Ever since I first heard about the Iron Butt Ride of 1,000 miles in 24 hours I’ve wanted to do it. I wanted to KNOW if I COULD do it. I was pretty sure I could, but 2 nights ago I still wondered if I’d pull it off.
I was out the door at 3:30. It had rained the night before and the roads were still wet and I could smell the pinon & Juniper trees, sagebrush and alfalfa fields. It was awesome. 30 miles outside of town I hit fog. That may be normal where you live, but it southern Utah its a rarity. Normally I would have loved it, but I had just started and it slowed me down. It eased up but I hit it again in caliente for a spell.
The sun started lighting things up after Caliente. By this time I was pretty damn cold. I had checked the weather reports and it was supposed to be 55, but the guage on my bike said 40 and the damp foggy air made it feel colder. I’ve been cold before on rides, but I think the early start and long ride without stopping made my jaw lock up and I couldn’t stop shaking. I stopped at Tonopah, got some breakfast and slammed some hot coffee for 45 minutes till I stopped shaking. Talked to a few bikers who we’re doing an impressive 600 mile day, and realizing I was almost doubling that. By now the sun had come up and I was good. I was 6 hours into what I thought might be an 18-19 hour ride.
It all went good. The roads we’re clear and I hit my furthest point north around 2 pm, then headed south through carson city, California, high mountains and lakes. Stuff that normally I’d stop and really enjoy, eat the local faire and take pictures and wonder, but I had no time. It was all new roads now and that’d have to be good enough.
By the time I made Bishop California, 16 hours and 800 miles in I started to wonder If I was going to make it. I was pretty tired, and still had a lot of riding ahead of me. My sweat had got sunblock in my eyes and I was riding one-eyed for about an hour from the sting. I could see the rain clouds forming over the mountain range and called Mrs Zip to confirm the weather. It said clear, but I could see otherwise. I headed up what was a 1 lane road at times, and was 25 mph through the winding roads and I could feel the fatigue setting in. I wasn’t all that sharp, but I felt pretty determined. I wasn’t going to do this route again.
Looking back, if I had to do it again I’d have taken the Interstate. Thats easy riding, no stopping and starting, no stoplights or steep grades that required 25 miles per hour. I’d have done this in 18 hours, and more than likely I’d have tried for an iron butt 1500. Either way, I picked the route I picked, and I saw new territory to explore later.
By the time I hit Beatty I felt kinda like a zombie. My legs we’re heavy and I’m not exactly sure I was walking straigh. 90 minutes later I was negotiating the freeway traffic in Las Vegas, slammed a red bull and a sandwitch, and headed home. At this point, I had my 1000 miles, but no witness to sign off on it, and no paperwork to give someone in a hotel. If I did, I may have stopped and got a room for the night. I wasn’t very sharp at all. I’d like to think I was tougher than this, but I was pretty tired and had been riding for 18 hours straight.
I rode over the utah hill and at this point, honest to God I was starting to hallucinate. I could hear things in my radio, and my bike felt weird and heavy to me, but I knew it was fine. It was just taking me a moment longer than usual to discern and disseminate the information I had going on all around me. Over the utah hill I heard what sounded like parts falling off my bike. I ignored it, and chalked it up to the sirens I heard in my stereo, and the rabbits I was seeing darting across the road that weren’t there.
I got in at 12:30 AM. Eleven Hundred and Thirty Four Miles in 20 Hours. I closed my eyes and I had the wildest dreams I was so beat.
This morning I woke up and noticed my left passenger footboard was missing. I’m glad to know It wasn’t a hallucination. I do need to buy another floorboard.
I’m pretty proud to join the ranks of those who are IBA certified. I’ll send in my documentation and reciepts, and to be honest even if for some reason they deny me, I don’t care too much. I know I have what it takes to be a member of the Iron Butt Association.