2007 Iron Butt Rally, St. Louis
My first attempt at competing in the Iron Butt Rally
As I think is the case with most first time Iron Butt entrants I've decided to try and keep a record of my experience. This page will serve as a way for me to share my preparation for the rally and if all goes well a post rally report. I also spend a lot of time at ST-Owners.com where I will probably be posting messages from the road during the rally as I did on the ButtLite IIII this year. Here's a link to my ButtLite IIII Report. Another part of my background is that I have been an active member of ABATE of Wisconsin and their web site administrator for over 11 years.
The Iron Butt Rally has been a subconscious goal of mine since I heard about it as a teenager when the rally was in its infancy. A short news segment I saw back in the mid to late 80's on the rally drew me in instantly even though at the time I had only owned one dirt bike. As time went on I kept it in the back of my mind and in 2002 I started working hard towards my goal of competing in the Iron Butt. I will never be a world class athlete but this sport will allow me to compete at a level I've never been able to experience before and I will most certainly never take an experience like this for granted.
For those that aren't familiar with the rally it is an 11 day 11,000 mile event that is held every other year. You can't simply enter the rally. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people apply for the rally and only about 100 riders are accepted which makes getting in even more special. The Iron Butt Association draws names and evaluates the qualifications of each applicant. Only riders who have proven to have the skills necessary to ride the rally and do it safely are accepted. Since 2002 I have been actively pursuing long distance riding and have completed several to build up my LD resume in preporation for competing in the Iron Butt Rally. Below is a list of the rides I've completed since 2002.
Rides and Ride Reports
- SaddleSore 1000, 2002
- Bun Burner GOLD, 2004
- SaddleSore 2000, 2004
- SaddleSore 1000, 2004
- Minnesota 1000, 2004 (11th, Newbie)
- Great Lakes GOLD, 2005
- Minnesota 1000, 2005 (2nd, Expert)
- Bonzai Rally, 2005 (5th, Touring)
- 100CCC, 2006 (pending)
- SaddleSore 5000, 2006 (pending)
- B2B Insanity, 2006 (pending)
- Minnesota 1000, 2006 (5th, Sport Touring)
- Bonzai Rally, 2006 (2nd, Expert)
- ButtLite IIII, 2006 (17th)
- Bonzai Rally, 2007 (4th, Expert)
- Minnesota 1000, 2007 (1st, Expert)
- Bun Burner Gold Trifecta (pending)
Annual Mileage Reports
- '02-'03: 25K, 2002 HD Ultra
- '03-'04: 27K, 2002 HD Ultra
- '04-'05: 40K, 2004 Honda ST1300A
- '05-'06: 46K, 2004 Honda ST1300A
Me and my ride. Mr. Cheerful!
The ButtLite did a lot to prepare me for the Iron Butt Rally but there's still more to do and I'm sure it will take me a while to get everything together. One item that needs to be addressed is a fuel cell. I have a secret source that is working in his lab at this very moment customizing a fuel cell for my ST. It will mount on my pillion shelf that he also designed last year. I believe this will bring my fuel carrying capacity to 11.3 gallons which is .2 gallons below the maximum of 11.5 gallons. Another item that is in the works is a pseudo tail bag that will be a tank bag mounted to a spare pillion pan. Coop at ST-Owners.com was nice enough to donate the pan and several people have offered up their old tank bags for the project. Bless their hearts because buying new tank bags to try would be too expensive to experiment with for this project. I'm hoping it will give me a better storage solution and free up some space in my saddlebags. I'll post pictures of these once their completed.
Here's a laundry list of the things to be checked over this winter:
- Added headlamp protector (Aeroflow replaced misformed protector)
- Align headlamp reflectors (fixed)
- Valve Check/Adjustment (bigger pain) Thanks Jeff
- Sync Throttle Bodies (done)
- Replace Battery (done)
- Replace Fuel Filter (done) Thanks Jeff
- Front Forks Rebuild (done) Thanks The Other Jeff!
- Fix Ground on Fuel Cell (done)
- Replaced All Wheel Bearings, Front and Rear (done) Thanks Vetesnik
Over winter I put a lot of work into getting the bike prepped. I still have more work to do put I've got a lot of the big stuff out of the way.
Well I haven't made an update in a while so I should probably do that. I spent a lot of time tweaking things over the past few months and then took it for a 4500 mile test ride doing a BBG Trifecta (3, 1500 mile days back to back). Everything seemed good but I broke a turn signal ground wire on the ride so that's one more thing that needs to be fixed... ugh. That is now fixed as of this weekend. Also Vetesnik Power Sports replaced all of my wheel bearings yesterday. After 100K miles I figured I should have that done. Vetesnik is one of my sponsors and the whole crew has been great to me. Don, Justin, and Paul have all helped me get the bike ready and it is greatly appreaciated.
