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post #1 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Iron Butt Rally 2011

Well its started.

My friend, all time favorite and local SF Bay Area guy Eric Jewell is off and running..

You can follow the website HERE

Spot Tracking is HERE

and Ill copy the day to day ride report in this thread for those who would like to follow from our forums.....Its an adventure.

The Iron Butt Rally

The Iron Butt Rally is held in the United States every two years. Although we have looked into moving the rally to other countries, only Australia offers the wide-open spaces without international borders for the running of this 11 day, 11,000 mile plus marathon.

To completely describe the Iron Butt Rally would take an entire book. In fact, one of the best sources for information is Iron Butt competitor Ron Ayres's book, "Against the Wind" available from the Iron Butt Association. Many other unique stories have been written about the rally and some of the best ones are available right here on our web site and can be viewed by scrolling through the Iron Butt Stories sub-menu above. The Iron Butt first ran in 1984. In 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 the rally started from Montgomeryville Cycle Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.

The Iron Butt was not held again until 1991 when it came under the management of the Iron Butt Association. While the basic format of the original rally remained, two important things have changed; to insure the quality of the event, the rally is run every other year and the starting and ending points are rotated to different sections of the United States.

The Iron Butt Rally Concept

The Iron Butt is a fairly simple concept. The rally consists of five checkpoints located around the perimeter of the United States. In order to be considered a finisher of the event, riders must be present at each of these checkpoints within a two hour window.

No consideration is given for bad weather (during the running of the Iron Butt, riders can expect to ride through rain, sleet, snow, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes and the occasional tornado). Temperature extremes routinely run 125 degrees or more in the desert Southwest in fact, in living up to the name, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Competition", event organizers intentionally route the rally through such places as Death Valley or the Mojave Desert during the hottest part of the day, to extreme cold at the top of mountains like Pike's Peak in Colorado where competitors may have to struggle up a muddy road to reach the peak's 14,110 foot summit.

Riders have the option of boosting their standings in an attempt to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal by visiting optional bonus destinations located around the United States and Canada. "Bonus Hunting" as it is called, can be both fun and mentally devastating. Where else in the world do riders have to ride 11,000 miles in 11 days, while trying to find odd places like the remains of the Branch Dividian Compound, or stop by the Los Angeles County morgue to purchase a toe tag or take a hike in Lava Tube or perhaps visit the enchanted Guru Lane in the Black Rock desert in a remote section of Nevada?

Only on the Iron Butt!!

Rally supporters are encouraged to visit checkpoints. The best time to visit a checkpoint is approximately two hours before riders are due until about 45 minutes after riders may leave. If your time is limited, we recommend stopping by twenty minutes before riders leave the checkpoint. At that time, riders are eagerly awaiting the next leg's bonus listing. When it is handed out, watch maps fly open as competitors determine which route and what bonuses to attempt while still praying to make it to the next checkpoint in time.

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
Robert M. Pirsig
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post #2 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Friday, June 17, 2011 The Riders are Gathering in Seattle

The 2011 Iron Butt Rally
Friday, June 17, 2011

The Riders are Gathering in Seattle

The Seattle Airport Marriott is beginning to fill up with motorcyclists gathering for the start of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, “The World’s Toughest Motorcycle Competition.” Beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, about 90 competitors will embark on an 11-day odyssey during which almost every waking moment will be spent riding a motorcycle to points currently unknown. Most will just be hoping to meet the minimum requirements to be listed as a finisher, which typically requires about a 9,000 mile ride. Others, who will likely average 1,000 miles per day or more, will be attempting to finish at or near the head of the pack.
2011 marks the 15th running of the Iron Butt Rally, which was first run in 1984 and is now run every other year. Since its early years, the Rally has evolved from a relatively simple test of endurance into a much more complex event in which a rider’s ability to select the optimum combination and sequence of “bonus” locations has become extremely important. Because the ability to think clearly is an asset, riders need to get adequate rest during the event. Points awarded for “rest bonuses” provide additional incentive for riders to get an adequate amount of sleep.

Early Arrivals in the Hotel Parking Lot

Iron Butt Rally Veterans in Seattle
From Left: Jeff Earls, George Barnes, John Harrison, Bill Shaw, Bob Higdon, John Ferber, Dennis Bitner, Chris Sakala, and Ira Agins. Harrison and Sakala are riding again this year.

