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 challenge offered. 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 northeast to Fort Worth, TX. Total route mileage was right at 1050 miles.
A Few Hardships To Endure
The ride took us 20 hours to complete. 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 backaches and shoulder pain was present for some of us. Overall, it wasn’t too bad, and we persevered through it until completion.
Because it's 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. During their peak spring bloom, the flowers through portions of the route were vivid with color.
Problems With Route Documentation
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 on google maps for it to even show up. 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 wouldn’t have been a problem, except 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 could do; it was a simple oversight that we all 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.
Wanted To Do It Again
Verification became a possible problem to have our names added to the IBA completion list. I was so upset 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 the wind chill was considered. It just wasn’t meant to happen.
Completion Was Approved
We all submitted our paperwork for verification to the IBA Association. I also submitted a link to the video as evidence. A couple of our group had google GPS records they submitted as well. In the end, the concern was unfounded, and the IBA issued our completion and sent all of the swag. Our names went on the official completion records as well.
Considerations And Recommendations
If you want to try this ride, consider some things. These are my ten main points to consider before doing the IBA SaddleSore 1000.
1- Take water, don’t rely on buying bottles along the way. A well-insulated container of ice-cold water will help immensely.
2- Be sure you're 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, check the route, and check again. Plan your route from between gas stations to get accurate mileage. Those will be the points where you will get a gas receipt. This will ensure 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 ensure you can verify you were in all the places you say you were. You may not need the fuel, but it doesn't take much time.
5- If you're 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 with 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 you 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 make good time on these roads.
10- Make sure your bike is set up ergonomically for you as the rider. The correct handlebar reach, backrest, highway pegs, proper windshield height, etc., will help your comfort during the challenge. 18 or so hours nearly continuous in the saddle is a challenge for most riders.