Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Iron Butt Rally - Volunteer Duty

The World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally is taking place between Monday, June 28 and July 7, 2017.  The Iron Butt Rally, 11,000 miles in 11 days, is a competitive motorcycle rally that affords the top long-distance riders from around the world an opportunity to test their Ridecraft.   This year, I am part of the army of volunteers helping to make the IBR happen.

SpotWalla Map (HardTxRider)


IBR Daily Reports and IBR Public Spotwalla Map

Thur, 6/22:  Had a good ride to the IBR Start/Finish hotel.  Weather was hot in Texas and Oklahoma, got cooler in Kansas but not by much.  After spending the night in Topeka I stopped off in Boone Iowa to drop off a Wyman Memorial plaque place holder for the Boone/Scenic Valley Railroad Museum.  The Museum is the hosting authority for the Wyman wapoint sign and memorial plaque.

Started to rain off and on as I entered Minnesota.  By the time I got to Minneapolis it was the beginning of rush hour.  Traffic was snarled all over.  The highway selected by my GPS was closed so I had a detour that took me west, north then back south.  It took me an hour to go the last 10 miles to get to the La Quinta, where I am staying for the start festivities.  All the IBR riders are at the Marriott next door.  Had dinner with a couple of comrades and we talked about all manner of things motorcycle.

About the Iron Butt Rally

The Iron Butt Rally (IBR) is the world's premier long-distance motorcycle event.  The IBR is divided into three 'legs' of varying duration (see the schedule below) and riders must arrive at the Checkpoints before the arrival window closes.  Riders from around the world participate in the 11 day event to score points by visiting 'bonus' locations, take a picture to prove they were there, make a log entry and ride to the next bonus location.  So, it's a timed event where route planning, ridecraft, and resources management are keys to success. After three legs the riders are ranked by their claimed and awarded bonus points.  The top 10 'Podium' finishers are recognized at the awards banquette.  Just finishing the IBR is recognized the world over as evidence of one's superior long-distance motorcycling skills.

The IBR Overall Schedule

  • Thu-Fri, Jun 21-23:  Gathering of the riders, IBR staff and volunteers in Minnetanka, MN
  • Sat-Sun, Jun 24-25:  Rider check-in, technical inspections, registration
  • Sun Evening, Jun 25:  Start Banquette - Rally Books and Leg 1 bonus listing distributed
  • LEG 1:  10 am 6/26 to 8 pm 6/28 (58 hours)
  • LEG 2:  4 am 6/29 to 8 pm 7/1 (64 hours)
  • LEG 3:  4 am 7/2 to 10 am 7/7 (126 hours)
  • Fri Evening, Jul 7:  Awards Banquette and celebration!



Friday, April 28, 2017

Running of the RAT Riders

The running of the 2017 Ride Around Texas Insanity, "Tropical Adventure" is underway!  Riders from around the world are rendezvousing at the La Copa Inn & Resort, South Padre Island, for the start of the RAT Insanity on Monday, May 1.  Follow them as they ride 3,100+ miles around the perimeter of The Great State of Texas.
RAT 17 SpotWalla Map     RAT 17 List of Riders


RAT Start/Finish:  All riders will start between 5:00 and 6:00 am, Monday May 1.
  • RAT Insanity Gold return window:  70 hrs after start DBR, between 3:00 - 4:00 am, Thur, May 4th
  • RAT Insanity return window:  85 hrs after start DBR, between 6:00 - 7:00 pm, Thur, May 4th
RAT Insanity Riders Personal SpotWalla Tracks
Follow their progress as the RAT riders scurry to the mandatory checkpoints, collecting dated business receipts and sometimes a picture, proving they did the ride.  Click on a ID - RAT Rider Name below to see their personal RAT17 SpotWalla track.  Note:  Not all riders volunteered their SpotWalla link/ID. See: RAT 17 List of Riders,

Mounts of the 3 Amigos
This year's running of the RAT Insanity is an "International" event.  Three members of IBA Mexico are joining in on the "Insanity".  They are; Carlos Loaiza riding a 2014 BMW 1200 Adventure, Ioram Abolnik on a 2017 BMW 1200 GS and Javier Duran sporting a 2016 BMW 1200 Adventure.  ¡Buena suerte y motocicleta segura, amigos!  