Pre-Rally Activities
Today, many riders are getting maintenance and tire changes on their motorcycles. As usual, some riders are making last minute modifications to their bikes or trying to fix problems associated with recent modifications that cropped up on their ride to Seattle.
Canadian Perry Karsten is one rider who is very glad to have arrived in Seattle early. Yesterday, he discovered that the final drive on his Yamaha FJR 1300 was leaking, indicating the potential for a catastrophic failure during the rally. After a call went out to the FJR Forum, no less than three fellow FJR owners from the local area offered to swap final drives with Perry. The swap has already been made and Perry is back in business.
Another victim of a pre-rally incident was Alex Harper. Alex, who managed to survive a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine, reportedly sustained minor injuries earlier today when he fell off of a chair in a local salon while receiving a pedicure. This report was phoned in by another rider receiving a pedicure and the same salon, Nancy Oswald. If the report is not accurate, I’m hoping Alex will take it out on Nancy and not me. (Early Saturday Morning Update: Alex has recovered to the point that he was able to make it to the hotel bar last night. The minor scrape on his elbow is not exactly of Purple
Heart caliber. He also copped to getting a manicure as well as a pedicure and his nails did look very nice!)
Pre-rally activities for the Iron Butt Rally Staff include unpacking numerous boxes of items being distributed to the riders this weekend. Things to be distributed include hats, t-shirts, identification cards, USB thumb drives containing coordinates of locations that may be visited during the course of the rally, and various documents describing exactly how the rally is being run this year. There are also last-minute changes being made to a new computerized scoring program that is intended to dramatically reduce the amount of time required at each checkpoint and the finish.

The Weekend Schedule
Tech Inspection – Beginning Saturday morning, the first step in the rider check-in process is “Tech Inspection.” Before their motorcycle is inspected, each rider is required to show that they have a current driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. The vehicle identification number and license plate on the motorcycle are then checked for consistency with the paperwork. Each rider is also required to show that they have a helmet that meets U.S. DOT or equivalent specifications.
The amount of time required to finish Tech Inspection depends how extensively a motorcycle has been modified. Most of the motorcycles in this event are equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks to extend the distance that can be ridden between fuel stops. When dimension checks of the auxiliary tanks indicate that the total system capacity is close to the 11.5 gallon limit, a fairly time-consuming measurement of the auxiliary tank capacity is required. The process involves the use of hydrometers to measure fuel density and a laboratory grade electronic scale that is used to measure the weight of fuel required to fill the system. The measured capacity of the auxiliary tank combined with the manufacturer’s specification of the volume of the stock tank must not exceed the limit.
Motorcycles with aftermarket exhaust systems also have to pass a sound test during technical inspection. Since 1999, the Iron Butt Rally has required all participants to use relatively quiet exhaust systems that not only reduce rider fatigue but leave a good impression with the hotels used for the start, finish, and the checkpoints.
Another element of technical inspection is the odometer check. Each rider is required to ride a specific route after zeroing the trip odometer on their bike. The mileage recorded by the odometer is compared to the known actual distance of the route to create an odometer correction factor that will be used to determine exactly how far each rider traveled during the 11-day rally.

Additional Check-In Procedures – Following the completion of the Tech Inspection process in the hotel parking lot, riders have a number of additional steps to complete inside the hotel. One of these steps involves verifying that each rider is starting with an empty memory card in their digital camera, a correct date and time setting, and the proper resolution setting (640x480). There is also a brief videotaped interview of each rider.

Mandatory Rookie Meeting – At 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, each rider who has not previously completed an Iron Butt Rally is required to attend a presentation by Jeff Earls, 2nd place finisher in 2009, during which the rookies are expecting to be able to glean pearls of wisdom.
Sunday Morning Tech Inspection – Late arriving riders and riders who were unable to pass on Saturday will have an opportunity to go through the Tech Inspection process on Sunday morning. Some riders will undoubtedly still be working to resolve last minute problems with their extensively modified motorcycles.

Riders Meeting – At 4:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, all riders will be required to participate in a meeting during which the most important rules will be reviewed in detail. More importantly, riders will be provided details regarding which of the formal written rules are being suspended for this rally.

Pre-Rally Banquet – 5:30 p.m. on Sunday evening is the pre-rally banquet. After the dinner, the rider packets for the first leg of the rally will be distributed and the theme of the rally will be explained. Speculation is running rampant through the Marriott in anticipation of the moment all is revealed.

Rally Staff and Volunteers
Throughout the weekend, Rallymaster Lisa Landry will be assisted by about two dozen Iron Butt Rally staff and volunteers. Like a scene from the old television program “Charlie’s Angels,” Landry is sometimes heard talking on the phone to Michael Kneebone when he occasionally checks on whether everything is running smoothly.
Chief Technical Inspector Dale “Warchild” Wilson will be running technical inspection on Saturday and Sunday. Assisting Dale this year will be 1999 Iron Butt Rally winner George Barnes, IBR veterans Terry Lahman, Tobie and Lisa Stevens, and “Turbo” Dave Hicks.

During the rider check-in process, Bill Shaw and Dave McQueeney will be in charge of verifying that each rider has their digital camera set up properly. At each checkpoint, Bill and Dave will be collecting rider’s memory cards, transferring the images to a thumb drive, and checking to see that each image has been recorded with the proper resolution.

