…… as once he’s scored Robert will be able to post on here again.
Thank you all for reading all of my “stuff” over the past 11 days.
Thank you all of your comments and I hope you have enjoyed my (admittedly) light hearted approach to IBR reporting.
But most of all, thank you to Robert, for asking me (and giving me the privilege of ) keeping his IBR blog for him again.
Thank you my Bavarian friend …….
…….. and it was most definitely a limp across the line but who gives a flying f*ck ?
I of course have given him one last piece of advice ……….
Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check and check one last time all of your paperwork before going in for scoring. (That’ll be in the morning now)
…. and that was 50 minutes ago.
He is still riding because I have just tried to call him, but he must be very close now …..
Stupid, stupid Robert ……
After all of the talking that we did yesterday, he went and ignored it all ……
In his words :
“OK, here it comes:
I WAS WRONG! MEA CULPA! MEA CULPA! MEA MAXIMA CULPA!!!
You told me not to be cocky!
You told me not to do anything stupid!
And you were right!
And was does stupid Robert do?
I thought the Honda overheard our conversation, because “she” ran very nicely afterwards. Really nice. So nice, that I started to make plans….
I could do the detour and go up to Michigan and bag a big bonus at the Lake Superior. Why being 24 h too early at the finish? The Pan was running so fine and I had so much time left …”
And guess what happened ?
He decided to try it, if the bike did not give any problems until the where he needed to turn north at about 3:30 p.m. As he problems occurred daily always between 2 and 3 p.m. he felt that this was a good decision.
The thing is see, that after 10 days on the road, it’s very difficult to make “good decisions”. That’s why it’s quite useful to speak frequently with people who HAVEN’T been on the road 10 days, who ARE getting plenty of rest, who ARE getting plenty of sleep and who ARE therefore capable of offering GOOD & RATIONAL advice. Now if that person has actually ridden the IBR themselves, then they are definitely capable of giving GOOD, RATIONAL & RELEVANT advice ……
So, everything was apparently going well and at 3.30pm he turned north.
Two hours later, the bike started to misfire badly.
This time filling up didn’t help ….. This time a damp shirt over the tank didn’t help ….. This time even a bag of ice on the tank didn’t help ……
He gave up on the idea of “one last big bonus” and headed west – at 55mph flat out with a badly misfiring bike
He reached the town of Durand and luckily, Quality Inn had a room. The idea was to continue after 3 a.m. after the rest break.
As it was still early, he wanted to check plan B – connecting the aux tank directly and let it feed by gravity. He finally did manage to connect it (leaving a big petrol mess on the car park), but a test ride revealed that the height difference is too small so there is too little pressure. This won’t work …….
He connected the tank and the fuel pump again, rode a short distance and it seemed back to normal simply because it had cooled down for about an hour.
Roberts words again ……
“When you’re riding, you think it’s warm, but not THAT hot. But it is still over 30C. When I touch the motor, you feel how many energy is stored in there. It seems that it’s not the daytime, but the operation hours (8 to 9 hours) that triggers the problems. After that time, the tank (where the pump is located, that’s the problem) is heated up so much that the fuel pressure falls below a critical point.”
So, because of his stupidity, he lost 200kms today and whilst the problem would have still occurred, he would have been 2 hours and 200kms closer to the finish.
He has to be back at 8 a.m. at the finish on Friday. Considering the time difference, he still has more than 29 hours to do the 1100 km, and taking the two penalty hours into accounts, he has actually 31 hours before DNF “ing”.
However, he has wasted the last 17 hours to effectively cover 400kms …….
Oh and he left his “toilet bag” at the last hotel – no great drama, but this just goes to demonstrate how muddled your mind gets after 10 hard riding days
Right, for 10 days I have been nice. For 10 days, I have been supportive. For 10 days, I have said nothing offensive towards (or about) Robert – other than in jest.
That now changes …..
Being “Mr Nice Guy” hasn’t worked. It’s time for some hard cold truths …….
Robert, you spent a lot of money in 2013 for nothing more than a failure. Glorious as it may have been and “dress” it up however you want, you still failed ……
You have spent another huge amount of money in 2017 to enter the rally again and at the moment, there are lots and lots of people willing you to succeed. You appear to be doing your very f*cking best to disappoint them !!!!!
