Archive for: ‘June 2017’

A spot of weather

June 30, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken just stopped for an hour or two to sit out this weather. Smart move!

File Jun 30, 11 01 07 PM

xo Dayle

The sun goes down on Day 4

June 29, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Is it the end of Day 4? I think it is…

Ken was in 13th place at the end of Leg 1! That’s a solid showing out of 107 bikes. You can see the full results here. The amazing Jim Owens is in first place; he won in 2009 (Ken’s first year running, when he came in 9th) and has come in second as well. I think it’s pretty cool that two 2-up teams are in the top 10.

In Leg 1, getting three of the same category in a row (of the five animal categories) meant the third bonus’s points were doubled. In Leg 2, getting four different categories in a row means the fourth bonus’s points are tripled. Even though it’s the same list of bonuses, the combination change means it’s a whole new routing challenge. Fun!

(This next bit is clearly translated through me, someone who doesn’t really understand bike mechanics. Apologies for the squiffy details—and if you’re someone who can explain it better, you are encouraged to do so in the comments!)

Sometime yesterday he found a problem with his front brake controls; he heard a clunk and a bolt is missing, maybe? Now, when he uses the rear brakes, the front brakes engage, so this isn’t an immediate safety concern, but it’s better to have the front controls. He lost more than an hour at the local BMW dealer who didn’t have the exact part but tried to find a workaround, and then he lost more time working on it at the hotel (to no avail). The latest news is that the awesome-beyond-words Dave Stoler stripped the parts off his own bike and overnighted them to Ken’s brother, Dennis, so Ken will have them at the second checkpoint on Saturday evening.

The extra time spent on the bike meant less sleep time, so he’s paying close attention to how he feels on this leg, and set up what be believes is a solid plan that factors in some solid sleep blocks. He said it was a hot day today, but he hydrated with water and sports drinks.

I look forward to talking to him tomorrow and hearing about his adventures. The next checkpoint is Saturday evening in Dallas (if I previously said Sunday evening, I apologize!).

xo Dayle

Leg 1 is done!

June 28, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken is safely at the checkpoint hotel in Dallas, as are hopefully everyone else who’s running the rally. The most recent updates at the IBR site talk about who was further away and might have trouble making it back by the deadline, etc., but it sounds like everyone’s doing well overall. I find the Leg 1 animation video frighteningly compelling.

If you had trouble accessing the site today, it’s because all the interested followers crashed it! The link above is currently works. Please note also that if you’re following the group SPOT tracker, don’t refresh (let it refresh), as constant refreshing is causing hangups. (One of the reports at the site explains this further.)

I don’t know how long scoring will take, and I’m trying not to chew all my nails off in anticipation. It’s only Leg 1, and a lot can change between now and the end, but I still wanted to know how Ken did overall!

I haven’t talked to Ken since he arrived at the checkpoint, but I know he’ll be busy before they get the next set of bonus points (at 4 am tomorrow, I believe). He had a minor bike issue that I believe has been fixed. He was going to be met at the checkpoint by his older brother, Dennis, to whom he shipped tires and other necessary items. By the time I write this, Ken should have gotten scored, changed his tires, eaten salad and meat*, and be sleeping.

xo Dayle

*(Real meat, not the McDonald’s cheeseburgers that are the staple of his ride because McDonald’s are everywhere, they’re often open 24 hours, the burgers don’t go bad in the saddlebag, and the cheese glues everything together so he can shove the burger in his mouth while the bike is in motion. Along with the fact that my butt is not made of iron, I don’t do long rallies with Ken because I don’t consider this to be real food…)

IBA website down

June 27, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

The Iron Butt Association website’s page for the rally has been down most of the day. They’re aware of the problem and working on it…

I’ve spoken to Ken briefly today and all is going well. He’s catching some sleep during a rest bonus, so I’ll report more after he wakes up and gets back on the road!

xo Dayle

And they’re off! (Day 1, so far)

June 26, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

The rally started this morning, with 117 riders (107 bikes) rolling out of the hotel parking lot on a gorgeously sunny, blue-skied day. I have to admit, the video of the start got me a little choked up. I can only imagine how each rider felt, getting the signal to pull out and go.