Assisting with other elements of the rider check-in process will be Lynda Lahman, Bill Watt and Susan Murphy, Jim and Donna Fousek, Roger and Karen Van Santan, Verne and Bonnie Hauck, Ira Agins, Dennis Bitner, Cori Phelps, Maura Gatensby, John Ferber, and Tim Bowman. As usual, Ed Otto will be providing assistance with any insurance issues.

Photographing the activities this weekend will be Steve Hobart. A more difficult task for Steve begins next Friday at Checkpoint Number 1 when he will be responsible for running the scoring process. However, the biggest challenge Hobart faces during the next two weeks is maintaining a sense of personal dignity and composure while traveling with Lisa Landry to each checkpoint and the finish.

At this point, riders have no idea where they will be going on Monday morning. They know that the first checkpoint is Cheektowaga, New York (a suburb of Buffalo), but its only 2,588 miles to Cheektowaga and they have until 8 p.m. on Friday, June 24th to get there. Accounting for the time zone change, that’s 103 hours after the start. That’s twice as much time as most of these riders need. There is time available to consider bonus locations all over North America. No one hoping to score enough points to be listed as a finisher will be heading directly to New York. Many riders are expecting to spend a lot of time in Canada.

There is a mandatory layover in Cheektowaga that will give riders the opportunity to start the second leg well-rested. If they get in a little early and finish with scoring by 8 p.m., they will have 8 hours of down time before the bonus listing for leg 2 is handed out at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning.

By 5 p.m. on Monday, June 27th, the riders need to be in Jacksonville, Florida. Total time from when the bonus listings are handed out in Cheektowaga to the opening of the Jacksonville checkpoint is 61 hours. The most direct route from Cheektowaga to Jacksonville is 1,053 miles, requiring an average speed of just 17 mph. As with leg 1, there will be lots of time available for side trips to far flung bonus locations.
As at the first checkpoint, there is a mandatory layover in Jacksonville, but it’s shorter. The bonus listings for the final leg are handed out at 10 p.m, 5 hours after the opening of the checkpoint window. To avoid penalty points at the finish, the riders need to be in Ontario, California by 10 a.m. on Friday, July 1st, which is 87 hours later.
The most direct route from Jacksonville to the finish is 2,362 miles. For riders who can maintain a 1,000 mile per day pace, there is time available for over 1,200 miles of side trips to bonus locations.

Daily Reports
As during the last two Iron Butt Rallies and the Iron Butt 5000, IBR staff will be keeping track of riders’ progress between checkpoints with the use of “call-in bonuses.” Riders will periodically be leaving voicemail on the telephone system at my office in Sacramento, California. 24 separate telephone lines are serving a dedicated call-in number. Once on each leg, riders will be given the opportunity to earn bonus points just by calling the number and leaving a brief message telling us where they are, where they have recently been, and where the next bonus is that they are heading for. As soon as they hang up, each rider’s voicemail message will be converted to a “.wav” file and attached to an e-mail automatically sent to me and the Rallymaster. The time stamp on the e-mail message will indicate exactly when the call was completed.

We will also be monitoring the progress of some riders through the trail of “breadcrumbs” they are leaving with their “Spot” satellite tracking systems.

Most of tomorrow’s report will be dedicated to identifying the entrants and what model motorcycles they will be riding. There will also be a few highlights of the Tech Inspection process.
On Sunday, I’ll provide some insight into what transpires at the private Riders’ Meeting and report on the activities at the evening banquet when the bonus listings are handed out. Unlike in previous Iron Butt Rallies, the bonus locations for the entire rally will be disclosed at the banquet.

Tom Austin
June 17, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL USA

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
Robert M. Pirsig
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The 2011 Iron Butt Rally – Day -2
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Not Your Typical Collection of Motorcycles
There are now about 100 motorcycles in the parking lot of the Seattle Airport Marriott, but they are not the kind of motorcycles the general public is used to seeing gathered in large numbers. There are only a few “cruiser” -style motorcycles and none of them have obnoxiously loud exhaust systems. BMWs outnumber Harley-Davidsons by about 10 to 1, just the opposite of what would be expected based on total sales. There are lots of Hondas and Yamahas, but they are almost exclusively touring and sport-touring models, not cruisers or sport models.

Invariably, there is at least one motorcycle in every rally that is considered to be in what is affectionately referred to as the “hopeless class.” This year, that honor goes to a 1975 Triumph Trident ridden by John Young from the United Kingdom. Members of the Tech Inspection team have been placing bets on how far the Triumph is going to make it. Some are betting that it‟s going to be out before Checkpoint 1. Others are more specifically betting that it won‟t make it out of Seattle.

The Riders
The people who rode these motorcycles into the parking lot aren‟t typical either. Almost without exception, they were dressed from head to toe in gear designed for riding in all kinds of weather rather than looking cool at the local coffee shop or bar. And based on the latest reports, these riders will get more than their share of bad weather during the first leg alone.
Typically, about 100 riders are selected from the applications submitted to compete in the Iron Butt Rally. This year, economic conditions have result in several riders dropping out since they were initially selected and it looks like about 88 riders will be on the starting line this year.