GET TO THE FINISH. IF THE BIKE STARTS TO PLAY UP AFTER 6 HOURS, THEN ONLY RIDE FOR 5 HOURS BEFORE LETTING THE BIKE COOL DOWN.
DO NOTHING THAT PUTS THE BIKE UNDER ANY MORE STRESS THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.
YOU HAVE 29 HOURS TO COVER 1100 KMS. THAT IS AN AVERAGE OF LESS THAN 40KPH. IF YOU GET TO THE FINAL CONTROL WITH 1 MINUTE TO SPARE, IT DOES NOT MATTER. JUST GET THERE ……
Okay, one very last piece of “encouragement”.
You see, at the moment, there’s this fat, balding, middle-aged, accountant from the UK who’s typing these reports. He’s already ridden the rally and he’s already got his 3-digit number and at the moment he’s laughing at the stupidity of this German guy he knows.
He’s laughing not because he wants this German guy to fail but because this German guy is riding a Honda and this German guy rode a Honda last time too – and he failed then as well ……
This accountant fella, thinks that Hondas are shite and to prove it, when he rode the rally in 2011 he rode his 50 year old Triumph to a finish ……
Robert – please, please, please, wipe the grin of this guys face and get to the finish ……..
I spoke to Robert at 10.00am (his time) on Day 10.
He has exactly 48 hours to get to the finish control before he is classed as DNF. His Garmin is showing that 1500kms (950 miles) stand between him and his 3-digit IBA membership number.
He tells me that my advice “DO NOT FUCK THIS UP”, is the only thing in his mind.
There will be no more bonus collecting (other than the sleep bonus this evening), there will be no more detours, there will be no more chances taken.
A nice straight forward 1500kms ride over 2 days to glory …….
He is nearly there …..
BUT – he has been on the road for 9 days and he has had constant issues. 950 miles over 48 hours is normally “a walk in the park” for IBA riders and for Robert in particular. This will be the most difficult and fraught 1500kms he has ever ridden.
In 2011, I was 600 miles from the finish. I had 30 hours to do it. I could already “see” the “ticker-tape” parade awaiting me ……
Then I ran into the worst sand storms Arizona had witnessed for 50 years and my world collapsed around me. Fortunately, I managed to get my bike going and limped over the finishing line with around 4 hours to spare ….
And that is what the IBR does to you. Like some beautiful siren, it suckers you in. It lets you believe that you have the measure of it …….
THEN IT KICKS YOU FAIRLY AND SQUARELY IN THE BALLS !!!!!!!!!
So, wish him luck and keep posting those comments (he reads them all)
The morning started well – Robert went to NYC as planned and visited four locations. One proved awkward – a statute of Alice in Wonderland in the Central Park – but the rest was easy and it was a big points score
To be sure of enough finishing points, he “popped up ” to the Lake Placid area and bagged another big multiplier bonus
It was much cooler today, but the bike now runs rough whether it’s hot or cold – this really has become a limp to the finish
He has bought a few parts to see whether he could get the bike to run better t and put a new filter in, just on the off-chance that might have helped – but, unfortunately not
Robert – just face it, Hondas are shite ……… Lol !!!
As I mentioned earlier, Robert has taken great pains to point out that “he did not say that I was wrong – just that he was not right” These apparently to a German (oooops !! – Bavarian) are very different things ……. LOL !!
It was day 9 and there is the wall – a soft one, but a wall nevertheless …..
For Robert this means dropping the plan to go to the Lake Superior and instead, plotting a route directly back to the finishing control – he knows that taking the bike up there is too much of a risk.
Physically, he’s fine, but mentally, he’s exhausted and is now starting to experience slight vision issues (he will no doubt explain more when he writes his full report) However, the main thing is that he knows how to recognise it and then control it so it does not (in his words) “freak me out anymore” He does comment though that it is strange to see a sloping lake !!!!.
So from tomorrow on he will take his time to get back in a relaxed manner
He will have a good nights sleep – he stopped earlier than planned in Syracuse – but that is no bad thing.
This close to the finish, he should take no chances ………..
…… two quick points for now :
I somehow knew that a German (Bavarian) couldn’t possibly have admitted that they were wrong …………. Lol !
Keep those good wishes coming people – he’s nearly there …..
