The 10 n’ 10 Ride Report, or…

Posted by peter on September 10, 2010

…How I Rode 10,100 miles in 10 Days and Was Almost Designated 25 miles Short…

About a year ago we learned of the probability of a 10-day, 10,000 miles rally – the “typical” scavenger hunt format of going places to obtain photos or receipts, or answers to questions – in this case, throughout the good ol’ USofA.  Let me tell you, it does take about a year to prepare for this endeavor.  The bike, the bod, the kitchen pass, the business schedules, the finances…

Well, I signed up and was hooked.  The Rally Master [RM or RB], Steve Chalmers of MERA fame, also had some planning to do and in the end the participants were presented with some 40+ pages of bonii and 160+ bonus locations – to choose from!

30 days before the rally we were emailed the rally pack and we could start planning our routes.  Now, there was business, family, another rally and the National IBA meet in Denver and not a lot of continual time blocks for me to plan correctly.

A mid-rally checkpoint in Sidney, NE was scheduled and that was a must; I had a ticket to the MotoGP in Indianapolis [and the RM respected that with some 16K points rewarded for going to the race and returning with pics and a program – the later I almost couldn’t get because they were sold out early on.  I was fortunate to purchase one from a kid as I was returning to my bike to leave the area…!].

So, looking at some big points I realized the first leg would be to CA and NV.  Leaving the starting line, I soon ‘ran into’ Ken Morton on the way south on I-15 – he would go on to WIN the 10 n’ 10 riding this 650 Wee-Strom – here shown fully loaded!

Every bonus picture has to include the rally towel – we all started with the same type towel butt some decorated theirs to be real personal.  I added some initials to mine.  Here is a bonus photo of the ‘world’s largest gold nugget’ in Las Vegas at the Golden Nugget Casino – only weighs a few pounds!

One of the bonii was to spell the word A-N-T-I as this was considered the anti-rally [as in against the establishment and all the other ideas and rules].  I wanted to do this bonus and do it with interesting pics of ‘out of the way’ places.  Check them out!  NV the first; NE the second; WY for the interesting 3rd; and the 4th was KS, I believe – the city slogan says “America’s Fame is in our Name”.

The first day was short, only 12 or 13hrs as we had departed Salt Lake City at 10:10 – and I spent the “night” in a June Lake, CA motel – last in, first out!  I needed to get to Yosemite National Park before sunup to avoid traffic – I still didn’t count on riding almost 100mi within the park – for a view of the Creator’s wonder after the tunnel.

A huge bonus was to meet Steve Lotsofsky, of NV and Baja, at Geiger Summit in NV – Steve is considered one of the pioneering fathers in this sport of LD rallying.  I arrived 15 minutes before the cutoff time…

Then I ‘scored’ another nice bonus when what to my wondering eyes did appear BUTT!

That’s Mr NV Highway Patrolman Murphy – who wanted to discuss his radar reading; I explained a nice pic of a LEO would garner me 3,337 points for the cancer rally we were all doing.  How many are doing this?  About 25.  And, the 25 of you are going to ride a total of 10,000mi in 10 days?  Yes sir, Mr Officer!  Please hold the towel.  Now, you be careful riding…  No, no performance award for –pp.  Man, was it windy, tho.  Re-read – he did not understand we were ALL riding 10,000miles!

Next was a combo in Reno – thanks to the intrepid fellow competitor, Reno John.  A particular intersection and casino, along with a kiss given to a stranger were the goal.  I thought about 30min would be needed for this, but the 8K points were worth the effort.  Took me less than 10 and I was even legally parked!

nice hoot… oh, never mind, I got ridin’ to do – it’s about 16:00 on Friday and I have to be in Indianapolis by Sunday 09:00 [2,000+ miles] for a tire and oil change.  Butt, first I have to get more bonii…

Creative sunset photo at speed; note towel presence – worth 3,100 points

I scored WY and NE State Capitol buildings – see below for ND – a classic photo of what it was to be.  I also started one-half of a combo bonus that I was real proud of and very happy to do as Daniel Boone has always been a hero in my book.

