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Preparing for an Iron Butt

texas.devops

Eager Upshifter in SW Houston
Member
Not sure if this is the correct forum for this topic, so I'll rely on the collective intelligence of the members and moderators to push this wherever it belongs.

A bunch of my regular riding buddies and I are starting to get serious about preparing for an IBA trip. I'd like to know if anyone from the Houston area has already done this and what sorta mileage they observed on their C14, what part of the year they did it, how difficult they felt it was and if they were to do it again what they'd do differently.

I know it's a sorta big question, and I've watched a number of videos on YT about dudes on Indians and HDs prepping, but I haven't seen one with the C14. So I'm wondering what lessons-learned I can pick up from those who have ridden before me.

I'm literally open to any and all positive, helpful comments & suggestions (other than "don't do it"). :^ ) AB
 

Konehead34

Member
Member
A friend of mine did the saddle sore 1000, 3 up (wife was pregnant at the time) on his yamaha tenere. Other than making certain he had new tires and rain gear no other prep was needed. They rode out 500 miles on I 10 after leaving savannah georgia on I 95 at approx 8pm. I was their starting witness. Remember to get those gas receipts and ur start nd finish witnesses.

And yes their unborn child also received the certificate...
 

fartymarty

Member
Member
The following tips are not essential but are/can be helpful. Have a music system to help revive you when you are fatigued, have an audible book to listen to for when you are bored, have a cruise control available or at least a throttle lock. An Airhawk seat cushion is good as well because it's adjustable as you get sore in different spots you can add air or remove it to move the discomfort to new places. A Camelbak drinking system is helpful as well. Having the trip on spotwalla using your cell phone or a spot device can assist with certification, and as a bonus family members and friends can follow along with you online.

My main problem was getting enough sleep before the trip (every trip o_O :rolleyes: o_O ). I lay awake thinking about should I have packed such n such, did I pack some other such in such,..what if? etc. To not suffer through that, I stayed up all night making sure I was packed and ready. Then the next day, I left the house in early afternoon and rode 40 miles to a hotel that allowed early check in. I brought ear plugs into the room and an electric timer which I hooked up to the bedside lamp. I went to bed at 3PM and slept solid until 12:05 AM and I awoke about 2 minutes before the lamp came on. I was fully refreshed and caffeinated and headed down the road by 1:15AM. It was still light out when I arrived at my destination, I didn't want to be all day tired AND riding in the dark when arriving in unfamiliar territory. Although my plan worked very well for me it isn't for everybody.

On my trip I just wanted to go somewhere that could be stretched out into a multi-day trip on the way back....It was 2020 and most events were cancelled so I needed to salvage something for the otherwise crappy riding year. I did take a day off after arrival and just walked around town to work out some body kinks and watched movies in my room. Then started slowly back home on day 3 (or day 4 if you count the 40 mile day as day1?).

edit: I never checked until now, but looking at the receipts it appears that I only got 41.77 MPG. :unsure:
:confused:
 
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texas.devops

Eager Upshifter in SW Houston
Member
Thank you MC, that was good input. Just last night we had a talk about start time. I know what you mean about not being able to sleep the night before a ride. Almost need to take a sleeping pill (or melatonin). Ok we'll be incorporating this input. Half want to start mid-day, the other half wants to start like 2-3 am. Most of my buds are HD riders, eg. slow pokes. We'll figure it out.
 

laker9142

Member
Member
I've done (2) 1k days, unofficial and even unintentional. Plus, many more 800+ days. I'm sure many others have too. To me there isn't much prep other than being physically fit enough to stay in the saddle that long. That was 10 years and 30 pounds ago, plus being in good condition from exercise. Now those nuts that do it 5 or 6 days in a row are a different sort.
 

texas.devops

Eager Upshifter in SW Houston
Member
Right on Dave, age (and gravity) become factors as each day passes.

I used to run up and down the east coast from from Ft Devens, MA to Ft Bragg, NC a few times per month when I was younger and had 7% body fat. 800 miles each way, leaving Friday evening after final formation and back before first formation Monday morning for PT.

Those were the days. I never felt it. The ZX900A2 (commonly referred to as the GPZ900 Ninja) was a blast, and the seat was spectacular. Big tank bag, a ruck sack on my back and passenger pegs allowed me to essentially lay down on the bike for extended stretches of 90mph-100mph overnight on I-95 without any issues. Well, there was one run when a piece of the cowling that covered the air filter popped off (thankfully in daylight) so I had to turn around to pick it up. I held it in place with my right knee until I found the only motorcycle shop that was open on a Sunday. It was an HD shop, and even having a "rice rocket" the tech was still pretty cool with me (I was in uniform).

