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|1000 in less than 24 hours – IRON BUTT RIDE

April 30, 2016


I’ve always wanted to complete an Iron Butt (IBA) Association Bun Burner Gold ride. IB 000 That’s a ride of 1000 miles in less than 24 hours.  You need a ride witness at the start of your trip, fuel receipts for each stop, a log of your trip with odometer readings and notes, and end of ride time stamp (from a gas station or ATM) and someone to witness the end of your ride.  Full details can be found by visiting

Packing for the ride:

If you read this blog, you know I like to ride, and like Johnny Cash I’ve been close to everywhere in the USA.  For this trip I had to pack for two weeks as I planned to spend time with my parents in Missouri.  Although I have a great deal of packing experience, I managed to struggle with my MotoFizz bag for a large part of the trip.  In retrospect, I should have fully packed the bike a day before the ride and take a few test runs to make sure everything was perfect.  You don’t want to overlook even the smallest detail.

The Ride:

I don’t really have any photos of this ride.  Mostly because my camera broke a while back and for the most part, I was just riding.  I rolled out of Madison a little after 4:00 am.  The bike was already packed and all I needed was a time stamp at the start of the trip.  It took a few exits to find an open gas station.  I filled up the bike, took a note of the location and time, carefully stowed the receipt and hit I-95 South.  In New Haven I hit heavy traffic and lost about half an hour crawling along.  After that it was smooth sailing and fairly high speeds.  I guess if you are commuting to work at that hour you are entitled to drive crazy fast.  It seemed that most of the people were blasting along just a tad under a ton.

Passing Greenwich, I turned onto 287 towards White Plains and settled into the ride.  Crossing the Tappan Zee was easy and I was making good time.  Most of the rest of the trip – through NY, PA, OH, IN, IL need no comment.  Just lots and lots of interstate.  I will say that Google Maps showed lots of construction along the route and that was absolutely accurate.  I used the heated Gerbings jacket for the entire trip.  If you plan to do some long riding or an Iron Butt – don’t leave without one – even if it’s the middle of summer.  It gets cold at night.  Add in some rain and you’ll thank me.

IMPORTANT – your motorcycle’s odometer is full of shit.  It will estimate as much as 80 miles more than you have actually ridden.  It is important to use both your odometer and your GPS and your maps to get a sense of the actual mileage.   I rode another 80 miles past 1000 to make absolutely sure.  I think I saw this tip on the Iron Butt website.

Somewhere around 600 miles my electrics started misbehaving.  I accidentally hit the bike’s kill switch and when it re-started the speedometer and odometer stopped reading.  I have no idea how long that went on.  Then the GPS kept rebooting.  On top of that the app I was using on my iPhone to keep a live track of my miles and location also stopped working.  Then, after a heavy downpour, the low oil light went on.  It seemed like everything electrical was fucking with me.

I pulled off at an exit ramp and stopped to check out the low oil light.  I was highly skeptical about this as the bike’s temperature had not changed in the last several hours.  A quick check showed plenty of oil.  I re-started the bike and the speedometer and odometer started working again.  I also took a bit of electrical tape and wrapped the GPS power cable against the RAM mount to keep if from moving around.   This fixed most of the problems.  For whatever reason the speedometer began to read 8 MPH more.  Argggggg.  I’m glad the GPS has a large MPH display.  Other than that the bike ran flawlessly.

Under “you should know better” category, It looked like rain and I put on my rain pants.  After a few hours and light rain, the skies cleared so I took them off.  A short while later, I rode under some very dark clouds. I could however, see bright sunshine about 5 miles distant.  Well, the skies absolutely opened up and my lower half got absolutely soaked.  Lesson – keep your rain pants on stupid.  Once my pants were mostly dry, I put the rain pants on again.

Around the 800 mile mark it started to RAIN.  I’m talking biblical rain.  Sideways rain with gusts, lightening, and periods of zero visibility.  I used the semi ahead of me to guesstimate where the road was.  If he went off, I’m very sure I would have too.  Luckily it only lasted for about 10 minutes and shortly thereafter it went back to only heavy rain with tons of lightening. Hell, I’ll take that over zero visibility.

Quick note: While I’ve always had high quality gear, I’ve never used Gore-Tex gear.  Mostly because I could not afford it.  Let me tell you, you absolutely NEED this stuff.  My jacket and gloves were absolutely dry and perfect no matter how hard the rain was.  I broke down this week and finally ordered the matching pants to my Klim Badlands Pro jacket (three layer Gore-Tex pro).  No more extra rain pants!

