The Iron Butt Rally

The time has come, at last, to finally admit that I am crazy!!

Back in January 2008, while I was down in Ushuaia, Argentina, I threw my hat in the ring when applications were called for the 2009 Iron Butt Rally. I was notified in mid-April last year that I had been selected. Now, at last, you may finally understand why I was doing such large amounts of mileage during the US summer. I was getting ridehardened, ready for the rally. Incidently, I also won the BMWMOA (club) Mileage Contest (Female rider) last year, with 58,235 miles [93,720km] in the 6 month period of the contest.

I continued riding back in Australia over the southern summer, [on my now deceased Wee-Strom, doing 18,200km in the 4 months I had it] to keep my body in condition for the rally. Of course, that all went down the drain when I had the accident! Three months without riding at all - ten weeks on crutches, 4 weeks hobbling then back on the bike, on July 13th when I got back over here to the States and picked up Gus, my R1200GS, who'd been in storage here for the winter.

Tentatively at first, just short trips, gradually building up. Last Monday, just a week before the rally starts, I finally rode over 1000 miles (1600km) in a day. I can still do it! But, of course, the question is: can I do it day after day, for 11 days? Time, alone, will answer that one, I'm afraid.

The official IBR website [updated daily] is here, so I won't go into great detail, other than to summarise the event as a giant scavenger hunt that covers North America, necessitating riding approx 11,000 miles in 11 days. See, I AM crazy!!!

So it kicks off from here, Spartanburg, SC, at 10.00am Monday 24th August [sheeeeesh! that's tomorrow!!] and ends in Spokane, WA, on Friday 4th September at 7.00am.

It will be very difficult, I realise that. Particularly as I'm still suffering some of the aftermath of the accident back on Good Friday. My pelvic region is SLOWLY coming to grips with me doing long distance riding again, but it's getting better all the time. My right knee gives me some pain, so I have to be careful about how I place it, and need to take care not to twist it at all.

The bike has had a few modifications over the past few weeks. It now has a "barn door" type of windscreen, to cut down some of the wind blast, and it works, too! It's also quieter, and I can now hear my music and the GPS announcements again. I've also had installed an Adventure (as in, R1200GS-Adventure) 33lt tank kit to give me greater fuel range. And also some "eyes of God" 4th generation HID driving lights. Boy! Do they ever light up the road, and the surrounding countryside!! Gotta see those "forest rats" (deer) and other nocturnal critters (bear, moose, elk, coyotes, etc) before they git ya!

After the rally, I'll try to write down what I went through, and was feeling, during the rally. Hopefully, I'll do Australia proud, and become the first international woman (we won't count Canada as international, will we?) to complete the rally. It's a BIG ask!

But basically - I'm doing it for ME alone, because I can, because it's a personal challenge. Life is for living, and that I'm doing!


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