S10s in the Iron Butt Rally!

EricV

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@Cycledude - Why are you surprised about the extra fuel?

@CW - Yep Bob, working Tech on the front end and likely some scoring stuff on the back end. Heading home now, but will be back for the finish.

@CatBehemoth - Maybe I can put it in perspective. FYI - I rode/finished the rally in '13 and have been around and involved in LD riding and the IBA since about 2004. I've ridden in a lot of endurance rallies, from 8 hours to 11 days. The 5 day and 10 day rallies I did were harder than the IBR in some ways, easier in others. And yes, I have a bunch of certs, which are public record if you want to go look on the IBA site, but not as many as you might think. Lots of undocumented rides too, like a lot of people here, every forum you know and in the IBA. it's not the only game in town and quite honestly, some just like to challenge themselves and don't feel the need to get a cert for it.

Ok, a certificate ride is a personal challenge. Pick any of the cert challenges you like, plan it, go ride it. Send in the paperwork or not. A lot of riders do this to sort out the bike for just normal riding. A little thing that bothers you on a day ride, will really bother you on a 1k ride. So as you ride farther, you sort those little things out until there are no little things that bother you. The ergonomics improve and every ride is better. Feel like cranking out a 1k day, no big deal, you've already sorted the bike and it's just up to you to want to do the ride and listen to your body while doing it.

Endurance rallies are a different animal. Yes, you still have to ride the miles. But trust me, all the riders that show up at the IBR can ride the miles. It's the routing and planing, the logistics of multiple legs and bonus lists that increase the challenge difficulty 10 fold.

For the IBR, you don't get the bonus locations before hand. You get them the night before the start. You have to balance planning your route with getting some sleep. You need a minimum number of points to be a finisher, but you only have a vague target number to aim for, not a hard and fast solid number. No one knows what the actual finisher requirement will be until all the riders are scored at the end.

So you get this bonus list. It tells you all the bonus locations for the first leg. You know you have to be in Kennewick, WA in 3.5 days and there is a 2 hour penalty window where if you're late, you will be docked 3 points per minute for every minute you are late. Early is no problem. Come in past the 2 hour penalty window and you are DNF. Did Not Finish and out of the rally.

The bonus list is like a restaurant menu. If you try and eat it all, you'll die. So you have to plan a ride to the bonuses you think will give you enough points, AND that has a mileage number you think you can realistically ride in the time you have. Easier said than done. The more local, first hand knowledge of the roads involved that you have, the better shot you have of making your plan work w/o having to re-work it when it goes in the shitter.

Ok, so you planned your ride. You have great confidence that you will get enough points to be solid for finisher status. The start goes off, you manage not to drop your bike in the parking lot and you're OFF. Riding your plan. The focus that comes with riding a plan on this level is something unique. Nothing else enters your mind. For the next 11 days, your job is to get up and ride all day. Your plan may be to ride 850 mile days. Your plan may be to ride 1200 mile days. Every rider is different. Some just want to be a finisher. Some want to WIN. You are always focused on the next bonus, the time you need to get there by, how long it's taking you, what your fuel usage is, when you need to eat and how to minimize every stop you can. Because you really will need that minute you shaved off that gas stop in 3.5 days when you're stuck in a traffic jam 3 miles from the checkpoint and forest fires have closed roads on the way in to Kennewick.

When you leave the start, you have zero idea what you're really going to run into during this leg. You know where you want to go, what roads you want to take. The un-knowns are huge. From accidents to road construction to events you don't even have a clue about. (Oh great, it's founder days in [insert tiny town you need to get thru], today and that just happens to be the day you ride there. Then there are holidays some years. In 2013 I had both Canada day and Independence day to deal with. Talk about RV hell at some points. Mostly it was fine, but you never know.

