Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Iron Butt

Earlier today I wrote an article for the Examiner (the title to this post is a link to the article) about the 2009 Iron Butt Rally ending in Spokane. As I wrote the article I couldn't help feel a twinge of jealousy for those riders whose names were selected in the lottery. I know full well I am not even close to being able to ride an Iron Butt Rally, I've never even completed a saddle sore. There is no way I could ride 11,000 miles in 11 days. My body would be a wreck if I tried. But somewhere deep inside me is a voice that says I could do it if I started training. I would have to get in better physical condition. I would have to ride a few Iron Butt rides, maybe even a few organized endurance events. I could do that, couldn't I? Isn't the only thing stopping me self-doubt? (and money, but that could probably be worked out)

Why does this hold such an appeal for me? I know the riders have to go through horrible conditions ranging from some of the hottest, coldest and windiest weather imaginable. I know the riders have to get by on miniscule amounts of sleep. They don't get to stop and really enjoy any of the places they go. It sounds miserable. And it sounds wonderful.

Will I ever go that far? I won't say never, but I know the chances are slim. Nonetheless, My goal is to ride at least one Iron Butt Ride over the next year. Maybe I'll hate it, but maybe I'll be hooked and will be able to join the thin ranks of those who call themselves, "The Toughest Riders in the World."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Motorcycle Fluency

Since I've started writing for the Examiner I have been doing a lot of research on various motorcycle topics. I'm learning a lot and I like that, but every time I research another topic it reminds me again how much I don't know. I have read Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough, but every time I go through it I realize that not everything sinks in. I read about other people taking round the world treks and riding on sand for hours and days on end. Sand terrifies me. I watch videos of people doing amazing slow motion maneuvers on their bikes and have to face the fact that I don't even come close to that level of skill. Yes, I can ride mud, I've done multiple 750 mile days under challenging conditions, but there is so much MORE. I desperately want to reach a point where I feel more than competent, where I feel skillful on my bike, but I am so far from that level it frustrates me beyond imagination. It means I keep working, keep practicing, and maybe someday I'll be closer to motorcycle fluency than the semi-illiteracy I currently have.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What a beautiful day!

I have ridden the motorcycle to a lot of the areas outside Spokane for both long and short trips. Today was the first time I decided to stay closer to home. I ended up at Riverside State Park. As usual I carried tennis shoes with me so I could go for a hike. What a beautiful place!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Spokane Is a Great Place to be.

I recently started writing on motorcycle travel for Examiner.com. It has been a lot of fun, and maybe the best part is that since I am writing about motorcycle travel with a focus on Spokane, I have looked around me and realized yet again what an amazing part of the country this is. Alaska was wonderful, but there are so few roads that after riding them as many times as I had, the thrill was gone. Here there are new roads everywhere! I can go to Yellowstone or Glacier on a long weekend! Seattle is only a day ride away. I can go to Canada. The possibilities are absolutely endless.

I can get bored easily, but I think the Pacific Northwest will keep me entertained for years to come!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy Summer

After doing a lot of local riding exploring our new backyard, I have noticed an interesting difference in riding in Washington as opposed to riding in Alaska. Whereas Alaska is a dualsport state, most riders here ride Harleys. I have no problem with that, but it does bother me that so few people wear gear. It is commonplace here to see people riding in shorts, and tank tops. I guess it is their business, not mine, but why a person would risk sunburn, bug smacks, and of course road rash or worse in the case of accident is beyond my understanding. I'd rather sweat a little than lose my skin or my life. Besides, cooling vests only cost about $30. That's a pretty low price to pay for comfort and safety.

On a more positive note, we had the pleasure of meeting a super nice people this summer. He has been riding for years, and she got her first bike this spring. They went on a Mexico to Canada tour this summer and she is hooked! It is such an inspiration to watch a rider discover the love of the road. I look forward to riding with them in the future, hopefully on a trip to Copper Canyon and Creel, Mexico. I guess I'd better start brushing up on my Spanish skills!