As described in my Day -2 report for the 2009 Rally, the process used to select entrants from the applications submitted is designed to ensure a broad range of riders will have a chance to compete. At one end of the spectrum, preference is given to veterans of previous Iron Butt Rallies. At the other end of the spectrum, several slots are set aside for the most “hopeless” of the applicants, primarily based on whether they are intending to ride an antique motorcycle or another motorcycle especially unsuited for long distance riding. Several spots are also set aside for riders, be they Iron Butt Rally veterans or not, who have done extremely well in other rallies.
This year, 29 of the riders are returning veterans. Two additional riders competed in a previous Iron Butt Rally but ended up in the “did not finish” (DNF) category. An additional 24 riders finished the 5-Day Iron Butt 5000 Rally in 2010, which guaranteed those riders a spot in the 2011 Iron Butt Rally. One additional rider was a DNF in the Iron Butt 5000, but was accepted because the circumstances of the DNF were beyond the
rider‟s control. Most of the rest of the field will be riding a multi-day rally for the first time.

(The next couple of pages identify the riders entered and, in most cases, the make and model of motorcycles they were intending to ride when they submitted their application. I‟ll provide an update after all of the riders have completed the check-in process.)

The returning Iron Butt Rally veterans include four of the Top Ten finishers in 2009. Californian Eric Jewell, who finished 3rd in 2009, will be riding a Honda ST1300 in his seventh Iron Butt Rally. Always a strong finisher, Eric is clearly one of the favorites to win this year. Chris Sakala, a BMW R1200RT rider from Maryland, finished 4th in 2009 and 2nd in 2005 and is another potential winner this year. Another strong contender is Ken Meese, a BMW K1300GT rider from California, who finished 9th in 2009 and who has won numerous other rallies. Peter Behm, a Yamaha FJR 1300 rider from Minnesota, finished 10th in 2009 and is another veteran rider with the capability of another podium finish this year.
Other returning veterans who finished in the top 20 in 2009 are Roger Sinclair, 12th place finisher from Virginia, riding a Kawasaki Concours 14, Dick Peek, 15th place finisher from Utah, riding a FJR 1300; Brian Jack, 18th place finisher from Washington riding a BMW R1150GS; Mark Crane, 19th place finisher from California, riding a BMW R1200GS; and Nancy Oswald 20th place finisher from Maryland riding a BMW R1200GS.
Other returning Iron Butt Rally veterans are:
Jennyfer Audet (Canada) riding a Honda CBR1100XX;
Michael Boge (Idaho) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Wendy Crockett (California) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300;
Jeff and Carol Fremder (Wisconsin) riding a BMW R1150RT;
Jim Frens (New Hamphire) riding a Honda GL1800;
Art Garvin (Ohio) riding a Honda GL1800;
Curt Gran (Wisconsin) riding a Honda ST1300;
John Harrison (Alabama) riding a Honda ST1300;
Brian Jack (Washington) riding a BMW R1150GS;
Andy Kirby (Massachusetts) riding a Honda ST 1300;
Tom Loftus (California) riding a Honda ST1300;
Gerhard Memmen-Kreuger (Germany) riding a Honda GL1800;
Terry Neale (California) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300;
Buford Neely (Mississippi) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300;
Dennis Powell (Iowa) riding a Honda GL1800;
Tom and Rosie Sperry (California) riding a Honda GL1800;
Bill Thweatt (North Carolina) riding a Honda ST1300;
Jacques Titolo (Canada) riding a Kawasaki ZX12R;
Bill Wade (New Jersey) riding a BMW R1200GS; and
Jim Winterer (Minnesota) riding a Suzuki DL 650 V-Strom.

Californian Alex Harper is another entrant with Iron Butt Rally experience, but Alex was a DNF in the 2009 rally in a failed attempt to run the rally on a 1970s vintage Suzuki RE5 rotary. This year, Alex stands a better chance of finishing riding a Yamaha FJR 1300. Tony Hudson (South Carolina), who was a DNF in both the 2009 Iron Butt Rally and the Iron Butt 5000, is also entered again this year.