RAT Insanity Finishers:  
Rider, finish time date, distance 
Ioram Abolnik, 14:57 5/3, 5,040km GOLD
Danny Dossman, 16:14 5/3, 3,160 GOLD
Rich Rulau, 16:27 5/3, 3,101 GOLD
Christopher Ross, 16:49 5/3, 3,097 GOLD
Alan Wiederanders, 16:43 5/3, 3,130 GOLD
Javier Duran, 18:35 5/3, 4,936km GOLD
Carlos Loaiza, 18:35 5/3, 4,943km GOLD
Matt Hube, 21:16 5/3, 3,115 GOLD
Paul Meyer, 21:25 5/3, 3,076 GOLD
Kevin Sawatsky, 23:12, 3,092 GOLD
Matt Wise, 23:15 5/3, 3,085 GOLD
Gerry Arel, 22:34 5/3, 3,111 GOLD
John & Nadine Huval, 01:01 5/4, 3,158 GOLD
Owen Quarles, 01:18 5/4, 3,185 GOLD
David Hathaway, 01:19 5/4, 3,189 GOLD
Matt Watkins, 01:28 5/4, 3,114 GOLD
David Uhl, 02:30 5/4, 3,296 GOLD
Morris Cox, 13:55 5/4, 3,152
Cynthia Cox, 13:56 5/4, 3,152
Bill Cumbie, 14:52 5/4, 3,072

Arthur Collins, DNF
Kerry Maning, DNF
Spencer Bennett, DNF
Jimmie Hammack, DNF
Lance Corley, DNF

RAT Insanity Certify Central:
La Copa Inn Business Center
With onsite IBA certification RAT riders show up at the business center of the La Copa Inn with all their documents ready for verification:  Completed IBA witness form. log of mandatory checkpoints and pictures of their motorcycle at the required locations.  Those with SpotWalla tracks get express certification.  Upon verification of all documents and pictures riders are RAT Insanity certified and presented RAT Insanity pins and stickers.  They retain all documents for their records.  Certificates to follow.

What's Happening

The Last RAT
video

Thursday, 5/4:
Bill Cumbie rolled in to the RAT's nest right on his revised ride plan schedule.  During the fierce thunderstorms of east Texas, Bill got it into his head to be the last of the RAT Insanity riders. According to Bill's thinking, "Somebody has to be last!"  And, this was his time to enjoy that very special recognition. Hail, he earned it the hard way!

So, by the authority vested in me as the RAT Insanity Master, I proclaim Bill Cumbie the "Distinguished RAT Insanity Rider - Last among RATs"

Morris and Cynthia Cox arrived back at SPI early afternoon.  Bill Cumbie is expected to arrive later, well before the 6pm closing window for the 85 RAT Insanity.

Adios, Three Amigos!
Ioram, Carlos and Javier are on their way back south of the border.  These guys are some harding riding motorcyclists.  They garnered the respect of all their fellow RAT Insanity riders and were a welcome addition to this hard riding adventure.

Morning Update:  The last of the RAT Insanity GOLD riders rolled in either side of midnight.  Clockwise riders Bill Cumbie, Morris & Cynthia Cox are taking a leisurely tour in after being held up by the vicious storms along I-10 around Beaumont last evening.  Spencer Bennet is out due to mechanical problems.  He's arranged the recovery trailer to come pick him up near Marshall, just south of Texarkana.

Lance Corley sends his "Congratulations, RAT Insanity Riders!" from his hospital bed.  He's in the trauma center in Odessa for at least another week with reconstructive surgery again tomorrow.  He wanted to pass along to everyone,  "I truly believe ATGATT saved my life!!!"  We wish Lance a speedy recovery and look for him to get back on the road.

On-site IBA certification starting at 7:00 am.  Riders who have successfully completed the RAT Insanity will be certified upon presentation and verification of all required documentation.  Ride Around Texas Insanity certificates to follow in a few days after review and approval by Mike Kneebone, President of the IBA.

Wednesday, 5/3: First back to SPI was Ioram Abolinik of the Three Amigos, who rode anti-clockwise. He woke up about 1:30 am this morning feeling great and decided to depart from his teammates.  Paseo excellente, Amigo!  And, from the looks of the SpotWalla tracks Danny Dossman will be the first of the clockwise pack to arrive back at SPI.  Excellent ride, Comrade!

Evening Update: Several of the clockwise riders are waylaid by severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings in a line running along I-10.  It's moving pretty fast but still a significant weather event.  The anti-clockwise riders are enjoying the cool evening temperatures along the Rio Grand with clear riding all the way in.  All of the Three Amigos are at SPI celebrating their excelling riding with cervesa fries.  Looks like the rest of the rider are on pace to meet their RAT Insanity goals.