Seems he was born and laid to rest in the MO area of Marthasville/Defiance.  But, those folks in Frankfort, KY wanted to lay claim to his glory, so the story goes they went to his grave, dug his remains up and reburied them in Frankfort… and the story goes, they got the wrong remains.  So, our RM sent us to both places for pics of what was then.  I arrived in Marthasville about midnight, and let me tell you this is not exactly a metropolis.  I found a park but no DB info; I found a sign that kinda mentioned DB and a cemetery; I stopped a couple of ladies paramedics but they had never heard anything about DB and the supposed cemetery he was laid in; I went into a bar in my full-dress rally regalia, helmet, earplugs and all.  Well, the well-oiled [did I mention the heat and humidity?] group proceeded to truly help me butt this was a real trial – go a couple a miles, cross the bridge, watch for the unmarked road, turn left, go to the T, turn left again, watch for a pull out, climb the hill, check if there is a marker…  Did I mention it was now after midnight and did I say how hot and humid it was?

Seek and ye’ shall find.  Wallahaa!!

that be the man and the marker… heat, humidity, post midnight… gotta be in Indy by 09:00; I’m in southern Missouri.

Did I ever tell you why I do this?

Sunrise in southern IL A gorgeous open, clean-air shot of UT…

Made it to Indy, a bit late but cuz’ Steve Q. really had me well taken care of.  He changed the oil and tire while I washed some clothes and rested a bit.  Let’s see – started Thurs, slept 3hrs in a motel; rode Fri and Sat with 20 or 30 minute park bench naps; and now after a shower and in an air-conditioned room, I am sleeping for a couple of hours!

Off to the races with Steve and to meet friend Jack C. who should have been on the 10 n’ 10, but in the end ran into personal challenges that prevented him from trying it on a non-farkled ’93 H-D – old school, as he said.

there are bikes down there in the first corner at the famous Indy 500 Motor Speedway!

About 6hrs sleep at my sister’s that night meant a very small production toward the 10,000mi for the day!  Butt, the rest, the MotoGP and bonus points, and seeing friends and family were all important to me.  I was off at 03:00 – to where?

Frankfort, KY – another worthwhile effort to finish the aforementioned combo!

Now I had about 24hrs to get to Sidney, NE – a relatively easy 1,100 miles for the mid-rally checkpoint.  Pretty much rode straight through and got a room at the designated motel – for at least 3 hours of sleep.  First, stopped in the vicinity, and at the world headquarters of Cabelas, for a shot of the dueling duo rutting bull elk!  Worth about 3.3K points.  I had ridden 5,040 miles to the checkpoint.

Now it was time to make a final decision for the N or S route.  S was bigger points by 50% but there was the threat of hurricanes and other storms as well as the heat and humidity.  I was tired of the later.  N was to help me escape all of the above and still have a fine ride with fair points.  In the end, I chose wisely and that was the N route.  I can’t fail to mention, the East Coast was where the really big points were – and I refused to go there.

I rode up into South Dakota and Wyoming to capture Mt. Rushmore, Wounded Knee Massacre, and the NPs of Grand Teton and Yellowstone.  Now I was riding in temps in the 30’s and even found snow along the road in Yellowstone!  I called the RB and asked WTF!?  I had my electric jacket on, heated grips on high, my jacket and pants rain liner in – it was now a bit chilly – at the end of August!

I was supposed to ride the Bear Tooth Pass in Montana, and tried, but after 20mi or so, was turned around by the nice lady, with a flag, who said it was closed due to snow and construction… wouldn’t a sign at the bottom of the hill be a good idea?  Don’t you realize I am in rally mode and on the clock?  Butt, then wow! look what I was greeted to on the Chief Joseph’s Highway detour!

