Tips for a successful SS1K [Ironbutt SaddleSore- 1Thousand Miles in 24 Hour Ride]
1. Read carefully all the rules that Ironbutt has for this ride: http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=1
Then carefully read & re-read Ironbutts 29 “tips” : http://www.ironbutt.com/tech/aowprintout.cfm
2. Pick a route trying to avoid major metropolitan areas as much as possible. If you must contend with metro areas and you have access to mapping software, simulate your run and adjust your departure time to avoid all metro areas at “rush” times. Example: If I’m routing through Saint Louis I leave at 3 A.M. from where I live and I pass around Saint Louis at 5. A.M.. I also recommend making your run on weekends and avoiding holiday traffic if possible. It is also wise to check up to date road construction on the intended route: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/. Also check speed limits in the states you plan to travel through: http://www.hwysafety.org/laws/state_laws/speed_limit_laws.html. You are allowed various types of routes- out & back, rectangular, triangle, and one way. Always remember on all but the one way you must get a gas or ATM receipt at the far points. Make sure before you leave each fuel stop that your receipt is readable and contains : 1-Accurate time, 2-accurate date, 3- accurate location of the station [ many stations only identify by a station #], and 4- Amount of gallons pumped. If any of these are incorrect you need to go in and explain to the attendant and ask them to please write the correction on the receipt and please include the station’s telephone # . If they refuse [ I’ve never had that happen] just make a note to explain to Ironbutt the details [they are very considerate of extenuating circumstances]. I always write on the receipt itself my mileage at that stop, the time, and if the station is obscure, or the town listed on it may not be on the map, I write a little note about the location. Example: Intersection Of Route # 70 & State route # 36. I do this even if I’m updating my log at each stop. It always helps later when you’re finishing your documentation of the ride.
3. When reading Ironbutt rules [above # 1] you saw the forms necessary to apply for SS1K. Print those and read them & get comfortable with them. Print an extra copy in case you might need them for any reason. When making your run, if there is any chance at all of getting into rain, snow etc. always keep them in a large zip lock bag before, during, and after your ride.
4. Even though you’re going to be “jacked-up” try to get a decent night’s sleep before your run. If you’re like me that’s easier said then done. I’ve mentally pre-rode every ride I’ve ever done & re-rode many rides every night/all night, long after finishing the ride. That excitement is part of thrill of LD riding so go with the flow and try to get a couple good night’s sleep in the days leading up to the night before departure.
5. Have your bike checked over thoroughly by yourself or someone you trust & recheck things such as tire pressure, lights, etc. just before you leave.
6. For a couple days before your intended dates check the weather at various points along your route. Not just rain but detailed temperatures during the day & especially your start time so you can dress appropriately for the complete route. If there is any chance at all of cold & you own Electrics—always take them. Take all the suggested items in the above Ironbutt web-site. Be prepared for unexpected weather changes and take appropriate clothing. Wear good protective clothing & boots if at all possible. Never wear street or tennis shoes, IMHO. ALWAYS wear a quality helmet whether the states you are riding in require it or not [IBA requires it also]. Always layer so you can add or take away.
7. If possible take a couple different credit cards — it’s especially helpful to take a debit card if you have one. Regardless, always call your two main card’s customer services listed on the back of the card & explain what you are about to do & ask them to make a note on your account to allow frequent gas charges at many locations in a relatively short period of time [the credit card charge patterns for a Ironbutt run are the same ones as for a stolen card, and they may cut off your card and it may take you valuable time to clear it up] The debit card protects you from this problem because you have to have the money in the account & it takes it immediately. I got one just for this reason.
8. If you are riding alone or with someone else share your plans with a trusted friend or family member. Let them know your departure location & time, turn around point or turning points, intended route, and approximate time of return. Promise to call them upon your return & then do it.
9. If possible hide an extra ignition key somewhere on the bike, make sure you have your insurance cards [bike & health] , license registration, make sure your drivers license has the motorcycle endorsement if required in the state you’re from, emergency telephone #’s, etc.
10. Try to pick filling stations that are close to the highway & well lit & if you have a choice– modern looking- better chance of having receipt at the pump. Everything else being equal pick the one that’s not quite as crowded in case you have to go inside or use the bathroom. As soon as you stop at the pump reorient yourself as to which way you go upon departure to get back to the route you just left. Never leave a station without rechecking the receipt as I’ve mentioned above. Little mistakes or omissions are very easy to correct at this point. If you have had to leave your credit card inside because they did not have “pay at the pump” always check to see that you got the correct credit card [Don’t ask me how I know].
11. One doesn’t want to be rude, but discussions at the station can really cut into your time. Try to limit your fuel stops to about 7 minutes from the time you leave the Highway until you get back on. Allow 3 -5 additional minutes if you have to add a bathroom break. That’s real hard if there’s a line. Just guidelines—not always possible. I sometime leave my helmet on at the pump & my earplugs in & just point to my ears if someone wants to tell me about their ’36 Indian. I smile & try not to hurt their feelings & tell them I’m sorry but I have earplugs in. If you have the time for some extra reading I recommend “Going the Extra Mile” written by legend Ron Ayres. It’s available at the IBA Website & other internet book sources. It’s a good “nuts & bolts” book and has an extensive list of web-sites in the back of most all motorcycle accessory vendors & products. I refer to it all the time.
12. It’s very important to keep hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. On a bike you evaporate much more and need replacement. Tuck away a spare bottle of water in case you break down or are stopped for any reason. Even warm water is welcome at that point. Get a bottle of water at fuel stops, but that requires you to go in and maybe wait in line, or buy an inexpensive “Camel back” and not have to fill it very often. Every couple fuel stops [when there isn’t a line] buy a power drink or take pills with you that replace electrolytes & minerals–I recommend (especially Diabetics) carry ELECTROLYTE STAMINA tablets . http://www.traceminerals.com/products/energy-performance
13. Many like to go in and eat a regular meal. If I’m on a SS1K I take home-made beef jerky cut up into bite size pieces, energy bars, and trail mix I may occasionally pull up to a drive-up when there is no line & order a couple simple burgers stuff them in my coat and eat them running down the road being careful to carry the paper to my next fuel stop. This is not necessary for a SS1K but I always run as if I’m on an extreme ride & try to develop “better” habits for when I am. Don’t let these snacks be a distraction. I have them handy in a tank bag or my coat, but it would be better to stop & eat rather than have an accident. You have time on a SS1K to stop & eat all meals, and many suggest lite health conscious meals such as salads.
14. If right after a stop you find something that’s not right and/or bothering you in any way, stop and correct the problem. Example: some strap is flapping, you forgot to fasten your helmet strap, your contact is out of place etc. Unless it’s easily correctable don’t distract yourself by trying on the run. Don’t put it off unless you decide it’s not that important.
15. I usually prefer to run by myself, but there is something to be said for sharing this experience with a friend, if you have similar riding styles and agree on how you plan to handle your stops. I would discourage large group rides—too many variables.
Additional Note: The witness signatures (start and finish) that are required by IBA do not have to be signed at the exact time of the start or finish. That witness is simply verifying that that rider and that bike were at that location with that license plate and that mileage at or near that time. If you’re leaving or arriving at 2 or 3 AM, your witnesses can sign those forms at any reasonable time before or after that—-the evening before your departure or during the morning after your early AM arrival.