2011 Iron Butt Ride

Welcome to the Sierra Circle


WHAT!!!  Are you nuts?

This year, on June 18th, 2011, the tentative plan is to travel a circle around the Sierras in 24 hours. I have not heard if Jack Bauer will be joining us or not, but you are welcome anyway. Contemplating traveling 1,000 miles in 24 hours on a motorcycle causes the reader to have one of two reactions. How would I do that? Or, the second title comes to mind. One has no trouble grasping the idea of climbing into a cylindrical object, much like a roll of toilet paper, sitting down and being hurled through the atmosphere to travel 1,000 miles, but the idea of going outside to your driveway, sitting down on a magical chair and spending the day observing the sunrise, smells, sights and experiences that will be remembered the rest of one’s life is foreign to most.

As with all great things the trigger that causes success in any endeavor is curiosity. I salute you for reading this far because once you become curious the wheels start turning and the question gnaws in your mind until the answer unfolds. Also required in the success of any mission is planning. Hopefully this article will arouse your curiosity and provide a blueprint for your magic carpet ride.

Thorough planning for this ride will leave one with a joyous expectation of the ride with successful results. Poor planning will yield frustration, anger, and quite possibly death. Now that we have covered the disclaimers, let’s get on with eating the elephant.

Let’s break down the ride a little; the first part is going 500 miles. The second part is coming back. Let’s look at the first half. Assuming one’s tank has a range of at least 170-miles, one starts with a full tank and burns that off. They stop, fuel, and burn that tank off. Then they fuel again and burn that tank off. Presto you have just completed your five hundred miles! So the question is can you ride 170 Miles? Can you do it three times? If your tank has a range of 125-miles you would fill it three times after you start.

There will never be any external pressure from any one else to make you succeed. So travel the first tank, see how you feel, fill it up and burn off the second tank. If you are feeling good, fill it up and continue on. With victory in sight, this decision to continue after filling here will be the critical one. Knowing that you will succeed after burning off the third tank is gratifying. Some may say; but what about the other 500 miles? Well, you made it here didn’t you? This is the Iron Butt, not a McDonalds run. Quit your belly-aching and now go home.

That is the entire psychology of eating this elephant. Leave with a full tank, fill up twice more, and then go home. That is all there is to it. Can you do that?

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But there are a few other things we need to consider. The first is time. Let’s look at how time affects the ride. Assuming one was to average 65 mph one would have seat time of 15.38 hours. (1,000 / 65 mph = 15.38 hours) If one averages 75 mph one will have seat time of 13.33 hours. If one averages 80 mph they will have seat time of 12.5 hours.

We will be leaving at 6:00 A.M. add your choice of the above times and that theoretically will be the time you get home. This does not include any time for fueling, eating, or potty breaks. It is better to travel constantly at your comfortable speed and minimize the time spent on stops rather than go like the devil and have poor stop management. This increases fuel usage which causes one to stop more often, wasting more time. One has to balance the needs of the bike with the needs of the rider. Ideally it would be most efficient to fuel, intake nourishment and liquids while relieving themselves, all at the same time. Hopefully your planning will not demand such desperation.

Since we know the bike will need to stop at certain intervals, it will be most efficient if the rider can time their needs to correspond with the needs of the bike. The primary way to do this is through fluid intake management. Unless you have a catheter installed, you will need to stay hydrated while yet being able to wait until the next fuel stop to relieve yourself. Remember every second that is not spent moving is a second longer it will take to get home. Careless attention to stop management will destroy your ride.

Next we should consider fatigue. Early in the ride is the greatest opportunity to make time. While in no way advocating one break the speed limit, early in the morning is an opportune time to eat up the miles. There probably will be a slight tailwind heading east and another tailwind heading south out of Sacramento. Any head wind will cause additional fatigue as well as decrease your mileage. Expect it and adjust accordingly. Remember the sun will be in your face most of the day and it is brutal when combined with the wind from punching a hole through 1,000 miles of air. Travel at your comfortable cruising speed.

Although we will be leaving at the same time it is imperative that we do not have 40 bikes traveling and stopping together. If we were all to stop for gas at the same time and location it would take an hour for all of us to fuel and use the restroom. Because of tank and bladder differences, we may have 40 riders traveling the same direction but we will each have our own ride plan. As the day progresses there will be times when we pass each other and perhaps there will be times when we are traveling alone. Enjoy the freedom of being able to choose how you execute your plan. Some riders will spend an hour for lunch. Join them if that is in your plan as well. Some may be planning on making it a two-day trip. You do not want to be riding with them if you are planning to do this in one day. Some may be trying to do 1,500 miles in 24-hours. Do not be intimidated or influenced by the behavior of others. Remember the tortoise and the hare. Stick to your plan.

If you are planning on having your ride certified by the IRON BUTT ASSOCIATION please go to http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=1 Here you will find the rules and requirements to qualify for the Saddle Sore 1,000. The gas receipt showing the time, date and address of your first gas purchase is the official starting time and address from which your ride will be measured. The official starting point address for those certifying their ride is the Shell Station east of BHD at 35184 Merle Haggard Drive, Bakersfield, CA, 93308. Our route will be 58, east to Barstow, Interstate 15 east to Baker, north on 127 to Shoshone, 178 east to Pahrump, Nevada, 160 north to 95. Go north on 95 through Beatty, Tonopah and Fallon. Take 50 west to Fernley then continue west on 80 through Reno, over Donner Pass and coast on in to Sacramento. Catch 99 south set the cruise control and float on back to the gas station we started at. Fill it up, and your receipt will mark your closing time. This year’s ride will be about 1,092.3 miles. For more information on the IRON BUTT ASSOCIATION please go to http://www.ironbutt.com/about/default.cfm


The most important thing you can do to insure this will be an enjoyable adventure is to develop a plan, in writing, that allows for contingencies. Start by determining what the range of the tank on your bike is and go from there. In your plan include a realistic time schedule for the entire day including stops. This will help keep you on track. If you see you are falling behind schedule relax and adjust your schedule. This trip is not worth your life. Go to the Harley Davidson ride planner website to develop your plan. http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/Pages/Ride_Planner/Ride_Planner.jsp?locale=en_US&request_key=-2099334245&bmLocale=en_US Once you are at the map hit the fuel symbol at the top of the page and the Shell stations will be displayed on the map. To find Chevron station locations go to: http://www.chevron.com/products/ourStations/stationfinder/

Expect your plan to change as the day wears on and prepare for contingencies such as a flat, mechanical trouble and a motel should you decide to call it a day. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS TRIP UNLESS YOU HAVE SOME TYPE OF ROAD SERVICE PLAN. Have emergency contact numbers with you and carry a cell phone. Take at least a gallon of water. Eat a hearty dinner on Thursday and eat a light dinner on Friday. For additional tips go to, http://www.ironbutt.com/tech/aowprintout.cfm, I look forward to seeing you on the adventure. Who knows, maybe we will do it again on Million Mile Monday. This is going to be fun!!!

Charlie Klint