Iron Butt Association Bi-Annual Rally - Question For Seasoned Members

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  • Iron Butt Association Bi-Annual Rally - Question For Seasoned Members

    One of the oft-repeated tenets of the IBA is "know your limitations." I do and harbor no foolish dreams of competing in the granddaddy of all motorcycle rides, the bi-annual Iron Butt Rally. However, I have a deep admiration and respect for those Olympic caliber riders who can and do.

    As a newly minted IBA member I would love to ride to ABQ in late June to hang around and observe some of those superhuman men and women as they make their final preparations for that awesome ride and actually depart on Day One of the rally. I realize that only the actual contestants and IBA staff are invited and will be staying in the rally hotel. I am also vividly aware that rally staff and contestants will not be in the mood or very forgiving of IBA newbies like myself or IBA wannabes hanging around, getting in the way, asking stupid questions, or worse, asking for autographs. The riders will all be intensely focused on their goal and should be. I fully understand that.

    Is it acceptable for a newbie to simply show up and quietly observe? Does the IBA discourage spectators who know to keep their distance?

    I have read comments by Mike Kneebone about visiting check points. I was similarly advised by a very old friend and shipmate who is a personal friend of a former IBA rally participant who actually won two second place and one third place finishes in the mid-80s that the thing to do if interested is to travel to a check point and observe the riders. Is this what I should do instead of going to ABQ to watch the start?

    If so, how do I learn where the checkpoints will be? I've searched the website and back issues of the IBA magazine and don't see any way to know in advance where the checkpoints will be for the 2015 rally. Is that information published before the rally? If so, where? I assume all the rally contestants will know where the check points will be in advance but do they only learn where the next check point will be for the next leg of the rally?

    Your thoughts and advice are solicited.
    Harvey Barlow
    Crosby County, TX
    2010 Goldwing Level II Pearl Yellow (sold at 93,000 miles)
    2014 Goldwing Level II Pearl Blue (sold at 27,000 miles to forum member)

  • #2
    Harvey, excellent questions. Here is the straight scoop on that. You are more than welcome...and in fact go to the Start hotel in ABQ, you can even stay at the Start hotel if there are rooms available. You are most welcome to walk through the parking lot of bikes, talk to some riders, etc. I don't know that I would go so far as to ask any of them for an autograph. I know from personal experience that it seems weird when other riders wants an autograph. They are just as human as you...well...most of them are. They are approachable, and most "like" to talk about their bikes. Only a few of them are secretive about the special farkles they have hidden away on their bikes...for competitive purposes.

    There are a few functions that are designed for IBR riders only, and it will become very apparent when those are scheduled and happening. At some point, the parking lot that the IBR bikes are in will be secured...from outsiders entering the parking lot...and ID will need to be shown to enter it, even by IBR riders. But YOU have a lot of lead time before that happens, and....on the morning of the actual Start, there will be large crowds of folks wanting to see their loved ones off on the ride of a lifetime, and you are again welcome to join in the gathering.

    You have shown, repeatedly, that you are a smart man, and it will become obviously apparent to you where you can go, and where you should not go, when around the Start hotel.

    I will give you ONE, very simple piece of advice, and if you are an old-school rider, this nevers needs to be mentioned. not ever touch another riders' bike, in any manner, unless they offer the permission to do so. It is simply a matter of respect, and at your age, you know about respect, and it is also a matter of THAT rider knowing for certain that every nut and bolt on his/her bike was last touched by THEM, and their ride is secure, ready, and a prepared stead for the challenge ahead. Enough on that.

    Take as many pictures as you want, but it doesn't hurt to "ask" if they mind if you take some pics...if they are standing there.

    As for the Checkpoints, the locations are known, to some, and it can be found, by searching, but when the time comes closer....the word will get out, and are welcome to visit the checkpoints, (especially the bonus locations in Alaska, as they get lonely up there, waiting for riders to bite into that bait). Same general guidelines apply, be respectful (which is not a problem for you), and be smart. Give the riders all the space they need or want. Most come into a checkpoint darn tired, and need to focus on their task at hand. Try NOT to get in too close to where the riders actually Check-In, as they are in a hurry...the clock is actually ticking...and things need to remain organized.

    Bottom line Harvey, you are welcome...have a good time, see all the different kinds of additions so many riders have made to their bikes, the variety of bikes, and enjoy.

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)

    • HBarlow
      HBarlow commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks very much for the detailed explanation. I appreciate that info coming from someone who has been there/done that.

      I'm going to make plans to go to ABQ a few days, perhaps a week before the rally begins. I understand the cautions such as "look but don't touch" but there is nothing wrong with reminding me and other riders.

      I would love to just hang around and watch, listen, and learn and take a few photos.

  • #3
    MMR never fails to deliver quality info, minute details and an occassional compliment. I ask, learn and go to MMR often for tips and tricks. He's great to learn from

    Comment: (For off-topic replies)

    • #4
      And Harvey - congrats on the IBA certification. You do know you have started sliding down a slippery slope - ask grampawinger

      Comment: (For off-topic replies)

      • #5
        You could make a real trip out of that in Albuquerque. The riders will depart from the start at 10am 6/29, and then come back to the same hotel for checkpoint 1 on Thurs 7/2 - scoring opens at 5pm, penalty points accrue at 8:00:01pm. Watch the madness, go for a few day rides, then watch more madness.

        Comment: (For off-topic replies)

        • HBarlow
          HBarlow commented
          Editing a comment
          I was originally thinking about doing that but my wife is taking vacation time in late July and wants to go to Montana so I'll only be able to be there to see the riders departure on start day.
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