If you’re looking for Ken in the video, he pulls out from the right side at 6:41, saluting the guy waving everyone out on his way.

There’s also a picture of Ken leaving here (photo #166).

Several of the ride reports have photos of Ken, too:

In the June 25, Day -1 post, on p. 10, upper left, is a shot of the back of his bike and his license plate holder.

In the June 26, Day 1 post

p. 4, lower left

p. 9 lower left

p. 10, upper right picture, he’s the third bike from the left/the first full bike on the right

I’ve spoken to him twice today so far and he’s in good spirits. He’s happy with the plan he’s made and so far he hasn’t hit any major snags or problems. There will be ups and downs throughout, but here’s hoping for more ups than downs!

One modification to an earlier post (which I’ve fixed): there are five categories of animals, not four. Land, Air, Sea, Mythological, and Prehistoric. And since these next bits are in one of the official posts, I think I can mention a few more things here

The riders were given all of the bonus locations for the entire rally, but only the points for each location for the first leg. The points will go up each leg. They can return to locations they visited in previous legs. Also, if you get three of the same animal category in a row, the third bonus location is worth double points. Apparently that made for some fun and challenging routing decisions!

The two middle checkpoints, both at the same hotel in Dallas, will be on Wednesday and Saturday. Check-in starts at 8 pm local time.

That’s all for now!

xo Dayle

What Would Jeff Earls Do?

June 26, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken left me a message this morning to pass on to you all, with the above title.

It’s a good day for a ride, good day for a rally, lots of good people.

All weekend everyone has been asking me who is my competition. My competition is ME. How can I do at routing the plan, executing that plan, and getting back to the checkpoints and the finish on time? That’s my goal for the next 11 days.

Also, someone pointed out yesterday that really, all of our competition is Jeff Earls. One hundred and seventeen riders and passengers, trying to outhink and outmaneuver and outwit Jeff, and he outweighs us by a lot. This is gonna be fun.

(Jeff Earls, for those of you who aren’t up on all this IBR stuff, is this year’s rally master and an IBR veteran; he’s finished the rally five times, and has placed fourth, third, and second. He’s a super-nice guy. When Ken found out Jeff was designing this year’s rally, he was thrilled, because he knew Jeff would put together a fun, albeit somewhat devious, challenge.)

2017 Iron Butt Rally theme

June 25, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

The theme for the 2017 Iron Butt Rally is…Animals! Or Safari, I’m given to understand. Five categories: Land, Air, Sea, Prehistoric, and Mythical.

I have a few more details, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share them yet. There are a number of updates at the official IBR page already, so keep an eye there, too.

This year has 8 women riders, which is a record (boo-yah!), as well as the first-ever two-up male team. (There are 8 two-up teams, also a record.) And there’s also the first-ever three-up team, a family, with the teenage daughter riding in a sidecar. (People often ask me if I’d run the IBR with Ken. Answer: if I had a sidecar with heat, a/c, and wireless, then…maybe. 😉  )

So now Ken is in his hotel room, planning the first leg of his ride. Everyone takes off tomorrow, I believe at 10 am local (Minneapolis) time. Think good thoughts!

xo Dayle

Checked in…

June 25, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken is checked in and raring to go. Sunday’s a day to relax, for the most part, with a rider meeting in the afternoon. The rally starts Monday morning. Send good energy and wish him luck!


Aaaand he’s off (again!)

June 22, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken left early this morning for the 2017 Iron Butt Rally start in Minnesota. The official start is Monday.

Here he is looking all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed:

You can read daily reports from the official IBR here. I will do my best to post here every day. As usual, I won’t be able to post about where Ken’s going, just what he’s done, and I can’t really give specifics until after each leg is done.

The finish is in Minneapolis on Friday, July 7, and I’ll be there to cheer him in.

If you post comments, I’ll relay them to Ken; he won’t have the chance to look at the website during the rally.

Let the miles begin!