So what happened on Monday ?
Well, it was my first day back a the office after riding in the national rally. In the morning I had a doctors appointment to finally cure this “ear” problem I’ve had for a while now and then in the afternoon, I had to go down to Coventry to meet with a client to go through some tax papers.
Sonia had a busy day too – gym in the morning, spa in the afternoon. Lol !!
It was the first day of Wimbledon and the defending champion, Andy Murray successfully negotiated the first round.
Yesterday evening, I started booking hotels and ferries for my next trip.
What else happened ? Oh yeah, over in the USA, the IBR continued …….
So first things first, Robert sent this message :
“No, I will NOT buy a Triumph !!!”
Mmmmmm …… Lol !!
So, whilst I was at the doctors, Robert rode the “Tail of the Dragon” road again, bringing him lots of points. He is beginning to tire now after 8 days on the road and he was not really awake for the first three hours so rode nice and slowly.
He went eastwards through Tennessee and made a detour through the mountains to bag a big bonus, but that included 8 miles of gravel road – not welcome when you’re tired.
Of course, he had the usual issues with the bike – and it’s now becoming more frequent. As soon as the fuel becomes too low in the main tank and the pump has to “work hard”, the problem returns. The “useable” range of the bike before top-up fuel is now needed is down to 100km (60 miles). He then adds fuel from the auxilliary tank and off he goes again.
He discovered a new “string” of five points on the road, adding more points to the route but it has become very hot again as the USA heat wave moved north. He is slowly “cooking” ……. I wonder what a “Medium Rare Bavarian” actually looks like ?
On the positive side, he doesn’t have to keep stopping to put his thermals on !!!!
It’s around 2.00 p.m. when the bad heat starts and that just slows him down so he stopped for his rest break earlier than expected in Harrisburg
Tomorrow, early in the morning, he will tackle New York (city) before moving north east into New York state.
The extra couple of hours rest time has given Robert the ability to check his planning to ensure no last minute mistakes. He has less than 3 days riding ahead of him. He is nearly there ……
Tomorrow (Tuesday), he has one time restricted bonus to ensure he makes and then he begins to head for the finish and the “Holy Grail” of that three digit membership number …..
Nearly up to date again …..
He only has 10 magic 12 rallies to ride now …….
He had an early start to the day and headed back over to Memphis, Nashville & Knoxville where he thought he deserved a 4 star cozy hotel with good bar food ….
WHEN HE GETS THE EXTRA LEAVE FROM WORK NEXT YEAR FOR OUR TRIP, HE CAN TAKE ME THERE.
Who knows, with the relaxing of the German law, we may be a married couple by then ….
As has been the case for the last few days, the Honda worked fine in the cool, but as soon as it became hot, the problems returned – at least he knows how to sort it and be back on the road very quickly. He ran into a huge thunderstorm In Nashville, which was very welcome.
He’s removed the side panels off the bike to try to keep the pump cool and this has helped apart from the fact that his legs are now slowly cooking – I had this in 2011 crossing Texas. it’s STILL an unpleasant memory, 6 years on ….
And then he helped to further worsen relationships between the USA and Europe ….
He tied the sidepanels onto the luggage rack of his bike – except they had no intention of staying there and nearly hit another rider as they made their bid for freedom ….
I wonder what Donald Trump will “tweet” about that ……
At least the thunderstorm proved that his electrics are waterproof, even without panels. Of course that’s because no-one had the opportunity to sabotage them (like a “certain Bavarian” did to my Tridents electrics last year …… )
After 1400 km, he called it a day as he thinks he has a cunning plan (who does he think he is, Baldrick ? Lol !!) that should give me easily finisher status.
Leg 3 is all about the multipliers and if you apply them cleverly, you get lots of points.
With the lack of pressure for anything other than a finish now being the goal, he tells me he feels like he is on vacation – obviously a rather shitty vacation though !!
hey have fantastic cheesecake here! This morning, I just planned for the first two days, I wanted to leave as early as possible.
Right, that’s just about bringing everything up to date other than (and I may have already mentioned this), ROBERT – BUY YOURSELF A TRIUMPH ……..
Keep those messages of support coming (and spread the word).
He is nearly there – just 4 days to go (4 German Butt Rallies, back to back ….. sounds easy doesn’t it ?)