So fast forward 35 years and now I'm getting ready to ride with a pack of other dudes, and none of us have done a formal run like this. Receipt management and logging or vlogging our trip is essential to getting our certificates. I'm picking up a 4K video camera, and am debating whether or not to invest in a helmet or chest mount, or maybe just put this behind the windshield somehow. Also in the queue is figuring out the audio, so the videos don't sound crappy. I'm looking at a Zoom or Tascam with a Purple Panda microphone.

Engineering on the whole video/audio setup is fun. I'm enjoying the process of getting the bike prepped and me and the crew set to roll. :^ )
 

laker9142

Member
Member
Those were the days indeed. I never served but I sure do appreciate those that did! Hopefully I didn't come across as downplaying the Iba trip, the miles aren't the issue I guess. I never thought about logistics and rules to prove it. Good luck on your endeavors, especially with the pack, that increases the difficulty tremendously.
 

Road Runner

SE USA - AAD
Member
Not from Houston area, but thought I would chime in anyway ... :)

Last year (age 60) I did the SS 1000 (actually, 1, 056 miles) in ~20.5 hrs on my C-14 on Labor Day weekend in AL & MS. I took off before before light on Sat am and returned after midnight on Sun am. I was on a stock seat, but I wore padded bicycle shorts (from Academy Sports) that made all the difference in the world. I stopped every 130-150 miles more/less for approx 15 mins., for fuel, snacks, b'room stop. Longer 30 min stop for lunch and dinner. Road the speed limit and did most of my riding on 4-lane roads where I could go from 55-70 mph.

Only thing I would change or add next time is I needed highway pegs attached to my Canyon Cage bars. My legs were getting quite cramped toward the end, but at least the break stops helped.

Next up, IBA wise for me, is likely a SS-2000. We'll see ...
 

2andblue

Member
Member
A bunch of my regular riding buddies and I are starting to get serious about preparing for an IBA trip...

I know it's a sorta big question, and I've watched a number of videos on YT about dudes on Indians and HDs prepping, but I haven't seen one with the C14. So I'm wondering what lessons-learned I can pick up from those who have ridden before me...

I'm literally open to any and all positive, helpful comments & suggestions (other than "don't do it"). :^ ) AB
Tex Hi,
I have done 1 official IB SS 1,000 rand 2 others unofficial of equal or greater mileage and numerous close to the SS IBA threshold as just parts of normal long day rides that begin at 8:00 A.M. and end at midnight or 1:00 A.M.. Here are some thoughts, possibly they help, probably you already heard in the videos you watched.

SAFETY
First bit of advice, is nothing directly C14 related. Everyone's fitness must be adequate for such a challenge that is both physical and psychological. Any one person kidding themselves here can be a huge risk for the entire group. Fatigue is a killer, exercises while riding, exercise at stops, swapping out who is leading the ride, communication devices (e.g. cardo or SENA) and overall practicing / increasing one's stamina for long distance riding is critical. An IB ride can go from fun to devastating in the blink of an eye - this is not just a long ride that someone who taps out after 150 miles or has never ridden a day longer than 300 miles should just decide to do.

ROUTE and PLANNING
Humans do much better fighting off fatigue with natural light, 15th-26th of June would be best for length of day to perform an IB ride. At the same time though, June also is the rainiest month in your region, most sun of any month and also most rain - interesting dynamic. Plan the route with consistent stops predetermined AND not stops that drain the tanks to only 1/2 gallon or less fuel in the tank... An unexpected wind or construction will eat mileage you are expecting; plan for the lowest mileage of all bikes then drop 15% and leave a gallon to spare. This will reduce stress, give equal stops and opportunity to get off the machines. More time spent now planning the better this ride will go and ensure the most (hopefully all) will complete.

MAINTENANCE
Prior to the ride, only normal maintenance and nothing new. This is hard for some, riding in a group you'll need to convince all - those flashy lights they want to use but have no time to install until the evening before ride - BAD IDEA... Also this is more/less two (albeit longer) standard days so you don't need to change the phalange(s) (is there one or 2 BTW?) or inspect the internal phalanx as if you were getting ready for a flight to the moon. Basic upkeep and maintenance is all you need, make certain your consumables (brakes, tires, oil, air filter, fluid changes) have 2X the expected IBA ride mileage left in them and have ability to measure and adjust air pressure and replenish common fluids as need be.

ROUTINE
Start a checklist (not from memory) of tasks you complete at the end of each ride or in preparation thereof. This list of items you will want to have capacity to perform and keep your gear and yourself in top performing order. Examples may be - AGAIN - Start a checklist not from memory: Charging of Phone, Washing of Helmet, Checking of Tire Pressures, Checking of Oil and Fluid Levels, Changing Clothes... The checklist you create you should plan a way to accomplish or influence, some of which may be C14 specific.

GRUB
Eat medium sized meals at all your stops, equal amounts each time. Keep yourself fueled up so you do not run low on energy but do not overload and go into a giant burger meat coma. Drink plenty of water, caffeine will make you want to stop more often, if a hydration mechanism / pack is possible do it.

