Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My SS1600 Ironbutt Ride Attempt.....

I had a go at a SS1600 over the weekend of 17 September.

Planning took weeks, I explored 5 different routes and gradually eliminated them in favour of the final one (map below) for various reasons such as fuel availability and opening hours of non-24hr servos, general route levels of difficulty etc etc.

Absolutely ACED the weather! Dunno how – it just worked this time!

Settled upon this route:

Here is the plan:

If I left about 5.00am and stuck to the plan – all things should work beautifully.

For instance – heading north to Gympie just as the sun peaked over the horizon gave a lovely sunrise, and then a course change to the west put the sun to my back – good for eyes, good for seeing – less fatigue!

Then, the north westerly ride to Springsure whilst the sun was overhead, north for 80 clicks while it was getting lower, then eastbound from Emerald as it set at my back.

Having to look into sunlight, putting up with heat/cold, being uncomfortable in any way, or simply being distracted by anything annoying are all factors that make you less fresh and more fatigued. It was this ethos with which I planned the ride. I also didn’t want to be out west during ‘roo’ times of the day – so I tried to get back on the Bruce Hwy around the traditionally worst times.

Here is a shot of the sunrise:

Fellow FarRider (#23) and accomplished IBA Member #30,435 (and mate), Gadget asked if he could join me for the blast, offering to be my start/finish witness into the package. That was great (having your own JP personally witness you wasn’t too bad a thing).

We agreed about some of the contingencies – allowing for a 2nd bike/person in certain instances such as our different levels of stamina, fatigue, capabilities - he is a diabetic and a nightshift worker; if HE broke down,  got a flat or simply failed to proceed; AND his lovely Beemer needs to drink sooner than the ST, so my fuel stops were longer than he would have planned for himself. Then I thought – he’s a FarRider and Ironbutt Member! Rob’s put up with more than I could throw at him!   :-p

I got used to this site a lot through the day:

Anyways, as the miles clicked over, everything went perfectly. Each fuel or rest stop I was a few minutes ahead of schedule, and that was comforting.
Apart from an emu that wanted to join me on the bike, there were no real dramas to report. Temps went from 7* in the morning to 32* during the day/arvo.

Plenty of hydration was the answer to combat the heat. I gave a thought to the Special “K’s” SS1600 in 42* temps and wondered how they got through it? You can notice a 1 degree temp change in the weather on the bike – let alone 10 more degrees than the heat we were feeling! – Well done guys.

Great run right through to planned rest at Calliope. It is quite frustrating sitting on 100km/h on roads that are begging you to do 130+ on them! But dem’s da rules!

Checked into the IBA Hotel:

Then it was time for the last 370kms. This is where it changed a fair bit for me. I’d put on all the warmth layers, and headed off. The EXTRA vigilance required at night from oncoming traffic headlights, wildlife and the cold – together with already have ridden 1300 clicks this day made the last (particularly 200kms) very challenging.

I signalled to rob a couple of times that I was pulling over for a break, stretch and re-vitalise.

My body was telling me now it had been asked a lot of for 20+hours. Aches and pains were beginning in my lower back and neck, I was cold and then, to top it off – Rick Astley came through the earphones from the MP3 player!

I  had to get one last corner docket 95 clicks from the finish. We tried to warm up a little with some amazing coffees Rob had in a can that warm up once you push the button on the base of the can!

Anyway – one more stint to go and plenty of time to do it in.

Finally arrived at the end point at Kybong – let out a cheer, got the all important end docket and thawed out again inside the food hall facilities. Rob and I were in great nick considering. I spent 30 mins there and felt good enough to ride back down to Caboolture to home and a great, hot shower.

Things that helped me accomplish this ride:
Cruise control – it enabled me to move around a lot on the bike and not tether my hand to the handlebar for 22hrs;
Highway wings – at 6’4” my knees get fairly bent to res on the footpegs – the highway wings offer me a stretch and half a dozen new positions to while away the kilometres;
Easily accessible drink, food, accessories – self explanatory;
A good ride plan that takes a lot into consideration; and

Help and support from a lot of friends on the FarRiders site and the OzSTOC site.

Now for all that paperwork! Special thanks to Gadget for.... you know.

Thanks for reading.



My ride was certified by the Ironbutt Association - Toughest Riders In The World.... YAY!

They sent me the certificate and a few goodies to commemorate the achievement....


A giant thanks to my friends who helped this day come about!               

Cheers,  Diesel     IBA #55491

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