Morning Update:  Home stretch for RAT Gold!  Day three of the RAT Insanity is going well with rider on track to meet their RAT goals. Danny Dossman and Christopher Ross were slowed down by an isolated thunder storm as they approached Beaumont along I-10.  Both Danny and Christopher are riding in the 2017 Iron Butt Rally and they are at rally pace.  Alan Wiederanders and the "Three Amigos" are out of Big Bend NP country heading south along the Rio Grand on pace to finish back in  South Padre Island before sunset.  Rich Rulau has a great ride pace and is expected to arrive at SPI ahead of the anti-clockwise pack.

Bill Cumbie, Morris & Cynthia Cox spent last night in the Panhandle amid typical Panhandle there.  They are back on the RAT trail this morning, but their pictures tell the tale of a hard riding adventures.
Oh, Hail!

Bill Combie's GSA










Arthur Collins is out of the RAT.  He got as far as Anthony on his clockwise run before calling it a day.  See you again soon, Arthur...have a safe ride to your next destination.

Tuesday, 5/2:  Day one in is the bag as the RAT Riders continue on their hard riding adventure around the perimeter of Texas.  As you can see by the SpotWalla location page above the clockwise and anti-clockwise groups are about to meet in the Panhandle.  The riding weather today is good.

Danny Dossman was leading the clockwise pack till he over shot the hotel availability by departing Anthony.  Got to Kermit and discovered there wasn't a hotel he'd care to stay so he drove south to Marathon for better lodgings.   Hmmm, wonder if he checked hotel availability heading north, say, like in Muleshoe?  Alan Wiederanders is near Texline at this writing with the rest of the anti-clockwise pack close behind.  The Three Amigos are looking strong on there way to Texline.

Jimmie Hammack is DNF due to the rectifier going out on his motorcycle just south of Van Horn.  Got toed to Van Horn, contacted family to bring a truck to pack the bike home.  Kerry Manning is DNF dues to work demands.

Lance Coreley took a detour to the Odessa hospital, via helicopter.  I've spoken to Lance and he is recovering from emergency surgery for shattered leg.  He's given me permission to share his ATGATT success with everyone.  This morning about 5am he was heading northwest on US90 just southeast of Valentine with he hit a concrete highway divider at about 60mph.  The bike went down and he was thrown off into the weeds on the side of the road.  He lay there for about a half hour waving his flashlight to get someone to stop and help.  A motorist finally stopped to help and contacted emergency services.  He was taken by air ambulance via Alpine direct to Odessa hospital for emergency surgery.  His family had been contacted and his HD Road Glide is in storage.  He's already been contacted by his insurance company about the bike.  Lance wanted to everyone to know he doesn't have a scratch on him due to all of his excellent riding gear,  He is now a believer in the LD uniform of ATGATT.

Get well soon Lance and we'll look for you on the road!

Ioram Abolnik, one of the "Three Amigos" left his ID tag and chain at the Red Roof Inn, Childress.  I called Danny Dossman to see if he would stop by to pick it up for Ioram.  It just so happened at the moment I called Danny he was pulling into the Valero in Childress.  He said he would be happy to stop by the hotel and pick it up.  Danny is such a Texas Gentleman!

David Url's HD
David Url had a tip-over trying to get a picture of the Guadalupe Mountains NP sign at 4:44 am.   It's unfortunate for David to have picked that stop to take a picture of his motorcycle with the Guadalupe Mountains NP sign that was on the side of the road instead of the sign at the entrance to the park Visitor's Center, like is in the RAT rider information page and in the GPX file.  That location has a nice wide pull off for just that sort of picture taking, instead on the side of the road.  To quote David's email...."Oops!"

Monday, 5/1:  Riders depart between 5:00 and 6:00 am after securing a starting dated business receipt (DBR).  The La Copa WAS to provide a continental breakfast on the 4th floor between 5:00 and 5:45 am.  But, despite the clause in the contract and my best efforts to confirm it three times before hand, no breakfast. Everyone seems to be taking it in stride by departing a few minutes earlier and grabbing a cup of coffee along with the DBR at the start gas station.

Well, it always seems to happen at the worst of times.  Lance Corley's HD Road Glide quit on him in San Bonito, which just so happens to be the home of Mad Boar HD.  Lance tried to trouble shoot the electrical problem but to no avail.  Mad Boar opened at 9am, came and got Lance's in-op HD and put it into emergency intensive care.  Lance is running the numbers through his head to calculate his chances of completing the 70 hour RAT Intensity Gold.

Jimmie Hammack is out for rectifier problems near Van Horn.  Has a trailer on the way to get him back home.