And I made several shots to become a panorama.

This is an ideal capitol building pic – building, along with a sign identifying it as such.  Unfortunately, it was pouring rain.  In the end I collected 8 capitols for 2,135 points each.

This is kinda neat – the albino buffalo, and 2 at that!  Probably should have asked for double points… near Jamestown, ND.

Here is an example of a ‘freebie’ type bonus – we were to collect pics of all the Interstates we rode on for some good points – 525 for even #’s and 1,013 for odd!  I ended with 23 even and 18 odd.  Here is a sample pic [typically took 30-45sec to stop, place the towel, snap the pic and be gone] and even tho there are 3 signs in the pic, only one at a time counts.  Note the sky!

Just another pic of another sunset on a long and glorious ride… Did I say why I do this LD riding?

I was next in Iowa at the Field of Dreams film location – unfortunately it was 0’dark 100 and the pics I took do it no justice.  I was glad to be there and it must be beautiful with white puffy clouds and green grass.  The farm house was very nice and a red barn was close by.

I also went to The National MC Museum in Iowa but it was dark and the photos didn’t turn out well.  Nice place to visit.

A bit o’ sleep and I tried to get into Chicago to get some very big points – gave it up after an hour and about $12 in tolls.  Thankfully I figured when to pull the plug and just escape the morning traffic.  I headed straight north into WI for several bonii, and lots of wind, rain and nastiness.

The Fon du Lac lighthouse on Lake Winnebago

read carefully – this is really a geographical marker near Poniatowski, WI

as evening approached, AeroStich in Duluth, MN – famous maker of great riding suits and farkles for the LD rider

Sorry for the poor quality, butt this is after sunset and it is the 100th anniversary at Split Rock Lighthouse on Lake Superior, Two Harbors, MN – worth 15,867 points!  A real morale boost was to be unexpectedly met by a fellow LDer, Mike Senty who helped with the pic and gave me words of encouragement.

I hightailed it to Hibbing, MN – can you tell what this is all about?  Ahhh… the 60’s!

Bob Dylan's boyhood home

Then after a 3hr rest with LD friends, Jack and Marlene B., I was off to the barn – I had about 29hrs to make 1,600 miles and be at the finish in SLC by 10:10 on Sunday.  Of course I couldn’t just ride there, I still had another half-dozen bonii to gather.

St. Paul, MN and Des Moines, IA for the Capitol buildings; Fremont, NE -  a pic of the city limits sign [there was none I could find, so I substituted the post office] because this fine town has passed an ordinance saying no renting to, or hiring of, illegal immigrants! [isn’t that a novel idea!]; then to Ainsworth, NE – noted as the ‘middle of nowhere’ – see pic.

fill in the gap that a wind storm created and you will see if announces the middle of nowhere – and it kinda was!

Now it was getting very late in the day butt I wanted one more – the micro brewery in Fort Collins, CO –

This was party town and kids were everywhere.  A couple of girls directed me to this place – oh, it’s just a mile up the road and… turns out that mile was more like 5 as I continued to search!

OK – the bells are ringin’, the barn door is grating in its slow motion and it’s time to get the last 500mi – butt, look at this creativeness, even if I say so.  One more Interstate – this one at speed in the welcomed early sunrise…

And, so I got in about 1hr before the DNF bell.  Very tired, very happy, really a good feeling of accomplishment, and great to see my fellow rallyists there.

The scoring was quick and easy – thanks to the RM who has a real system down.  There was a massage waiting and welcomed; a Bloody Mary…; then a shower for the first time in days, and a couple hours of sleep.  The banquet that followed at 17:00 was great – we were all famished.  I had salmon, new potatoes, broccoli and lots of lemonade.