24 other entrants competing in the Iron Butt Rally for the first time are veterans of the 5-day Iron Butt 5000 Rally that was held in 2010, including the winner of that rally Minnesotan John Coons. By defeating several Top Ten finishers of the Iron Butt Rally, Coons has proven his ability to finish at the front of the pack. He will be riding the same motorcycle that carried him to victory last year: an 18-year old BMW R1100RS.
Other veterans of the Iron Butt 5000 who will be riding in their first Iron

Butt Rally include:
George Barker (Wisconsin) riding a Honda GL1800
Doug Barrett (California) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300
Greg and Pat Blewett (Kentucky) riding a Honda GL1800
W. (Wayne) Boyter (Texas) riding a BMW R1200RT
Peter Delean (Canada) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300
Kurt Dix (Florida) riding a Kawasaki Concours 14
Bobby Fox (Texas) riding a BMW R 1200 RT
Neil Hejny (Arizona) riding a Honda GL1800
Dave Hembroff (Ohio) riding a Yamaha FJR1300
Darrin Hicks (Canada) riding a Harley Davidson, Ultra Classic
Mike Jackman (Florida) riding a Honda GL1800
Brian Johnson (Minnesota) riding a BMW K1200LT
Perry Karsten (Canada) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300
Jeremy Loveall (Kentucky) riding a BMW R1150RT
Michael Mehaffy (Missouri) riding a Yamaha FJR1300
Brant Moteelall (Minnesota) riding a Yamaha FJR1300
Bryan Neagle (California) riding a Honda ST 1300
Corey Nuehring (Iowa) riding a Yamaha FJR1300
Bob Rippy (Missouri) riding a BMW R1200RT
Karl Snell (Georgia) riding a BMW R1200GS
John Stamps (Florida) riding a BMW 1200RT
Kirsten Talken-Spaulding (Georgia) riding a BMW R1200RT
Robert Wilensky (Pennsylvania) riding a Suzuki DL 1000 V-Strom
Brian Bray (Georgia) also ran in the Iron Butt 5000, but became a DNF due to the damage his motorcycle suffered when he hit a bear. Rally staff are still disappointed that Brian didn‟t get a photo of his flag on the unconscious bear.

The 32 riders without previous Iron Butt Rally or Iron Butt 5000 experience are:
Steve Aikens (New Mexico) riding a BMW R1200RT
Roger Allen (Florida) riding a BMW R1200GSA
Kathleen Allen (Florida) riding a BMW R1200GS
Cameron Brister (Oregon) riding a FJR 1300
Robert Chadwick (Missouri) riding a Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra
Patrick Clark (Washington) riding a Yamaha Road Star
Shane and Annette Cudlin (Australia) riding a Honda GL1800
Earl Damron (Kentucky) riding a Suzuki GSX-R 1000
Stan Dulemba (Georgia) riding a BMW R1200RT
Howard Entman (Tennessee) riding a Yamaha FJR 1300
David Fick (Virginia) riding a BMW R1200GSA
Wallace French (Massachusetts) riding a BMW R1150RT
John Frick (Ohio) riding a BMW K1200LT
Jon Good (California) riding a BMW R1200RT
Colin Goodall (Canada) riding a FJR 1300
Greg Guillermo (Arizona) riding a Yamaha FJR1300
Rob Jaime (Maine) riding a Honda GL1800
Robert Joers (Wisconsin) riding a Honda GL1800
Michael and Betty Ligons (Missouri) riding a Honda GL1800
Andy Mackey (California) riding a BMW 1200GS Adventure
Tim Masterson (Texas) riding a BMW R1200GS Adventure
Dean McCurdy (Michigan) riding a BMW R1200RT
Aaron and Rena Miller (Missouri);
Chris Ogden (California) riding a BMW R1200GS
Daniel Roth (Georgia) riding a BMW R1200GS
Rod Schween (Canada) riding a BMW R1200GSA
Don Speck (Montana) riding a Harley-Davidson Road Glide
John Young (UK) riding a 1975 Triumph Trident T160
Cliff Wall (Texas) riding a Honda GL1800
Cletha Walstrand (Utah) riding a BMW F650GS Twin
Philip Weston (UK) riding a Yamaha FZS1000 Fazer
Shuey Wolfe (Florida) riding a Honda ST1300A

As indicated in the lists above, there are 12 women entered, 6 riding pillion and 6 piloting their own bike. The veteran pillion riders are Rosie Sperry (riding with husband Tom) and Carol Fremder (riding with husband Jeff). This is the first Iron Butt Rally for Rena Miller and her husband Aaron, along with Michael and Betty Ligons but their impressive finish in the 2010 Land of Enchantment Rally, besting one of the top ten finishers in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally, makes these two teams a force to be reckoned with. Other first time pillion riders are Pat Blewett and Annette Cudlin.

Of the women riding their own bike, Nancy Oswald, Wendy Crockett, and Jennyfer Audet all were finishers in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally. Kirsten Talken-Spaulding was a finisher in the Iron Butt 5000 in spite of a broken wheel during the first leg. Cletha Walstrand was a finisher in the 10-day “Ten „n Ten” Rally last year. This will be the first multi-day rally for Kathleen Allen; however, she has completed multi-day certificate rides.

Tech Inspection Begins
Seattle greeted the riders lining up for Tech Inspection this morning with some of its famous liquid sunshine. While inspecting vehicles in the rain, several problems were identified with auxiliary fuel systems needing to be more securely mounted. Several other bikes required modifications to the location of vent lines.