So great, you have a plan. Your plan is rocking it... then it's gone to shit. Doesn't matter why, it happens frequently. Now you need to re-plan. Good rally riders with experience plan for this too. You plan low point bonuses that you can drop in order to make the higher point bonuses you really want/need to get. You plan what bonuses to add if you are up on time. Some riders are still learning this stuff, even when they get to the start of the IBR. They end up cutting that big point bonus when they realize they won't make it to the checkpoint on time if then go for it, but already wasted time getting the little bonuses so can't cut those when the realize the plan is screwed.

Being able to benchmark your ride so that you realize as soon as possible when you need to cut or add bonus locations is a learned skill. Being able to salvage a good leg when things go horribly wrong is another skill.

In reality, what separates the good rally riders from the just so-so rally riders is how they deal with the problems that come up. One rider in a past IBR changed bikes 5 times. The first time you change bikes, it's a 50% loss of points. In other words, you get scored for that leg, and lose half of the points you got. And for every leg after that too. Change bikes again, they take pity on you and you still lose half your points, but not any more, even though you are now riding a 1974 Suzuki 2 stroke that you found close by the break down point of the previous bike when checking out Craigs List. Oh, and it doesn't matter where you found the next bike, you still have to return to the point you broke down at to re-start your IBR rally. No leave your bike at the dealer and go sleep in a hotel either. If your bike is there, YOU'RE there. Sleep on the floor of the showroom. (no slam on the guy that actually IS riding a 1974 Suzuki water cooled 2-stroke 750 in this year's rally. He finished on the same bike in 2017 and did well, with no issues. He knows that bike inside, outside, upside down.)

It's about the competition, the focus, the fun places you will go and things you will see during the rally. 15 minutes after the banquet is over, people forget who won. This year we have the only rider to ever win twice, riding again. And another past winner. If the past winner wins again, there will be TWO riders that have ever won the rally twice in it's history. If the fellow that has won twice wins again, he will be the only person to ever win three times. A record likely to not be broken any time soon.
 

EricV

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PART 2.

588 unique individual people have finished the Iron Butt Rally. (there are a lot of repeats) We used to say more people had been in space then finished the Iron Butt Rally. But we passed that point in 2017. Only 536 people have been in space. My IBA rider number is 488. 3 Digit numbers replace your regular number when you become a IBR finisher. Only IBR finishers have 3 digit IBA numbers. When I finished the IBR in 2013, more people really had been in space than had successfully finished the Iron Butt Rally. Talk about perspective.

The riders are not suffering. Most of them are paying close attention to their bodies and fatigue levels. They sleep when they need to, eat when they can, ride the heck out of their bikes and try and plan the ride, then ride the plan, then re-plan the ride when the plan goes to shit. This is vacation for many. But it's not cheap. Entry is over $2k. We joke about 11 days, 11k miles, $11k dollars. It's not far off. Even if you have a rally ready bike when you get drawn, there is still a significant amount of cash spent before and during the rally. Hotels, food, gas, repairs, farkles, bonus locations that require admission fees, (varies widely by year and theme), etc.

On any given day, I can hop on a bike, any motorcycle, and knock out a 1k day if I need to. I've done it on a Suzuki 650 Vstrom with a seat made for a tiny pixie girl with a tiny ass. I've done it on a '40 Knucklehead with rigid frame and springer front end. But it's a whole lot easier on a prepped bike that fits me! All of the IBR riders have carefully prepped their bikes and will be in relative comfort for the riding. That's not the challenge. Even the rider on a borrowed bike at the last minute will be better off than on most stock bikes.

