On October 27/28, Joe Colquitt and I (Andy Simons) completed an IBA Extreme Ride - The Saddle Sore 2000. Our ride started at our respective homes, Tuscaloosa, AL for Joe, and Columbia, SC for me. We met just off of I-75, north of Atlanta, GA, and from there rode to Nashville, Birmingham, Mobile, and New Orleans. Joe and I had planned this ride so that we could experience the demands of a multi-day IBA ride. We both share the objective of trying the 100CCC Insanity Ride, i.e., coast-to-coast-to-coast in 100 hours. Our ride was both successful and uneventful. Cold weather was the main issue we had to deal with. My report will deal with some of my side issues on the ride. Joe will write a report on the ride itself (I gave him the hardest job).
1. Riding with a partner -- this was a first for me. All of my other IBA rides have been alone. Also, this was the first time Joe and I had ever met (we got together for this through the LD rider list). Joe and I were lucky and we turned out to be evenly matched in ability, desire, temperament, and bladder size. I found that there were two real advantages to having a partner. First, at gas stops, there was always somebody to watch the bikes when the other rider had to potty. Second, we took turns leading the ride. For me, when I was following, this provided a real mental break. I went on auto pilot, not having to worry about speed, route, etc. I found that I was much fresher at the end of this ride than I had been on other rides.
2. Riding in the cold - I had ridden in near freezing weather before, but not for several hours, and not when I was in a rush. When I started, I felt I had the proper clothes and that I could be comfortable without electrics - - I was mistaken. While I was able to maintain my core temperature, my hands and feet got really cold. At a minimum I will have some sort of wind deflectors for my hands and feet before I do this again. I will also be shopping for electric gloves or grips for my bike. I still am not sure about spending the money for a heated vest, since I will seldom be out in conditions like this. But if I ever decide to get into the rally end of this hobby, a heated vest will be a requirement. I am also going to look for ways to use the heat generated by the motor on my bike. I believe that I can remove a couple of pieces under the fairing and route some heat towards my feet and legs. Another idea that I have heard is to use a blanket on your lap to capture some of the engine heat (as well as providing extra cover).
3. Sightseeing along the way - On my previous IBA rides I have been so time conscious that all I cared about was the ride. On the second day of our ride, before leaving New Orleans, Joe led me on a short tour of downtown New Orleans. The Superdome wasn't as big as I thought it would be and I was surprised to find that the party in the French Quarter was still going on (at 600A Sunday morning). Anyway, this short detour was well worth the time for the value of the experience and the potential for embellishment to my riding stories (ex: Did you see that blonde?). Also, for the first time, I took a few pictures along the way. I have posted some of these pictures below and have already experienced a good deal of pleasure out of viewing them at work and at home. I plan to stop and smell the roses a little more on all of my future rides.
4. Riding for multiple days - I remembered being tired and sore after my previous IBA rides. I knew that riding for multiple days would require some special care for the old bod. To help minimize discomfort, I put together a small kit that included medicated powder, medicated cream, and eye drops. I used the powder to dust my bottom each day before riding. I used the eye drops whenever my eyes got tired and/or dry. I used the cream on my face and hands both as protection before the ride and for comfort after the ride. I had one problem along the way that I was able to address with my kit. The front of my head started to itch real bad about 3 hours into the second day. It got so bad that I loosened my chinstrap and tilted my helmet back so that I could scratch the itch. At the next gas stop, I took some of the medicated cream and rubbed it into my scalp. This stopped the itching for the rest of the day (as well as giving me a kind of a 50's look :o) ). One hint that I got from the LD list that I did not try concerned my underwear. I understand that the big dogs don't change their underwear too much. In fact, I remember reading the hint to just turn them inside out when they got too bad. Well, I carried an extra pair and started with fresh undies the second day. I just can't get excited about color coded underwear (you know: brown in the back, yellow in the front).
To close, let me say that I am glad that I rode the SS2000 before trying a coast-to-coast ride. The experience gained will help me be much more comfortable on the road and will enhance my chances for a successful 100CCC ride. I can't wait to see California.