Only one bike had a problem with fuel capacity. Bill Wade presented his BMW R1200GS Adventure for inspection with an auxiliary fuel tank labeled as holding 3.0 gallons. The manufacturer‟s specification for the stock tank is 8.7 gallons. Since there are no exemptions for mathematically-challenged riders, Dale Wilson called for an actual measurement of the auxiliary tank to confirm the apparent problem with the 11.5 gallon limit on total fuel capacity.

After a trip to the closest gasoline station to purchase fuel, I unpacked all of my fuel measurement equipment and went through the process of determining exactly how much gasoline the auxiliary tank would hold. Unfortunately for Bill, the label on the auxiliary tank proved to be correct; it took 2.98 gallons. Slightly bending the rules, the Chief Technical Inspector agreed to allow Bill to use some steel chain to displace the 0.2 gallon overage. After a quick shopping trip Bill returned with what he thought was way more than enough chain. It turns out that almost 12 pounds of chain was just enough. Onlookers were amazed to see how much chain is required to displace just 0.2 gallons of gasoline.

Dale Wilson Oversees Adjustment to Bill Wade’s Auxiliary Tank Capacity

Most riders got through the odometer check okay, but an accident (unrelated to our group) on Interstate 5 caused some delay. Several riders have deferred running the odometer check until tomorrow morning.

Lisa Stevens Instructs Alex Harper at the Beginning of the Odometer Check

The Mandatory Rookies Meeting

At 4:00 p.m. all of the “rookies” entered in the rally were required to attend a meeting during which six-time Iron Butt Rally veteran Jeff Earls provided advice especially important for riders who have never finished a multi-day rally. The thrust of Jeff‟s presentation was to admonish rookies that they need to recognize that it is almost impossible for them to understand how draining an 11-day rally can be and that getting adequate rest should be their most important consideration.

One comment Jeff made that rang true with the few IBR staff in the room probably went in one ear and out the other for the rookies. He told them to sort through what they were planning to carry in their saddle bags and send half of it home tomorrow.

Following the completion of tech inspection and rider check-in, the riders‟ meeting is at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. The pre-rally banquet begins at 5:30. The rally instructions and bonus listings will probably be handed out by about 6:30 p.m. Riders will then have to make the first important decision of this rally: How much time to spend optimizing their route for Leg 1 and how much time to leave for sleep. The sound you hear about 6:30 pm Pacific Time will be their collective jaws hitting the floor. Stay tuned.
Tom Austin
June 18, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL US

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
Robert M. Pirsig
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 Iron Butt Rally, Day -1
Sunday, June 19, 2011
48 States or Bust!

When the rider packets for the first leg of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally were opened at the pre-rally banquet, everyone’s attention was directed to the following statement:
“To be classified as a finisher of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, a rider must visit all 48 contiguous states and reach each checkpoint and the finish before the close of the specified time window.”

As described in more detail below, finishing positions will be based on how much more each rider is able to do. But first, a brief summary of events leading up to the banquet.

“Has anybody seen Eric Jewell yet?”

It’s a common question at the start of a lot of rallies that is a source of anxiety for rally staff. But Eric has learned that the check-in process is a breeze when you are one of the last riders to show up, you have all of your paperwork in order, and you haven’t been making last-minute changes to your bike. A somewhat greater concern with Eric is that the same question is often being asked during the check-in window at the finish. In his first Iron Butt Rally (1999), Eric finished within minutes of being time barred but still had enough points for 5th place. Perhaps his most impressive ride of all time was in the 2001 Iron Butt Rally when he was so late to the finish that he ended up in 84th place after being one of the few riders to make it all of the way to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and back to the start in Alabama.

A few other late arriving riders had to get through tech inspection today, and several riders had to have their fuel cells inspected after last-minute modifications.

Riders’ Meeting
The Riders’ Meeting started today at 4:00 p.m.

Chief Technical Inspector Dale “Warchild” Wilson started the meeting by explaining the procedure for the start tomorrow morning, during which odometer readings will be recorded and rider identification tags will be punched. Riders were advised that “you need to be at your motorcycle at 8:30 a.m.” Anyone who shows up late won’t be cleared to leave until after the others have left at 10 a.m.

As the custodian of the Iron Butt Rally rules, I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the most significant changes in the rules since the 2009 Rally and reviewing a few rules that some riders have had difficulty with in the past. The most significant rule change was summarized as follows:

Fuel Purchase Records – Unlike in previous rallies, you don’t need to keep a fuel log. Gas receipts may often be used to document bonuses, but they are not absolutely required. Because there is no fuel log required, there is also no prohibition against refueling your motorcycle between the time you check-in at a checkpoint and the time you start the next leg.

I also described several changes to the written rules regarding penalty points that apply to this rally. Because there is no fuel log required, penalties that used to be proportional to the fuel log bonus points are now proportional to the value of the Call-In bonus for the leg. For example, if the value of the Call-In bonus on Leg 1 turns out to be 250 points, one missing item on a receipt (e.g., the date) will be a penalty of 10% of the Call-In bonus points, which is 25 points.

