It wasn’t too long into this year when I suffered a motorcycle accident. A few of you have heard me say, that accident, knocked the ‘cockiness’ right out of me. I love to ride. I also know personally and intimately how dangerous motorcycles are – and how fortunate I am that the injuries sustained weren’t much worse.
Healing took longer than I’d have expected and I didn’t ride near the miles in 2019 that I did in 2018. I was scarce sometimes as I healed physically and emotionally, embarked on a new relationship and had some other health issues, including a ‘scare’ that I may have had cancer (tests thank God, were negative).
One of my bucket list items since I got back on 2 wheels in 2016 was to get an IronButt designation. I wanted bragging rights and was cocky enough to say, “I can do this – no sweat".
In late 2018 I said, 2019 is the year, I’m going to do it. I was primed and ready with all the miles under my belt. Then the accident – ensuing healing issues and the things I've mentioned above – so, it didn’t look like 2019 was going to be the year after-all.
I only started to get my riding mo-jo back recently and then when 3 of my friends recently did theirs, the idea came to me – 2019 isn’t over – there is still time. Traffic will be lighter Christmas Day – and well why not finish the year that started with a ‘bang’ – with a different sort of ‘bang’!
So, yesterday – Brian and I rode over 1000 miles. On the record from my start to my end points, I clocked 1047 miles. Total from home back to home, makes it more like 1061. I did the ride and I’m glad I was able to accomplish it.
But there was a big difference – I did not set out from a ‘place’ of cockiness – but instead from a place of humble gratitude – for if there were any lessons I’ve learned a bit about in 2019 – they are those – humbleness – and gratitude.
Things I learned from yesterday’s ride in no certain order:
• I’ve got my mo-jo back.
• Getting receipts for gas is a pain in the arse – when they don’t print at the pump!
• Taking pics of the receipt next to one’s odometer is a pain when it’s windy!
• Stopping for gas to document you turned a corner – so to speak (like turning from I-95 onto I-10) gets old – especially when it means stopping more frequently!
• The last 200 miles are the hardest and the most dangerous. Don’t underestimate fatigue.
• 700-800 miles in a day is likely my ‘safe’ maximum. 600-700 is a better estimation. After that, fatigue set’s in and makes it difficult to fight cross winds or remain ‘sharp’. (Yes, I’m admitting limitations. This is called humbleness).
• Make CERTAIN your saddlebag lid is latched.
• If I had to do it over again – I would have left earlier so I rode more hours in the dark while I was ‘fresh’ than when I was tired. (I might also wait until the days are longer and it stays light out later).
• Riding long distance – on unknown roads - after dark - is not something I want to repeat.
• It is hard to "ride a line" (remain in your position in the lane) in the dark with oncoming lights, dry contacts and fatigue.
• It’s harder to be the lead bike, watch the road, the GPS and look back to ensure your partner is still there – especially in the dark when their lights blend into the cars behind. To those of you who lead safe rides. THANK YOU. My esteem for you – has gone up a few notches.
• It isn’t as ‘easy’ as it might sound to do 1000+ in 24-hours.
• I’m not sure why they call it IronButt and Saddlesore. My butt is one of a few places that don’t hurt. My back, arms, legs and hips – another story.
• Now – about that Mo-Jo …..
Special thank you to Brian – who accompanied me while I checked off a bucket-list item. I don’t know what we’ll do next Christmas, but it won’t take 800+ miles to eat ‘dinner’ at a Waffle House, I promise!