Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 3:39 pm
 Subject: Thanks for everything, guys...

especially for understanding when I finally gave up the hunt.

I do want everyone to know that my failure had nothing to do with the bike, and everything to do with my poor judgement.

Here are the details:
As you know, on the second night of the rally I stopped for a 4 hour rest, and my tankbag and GPS were stolen off of the bike. I should have taken them in, but I've left them on the bike before with no problem. The GPS was actually locked on to the bike (the assholes had to break the mount to remove it), and the tankbag had nothing of value to anyone but me.

What the tankbag had that was of immense value to me was my fuel log and gas receipts. Losing those was an immediate 10,000 point deduction from my first leg score. Complicating things was the fact that I got sick later that night (most likely a combination of stress and fatigue) and spent 6 hours longer than I had planned at my rest stop that night. That caused me to pass up another 15,000 points in bonuses.

What this amounted to was that I had to plan a huge second leg to have any chance at accumulating enough points to be scored as a finisher. That 25,000 points I had given up was equal to about a day of riding.

The plan I put together required me to be in Seattle before dark on the second evening after the start of the leg. This shouldn't have been a problem. As it happened, it was. On Sunday morning, I was about 250 miles into my 1100 mile day when I noticed that my speedometer wasn't working. I immediately pulled over to assess the problem, and discovered that the cable had come adrift from the speedo head. Since the IBR rules require a working odometer, I had to fix it before continuing.

The repair took almost an hour, and reduced the 2 hour time cushion I had in hand by 50%.

A little while after that, as I was coming in to Ogden, UT, traffic came to a halt. They had closed the interstate for a bridge repair, and diverted all of the interstate traffic through downtown. This turned out to be about a 7 mile detour, with many traffic lights and virtual gridlock because of the amount of traffic. My last hour of cushion was gone, and I was now on schedule to get to Seattle almost exactly at sunset.

I got on down the road, knowing that I now had zero margin for error.

In the desert east of Boise, I came over a hill to see a line of stopped traffic. The highway patrol had closed the road to helicopter out a driver who had rolled a Suburban. By the time I had gotten past that mess, my ETA was after 9pm Seattle time. Too late.

I continued on to Seattle, with the intention of picking up the 2 bonuses in the area that were available after dark, and heading toward another bonus on the California coast to replace the one I couldn't reach in time. To get that one would require me to ride overnight; basically to go for about 40 hours straight. I couldn't do it. After reaching Seattle, I was simply too tired to continue that night.

After a quick reevaluation of my status, I knew that it would be impossible to get enough points for a finish. I could continue to ride my plan, knowing that at the end I'd be 2500 points short, or I could pack it in then and take a more leisurely ride to return to St Louis. I chose the latter.

Once again, thank you all. I wish that I could have given a more credible showing, but I can't go back and undo my mistakes.
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:15 pm
 Subject: Congratulations on an awesome ride!

You should be very proud of the way you rode - it takes a very smart person to know when to quit. I am glad that you did not compromise yourself needlessly.

We are so proud of you! You rock!!!
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 4:17 pm
 Subject: +1

Curt McFaul
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:22 pm
 Subject: Re: Thanks for everything, guys...

Mistakes teach us more than success, it just doesn't feel that way for a while. Great effort and what an experience! Congratulations
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 5:46 pm
 Subject: you did a great job as far as I am concerned

bad luck can happen to anyone, the main thing is that you are home safe and healthy....you made the right decision and I applaud you for making it......
A great effort....is all you can make, and you did......be proud of your accomplishment.....I wish could do as much.
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:59 pm
 Subject: Re: Thanks for everything, guys...

I can't believe how difficult this rally would be in a car each day, let alone on a motorcyle. You did exceptionally well. You made a very smart decision to stop at the appropriate time. Nothing is worth putting your life on the line due to sleep deprevation and pushing beyond your limits. Well done!
Post Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 7:40 pm
 Subject: That's still great effort that not too many people would even attempt

Besides, you can always try again Wink ... Now that you have more experience...
Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:51 am
 Subject: Glad you were smart about it

You still deserve one heck of a steak dinner in my book. I don't really know what I'm doing Monday or Wednesday, so if you're not busy one of those days I may just head on up for a chat! Lemme know what you think.
Eric R
Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:58 am
 Subject: Alan, I'm sorry.

AFAIK, I'm the last person who had access to the speedometer cable before it failed. We had time and it just did not occur to me to have quick look at something that is a KNOWN ISSUE on these bikes.

