Friday I posted about the Bun Burner run I was going to make this weekend.
There were just a few problems with this run.
- Thursday night I slept a total of 3 hours. Bad night of Insomnia, not in any way related to this run, just couldn’t sleep. This made for a long day Friday, and I didn’t really get to bed early enough because of #2
- The weather for this weekend was predicted to be bad across the whole eastern part of the US. I couldn’t find anyone willing to say it wouldn’t rain, and I wasn’t up to riding more than a few hundred in the rain.
I got up at 3:30am and checked the weather, it was raining and the most of my chosen route(s) were also getting wet, so I went back to bed.
Claudine woke me at 10am and said, it’s beautiful outside you should go on your ride.
So I got up, checked the weather, there was still rain to the south, so I reversed my route and figured I’d hit northern Ohio first and go clockwise instead of counter-clockwise.
The bike was basically packed so I just needed to gear up and go, and since I had slept in, I was technically caught up on sleep and felt good.
Awe heck, let’s go.
My plan was to start the clock around noon but it didn’t take me that long to get ready and out the door, though I did forget a few things like a camera and a pair of Jeans. (I just had my LD Comforts under my mesh pants).
The guy at Speedway was more than willing to be my start witness so that was out of the way.
I filled up, time on the initial receipt was 11:39am and I was off.
That meant I had until 11:39pm Sunday to clock in 1500 miles or 11:39am to get the Bun Burner Gold.
I was pretty sure that without a fuel cell a Gold run (1500 in 24) on the east coast wasn’t likely, not impossible, just not likely.
My non-fuel cell equipped bike can go 200ish on a tank. (Really like 240 but it thinks it’s empty at 200.
My plan was fast, efficient fuel stops. No screwing around, I have a method and can get in and out pretty quick. I also planned to stop often, about every 100 miles, just to stretch for 5 mins. Some of the locations would require me to get a receipt to prove I was there and didn’t short cut the route, and those stops wouldn’t really be on a fuel stop anyway. Stopping more often make the ride a little more comfortable. I was very aware that we stopped way too often on my very first 1000 mile ride, and when we stopped we took far too long. (we barely, like by 3 minutes made the 24hour window and we had to ride like the wind the last 200 miles to make that happen).
So my first stop was in Lima Ohio. Didn’t need fuel yet, but hadn’t had any breakfast. So I grabbed two ‘Tornado’s’ at speedway and a Vitamin water. I didn’t need a receipt here, but the more the merrier.
I was in an out in about 8 mins, a little long, but not too bad. Up north to Toledo, I got on the turnpike and was starting to _need_ fuel. I knew there were service stations on the Turnpike, but wasn’t sure how often. Lucky for me, it wasn’t that far out. In Genoa, which would prove that I actually got on the Turnpike at I-75.
I made good time across I-80, my initial route had me taking 90 up to Erie, but I missed I-90. My radar detector had squelched out the GPS directions, so I took the 480 exit. I then became a bit worried that I just cut 10 miles off my route which was only 1523 to begin with. The exit receipt from the turnpike would establish my exit point so I’d have to keep that in mind for later.
See the way this works is the Iron Butt Ride verification guys simply map your ride from receipt to receipt, the shortest possible path. If you went from Cincinnati to Cleveland via Toledo like I just did, you need receipts to show that you traveled up I-75, and hopped on the turnpike. Else they’d put in Cincy/Cleveland and the route up I71 would be chosen which is a lot shorter.
A valid receipt is identifiable, has date/timestamp and location. From this they can validate your timing, your fuel usage and disqualify you if you’re speeding (too much) or cheating by using too much fuel or not enough fuel.
OK, on up 480 to 71 to 90 Erie. Erie was a planned stop. This is a mandatory bonus location in the MD2020 and I wanted to pre-scout that. I rode to the coordinates, identified the one block park and know the bonus question will be there in that park. Fair enough, now I need to get a receipt to verify that I was there. I also needed fuel and was hungry. So I stopped at Wendy’s, grabbed a quick sandwich and filled up. (2 receipts).
On to Binghamton, NY Across I-86, a very beautiful highway. Parts of the road were pretty crappy, and there was some construction but no congestion. I was taking the most direct route to Binghamton and didn’t really need any supporting documentation, but I couldn’t make it to Binghamton on one tank.
By now though I was freezing my butt off. It was 60 degrees, almost perfect bike weather, but it was the coldest 60 degrees I’ve ever ridden in. Planning for perfect weather, I was wearing all mesh gear. I had the liner in my jacket but not in my pants. In fact I didn’t bring it. The only other option I had was a pair of underarmor like tights as a base layer. I stopped at a rest area along I-86 and put them on, and added the heated jacket liner. Under mesh it’s not nearly as affective as it normally is.
I stopped in Painted Post for fuel, and noted to myself that I was making very, very good time. Even with the stop to change clothes.
Then straight to Binghamton, NY, another MD2020 bonus location. I scouted out the building/chruch/hotel that were on the block at the coordinates. As I prepared to get on I81 South I realized that I needed a receipt to prove i was here. Again, I didn’t need fuel, but needed a valid receipt. This was almost the 1/2 point, well about 641 miles into the ride. I found what looked like a decent gas station, it was already 9pm and dark. It was also time to call C to let her know I was still alive.
I went into the store grabbed a medium coffee (I could tell 9pm coffee wasn’t going to be good) and slice of gas station pizza (also not good).
As I called Claudine, I could see that I was in da-hood, and I didn’t want to stick around very long. Lots of shiny rides in the parking lot, and there seemed to be a ‘who’s got the loudest subwoofer competition among friends.
As I was gearing up a van pulled up along side me, like a 9 passenger church van. About a late 20’s early 30’s man got out, nodded to me and walked in the store. He was out in a flash, carrying a bag of ice, and he had something in his mouth that he was fiddling with.