Remember this was written a couple of days ago …..
Robert has decided to go northeast, visiting some points from Leg 1 and he will go to New York – but during the night
He feels after the first two days of Leg 3 that he should have enough points to be a finisher already
New scoring rules : Full House: three of one, two of other category, last one gives quadruple points
But – will the bike survive?
As many of you will already know, Robert has dropped to 50th place
WHO CARES !!!!!!!
He is on course for a finish – that is ALL that matters …..
….. but first a quick and (very) recent update from Robert.
I spoke to him les than an hour ago – I guess it must have been about 5.00am on Day 8.
He’s fine and the bike is doing “okay”. He’s still having a few issues with the bike (he’s told me that next time, he’ll be using a nice reliable bike – something like a Triumph … ), but his route for leg 3 has taken that into account. Now, the sole target is to finish.
Do not be surprised if on day 9 you see him on his Spot starting to move towards the finish. He’s done the calculations and can probably arrive on Day 10 and still have enough points for a finish. As soon as he knows he’s got enough points bagged, he will take no chances as he knows that fuel pump could give up at any time …..
Right, now I’ve told you what’s actually happening now, he’s what’s been happening over the last two/three days (and remember these were written “at the time” so may have been overtaken by events ….)
Day 6 :
His day started well, continuing his trip to the planned bonus point, through Kansas and Oklahoma. He was more than one hour early at the timed bonus, a gruop picture in a big whale but he had previously cut my sleep bonus by one hour to make sure that he would be thereon time
Then it got hot again ……. Two hours later, the bike “conked” (again) and he had the same trouble as on Thursday. He did manage to get to the checkpoint on time though
However, the biggest news of the day was this message I received from him …..
“My theories were obsolete….it IS a failing pump at heat….”
No shit, Sherlock – and just as I said ….. But, look at what he said again, he admitted he was wrong …. A German, no, a Bavarian admitting he was wrong.
THIS IS THE BIG STORY OF THE 2017 IBR.
In years to come, people will have forgotten who won ….. People will have forgotten about the heat and the storms ….. People will have forgotten the concept of the rally …. Hell, people will have even forgotten who was the USA President at the time of the rally …. No, all they will remember is “that time a Bavarian admitted he was wrong” Lol !!
Okay, serious stuff again …..
His route did not bring very many points because he wanted (no, needed) to avoid the heat. Going to Colorado area gave him at least a couple of days relief from it.
This rally has now turned into what I faced in 2011 – a battle for survival …..
He did not lose any points again, but he made a bad error in the planning for leg 2 (understandable really as he had “other” things on his mind – a failing Honda …..
NOTE TO ROBERT : BUY YOURSELF A TRIUMPH ……
In short, get four bonuses of different categories and the fourth one counted triple. His route was based on that. However, he overlooked that the first combination had two of the same category….a bitter pill to swallow and cost 2500 points…
The call in bonus however had worked. In total he only got 12400 points, under the finisher mark but his good 1st leg means he is still on target.
Now the task for leg 3 is clear – get just enough points to be a finisher. The issue is the fuel pump, it is clear that is struggles in the heat. The forecast sees rising temperatures everywhere. He thinks the best is to escape to the Northeast, but even there, temps will be above 30C
At the checkpoint, there were plenty of people offering to help. Allen Dye thought he had a replacement pump and they decided to change the pump as he assured Robert that he could get one, but it was the wrong model pump.
He has to continue therefore with the one he has fitted …..
Now it is all about survival. He hopes to “escape” quickly to the northeast, maybe riding at night. He doesn’t want to kill the pump.
He really appreciates your comments and support – so keep wishing him well, but as he says, for all of your kind words, you cannot understand what this is about.
DO NOT LET THIS PUT YOU OFF FROM WISHING HIM WELL THOUGH !!!
Apart from the pump issue, he is fine. Mentally good, physically as well. He knows that he will not get much sleep at the leg 2 checkpoint as he needs to leave early tomorrow
He does have a few health issues – rashes due to the heat and a painful irritation of the outer right ear due to the earplugs and he may have to ride without ear plugs for a while…But in principle he is relatively fit after day 6.
So the next few days will be about disaster management. Just getting out of the brutal heat that will come in the south and the west and to keep the bike running.
