Four of us left at 2:30 AM on a Friday morning for an unforgettable challenge and adventure. The Iron Butt Association SaddleSore 1000 is the first level of long distance riding challenges they offer. The goal is to ride 1000 miles within 24 hours. You make the route, keep records, and have a great time.
Our path would take us on a circular route from central to west Texas, south to the US and Mexico border, and finally back north east to Fort Worth, TX. Total route was right at 1050 miles.
The ride took us 20 hours to completion. Great weather and roads rounded out the challenge perfectly. It was a bit chilly for the first 300 miles but soon after we had to strip down to T-shirts because of the heat. We were all sore in some part of our body. Our butts took the brunt of the pain, some lower back aches and shoulder pain were present for some of us. Overall though it wasn’t too bad and we persevered through it unto completion. Because its spring there were a lot of bugs, BIG bugs to be exact, and more than once their bodies were splatted and chopped in half on my glasses, leaving burning bug acid in my eyes to deal with. Deer were plentiful towards the end of the ride along with wild hogs, turtles, and swooping birds. The flowers through portions of the route were vivid with color during their peak spring bloom.
So it all went well until the next day when I was compiling receipts and filling out the necessary paperwork to send to the IBA for verification. That’s when a slight but detrimental detail became evident. The ride section from Sanderson, Tx to Ozona, TX went through a tiny little place named Comstock, TX. It’s so small you have to zoom in real close on google maps for it to even show up with its name. The problem is that we didn’t stop to get a receipt in Comstock, TX before changing direction to head north to Ozona, TX. That probably wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that there is a shorter route from Sanderson, TX that could have been taken. IBA rules are that any directional change must be accompanied by a receipt to prove you were there and didn’t take a shortcut.
Nothing we can do, it was a simple oversight that all of us overlooked. Good learning experience though and it still doesn’t take from the fact that we did go through Comstock, TX and rode over 1000 miles in 24 hours. Verification is the problem to have our names added to the IBA completion list. I was so upset by it that Margaret and I planned on doing it a few days later together. We checked the weather and all seemed good. We headed out towards Abilene, TX on the first leg of the route and it just kept getting colder down to 39 degrees in Abilene. That was simply too cold to continue so we turned around and limped our way home riding in sub-freezing temperatures when wind chill was taken into account. It just wasn’t meant to happen.
Bill, Steve, and Jeff are going to submit their ride documentation with an explanation of what occurred in Comstock, TX in hopes the IBA will consider it. They have phone GPS records that show we were in Comstock, TX which might be of satisfactory verification. I personally am not going to submit the ride. Margaret wants to try it so we’ll give it a go together once the weather warms up a bit more.
If your wanting to try this ride there are some things to take into consideration. These are my 10 main points to consider before doing the IBA SaddleSore 1000.
1- Take water, don’t rely on buying bottles along the way. A good insulated container of ice cold water will help immensely.
2- Be sure your not due for an oil change during the route. I changed mine before the trip so I wouldn’t go over my oil change mileage limit.
3- Plan route details, then check the route, then check again. Plan your route from gas station to gas station to get accurate mileage from those points where you’ll be getting a receipt. This will insure you won’t be short on mileage for the challenge.
4- Get gas receipts if you even suspect a change in direction might be questionable by the IBA. This will insure you are able to verify you were in all the places you say you were.
5- If your going to eat, do it before your first gas stop time and dated verification receipt. You don’t want a breakfast stop to cut into your time. It’s hard to make up lost time.
6- Check the weather forecast for each city and town that will be gas stops and direction changes along the route. The weather can be very different at points along the route and you will want the appropriate gear.
7- Read and re-read the IBA regulations. Especially the information for verification. It’s easy to miss a step like we did that could cause you grief when trying to get verified.
8- If your riding as a group, keep the group as small as possible. Having to wait for lots of bikes to be re-fueled at each stop costs time which is difficult to make up.
9- Don’t plan too many small back roads with low speed limits. You need to be moving, not sightseeing while puttering through the county side. Interstates and US roads can have speed limits of up to 80 mph! You can really make good time on these roads.
10- Make sure your bike is set up ergonomically for you as the rider. The correct handle bar reach, backrest, highway pegs, proper windshield height, etc, will help your comfort level during the challenge. 18 or so hours nearly continuous in the saddle is a challenge for most riders.