One of the other points I stressed was the importance of being courteous to volunteers and other riders. More importantly, I stressed the fact that riders would be subject to disqualification for “unsafe activities such as excessive speed, reckless motorcycle operation, riding while fatigued or otherwise impaired, the use of stimulants to maintain alertness, or any other activity that results in riders exceeding their personal limits.”

As riders, guests, and staff were finishing their dinners, Lisa Landry welcomed everyone to the 15th running of the Iron Butt Rally. Lisa acknowledged staff and volunteers who have been efficiently getting the riders through the check-in process all weekend and then introduced Bill Watt asking him to tell the audience about the bonus locations he has been working on.

Watt, who most of the riders assumed was the architect of the 2011 rally, proceeded to tell the riders about how much fun he has had identifying hundreds of remote bonus locations all over North America, including deep into Canada. He said that he has come up with a sequence of high point bonuses that requires multiple border crossings and ferry rides that he thought would provide a real challenge.

The look on the riders’ faces was priceless as they assumed they were about to embark on a nightmare of a rally. Kneebone then stepped to podium, grabbed Watt’s rally plans, wadded them up and threw them on the floor. He said he didn’t think the riders were quite ready for that type of a rally so he has asked Tom Austin to come up with something simpler.
I began my description of this year’s rally by explaining that my objective was for a change of pace; to provide an experience for riders more like the kind of rallies that drew me into the sport in the 1990s. To go back to a time when a computer spreadsheet wasn’t required to pick a good route. To go back to a time when you didn’t have to worry about how long it was going to take at a Canadian border crossing or whether a freaking ferry was running on time. To go back to a time when you didn’t have to fret about traveling over roads best suited for knobby tires in order to score big points. To go back to a time when you could ignore a multitude of piddling bonuses that were just a little bit out of the way; to instead be able to point your motorcycle in the direction of a fewer number of high-point bonuses and grind out the miles. To go back to a time when George Barnes could read the bonus listing and smile instead of wince.

Michael Kneebone Tosses Out Bill Watt’s Plans

This and all other photos courtesy of Steve Hobart.

I said that I expected route planning to still make a difference in determining who finishes first and who finishes tenth, but I didn’t think very many of riders would need to stay up half of the night trying to figure out where to go. Finally, I said that when this rally is over, riders would have an easy time explaining to friends and family where they went and what they accomplished.

After laying out that background, I said “So let’s open the rider packets and see how long it takes you to figure out where you are going to be riding for the next 11-days.”

The Rider Packets
Although many have been expecting ever increasing complexity with each new Iron Butt Rally, there has been a dramatic reversal for 2011. Instead of the 42 pages that were required to describe the Leg 1 bonus listings in 2009, the Leg 1 bonuses for this year’s rally are presented on 4 much smaller pages. Most riders had a good idea of where they are heading within about 10 minutes of opening the packet.

The simplicity of the 2011 Rally is described in the following sentence from the description of the Rally that the riders received tonight:
“To be classified as a finisher of the 2011 Iron Butt Rally, a rider must visit all 48 contiguous states and reach each checkpoint and the finish before the close of the specified time window.”

In addition to this basic requirement, which is worth 4,800 points, riders can earn 4,800 bonus points by also completing the “U.S.A. Four Corners Tour” during the course of the Rally. This involves documenting visits to Blaine, Washington; Madawaska, Maine; Key West, Florida; and San Ysidro, California.

Another 4,800 points are available for documenting a visit to Alaska. And since each rally usually has a bonus equivalent to documenting a visit to the moon, yet another 4,800 points are available for the capital of Alaska: Juneau.

Bonus points are also available for documenting visits to other state capitals, with the point value for each capital being generally related to the degree of difficulty. Although any state can be documented on any leg, only certain state capitols are available on each leg. However, the capitals available on each leg are logical; they are the capitals of the states on the base route for the leg. For example, the capital of the State of Washington will be available on Leg 1, the capital of the State of Maine will be available on Leg 2, and so on.

On leg 1, the point values for capitals in the 48 contiguous states range from a low of 25 points for capitals that are essentially right on the base route to 1,000 points for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a capital that requires taking a lengthy side trip just before heading for Checkpoint 1.
Finally, as in previous rallies, bonus points are available for a Call-In bonus on each leg and two separate rest bonuses.

To make it even simpler, a screen shot showing one possible route touching all 48 states was included in the rider packet. The route shown is 8,325 miles, according to Delorme Street Atlas, which was the program used to generate the screen shot.

