Thursday, August 20, 2009

IBA Saddle Sore Saga

Well, it has been exciting, to say the least. On Saturday at 4am, I was packing my bike for a ride to Colorado for a Women and Motorcycling conference. The plan: ride my first Iron Butt Saddle Sore from Baltimore, MD to Kansas City, Mo, get a couple hours sleep and do another 500 miles to get the Iron Butt Bun Burner as well. 1500 miles in less than 36 hours would get me those 2 titles plus put me in the midwest with 2 days to burn before the conference. In those 2 days I would head down to Oklahoma and Texas and back through New Mexico and Colorado from the South to pick up some more states and National parks for the Iron Butt Master Traveler Challenge. Perfect!

The reality: Ride off at 420am. Stop for gas, 421am, for the official receipt to start the 1000 miles in less than 24 hours. Stop to put on cold weather jacket: 445am. Stop to put on quilted liner under cold weather jacket: 510am. Stop to stretch and wake up: 6am. Stop for picture of beautiful sunrise over mountains: 645am. Stop to stretch and wake up, drink Red Bull: 745am. Stop for gas at an exit where gas is nowhere to be found despite the sign that indicated gas: 830am. See adorable deer and fawn on shoulder and decide I couldn't afford the time to take a picture: 835am. Find gas, fill tank: 845am. Stop several more times for gas and stretch breaks. Buy more Red Bull. Calculate what time I would arrive at my destination at this rate.

For whatever reason I never really felt awake in the morning. It was a hard ride. I had hoped to stop at a National Park or two on the way, but they never coincided with my pee breaks and were more than a quarter inch off my primary route, so I will forever be deprived of the cultural knowledge from these sites that I would have used to kick someone's butt in a bloody Trivial Pursuit game.

After dark I did pass close enough to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial that I could see it from the bridge I was on and I couldn't NOT stop to add it to the Parks list. This is the Memorial, which most of us know at the St. Louis Arch, though that's only part of the whole park.

I kept on after the Arch and was doing well. After the morning's struggle with grogginess I was making good time and certain I would finish with time to spare. I'd passed through a handful of states and a time zone and would soon be checking into a hotel for some rest. I pulled over for a last stretch break and a fill up with about 100 miles to go. I drank some water and ate a granola bar and was starting to put my tank bag back on my bike to go this last leg of the Saddle Sore. I waited for the car taking up part of my spot and part of the next to leave before swinging my leg over the seat and BLAM! she cranked the wheel and hit the gas and nailed my bike's right side pushing it over toward me. It landed on the left side with the car's front fender still pressing on the bike.


I started yanking stuff off my bike so I could hulk it upright on my own. The driver was expressing her frustration with the passenger in such a ferver that I thought I might be on my own for a while. Apparently, it is possible for a passenger to speak in such a way as to distract the driver such that she might not be applying her full attention to the task at hand. Interestingly, the passenger felt that the driver's lack of attention to the details of driving was a chronic condition and had little to do with him. The backseat passenger seemed to think , as I did, that it was a good idea just to be quiet and hope we weren't noticed until things calmed down.

When they got out of the car she was truly apologetic and explained that you just can't have someone distracting you while you're driving... I nodded and asked her if she wouldn't mind moving her car off my bike so the passenger and I could get it up. I looked it over and took it around the parking lot before they left just to check it out. We exchanged info and it seems that insurance will take care of it. I was concerned that something unseen might have been boogered up on the bike and bite me later, but also thought how sucky it was that I was going to a bike conference with a banged up scoot.

So, after all that excitement I finished the last 100 or so miles and found a hotel for the night. I got my ending receipt and witness and still hadn't decided whether I'd continue with the next 500 in the morning or call insurance and deal with the bike.

When I woke up I decided that I needed to give up on the Bun Burner and deal with the bike. :/

Once that phone call and info was done, I got back on the road. I didn't have any bike issues, thankfully, and, in lieu of the 500 miles I had hoped to ride that day, I added some unplanned parks to the list. So, hey, the accident sucked, but the bike was driveable, I was fine and it could always have been worse.

Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, Brown v. Board of Education, Washita National Historic Battlefield.

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