I discussed this with Erin and she pointed out that there is a method of closing a retail shop which guides one to touch *everything* that should be on/off/locked/moved into position/etc. Wish we had covered that ground some time before. Nothing like that will happen again.

Maybe this wouldn't have quite tipped the scales in your favor, but it just seems I should have done it. A learning experience, yes. I just wish it hadn't been for your IBR bid.

You must see the support we all share for the decision you made. Making the choice to end your rally and arrive home safe is worth more than the smallest bonus offered on the list. We salute you.
Tom F
Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 6:08 am
 Subject: Re: Thanks for everything, guys...

loudboys wrote:
especially for understanding when I finally gave up the hunt.
I do want everyone to know that my failure had nothing to do with the bike, and everything to do with my poor judgement.

You did the right thing! Many things were beyond your control.

I think I speak for many of us when I say you are a winner in my book. I hope this doesn't derail your future rally plans.

Keep your head up Alan!

Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 7:33 am
 Subject: Re: Thanks for everything, guys...

Alan, the best laid plans don't always pan out as expected but theres that experience and adventure of trying.
You did an amazing job with setting up the bike and glad to hear that common sense ultimately prevailed.
You may not have an "Iron Butt" win but you've certainly got "brass ones" in my book.

Congrats on your efforts.

Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:37 am
 Subject: Re: Alan, I'm sorry.

Eric R wrote:
AFAIK, I'm the last person who had access to the speedometer cable before it failed.

Not true. During my pre-rally prep (which included checking every fastener I could think of, and using most of a tube of blue Loctite) I pulled the headlight bulb you gave me and replaced it with a new one. I didn't think about it then, even though the cable on my yellow bike had rattled loose before.

And anyway, that didn't cost me the rally finish. In fact, even my lack of security consciousness didn't (although I certainly could have prevented it from being a problem). The fact that I didn't take my stuff inside, still doesn't make it right for some asshole to take it (in the same way that if you drop a wallet with $1000 in it, doesn't make it right for someone to take the money out of it).

In any case, the rally is long enough, and complex enough, there's no way to say that if everything went perfectly for 9 days, that something's not going to screw it up on the 10th. My problems just started early enough that they had the effect of removing the margin I needed to be able to adjust for happenings late in the rally.
Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 1:11 pm
 Subject: Like I said last Monday...

"From what I can see so far this weekend, if you make it back to St. Louis with body, bike and soul intact you are a winner to me."

Congratulations, to me - you win.

You chose to accept that circumstances (the creep that stole your tank bag combined with unforeseen traffic in your recovery plan) defeated you. Rather a DNF than risk much worse.
Post Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:14 pm
 Subject: What an effort!

Alan, That was a tremendous effort in getting the bike and yourself ready for such a ride. I want to thank you and everyone who helped with the effort as it was great to be able to log in and be part of the ride vicariously.

Congratulations and well done.

Post Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:28 am
 Subject: ok , ok , so what about 2009 IBR?

Post Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:36 pm
 Subject: If they let me in (and I'm led to believe they probably will)...

I'll be in it. In the next week or so, I'll prep the rally bike for storage so it'll be ready when I need it.

It's not just a mission anymore; it's an obsession.
Post Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:49 pm
 Subject: That'll be fun... and next summer you can train IRB rally up to my place ;)

Rumor has it something is going to happen at the Eastern most point of North America Wink
Eric R
Post Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:23 am
 Subject: Okay.

I'm sorry that real problems cropped up at all. As you say, it is long and complex enough no matter what.

Be secure in the knowledge that we here are ready to back you completely in the next try.
Eric R
Post Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:24 am
 Subject: what about other, smaller rallies. Thinking about any of them?

Post Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:11 pm
 Subject: Re: Glad you were smart about it

What he said Alan. You did the #1 thing RallyMom Lisa told us - "Don't do anything stupid!" In your shoes, I would have done exactally the same thing. Well, actually, I'd have just rode the 150 miles home from Seattle. Wink

It was great meeting you, Duke and Michael.

Andrew Duthie
Post Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:34 am
 Subject: Cape Spear, yay!

Jaymee Sharp
Post Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:18 pm
 Subject: Re: Congratulations on an awesome ride!

+ 1!!

I think we need to have a "Hunt down the theif and shoot them" rally!! Smile
Post Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:57 pm
 Subject: You don't know how close I came last Sunday...

to bolting a GPS on the yellow bike, and heading for the Days Inn at Clarksville, Indiana (the scene of the crime).

I was envisioning sitting in the dark with a baseball bat and a case of Red Bull, just waiting...

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