A detour on the way home

July 9, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken made a slight detour on the way home to get this picture:

A podium finish

July 7, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

(Warning: more than one glass of Chardonnay has been consumed.)

First, the information you’ve all been waiting on pins and needles for. Drum roll… Ken had a podium finish: third place!

Photo by Janice Hanson Holmberg

Congratulations to Jim Owen, the first rider to win the IBR twice; to Bob Lilley, the second place finisher; and to every single person who finished the rally. More people have gone into space than have successfully completed an IBR. Kudos!

Now…about this morning. I got off the phone with Ken at about 1 am. I expected him around 6 am, so I set my alarm for 5:30 am and eventually slept. Unbeknownst to me, just after he hung up with me and got back on the phone with Ernie, Ken had an encounter with a young deer.

Per Ken’s description, he was already riding cautiously on a two-lane road through the darkness of what he suspected to be deer territory in Wisconsin. Up ahead, he saw a deer in his lane, and slowed appropriately, knowing that when there’s one deer, there will be more. A second deer leapt in front of him and he hit it dead on, but the bike barely wobbled. The deer spun and slammed into the right side of the bike, stripping off paint as it went, but Ken was able to stay upright. The deer, sadly, was not so lucky.

His headlight cover is gone, other bits are gone, and there are dents along the right side of the bike. It’s obviously rideable and will get him home, although he’s considering the best options for covering the headlight area.

Busted headlight cover, stripped paint, and a bit of deer fur.

When he pulled in a little while after 6 am, I thought, That can’t be Ken—that bike’s gone down, and in fact nearly the first words out of my mouth were “You promised the bike wouldn’t fall over!” So I kinda wish I’d been prepped for that!

But hey, third place. Whoo!

Thank you to everyone who’s been following along on this wild ride. Ken will hopefully update this with stories of his own soon!

xo Dayle

Nearing the end…

July 6, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

The problem with the long final leg is that there isn’t much I can say! I can’t talk about where he’s been, where he’s going…except now, when I can say that he’s well rested and on his way to the finish tomorrow morning.

And I’m about to get on a plane to meet him. See you on the flip side!

xo Dayle

Leg 2 results

July 2, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken started Leg 2 on a sleep deficit, and after collecting two bonuses in three hours, had to stop and sleep again. Because of how he was feeling, he chose to “stay close to home,” picking up bonuses in Texas and Oklahoma rather than pushing farther afield to pick up the really big points. He said, in pretty much every phone call, that it was a “solid, middle of the pack ride,” and he was fine with that.

Yeah, his “middle of the pack ride” bumped him up to 5th place.

I keep laughing and explaining to him that he is the only person who is surprised by this…

He’s in good spirits today, and sounds like he has a solid plan for Leg 3, the final and longest leg of the rally. (The rally ends Friday morning in Minneapolis.)

This time around, the goal is a full house: three of one bonus type and two of another, in any order. In some ways, a little easier; in some ways, a little more challenging. In all ways, fun!

I’ll report more as I can! Thank you all for your comments; I know he’s looking forward to reading them when he gets home.

xo Dayle

Leg 2 is over!

July 1, 2017 Posted by Ken Meese

Ken made it safely to the second checkpoint (again in Dallas) this afternoon, after braving high heat, humidity, a rainstorm that he said felt like hail, and a group photo in a giant blue whale. (See the latest IBR update for visual proof!)

The amazing David Stoler stripped parts off his bike and shipped them to Ken’s brother Dennis to bring to Ken. This evening’s plan involved checking over his paperwork and getting scored (scoring opened at 5 pm local time), fixing the front brake control, changing tires, and sleep. They’ll get new bonus information in the morning. Again, the same locations as before, but with new points and new combinations of animal types to string together for greater points.

I’m awarding negative points to Ernie Azevedo, who scared me to death yesterday by texting me with “Again! Darn it!”, which of course I took to mean Ken being out of the rally (although I assumed “darn it” meant that didn’t involve injury). In reality, Ernie has been camping out of cell range, and when he would get somewhere with cell service, Ken was often on a sleep break so Ernie couldn’t talk to him—hence the text. Eventually my heart stopped beating out of my chest… (I’ve forgiven Ernie, though.)

I assume the standings after Leg 2 will be posted sometime tomorrow. Keep an eye on the IBR site or here!

xo Dayle

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