Fuel cells. It's about being able to stop for fuel when you want to, not when you need to. The standard saying in the LD riding group is "Don't pass known gas for unknown gas". No matter how much fuel you have, it's just allows you to run out farther away from the nearest gas station. In Oregon and New Jersey, no 24 hour gas stations and no self serve. In the rest of the country, you still can run out of gas in the middle of the night in many, many places. Some of these riders will be riding 20 hours a day. Some will sleep 8 hours every night. You can guess which ones are trying to finish and which ones are trying to win. Having a 350-500 mile range is part of your planning. Knowing how much you have left when you choose to do an out and back route to a bonus that has zero opportunity for gas on it's entire leg is crucial. Fuel cells are required to be very specific. Metal or plastic is fine, if the plastic is a dedicated racing cell. Bulkhead fittings to tie it in to the main tank are required. Gravity feed or pump is ok. (no gas cans or bottles) Ground straps are required on plastic cells. We inspect every fuel cell to make sure it is securely mounted and properly grounded and generally safe. Fail, you can pull it off, or fix it if you can before the start and get re-inspected. I failed a poorly mounted fuel cell that I felt could have broken loose in a crash. The rider added additional bracing and brackets per my recommendation to make it safe and get passed by tech inspection. His only alternative would have been to remove it and run with the stock tank only. Not a desirable thing when he had gone to all the trouble to set the bike up with a fuel cell.

This aux tank thing started when bikes had poorer mpg and with some consideration for side car rigs. Side car rigs used to be able to carry 15 gallons or so, but now are only allowed by specific judgement from the Rally Master and IBA president.

Hope that helps give some perspective. Sorry about the long misssive.
 
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EricV

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I feel riders carrying 11.5 gallons of fuel should be entered in some kind of separate modified class.
I understand, but everyone has the same level playing field. One rider this year is running only the stock 5 gal. tank on his AMF era HD, by choice. That's epic in it's own right. That he's also 77 years old just tells you he's one stubborn dude that know's his bike. I hope he does well. I'd lean more towards putting him in a class with like individuals then making the others a modified class. He's the rarity.

The IBR rules are intended to both provide a level playing field and to keep riders in check. Want to run a car tire? Fine, but you are required to also have a TPMS system too. It's all about safety. CTs sometimes make it more difficult to notice you have low pressure. Especially with a Run Flat tire. Thus the requirement. Want to run a fuel cell? Fine, but you have to meet the requirements and pass inspection.

Long distance riding means more fuel. Eliminating a fuel stop was quickly determined in the past to be an advantage. Eventually, the IBA put forth a 350 mile rule for cert rides, but does not limit the amount of fuel you can carry. You simply need to provide a dated, timed receipt every 350 miles. This can be an ATM receipt, a receipt for a candy bar, what ever. I know riders that carried 21 gallons or more. Unusual rides, unusual requirements to make it happen. Every edge that follows the rules is good. Sometimes someone comes up with something new and sometimes that requires a new rule. Or technology advances and requires a new rule. FLIR may end up requiring a new rule at some point. Right now, the IBR has a 11.5 gal limit. That came about in the past with the 6.5 gallon stock tank on one brand of bike and a 5 gallon aux tank. 5 gal aux tanks were easy to source, thus the likelyhood that you could add one to what, at the time, was the largest stock tank on a production motorcycle. Now a BMW R1200GSA has a 7.9 gal tank. Not a good idea to show up with a 3.7 gal aux tank..., but it's happened. A few years back a rider had to put something like 18' of chain in his aux tank to reduce the volume of fuel to make it meet the 11.5 gal restriction. It was NOT pretty.
 

Lux

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Hi Eric,
I removed the front bolt from the stock tip over guards (or bumpers?) and replaced the bolt with the equivalent size stainless steel all thread with a jam nut to hold the bumper tight to the frame. I drilled a hole near the outboard end of the bumper and installed an eyelet to support the all thread. I drilled and threaded some cheap highway pegs onto the end of the all thread. Not great but it allowed me someway to change position.
 

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RonH

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I've been following the event since 1983 I think when it was first run. Amazing is all I can say, and always have. I like watching the older bikes. This year again runs a 1974 Suzuki GT750 2 stroke, and also the Silverwing Eric mentioned. KTM 1190 adv starting, a couple Africa twins ridden by husband/wife.
Interesting to look at the bikes. Most prefer minimal windscreen. No barn door screens seen. Most mods to screens are lower than factory. Always interesting.
 

