An Iron Butt Rally primer

June 24, 2013 Posted by Dayle Dermatis

Hi everyone! I’m Dayle, Ken’s wife. I’m going to be posting here (as well as on Facebook and Twitter) about Ken’s progress in the Iron Butt Rally, so I thought it would be useful to do a quick primer here, to get everyone up to speed on what I’ll be babbling about.

The IBR is an 11-day, 11,000-plus-mile endurance motorcycle event, kind of like a scavenger hunt via motorcycle. Bonus locations are all over the US (including Alaska) and into Canada, and have different points, so part of the challenge is to figure out how to get the maximum number of points in the time frame you have. There are also mandatory timed checkpoints that you must make.

About 1000 people apply to run the rally every two years; 100 are chosen. Because there is a minimum number of points you have to get, you can conceivably hit all the required checkpoints and still not “finish.” About 60 people actually finish.

More people have gone into space than run the IBR. More people climb Mt. Everest every year than have run the IBR since its start in 1984.

Ken got interested in rallies almost ten years ago and began running shorter ones, which happen all over the country during the year. He applied, but wasn’t chosen in the lottery, for the 2009 IBR. Then he won four shorter rallies in a row—something nobody had ever done before. About a month and a half before the 2009 IBR, he got a call inviting him in. His response (as was correct) was “Let me check with my wife.” 😉

Everyone else had about a year to prepare. He had a month and a half. And on his very first IBR, he came in 9th.

In 2011, less than 24 hours from the finish, he was in the lead to win…but a coyote had other plans. Ken ended up with a shredded spleen that had to be removed, collapsed lung, cracked ribs, broken left scapula, and broken bones/snapped tendons in his right hand. But from the time he woke up, his thoughts were on recovery and how he could get back into fighting shape for 2013.

And so he did, including changing his eating habits and working out regularly and losing 25 lbs (so far)!

(Yes, I’m going to brag on him. I have control of this blog, bwahaha!)

This year, the IBR starts and ends in Pittsburgh, and runs July 1 to 12. Ken will be heading east on Tuesday, giving himself enough time to stop and change tires, and then have some rest and relaxation at the hotel. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to go to the finish banquet, as I have to be in Oregon for a workshop the very next day.

Oh, I should mention: Please understand that I’m not allowed to respond to questions about where he is, where he’s going, what his plans are, etc., during the rally.

Messages of encouragement may be sent to him via email, but please understand he won’t be able to respond. If you send any messages directly to me, I’ll try to get them to him.

More soon!

8 Responses to An Iron Butt Rally primer

  1. Jonathan says:

    What Fcebook page please?

  2. David W. Pancerz says:

    Go Ken go! Great to see your web site is up so at least we know how you’re doing. Best of luck and major positive Karma from all your friends in Texas.

    P.S. Thanks Dayle! 🙂

  3. Good luck Ken – It’s great to see you on a K1600 in the race…Looking forward to all of the up-dates…

  4. David Shealey says:

    Good luck Ken! I was following you so closely last time I could almost feel it. I was shocked almost to tears when the coyote got you.

    Will be following all forums I can find this year, and pulling for you to do great this time.

    Onward, Road Runner!

    David Shealey

  5. Greg says:

    Are you able to share Ken’s SPOT ID? The IBA has a link to the real time map with 76 competitors’ locations with just an ID.

    • Hi Greg,

      No, I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to share it. There were issues during previous rallies with people watching different SPOT trackers and telling riders where other riders were going. (The IBA one doesn’t indicate which rider is which, so there’s less of an issue.) That’s the same reason I can’t really discuss where he is, where he’s been, or what his plans are—but the IBR 2013 page updates will sometimes mention specific riders and where they are, so that’s another place you can get updates.

  6. Helen Pantuso says:

    Go Ken Go! I’ve followed you on these several times and I remember how devastated everyone was when you got hurt. It’s your year to win this thing!