Friday, July 20, 2012

July 2012 Bun Burner Gold ride

My initial plan was to ride from Jersey City, NJ to Chicago and back.  Looking at the weather maps showed that I would be riding right into the meat of a nasty heat wave.  I am no fan of extreme heat, so I looked for an alternative.

My new plan involved leaving Jersey City, riding all the way up NY State to Champlain, NY, then over to Syracuse, Buffalo and finally over to Toledo, OH before heading back to Jersey City.

Here is my SpotWalla

I am a night person, and Sunday's temps were supposed to be more mild that Saturday's, so my leave time was set for Saturday evening.  I stayed up late Friday night and slept in Saturday.  I then took a nap Saturday afternoon, woke up at 4PM and was all set up and kickstand up at 5PM.

Got gas and my time stamp at 5:12 PM.  Clock started to tick and off I went.  First part of the ride up to Champlain was unremarkable.  Putting down some miles.  One of the points that many LD riders make was very much driven home during my first fuel stop.  I knew I had to keep a 63MPH average speed to make the run I had planned.  At my first stop, I was near 72 MPH, as it had been all highway riding up to that point.  As I was fueling, I watched the average dropping at an alarming rate.  Really drove home the point about managing your stopped time.

Once in Champlain, I relearned a lesson I learned and apparently forgot from the SS event.  LOOK at the roads you plan on riding.  Apparently different states have different definitions of "Highway".  My route took me down Highway 11.  Apparently in NY, a highway can have 2 lanes and 30 MPH zones.  A lot of them.  On the interstate system, I ride about 8-9 over, and all good.  In slow zones, I ride at the limit.  No need to have a chat with LEO at 1 AM over 34 in a 30.

I actually had some concern over losing time, but my ETA to final destination did not change by more than a minute or so during this run, so I just gritted through it and assumed Ms Garmin was right, and ultimately she was, down to within 3 minutes.

Nothing terribly interesting until about Buffalo.  It was now 03:00 and I was a bit sleepy.  Not hitting the wall, but just a bit.  I also know me and there would be no chance for sleeping after sunrise, which would be at 05:45.  Looking at my ETA, I had ~2 hours of slack time left.  Figured on 30 minutes of fuel stops, so a 30 minute rest would be fine.  Took a 30 minute nap at the Iron Butt Hotel.

on the road and traveling.  About 2 hours later, my Zumo 665 squawks at me to let me know rain is coming.  I look at the rain map and up ahead looks like there might be frogs and locusts falling from teh heavens.  I pull over to wrestle on my rain gear.  Then I need gas about 5 miles after that.  Stupid waste of 5 minutes, but lesson learned.

Of course, not a drop of rain hit me on the entire trip and I sweltered in that rain suit until Toledo.  But better safe than sorry.

Up to this point, my 2 GPS has disagreed about total mileage by 4 miles and it had not changed.  When I got to Cleveland, I saw why.  My Automobile GPS wanted me to go through Cleveland and the Zumo 665 routed me south a bit.  Trusting in the 665, I went South and the 2 units then linked up mileage, arrival time, etc.

I was on 480 and where it met 80 was the hardest part of this trip for me mentally.  I had been riding for about 13.5 hours at this time.  I was 800+ miles in.  I knew I had to ride to Toledo and back on the same road and saw the signpost up ahead (Toledo 105 miles).  Mentally, that was tough on me to know I had to ride 210 miles to get back to where I was at right then.

Once in the Toledo area, I looked at my ETA, route miles, etc and thought I should get a few more miles.  My route was at ~1530 miles.  Should be enough, but another 10 or 20 would be better.  My GPS showed me back with 1:12 to spare, so I calculated that the 15 minutes of extra riding were worth the safety net.

Now I am turned around and jet have to get home.  I am putting the miles down in OH and into PA.  At around 12:00 I know I am getting tired.  I am familiar with combat sleep.  I know that 15 minutes of sleep when I am exhausted takes care of my needs for several hours.  So I pushed for 2 more rest areas, and was up against the wall when I parked.

I knew every minute counted, so I set my alarm for 20 minutes of sleep as I was pulling off the highway.  Kickstand down, I literally grab my bedroll and dash for the nearest shade tree.  Promptly conk out.  20 minutes later, the alarm goes off, I jump up like a cat on fire, ran over to bike, stowed the bedroll and rolling.  I saw several people looking at me with abject confusion.  It was funny.

Now I am rested, am in the real home stretch and GPS agree I will make it with 45 minutes to spare.  Until I hit major traffic on route 80.  I had checked my 665 before to make sure there wasn't any traffic.  Guess no one told Garmin or Sirius about the 10 mile jam up ahead.

I made it through that and pushed on.  Now I was due to arrive with 20 minutes to spare.  Not liking that at all.  But as I got closer, I knew I would make it.  I was now on home turf and if traffic popped up, I know all sorts of back ways to get where I am going.

I decided to use the same gas station as my start and end point.  As I was pulling into the gas station to get my end receipt, I was very narrowly missed by a car hitting me.  I mean, tires screeching, horn blowing, up on the sidewalk kind of close.  Apparently, no one told this person that when using an onramp, you should also look ahead, not just back to make sure you can accelerate into traffic at 20 above the speed limit.

I had seen this car, and knew it was far enough back for me to quite safely pull into the gas station, which is at the end of the on ramp, before there was any chance of an impromptu meeting.  Well, silly me, I failed to anticipate this person, speeding, not looking and not caring.  I am fairly sure that if she had hit me, I would have dragged my tank over to the pumps to get my end time.

So besides the fox I almost hit, the 3" deep grooved road for 10 miles and this woman, my ride was uneventful, tiring, and rewarding.  I have found my current limits for riding.

I punched in with 1,545 GPS miles in 23:40 hours.  Time to send in my paperwork.

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