RonH

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Also lots of BMWs entered as always, which constantly amazes me. What do they do when the service light lights up after 2,000 miles? I guess put black tape over it and ignore it? Otherwise they stop for the $400 dealer oil change and turn off the light 3 or 4 times during the rally?
 

dmulk

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Gravity feed or pump is ok. (no gas cans or bottles) Ground straps are required on plastic cells. We inspect every fuel cell to make sure it is securely mounted and properly grounded and generally safe.
Hey there Eric. During the rally are competitors allowed to carry fuel bottles/cans if they aren't using them as aux tanks? Just curious. Thanks! :)
 

EricV

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Hey there Eric. During the rally are competitors allowed to carry fuel bottles/cans if they aren't using them as aux tanks? Just curious. Thanks! :)
That's a big NO.

A rider was spotted at the start with an aluminium bottle on the back of his bike. Warchild gave him the stink eye. The rider knew immediately... Then smiled, pulled it off the bike and took a nice swig from it. Electrolytes. LOL

Edit - The reason for no fuel bottles or cans is simply safety. A leaking fuel bottle or can inside a closed pannier can be very dangerous. Fuel cans or jugs are no where near as thick as racing fuel cells or dedicated aluminum or sheet metal ones. Can you imagine crashing your bike with a full plastic red gas can bungie corded to the back of the bike? Vented caps are not allowed. All fuel cells must be vented thru a hose to the rear of the bike. All must have baffles or foam inside the cell unless tail mounted.

A decade or so ago a vented cap caused a fire on a motorcycle during the IBR. Full tank, heat of the day, etc. caused it to overflow as the gas expanded. It ran down the tank onto the motor and at some point caught fire. The rider, chugging along, suddenly realized his bike was on fire and he dumped it getting stopped and off the bike as quickly as possible. He managed to quickly extinguish the burning fuel on himself.

Then he realized that his bike was still burning... inside a national forest... where some of the planet's oldest known trees exist. He was in real danger of burning down the 3000 year old Patriarch Tree. Thankfully a ranger came along quickly and helped him put out the fire before it spread.

The rider had to find another bike, salvage as much of his gear as possible, including the charred rally pack, return to the scene of the crime, then continue on with his IBR, having a 50% point penalty for the rest of the rally. (He did so well that he still came in somewhere around 25 out of 60 or so, if I recall correctly.)
 
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EricV

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EricV, on the spotwalla page why are 4 of the bikes marked in green?
Green Spot marks are for "OK" pings, orange are for normal automatic tracking pings. Some riders like to hit an OK at a bonus stop. It's possible sometimes that a bonus requires that, but I have not read the bonus pack this year. Most likely it's just rider preference.

FWIW - When I ride with a Spot, I hit OK at bonus locations and any time I stop for a break longer than about 10 minutes. At the end of the day I hit Custom, which will show as Green or some other color different than tracking. (It's been a while and I don't look at my own Spotwalla page very often). My custom message says that I am at my destination for the day and stopped safely. It makes my wife happy if I'm riding solo. Some riders do that reversed, using the OK for end of day spot ping and custom for bonuses.
 

Rambler

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Riders set off June 16 from Greenville, SC
As per the list 4 Teneres with one team from UK riding 2-up

Current progress

 

EricV

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There is already a thread about the IBR. HERE
 

EricV

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Note that you now see some yellow markers which are 'Custom' spot pings and as I write this, there is a red marker, 'help' on the Beartooth Hwy in Wyoming. Help is not accidentally hit, it's a covered button to prevent this. You have to remove a guard to get to the actual button. Hopefully it's not too serious. We've had several drop outs so far, from a deer strike to emotional issues where the rider had too much going on at home and couldn't keep their head in the rally.
 
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