The odometer seemed to move into slow motion from 900 miles to 1000.  I felt great but beginning to think about finishing.  I dialed up a podcast on the Iphone just to have something to distract me.  If you are going to do a ride like this make sure you have a wide variety of entertainment on hand.  It really helps when the miles start to pass more slowly.

I started looking for a place to stay for the night right around the 1060 mark.  I settled on Troy, IL.  Deciding to end the ride I went to a gas station to get my final time stamp.  I think it was around midnight or a little after.  I brought up the Priceline app on my Iphone and after a few minutes of screwing around with it settled on a room for something like $65.00.  I think fatigue was setting in.  In retrospect, I should have paid much less.  I picked a Red Roof Inn and put the sidestand down at reception.  I filled out my end of ride paperwork and went inside to check in and ask the receptionist to verify my ride.  She did that happily and then wasted close to 45 minutes trying to find my reservation.

Finally she figured out the computer system and gave me the room keys.  I parked the bike, grabbed my gear and stumbled into the hotel room.  I felt pretty good but was glad to end the ride.  I ate a few Belveeta crackers, drank some water and faded off to sleep.  It was a good day.

NOTE: I always wear a hoody sweatshirt after a long ride.  I sleep with the hood up and firmly believe keeping your neck, head and shoulders warm is really important to being able to function the next day.  HERE is an article I wrote about hoodies.

I woke up the next day feeling pretty good.  I was surprised how much my arms and shoulders hurt.  The Red Roof advertised a “continental breakfast” so I strolled down the hall into the breakfast area.   Two plastic bins of fruit loops and some mangy bagels.  That’s it.  No cereal, no hot anything, no fruit, nothing.  Nice job Red Roof!  I went back to the room and took a long hot shower.

Today I had a mere 350 miles to ride.  I put on my riding gear, grabbed my travel bag and walked out into the bright Illinois sunshine.  Somewhere down the road there would be breakfast.

Random thoughts and must have items:

I did not change my routine any prior to the ride.  I ate mostly the same things I would normally eat at lunch and breakfast stops. I went to bed early and managed to get some sleep before my 4:00 am departure.  I would suggest you do the same.

Water!  You NEED a hydration pack or Camelbak.  I’ve ridden many 500+ mile days and always had the opinion that I would just take a break if I got thirsty.  WRONG!  Dead wrong.  Water is invaluable for even a short ride.  You won’t believe how much better you will feel after a few sips.  It’s probably obvious but adding ice to your hydrapak will keep things cool.  The only issue I had was figuring how to get the bite valve inside the helmet.  I use a chin curtain so that would not work, eventually I put it through the right side of the helmet chin bar and that worked.

Snacks!  I’m a huge fan of BelVita breakfast snacks.  They have complex carbs, and, ummm, whatever.  They say they are healthy and give you energy.

Pre-pack and ride the bike.  I missed this one big time.  I’ve ridden tons of miles with mostly the same gear.  The big change was wearing a new jacket.  My KLIM Badlands Pro is an adventure style jacket and it is longer down the back.  It made contact with my MotoFizz seat bag and drove me crazy.  If I’d have tested this in advance I’d have known and not spent time being miserable and having to stop and make adjustments.

Audio-books!  Audio-books and Podcasts are your friend.  It’s nice to hear someone talking when you are riding across Ohio or Illinois.






Shoei X-12

Notes:  Flawless the entire trip. Exceptionally good in the rain.  Zero leakage.


Klim Element Gauntlet

Held Sambia

Notes:  I wore the Klim’s for most of the trip.  They were absolutely flawless in the rain and cold.


Klim Badlands Pro

Notes:  100% waterproof and extremely comfortable


Klim Dakar

Notes:  An old favorite, trusted and true – 100% NOT waterproof

Rain Pants:

Frogg Toggs

Notes:  I’ve had these for years, they are trashed and still get plenty of use.  Weak spots are the inside cuffs.  The footpegs ripped holes through both sides.  Fixed with duct tape.

Heated Gear:

Gerbings Jacket

Notes:  Flawless.  Perfect, I could not have made the ride without it.


Alpinestars SMX Plus

Notes:  These are mack dady full on Moto GP boots that have tons of protection.  Absolutely not waterproof.  Perhaps overkill for the street.

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