He asked me where I was headed, and I told him ‘south’. He said; “have a good ride”. Then I recognized what he had in his mouth. A Pacifier and he was playing with it just like my 1 and a half year old. I wanted to ask him, but I really didn’t want to die right then and there. So I just laughed to myself and took off.
Down I-81 South. I would need fuel in a hundred or so miles. I found a fast running Town car and followed him about a 1/4 mile behind. I was making good time, and I still felt great. My buns were a little sore but I wasn’t tired at all.
Stopped for fuel near Hazleton, Pennsylvania on Airport road. This was a quick pit-stop. Get fuel, document receipt and hit the road.
Temps were now in the lower 40’s, in some valley’s dipping to 38-39 and I was ill equipped. The Gerbings was cranked on high, heated grips on high and I was just barely making it.
I make it to Winchester (another Bonus Location), but need fuel so I stop at the first gas station, fill up, do my business, and grab a couple breakfast bars. It’s now 3:18am and I’m 1000 miles into my 1500 mile run.
I check the GPS and am giddy with anticipation, it looks like this:
The moving average and overall average are right where they need to be. (Actually it takes an overall of 62.5 to make 1500 in 24) but that was a blessing if I could make that. If I hadn’t fiddle farted around at this gas station It might still be above 62.
But, and here’s the big but…
It is now dark as hell in Va and WV. The next two planned stops are NOT off Interstate, nope, they are off of route 50, a great fun, twisty road. Albeit in the day time. When I originally planned the route I expected that I’d be hitting this stretch in daylight and that was not the case.
I can’t make great time on this road, especially at night but I’m willing to see how it goes.
About 10 miles up route 50, it starts to rain. Ack…
See this stretch or Route 50?
It’s all squiggly for a reason. It has numerous switchbacks and peak crossings at 9 degree grade.
It’s dark as hell, I can hear banjos playing and now it’s raining. Not good. Not good at all. I stop and throw my rain gear on. First time this trip.
It’s now raining hard, and I’m quickly figuring out that I am simply not going to make time doing this. It’s now 4:30am and I’ve maybe gone 20 miles since I took off around an hour ago and I have 160 miles of this. It’s stressful, and very fatiguing to to be fighting the darkness, the road and the wet conditions. So I concede the 1500 in 24 hours. Should have stayed on the Interstate. But there was a bonus location I wanted to check out and there isn’t any interstate near that. So be it.
I decide to start looking for a place to crash for an hour or two, maybe this will blow over. At the very least it will be light around 6am.
The only thing remotely decent is an elementary school in Union? I don’t know some school at the top of a mountain. I’m having a hard time finding cover, but the doorway to part of the school is set back about 4 feet, enough to get the front half of the bike under cover and me too. I pull up to the door, and decide to take a power nap. I wake up around 6:15 am, about half frozen from laying on the concrete, even though I was insulated via the gear I was wearing, and it’s still raining and quite chilly, like 45 degrees.
I gear up, and take off. I’m about 5 miles down the road when I realize my waterproof boots aren’t. I can now wiggle my toes and feel the COLD water squishing in them. This is bad, real bad, and except for my hands, everything else is dry.
I stop after 40 miles of this madness again not making time, to assess just how miserable I am. My tail is sore, my feet are miserable, and even a straight shot from here still means 100 more miles of this no matter what I do.
I try to make the best of it, drying off what I can, changing gloves. But nothing I can do for my feet. I can’t dry out these boots or keep them dry. So I just soldier on.
I’m supposed to break of of route 50 up route 18 to St Mary’s. That’s the bonus location. From there I would actually turn south, to catch 64, then over to Lexington then home to get the required mileage. I look at 18 on the GPS. The trouble I’m having with the rain, and my conditions do not warrant me crossing over an even more aggressive road. So I punt that plan. Tell the GPS to take me home. As wet as I am (or my feet are) I don’t even want to run the interstate for another 450 miles (8 hours). Just not going to happen.
Oh goody, all route 50, that’s the quickest shot.
I finally get to Athens Ohio and the rain is letting up. It’s still cold and spitting but it isn’t raining anymore. It’s about noon, but I’ve been freezing and wet since 6am and I’m worn out from it.
I decide I need a real meal. I make it to Chillicothe and stop at Bob Evans. The meal refreshes me, and I’m now starting to think about how I’m going to get the required mileage. My hamstrings/glut’s are actually bruised from the edge of the seat. This is the same seat I used to go out west, so it must have been the tense riding in the mountains in the rain. I don’t know. But it’s hard to find a comfy position, even with the AirHawk.
I finally make it out Rt 50, up Rt 35 to Jeffersonville, 50 miles from home. I need 200, and probably like 240 to have a good cushion, to make up for my I90 mistake on the turnpike.
I sat at the Shell station for 30 minutes trying to find a decent route that was 240 miles long to get me home and couldn’t find one. I couldn’t just go north 140 miles and turn around. I knew the way my feet felt and the way my a$$ felt that just wasn’t going to happen.
It was 1:30 pm and I had until 11:38pm to find 240 miles and I couldn’t do it. I woosed out, I hit the button to take me home. While traveling down I-71 I started wondering just how far south I’d have to go to get the required mileage. I blew off the first two exits the GPS wanted me to take to go home, but after that I was just plain uncomfortable and I gave in.
I made it home, and sat there 180-200 miles short. I took a hot shower hoping that would revive me enough to make me go back out, but it didn’t. Looking at the grass that needed cut before I left, that’s what I decided to do.
But, I’ll do it again, better prepared and won’t need to make any crazy runs through WV in the dark or in the rain.
I don’t get paid to do this, It’s supposed to be fun and it was up-till the rain and soaked feet 🙂