Sunday, 4/30:  Rider check in will be conducted in the parking lot between 3pm and 4pm.  IBA
Witness forms signed off, waivers collected and rider information for IBA certification verified.  At 4pm there will be a mandatory rider safety briefing with
RAT Riders at Johnny Rocket
question and answer period.  No host dinner and camaraderie to follow.

If you don't like the weather here in Texas, just wait a day.  Yesterday it was hazy hot and humid here in SPI.  Great beach weather.  It was showing at the top of the Texas Panhandle near Texline, one of the mandatory checkpoints on the RAT.  Hopefully, by the RATriders reach the top of Texas all that nasty weather will have moved out.  Today, the weather is peachy!

Several of the RAT Insanity riders are participating in the 2017 Iron Butt Rally, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally" which starts near Minneapolis MN June 26.  The IBR is the premier long-distance motorcycle rally covering all of the US and Canada.   Very few of the world's top long-distance riders ever get to participate in the IBR and fewer complete the 11,000 miles in 11 days.   The RAT Insanity will provide a valuable shake out opportunity those riders to work on their 'Ride Craft"

La Copa Inn (Red roof)
Saturday, 4/29:  Gathering of the RAT Riders.  Many of the participants are taking advantage of the beautiful sub-tropical weather of South Padre Island to enjoy some vaca time.  The La Copa Inn & Resort is a prime location, not only for beach access, but is virtually at the end of the Queen Isabella Bridge.  That, and the proximity of the 24/7 Stripes gas station make it an ideal starting/finishing point for the RAT Insanity.

As with all long distance riding events, several riders never make it to the starting line.  Dispite the best of intention, extensive preperations and determination to make the ride, stuff happens.  Take for instance Captain Robert Rehkopf.  After departing his Memphis TN home he reaches the outskirts of Houston only to have the clutch mechanism on his BMW R1200RT malfunction in bumper to bumper rush hour traffice.  Unabale to see his way through the issues he had to cancel out.  Doni Evens had similiar problems just prior to leaving home and had to cancal out.  Several registered riders had to postpone the RAT due to work or family conflicts.  All the riders who registered for the RAT Insanity can do the ride on their own whenever their schedules allow.



About the RAT Insanity
The RAT Insanity "Tropical Adventure" starts and finishes in South Padre Island, May 1 - 4, 2017.  Riders from around the country can enjoy a tropical mini-vaca on each end of an exciting, exclusive and challenging IBA certified ride.  See an example of a clockwise running of the RAT Insanity Gold

RAT Insanity
  • 3,100+ Miles around the perimeter of Texas
  • 70 Hours RAT Insanity Gold
  • 85 Hours RAT Insanity
  • 18 Mandatory checkpoints, including SPI start/finish
  • Riders choose Clockwise or Anti-Clockwise route
Mandatory Checkpoints and verification requirements
IBA start/finish witness is required.  Make a date/time log entry at each mandatory checkpoint and secure either the required dated business receipt (DBR) or photo with your motorcycle (MC) in the picture. All DBRs must be computer generated business receipts showing the date, time, city and state (IBA standard).  The long standing rules and protocols for the ride are on the official IBA and Motorcycle Tourer's Forum RAT Insanity sites and apply to this event, (see modifications below.)

Clockwise Route Example
  1. South Padre Island:  IBA witness and start DBR
  2. Del Rio:  DBR
  3. Big Bend NP, Panther Junc:  DBR or photo of Panther Junc sign with MC
    Clockwise Route
  4. Lajitas General Store:  DBR or Photo of store front with MC
  5. Presidio:  DBR
  6. Anthony:  DBR
  7. Guadalupe Mtns NP:  Photo of park entrance sign with MC
  8. Kermit:  DBR
  9. Texline:  DBR
  10. Follett:  DBR
  11. Childress:  DBR
  12. Paris:  DBR
  13. Texarkana:  DBR
  14. Port Arthur:  DBR
  15. Port Bolivar:  Photo of MC on the ferry while underway
  16. Galveston:  DBR
  17. Victoria:  DBR
  18. South Padre Island:  Finish DBR and IBA witness

Monday, March 13, 2017

2107 IBA Daytona Party

It's that time of year again!  Time to head to the Iron Butt Association Daytona Party to kick off the spring riding season.  Held in Jacksonville, FL at the end of Daytona Bike Week this annual event is host to one of the largest gatherings of long distance riders anywhere in the world.  Always a treat to mingle with LD comrades.
SpotWalla Map



Thu, 3/16:  Got drafted to help pass out the flags to the rides participating in the Zaddle-Zore 1,000 and 1,500 Bun Burner Gold rides.   Was fun to see all the riders bundled up in their cold weather gearas the morning temperatures were in the low 30s this morning.  Many riders who live in the north got hit by bad weather.  Some decided to wait it out and still other cancelled all together.  But, there still was over 75 riders departing out from the hotel at about 7am for the ride.  They won't be trickling back in till late this evening for the 1,000 riders and well after midnight for the 1,500 riders.

