[aprssig] 2005 Iron Butt Rally

AA3JY at Winlink.org AA3JY at Winlink.org
Mon Aug 22 16:46:31 EDT 2005

Message ID: OBWGO98H01OF
>Date: 2005/08/22 20:43
>From: AA3JY
>To: AA3JY 
>Cc: SMTP:aa3jy at juno.com 
>Source: WMBO
>CMS Site: Detroit
>Subject: 2005 Iron Butt Rally
>Iron Butt Rally: August 21, 2005
>Day 0: Launch Pad
>        Ninety motorcycles and their owners have gathered over the course
>of the
>past few days in the Doubletree Hotel parking lot east of Denver, Colorado
>for the running of the 2005 Iron Butt Rally. The ninety-first entrant,
>Arthur, a man on almost everyone's list of potential Top Ten finishers,
>was seriously injured on August 17 en route to the event. Everyone
>associated with the rally --- organizer, worker, and contestant --- sends
>their combined best wishes to Don and his family to aid in his speedy,
>complete recovery. He is one of the sport's great, tireless friends.
>        Lisa Landry, who supervised the 2003 rally as well as the weekend
>gathering of long-distance riding enthusiasts earlier this year in Omaha,
>is once again at the helm of this massive enterprise. Iron Butt
>Association president Mike Kneebone, for years in charge of every aspect
>of the 11-day event, has found a simple way of indicating his abdication
>of power. His name tag now reads: "Ask Lisa."
>        Assisting the rallymaster is a crew of dedicated IBA employees
>volunteers. They have spent days stuffing envelopes and cranking out route
>packages, releases, name tags, ID tags, and toe tags. They stack up rally
>identification towels. They check riders in and wipe their bitter, salty
>tears away. They sell t-shirts, pins, hats, and assorted swag. They
>conduct seminars on how to deal with the media, videotape the riders
>signing away their lives, liberties, and sacred honors, and run up and
>down and in and out and around and about until you just want to sit them
>down and shove a bucket of Xanax down their sweaty throats. Still, they
>move on.
>        Iron Butt veterans Dale Wilson and Tom Austin run the technical
>inspections of the motorcycles, a job that for years I (in my capacity
>the association's director of legal affairs) have repeatedly begged Mike
>Kneebone to abandon for reasons that any attorney even modestly attuned
>the liability arts would instantly applaud. I am heeded not. Wilson,
>Austin, and their associates thus proceed to poke, prod, and probe the
>bikes, paying particular attention to auxiliary fuel containers. A good
>chunk of the rally's rules deal with just this arcane subject.
>        All but two of the machines have additional fuel tanks, enabling
>riders to travel for six hours or more without stopping. It might sound
>like torture to you, but for the endurance rider, it's a virtual
>necessity. A minute spent sitting still at a gas station is a minute lost
>to your competition, a minute thrown away, or, worst of all, a minute lost
>to precious sleep. Texan Morris Kruemcke, a mechanical engineering
>graduate from SMU, once strapped 38 gallons of high octane fuel to his
>Gold Wing and rode from Butte, Montana to Wichita, Kansas --- a distance
>of over 1,200 miles --- without once putting a foot on the pavement.
>        The thought of such gasoline bombs running around the country in
>an Iron
>Butt Rally must have kept Mike Kneebone awake at night. A rule was
>instituted years ago that limited a bike's total fuel capacity to 11.5
>        Now the game is to see how close you can get to the edge without
>exceeding it. Eddie James, endurance riding's Dennis the Menace, came in
>at 11.47 gallons during inspection. Another rider beat that by
>two-hundredths of a gallon. Rick Mayer overslopped at 11.79 gallons and
>was instructed either to find a "displacement device" or go home. Mayer
>returned with two empty, capped Snapple bottles, slipped them into the
>fuel cell, baffled them with pieces of foam, and smiled happily when the
>tank retested short of the magic limit. NASA engineers should be so
>        Eventually all the motorcycles survived inspection. Tonight they
>sit in
>the impound lot. When you look at them, you are stunned by gadgetry run
>amok. The fuel cells are just the start. These bikes carry global
>positioning satellite receivers, eye-searing driving headlights and fog
>lights, CB and XM radios, cell phone mounts, flexible map lights, reader
>boards, and scrollers. They have tank bags and saddlebags and top bags
>bags to hold other bags. Mr. Harley and Mr. Davidson might recognize the
>normal bike on the road today, but I promise you that to their eyes the
>endurance rider's machine might as well be from Planet X.
>        Beyond the basic cost of the bike, this kind of improvement over
>manufacturer's original concept has a price, easily the most significant
>percentage of the costs associated with the rally. Paul Taylor, the winner
>of the 2003 Iron Butt, estimates that he spent more than $8,500 in entry
>fees, preparation of the bike, and expenses on the road.
>        Still, he was able to recoup some of that when he sold his
>bike this year
>to Sean Gallagher for $12,000. Not satisfied that Taylor's winning bike
>was really up to his specifications, Gallagher immediately poured another
>$11,000 into the BMW for further modifications and alterations. Gallagher
>laughs that while the bike may not return to the winner's circle this
>year, it will easily win the prize for the most expensive mount to leave
>the paddock.
>        Which it will do tomorrow when the hammer drops at 10:00 a.m. Tonight
>sits, patiently waiting. Its owner sleeps, or tries to, also waiting as
>patiently as possible through a long, chilly, Rocky Mountain night.
>Bob Higdon
>Denver CO

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