Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wore slap out…

Author: site admin
Category: Other Forms Of Racing

There is a saying in the south to describe being extremely tired which goes ‘I’m just slap wore out”. Now I have no idea where that came from or really even what it means but I can tell you that there are some people in Denver tonight that are slap wore out.

This evening was the first checkpoint in the ‘05 Iron Butt Rally. Unlike past Iron Butts, where the riders rode to the four corners of the country (and often a whole lot more) this year the first leg started and ended in Denver, CO. To make sure that the riders didn’t spend four days eating peeled grapes and soaking in the Doubletree’s hot tub, there is a minimum number of points required at the end of the rally (also in Denver, on Friday a week from today) with the assurance that there won’t be enough points available in the second and third legs to meet the requirement. Thus the riders left Denver on Monday and have spent the past four and a half days chasing bonuses that were scattered around the North American continent (and even a bogus bonus further afield than that!).

Got light? Iron Butt Gold Wing

Over the course of today the exhausted riders have been trickling back into the Doubletree hotel parking lot. The zombies arrived tired, smelly, hungry and clutching tattered stacks of gas receipts. Waiting in the parking lots were friends and family all worried but still ready to help however necessary. (Check Bob Higdon’s daily report on the IBR web site for more on this.)

Before they could collapse and take a much deserved nap they had some important tasks to do. First they had to check in with the Iron Butt Association staff. This meant a half hour off going over their route and presenting all of the paperwork they had collected to back up their claims. Polaroid photos, gas receipts, signed affidavits and GPS tracks were all explained in excruciating detail…four days of riding condensed into 30 minutes and a half inch high stack of paper…Once checked in the riders then had to attend to their bikes. New tires needed to be fitted, fresh oil added, headlights cleaned and niggling little problems fixed. Some riders had a support network to lend a hand while others sat their exhausted bodies on a curb and broke out their tools. Bike’s attended to, the riders could finally stagger to their rooms and try to catch some shut eye. Then at 9pm the second leg bonuses were handed out and they started it all over again.

The first leg points standing were posted tonight and it looks like those that took the dramatic long rides to the east coast didn’t get much for their effort. Doug Chapman, whose star-traxx route looked so impressive on Tuesday actually ended up in 47th place. It was the guys that went west who racked up the big points while turning in lower odometer numbers and getting more rest in the process. Jim Owens leads the scorecard with 37,214 points, a stunning 50% more than Doug Chapman, while turning in nearly identical mileage. The riders that went to Oh Canada! cranked out over 5,000 miles but still came back with around 10,000 less points for visiting the News Brunswick light house than those that bagged lots of the west coast bonuses.

My buddy Jeff Earls currently lies third in the points with 33,090 from a 4,656 mile ride. Fantastic stuff, especially considering he had to deal with a flat tire in southern California this morning. He got to Denver around 3pm and had time for a five hour nap after check-in before the bonus packets were handed out. While he was sleeping, his friends John O’Keefe and Rob Scott were handling bike maintenance duties. He should start leg #2 well rested and with a R1150GS full of fresh fluids and a good rear tire. Go, Jeff, go!

[image from my photo collection.]