Wed, 3/15:  It's an easy 300 mile to Jacksonville and I left the hotel about 7:30am.  The sun was rising in the clear and cold skies as I headed east along I-10.  It was 37f chilly but again I was warm and comfortable in my most excellent riding gear.  Stopped for gas and a cup of coffee on the other side of Tallahassee.  The last 110 miles to Jax went well and I arrived about 13:30.

Tue, 3/14:  I'm departing at sunrise along I-10.  I'm going to take it easy because I have lots of time to get to Jacksonville.   Plan on arriving mid day on Wednesday.  Weather is supposed to be just great between Texas and Florida.

The weather was great.  Bright and sunny with temperatures in the mid 50s.  I was plugged into the bike and toasty warm with my heated gear.  Stopped for a late lunch eary dinner at Burger King before riding on to Crestview FL for the night.

The IBA Daytona Party - There are always lots of things to do at this gathering to keep busy.  The Iron Butt Rally is happening this year and many of the veteran and rookie riders of this years IBR will be attending the JAX party.  For the rookie IBR riders it's a great way to pick up a few tips on riding "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Rally."

Many LD riders, about 30, are doing IBA challenge rides on the way to Jacksonville. And, it that wasn't enough, on Thursday, March 16, close to 90 riders will be participating in the JAX 1,000 or BBG (1,000 or 1,500 miles in less than 24 hours)

JAX 1,000
JAX 1,500
Mike Kneebone, IBA President, will be hosting the special presentation ceremony to all successful participants in the JAX 1,000/1,500 on Friday afternoon.  The evening in then topped off with lots of presentations at the Friday night banquet dinner.  


Friday, February 24, 2017

A Dip in the Defective Gene Pool

It's that time of year again!  I don't do a lot of RTE (Ride to Eat) but the DFW Defective Gene Pool is an exception.  So, I'm riding up to Allen, TX to hangout with LD riding comrades, renew acquaintances and make new ones.

Check out this photo slideshow from last years Defective Gene Pool RTE

The DFW Defective Gene Pool "Ride to Eat" was formed by a few past IBR finishers to give DFW area LD riders and potential LD riders an opportunity to swap lies, renew old acquaintances, encourage new participants to the sport, and generally to celebrate the defective gene that runs common to us all.  Other less notable pursuits may ensue.  Projected attendees at the Ride to Eat include several IBR finishers and a host of LD riders.  If you feel you have the "defective gene" that causes this madness or you just like to gawk at weird people, please join us for this enlightening gathering.

Monday, January 9, 2017

BMW Motorcycle Club of Northeast Florida Rally

I am attending the BMW Motorcycle Club of Northeast Florida Rally being held at Camp Blanding, January 12-15.  The organizers have ask me to be a seminar presenter at a couple of the breakout sessions.

I'm giving talks on using FLIR technology on a motorcycle and about George Wyman.  Should be fun!  You can follow my ride out and back on the map below.

Click here of the full SpotWalla Map

Sat, 1/14  Another day of fun at the Rally.  Coffee and mingling in morning.  Many of the Rally participants are planning self guided rides in the local                country side.  Beautiful weather with partly cloudy skies and temps in the 70s

Fri, 1/13:  Reported to Rally central to sign in and check out the amenities.  Larry, one of the Rally organizers who invited me, got me squared away with the table for my George Wyman display.  Later I had an opportunity to check out the presentation equipment in the large conference room reserved
for my presentations.

After the event dinner tonight Larry wants me to do a static display of the FLIR PathFindIR mounted on my motorcycle for folks to check out.  Should be fun!

Thur, 1/12:  The weather was clear when I woke and the ride to Camp Blanding just southeast of Lake City was nice and easy.  Go to my destination shortly before 5pm.  Checked into the nice two bedroom cabin reserved for me by the Rally organizers and meet up with my contact.  Who, by the way has a couple of Shiner Boch's n his hand.  Got to love an experienced Long Distance rider.

Wed, 1/11:  Had a great ride today with temps in the high 70s.  Had heavy cross winds so it was a bit turbulent.  By about 5pm the weather turned wet, so, not being on any schedule, I stopped for the night.

Presentation slides