Hope this helps - you will have a good time and be glad you did it.
 

texas.devops

Eager Upshifter in SW Houston
Member
Right on!! As a group we have been building up. First it was 150-160 mile trips, then we ramped it up to ~300 mile trips, and now we are starting to increase our range to right around 500 miles so we can test the MPG, hydration and food consumption requirements/limitations.

We’ve also checked our liners and outer wear, footwear and head gear, comms systems (a group call using Messages) is an excellent alternative to everyone needing a Cardo or Sena in which the battery dies after 6-10 hours, as well as discussed rotating leads and tails.

Here’s a route we’re planning to run in the days ahead (if we can get the wives to agree to let us ride for an entire day). LOL
1637794924872.png
 

Road Runner

SE USA - AAD
Member
Like: "comms systems (a group call using Messages) is an excellent alternative to everyone needing a Cardo or Sena in which the battery dies after 6-10 hours, as well as discussed rotating leads and tails."

Yep, another lesson learned that I forgot to put in my earlier post. My wife (Marina), who also amazingly did the SS-1000 on her own bike, and I lost communication after hour intercomm batteries died. We both knew the route well and stayed close, so all worked out.
 

Daboo

Moderator
Staff member
Member
I did my SS1000 on a Suzuki Burgman 400 scooter. I think it put out a whole 34 hp at the engine. And much less at the rear wheel. So power obviously is not the critical factor. :) And no, I've never desired to do it again. I have the license plate, and everyone who looks at it assumes it was with this incredible sport-touring bike I'm riding. Nah. And when I started the bike up the next day, it was like nothing had ever happened. The bike won't be the issue if you're keeping up on things.

I did a number of things wrong. First, I headed east at about 4am on I-90. I got to see the sun come up that morning; right above the road. Since I did an out and back, I got to see the sun go down that evening. I should've delayed my start 8-12 hours and had the sun to my back on both legs.

Second, the time on the bike went surprisingly well for all but the last 50 miles or so. I'd done much of the trip going to Spokane in the past and was afraid I'd fall asleep from boredom. I was incredibly surprised at how that wasn't a factor on the way home. Find your own way to pass the time, but for me, it was just looking out at God's creation and marveling at the beauty of it all. The colours. The textures. Everything seemed to come alive and the miles and hours passed so quickly by.

But once I hit Snoqualmie Pass, I realized I might be in trouble. Might?...no -- I was in trouble. The sun was down, and the pass had miles upon miles of construction where they were shifting the lanes for the construction. I wanted so much to close my eyes for just a second...knowing that if I did, I wouldn't open them till I went off the road. The road was no longer good, and it took all my concentration to try to avoid the potholes, etc. and I didn't have much left. Lighting was poor at best. Basically my own feeble halogen lights when I really needed daylight. And then when I came close to the summit...I hit the rain. Add in all that, with the low visibility you get of riding in the rain in the dark...and I was an accident waiting to happen. Yes, I believe in God...because without his guardian angel guiding me, I should've died that morning.

I finished successfully. The bike like I said didn't show any signs of what had happened. The weak link in the equation was me. And it'll be the same for each of you.

Chris
 

lrbuck

Member
Member
+2 Steve.

Definitely read Don Arthurs article on fatigue.
As some have said, groups can be a problem due to differences in fatigue tolerances etc.
I've done several LD rides solo and with a rider that I (we) found each other to be compatible. Very important.

Other important reading: Ironbutt Association's "Words of Wisdom"

Have fun.
 

connie_rider

Member
Member
Everyone knows that I'm not a long distant rider.
But, (if I were to try an Iron Butt) I'd do one that goes somewhere. (not a loop that goes out and back home)
Reason I say this is; you would have an interesting/destination to reach. Not just a number of miles.
More interest = less likely to fatigue.
I suggest doing an Iron Butt "to" a COG Rally somewhere.

PS:
You're going to do this with a stock seat?
That will help keep you awake.. (until it doesn't)

Ride safe, Ted
 

texas.devops

Eager Upshifter in SW Houston
Member
How many C14 owners have installed the MCcruise cruise control? Is it functional or does it cause gremlin-like issues?

Using a throttle lock really isn't the same as having an electric servo to regulate the throttle based on a selected speed setting.

1637862975635.png
 

nickrides

Member
Member
I did a SS 1000 this last June
Went great.
My 2 cents I would not do it in a group, too slow, too many cooks spoil the broth.
Its a pretty big undertaking if you haven't done it before.
I went with a like minded buddy and it went very well.
You have to have quick fuel stops and keep moving.
We had 2 sit down quick diner meals and at a Mc Donalds I bought 4 extra cheesburgers, which we split,those with a starbucks coffee drink which were very nice near the end.
We started at 3:30 am and finished at 10 pm I recall.
Have fun try and be safe and don't dose off.
Nick
2014 C-14
 
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