In fact, I think in 10 days, other than Clif bars and Hammer Nutrition bars, I had consumed 2 x 6” Subway sandwiches, and another 6” sandwich from a deli, plus some corn and cottage cheese at my sister’s house.  I just don’t eat while on the road; I do take supplements and electrolyte replacement substances along with copious amounts of water – a gallon to a gallon and a half per day.  Now, what about drugs, you all want to ask?  Well, I do carry my supplements and heart tablet, but the only performance enhancer I use is the little red bottle of 5-hour energy boost found at the cash registers of all service stations.  That stuff works for me!  I feel confident when I say that LD riders do not use drugs, such as would be called ‘speed’ – it just isn’t possible to perform at the level we do and accomplish what we do with the safety record we have and do drugs at the same time.

The bummer for me at the banquet was that I was called out as having almost completed the much sought-after and coveted 10,000miles in 10-days certificate, but had fallen 25miles short.  WHAT?!!!  That was impossible.  No, sorry we don’t use GPS miles, we use your odometer and the correction factor you proved to us before the start of the rally.

I was bummed and just couldn’t believe it.  The GPS in fact did indicate 10,124mi and that would make it 150mi different than the odo – it just wasn’t right.  A day or so after the rally finish, the RM did do some calculations and used my odo calibrations from other MERA events and he could see there was an error in the reading for this rally.  He properly awarded me 10,101 miles and I will now be awarded the certificate!  Whew!…

So, what, why, how, when…?  Most know I used to run marathons – never fast, not a star, didn’t win any but did run more than 30, as well as ~10 ultra-marathons to distances of 50 miles.  Many LD riders have similar experience in some type of endurance sport.  There is something satisfying in the planning and execution of the plan to be able to say – I DID THAT!  And, essentially I did that on my own.

I have told friends that the 5-day and this 10-day rallies that I ran this summer may be my swansong in rally riding – I haven’t changed my mind yet.  I do think I will continue with selected one-day rallies as they are fun and much less of a struggle.

I am still a bit discombobulated 3 or 4 days after returning home but my sense of efficiency is very keen – I don’t waste steps or strokes – I get whatever done that needs to be done, well, quickly and efficiently.  This is a result of the many stops made during the rally – where time management is critical; and, that really means management of stopped time.

I would like to thank Mario of LD Comfort for the great clothes he makes; Waldi of Waldi’s Motozone who keeps my bikes serviced and running; Ron & Jeff of Bavarian Motorcycle Workshop of Salt Lake City for the good tire service prior to the start of the rally; to my cousin, Steve, who provided great support in Indianapolis; to Jack B. who gave incredible moral support, as did Robert and Sylvie T. and LD Doug B.  The RM and his lovely wife, Jeniel, and the Staff for the rally were all fantastic – a real supportive effort by all.

For those who like stats:

  • I rode >10,100 miles in 10 days [239hrs]
  • 152:10 hrs of ride time
  • 33:13 hrs of stopped time – that does not include Indy, motel sleep, et al
  • 66.5 MPH running average
  • 54.6 MPH overall average
  • Lost about 7 pounds
  • Oh yea, of 25 starters, 20 finishers, I placed 11th with approx half the points of the winner.  A very strong female rider, Wendy Crockett, placed 2nd!

My stopped time was excessive, in my opinion.  I would try for less if I did another multi-day rally again.  The difference between the running average and overall average is something I try to minimize – the 11.9 MPH difference over 10 days isn’t bad but I would try for better.

I slept hard after the banquet for about 11hrs.  I got up and rode >800mi home in 11hrs of running time; 39min of stopped time – total; and ran at 74.4 MPH, with an overall average of 70.4 MPH – now those are some STATS!  BTW. I went through Death Valley – 114o and it was over a 100o for a couple hours either direction… butt, it was a dry heat!

Thanks to all for your support and interest.  –pp*

*AKA: Long Distance Motorcycle Adventurer  -  with pride!

BS: only a motorcyclist knows why a dog rides with his head out the car window…

Cycle World’s own Alan Rider participated and wrote many good articles about the 10 n’ 10 experience: Cycle World Articles

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