It’s not over until the “fat lady sings” ……
He expects to drop considerably in the ranking, but this is no longer a concern. Just get to Minneapolis with enough points, that’s all ……
NOTE TO ROBERT : BUY YOURSELF A TRIUMPH ……
3rd leg planning and day 7 reports later ……
…. I’m back and the latest report will be up will be posted before lunchtime today
Robert is moving – which is good.
Yesterday, the bike had less problems in the cool air of Colorado and the even better news is that the IBA world is now aware of Roberts issues and hopefully, there’ll be answers and a solution waiting for him when he gets to the Leg 2 checkpoint later today
Now, I’m going to go missing for 30 hours or so as I’m off to ride in the ACU National Rally – an 18 hour, 600 mile “ish” very mild scatter rally here in the UK – “easey-peasey” compared with what Robert is facing over there in the USA …..
Well yes, ….. apart from the fact that the bike I’m riding. my X75 Hurricane, has a “useable” fuel range of around 50 miles …..
I will be visiting lots of fuel stations over the next 30 hours or so ….
I’ll update you all on Roberts progress tomorrow by which time hopefully, he will have a bike that works and will be planning his leg 3 route
As Robert has got into the cooler air of Colorado, the bike is not misbehaving quite so much.
I’ve spent most of this months profit for my firm in telephone conversations with him today ….. but I am now trying to get him some technical help at the checkpoint.
The plan is, if possible, to rest during the heat of the day and ride through the (relative) cool of the night, get the bike back to the checkpoint and see what can be done …
Bloody Hondas !!!!
Robert is very tired after the first day of leg 2
His ride was good, but the bike continues to give problems. The engine has now started cutting out in the cold as well as in the heat
At one stage whilst crossing the Texas Panhandle. he had to push the bike 400 metres to the nearest tree – the only shade around. In the heat that Robert will be riding through, you cannot imagine how energy sapping that can be.
Purging the fuel pump helps in the heat, but not in the cold.
At the start of the day, everything went well but as the bike began to give problems, Robert began to suffer and worse still, he still does not have any idea of what is causing the problem – there’s just no clear picture
He is struggling but somehow he needs to get through this leg, score as well as he can and give himself as much time as possible once back at the checkpoint to try to solve the issue. Leg 3 will have very big points value and as long as he is still in the rally and assuming he can get his bike running correctly, he WILL be able to score the necessary points to get a finish by the end of the 11 days, of that I am sure.
BUT – he has to get to the end of this leg, score as much as he can and get to the checkpoint so that he can sort this problem
This is a low point for Robert – he’s tired and probably a little bit angry with both himself and with his bike. If necessary, he can probably sacrifice any great plans for “leg 2” and just get to the sanctuary of the checkpoint. The longer he leaves himself to sort the problem, the better.
He can still get that finish – but, he has to get the bike working properly ……
….. but I’ve just realised that I haven’t given Pepa (Roberts better half) a name check yet in my reports …..
So Pepa – this one is just for you !!
I know that Robert reads this blog each night. (He doesn’t want his mobile filling up with messages – that is for emergencies only)
Give him all the encouragement that you can.
It might not seem like it to you, but when you are on your own, riding in the IBR, supportive messages really do help – even from 7000 miles or so away …..
So any “lurkers”, hit the key board for him ….
So, lets just review where we are …..
Most of you will by now know that Robert is in 11th place after Leg 1
The moment I found this out, I was on the phone to him, stressing that under no circumstances must he try to either hold or better that position.
It is great that he has had such a good first let, but ONLY because it will relieve some of the pressure on legs 2 and 3. No-one ever asks WHERE you finished in the IBR, they just ask IF you finished the IBR. Whether Robert finishes 11th or 111th, IT DOES NOT MATTER.
I know that I am beginning to sound like an old woman here, but I suspect, that no-one currently reading this has ever ridden the IBR. Most of you will never have ridden a multi-day rally. A few of you may have ridden a 36 hour rally and some of you will have ridden a 24 hour rally ……
Robert is ONLY 3 days into an 11 day rally. He still has one and a half IBA European Tours to do, he still has five Brit Butt Rallies to do or, he still has eight German Butt Rallies to do …….. Think about that …….Then imagine at the start of one and a half ET’s or five BBR’s or eight GBR’s you are sitting on a bike that is not running 100% ………
That is the position Robert finds himself in ……
HE MUST PROTECT HIS BIKE !!!!