The rider packet also explains that all riders who visit all 48 states and complete the Four Corners Tour will be Gold Medal finishers. A detailed route for the Four Corners option wasn’t provided; however, riders were informed that the minimum riding distance to visit all 48 states and complete the Four Corners Tour is approximately 10,500 miles.
Although there are no “daylight hours only” bonuses, there is one subtlety in the bonus instructions regarding documenting visits to state capitals. Between sunrise and sunset, the documentation required for each state capitol bonus is a photograph of the capitol building. After sunset, photographs may still be used if the capitol is illuminated and is clearly visible in the image. However, a receipt from the city in which the capitol building is located may be used in lieu of a photograph between the hours of sunset and sunrise. The computer-generated receipt must have the date, time, city, and state. If a receipt is used in lieu of a photograph, the value of the bonus will be reduced by 10 points.

The Basic 48-State Route

Rally Passport Book

In previous rallies, riders have been required document their visits to bonus locations on a list of bonuses printed on sheets of 8 ½ by 11 paper stapled together at one corner. Not this year. This year each rider has been given a full-color, spiral bound “Passport Book” that contains a separate page for each state. Printed on a single page is a photograph of the state capitol, the state “nickname” (e.g., Arizona is “The Grand Canyon State”) and short paragraph describing the state. There are also two boxes where the rider can fill in the date, time, and odometer reading when they visited the state or its capital.
At the back of the Passport book are separate pages for documenting the Four Corners bonus, the Call-In bonuses, and the Rest bonuses.
This booklet is a work of art that was developed by Steve Hobart. It will surely be a cherished keepsake for riders.

The “Passport” Book
Planning for Tomorrow
The lack of uncertainty about what is coming up during the next 11 days is having an obvious effect. Spirits were extraordinarily high at the end of banquet. Every rookie rider should show up at the starting line tomorrow morning confident that they are going to be a finisher. Even those going for the Four Corners bonus and other big points will recognize that retreating to the base route is always an option.

In contrast, at the Big Dog end of the spectrum, there will be a recognition that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park for anyone shooting for the top ten. Many of the bonus locations are a long damn way from the base route and it’s going to require a mighty big ride to score them.
Some monster rides were apparent from what we saw on the computer screens of several riders hard at work in their rooms shortly after the end of the banquet. Several riders and IBR staff have commented that they expect the top riders to log over 13,000 miles by the time they reach the finish in Ontario, California on July 1st.

Eric Jewell Working on Leg 1

Chris Sakala Working on Leg 1

I’ll post a report covering the start by Monday afternoon.

Tom Austin
June 19, 2011
Copyright © 2011, Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
Robert M. Pirsig
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post #5 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Spot Tracks as of 11:17pst 6/20

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
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post #6 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 04:36 PM
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Thanks for posting this... I'm usually the one who does it every year and it's great to see someone else who's following it..

I'd rather read the daily posts and watch the Spot locators than the Superbowl..

Last edited by Paper; 06-27-2011 at 11:08 PM.
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post #7 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Cool Paper!!

Eric Jewell and I worked a desk side by side together for at least a year.

We never had really talked motorcycles, he never mentioned what a great rider he was.
Then one day after a year or so it came up, he mentioned he did the Iron Butt and I was like "Whats that?". After doing some research I realized what a top notch rider he was and is always a favorite. He is super humble and unassuming, you would never guess it to know him and he wouldnt ever brag about it.

The funniest story though:
A few months ago he we were hanging out and he had retired his old BMW with something like 250,000 miles on it. He replaced it with an ST 1300.

So out of nowhere he asks "How do you adjust a chain, I mean how do you know when the chain is right, how long do they last?!?! Ive never had a chain before!"

I cracked up laughing!! Here is a guy who has ridden more miles in a decade than most serious riders will ride most of they're lives, and he's never had a bike with a chain on it!!!

Good Times.

Looks like the bonus points guys have made it up to Blain and on on the way back on route now.

Sitting on a dock of the Bay
Redwood City, California

“Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”
Robert M. Pirsig
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post #8 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 05:31 PM
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We have a second mutual aquaintence. I've known Jim Winterer for
some years. We were both members of the "Vladamir Pit Crew". Did he ever descibe his experiences withe the deaf-mute Bylorussian world traveler?
Anyway...TractorKing, keep up the good work. A lot of us will be
reading the reports....

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post #9 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 05:33 PM
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That's how most of them are, too.. There's always a couple chest thumpers, but the majority are cool, average joes..

Speaking of that, Joe Leggett was supposed to be running again this year, but he must be one of the ones that backed out. I talked to him a month and a half ago and he was gearing up for his second running..

I'm now waiting for Sleddog to chime in.. He and his wife rode the IronButt 5000 last year and turned down a spot on this year's Iron Butt..
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post #10 of 38 Old 06-20-2011, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PeoriaMac View Post
We have a second mutual aquaintence. I've known Jim Winterer for
some years. We were both members of the "Vladamir Pit Crew". Did he ever descibe his experiences withe the deaf-mute Bylorussian world traveler?
Anyway...TractorKing, keep up the good work. A lot of us will be
reading the reports....

No.. I don't know Jim very well.. I rode the MN1000 one year and talked to him there..

But I read all about Vlad and his adventures..
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