and gals) and the rubber sides down.
posted by aldus_manutius at 11:19 AM on August 24, 2005


A SaddleSore isn't that hard.
A Bunburner on the other hand, takes dedication. heh.

If anyone is still reading this thread, check out the blog for a blow-by-blow description.
posted by madajb at 3:28 PM on August 25, 2005

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