Right …… so these are Roberts (very sensible) thoughts ……
He knows that this is a very tricky leg to plan.
Key West is massive in points, but also crazy – it’s 1000 miles down and 1000 miles back ….in heat, in traffic, very few places to overtake, lots of cops …….
So he’s not going there. Instead he’s heading west to Colorado, again planning to have an easy ride with lots of rest breaks. (Let the rest of the fools burn themselves out)
He does have to go across the pan handle of Texas where he will experience temperatures well into the forties, but it’s going to be hot everywhere in the south and once he’s through that, he can escape some of the worst of the heat in the Colorado mountains
Day one of leg 2 is a very unpressured day for him – just in case (actually probably when) the bike gives problems
He’ll be returning back to the end of leg two on a more northerly (cooler) route
The points values are ramped up for this leg – if four points categories of 4 subsequent BPs are different, the fourth one counts triple …. a tricky calculation to make
Back to me again …..
Earlier, I mentioned that I spoke to Robert once I’d found out that he was sitting in 11th place. After we’d had a chat, I tried to think of what sound advice and great wisdom I could offer him and leave him with. I decided on this …..
DO NOT F*CK THIS UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, leg 1 is done and dusted.
Robert arrived at the checkpoint well before the cut off point
He lost no points at the scoring and got what he feel is a good score given that he had a relaxing ride – bike issues apart. The scores will no doubt be announced in due course on the IBA IBR pages and it would be wrong of me to post them here, but you may be surprised at some of the people who have not scored as well as him …..
Over the course of the first 3 days he’s managed to take almost 15 hours of rest breaks and tells me that he feels good and not too tired – unlike many of the other riders ……
The day 3 ride itself was good – perfect weather and the bike initially ran fine. As those of you who have his Spot link will know, he passed through those famous “country music cities” Nashville, Jackson and Memphis and he says that he needs to come back some day (well, Mr Koeber – extend your break next year and you could ride to them with me !!!!!!)
He even managed to pick up BP’s that he hadn’t originally planned to do
But, the “bad” news is that the bike has again given problems – I knew he should have used a Triumph …….
As he crossed the MIssissippi and the bike cut out – again. He was already riding with the tank filler cap open in case it was an air lock but the bike wouldn’t start
He got himself off the highway, and a friendly Harley rider (is there such a thing ? I thought all Harley riders were “bad-ass mutha-f*ckers” Lol !!) stopped to help. Whilst he was unable to help, he at least directed Robert to the next gas station. Robert has noticed that the problem doesn’t happen if the tank is full ….
At the road side, he gave the bike a quick check :
He filled up quite close by was on his way but didn’t use the auxiliary for the remainder of the day
As the main tank capacity dropped to 1/3 full, the bike sputtered again – so he now fills up every 160 miles to keep the bike running
Given the temperatures (32C) – which actually is not that hot given what he’s about to experience – he has concluded that the problem is probably vapour-lock, due to the heat. There’s little he can do about it, other than try to find “cooler” routes. If the aux tank works, then he can switch to putting petrol at 450 km instead of 600km which is the only thing that helps. He has also discovered that the flow from the auxiliary tank was obstructed which was probably soft tubes due to the heat, but he has managed to get it flowing again
Given the huge range of BP’s available, he should be able to re-plan a route to keep him out of the real heat of either the Mojave to the west or the deep south to the east of Texas – but that obviously isn’t good for scoring – HOWEVER, THAT IS UNIMPORTANT. THE SOLE OBJECTIVE IS TO FINISH AND ANYTHING ELSE IS A BONUS. If Robert finishes in last place (and he won’t), then this rally is a success. Nothing matters other than to come back to Europe with his 3-digit number. There will be other opportunities to show the USA what he is capable of …..
This next leg may present a few challenges with the bike – it will be the hottest of the 3 legs and so ALL Robert needs to achieve this leg is to score enough points to still be on target for a finish and most importantly, still be in the rally by the end of the leg ……
So, let’s leave on a positive note …….
Robert says that the Pan is so much more comfy to ride than the XBR – not shit, Sherlock !!!