I changed the ground on my fuel cell so that it is connected at the fuel inlet which is a new requirement for this year. That should wrap up the fuel cell issues. I will need to put some new plugs in, change the oil/filter, and put on a new set of tires before I leave for St. Louis. I have also arranged for maintenance during the rally. Tom Bognar and Gary Klinker will be helping with maintenance at the checkpoint. I'm guessing I may only need a rear tire but we'll see. A big thanks to both Tom and Gary for helping me out with all of this because it will allow me to sleep during the checkpoint which I'm sure I'll need.
Well tomorrow I leave for St. Louis. It was 106 in St. Louis today. If the ride doesn't do me in the heat surely will. Wisconsin people melt above 90.
I'm back in Wisconsin. Here's the Post Ride Report
Thank you to everyone that helped me get ready for this ride. Your help is greatly appreciated.
I have debated on putting this up here for many reasons but I almost did not accept my invitation to the Iron Butt Rally because of the monetary obligation that goes along with the commitment to participate in the rally. The entrance fee, hotels, food, gas, maintenance, accessories, and supplies needed to do a ride of this magnitude does take a toll on one's finances. I do have the means to finance this ride myself but if you would like to donate to my cause feel free to do so and I will find a way to acknowledge everyone that helped me with this endeavor.
I'll advertise sponsors here as entrants are not allowed to have any advertising on themselves or their bike during the event of people/organizations that have made donations to their cause. This is an Iron Butt Association rule for the rally. So with that I will use this space to acknowledge those who have helped me prepare for this rally.
Thanks to everyone that donated and even those who thought about it. :)
These are vendors that I have used over the past 5 years that I think are worth mentioning. Their products and customer service are some of the best in the motorcycle industry.
These people have helped me in many ways to prepare for this rally. Their friendship and support means a lot.
If you have donated to my ride and do not see your name on this list please contact me and let me know. I have made an effort to keep accurate records but things happen and I may have missed someone. If I have it is out of error and not intentional.
- Mom & Dad Gran
- Gary & Shawn Klinker (Klink)
- Tom Bognar
- Vetesnik Power Sports
- Marlene, Nancy, and Char (The Office Chicks)
- Rebecca Vaughn (boxergrrlie)
- Tracy LaLuzerne
- Mike Tomsu (LDMike)
- Jonathan Rutschky (Road Rogue)
- Mike Walls (Red Mac)
- Eric & Judy Blattert (Earache)
- Charlie Clemmer (Rocket Cowboy)
- Robert Hughes (sherob)
- Mac McKechnie (motomac)
- Anthony Streppel (STrep)
- Paul Lingard (alphafang)
- Gary Currie (Walrus)
- Paul Squeglia
- Mark Terrill
- David Elliot
- Fred Arbuckle (Medicine Bear)
- Bryan Elitz (AZST)
- Bob Smith (AzDesertRider)
- Donald Hollar (Gene)
- Dace Park
- Patrick Finley (sttourer)
- John Herleman (Herleman)
- Robert Miller
- Rich Bainbridge (forgitaboutut)
- Thomas Eickhoff (CARPDM)
- Jody Lutker (Biddyman)
- Michael Boucher (del)
- Steve Hughes (hughess004)
- Alan, Dave, Dave, & Jeff (The Chi-ill Boys)
- Bob Bucklin
- Neil Schwartz (ccryder)
- Terry "Two Wrecks" Hammond
- Bob Bailer (bobwendy)
- Norman (Trashman)
- Arthur Voss
- Stephen Efthyvoulou
- Dave Otto (highrider)
- Kevin Powers
- James Hickey (PONS)
- Billy Cooper (Coop)
- George Robinson (glossblk6)
- Laurent Muller (MidLife)
- Glenn Patterson (Papa)
- Viggo Warmboe (Viggo)
- Roger Smith (rojinoz)
- Tim Kresler (tkresler)
- Dan Blankenbaker (toypro1)
- Dave Munson (firehawk)
- Alan August (ajaugust)
- Jeff Byrdy (byrdman)
- Rick Windham (dr1954)
- Sue Mort (Brighteyesue)
- Scott Beck (Scooterb)
- Mark Feit (Blrfl)
Thanks for stopping by and checking in on my progress. So far the amount of support I've received has been great and humbling. I just hope I'll be able to hold up my end of the deal and perform well during the rally. Either way I'm sure that it will be the experience of a lifetime for me. Thanks again.