IBR 2021 Provo Finish
The Iron Butt Rally started the previous Monday in Provo, Utah. I had not planned on making the ride up to the finish until I started reading the daily ride reports. Then, the bug bit me… I mentioned to Debbie that I was thinking of riding up to see the finish. There was nothing on our calendar to cause scheduling issues, so a rush ride plan was the next objective. I was doing the Tour of Texas and the Butt Lite Grand Tour, so there were some stops to be made on the way. Accommodations were reserved in Roswell, Monticello and of course Provo for a 5-day journey to catch up with some of my long distance riding friends. I finished up the route and transferred it into my GPS. Ready to ride!
June 29, 2021
The weather at the end of June in Texas is supposed to be hot and dry. As I approached the bottom of the Panhandle, it was hardly dry. After collecting tour stops in Old Glory and Spur, I had to start riding around thunderstorms in the Lubbock and New Mexico border area until I had no convenient routing options.
Eventually the storms dumped rain on me and I then realized it was time to replace my boots…
I pulled off of the highway east of Tatum, NM to wait out a particularly strong storm and took that opportunity to squeeze the water from my socks. The storms move quickly out here in the high desert, so it was not long before I resumed the ride into Roswell for the overnight stop.
June 30, 2021
As I watched the morning weather forecast, I realized why it was so weird to have so much rain out here. There was a very strong storm system coming in from the northwest that flooded parts of Utah, including Zion National Park where cars and motor homes were pushed into each other by rushing water. That system was making its way through New Mexico just in time for my ride out of the state.
Starting a ride in the rain is not fun, but necessary to stay on schedule. I rode north out of Roswell through incessant rain that did not let up until Santa Fe. But once I was in Northern New Mexico, the weather turned very nice!
I noticed a pair of dual sport riders as I turned onto a small gravel road in Abiquiu to grab a BLX bonus at the Saint Thomas the Apostle church. Later I saw the same two riders stopped again at Los Ojos south of Chama. I turned back to talk with them and realized one of the riders was Jay Masterson from Terlingua, a friend on Facebook. Jay and his buddy were doing the Trans-Continental off-highway trail all the way up to Canada. We chatted a bit, exchanged stickers and headed on our separate ways.
The great weather continued into Colorado. I made a stop at the border to grab a state line bonus for the AULDR. Not long after was lunch at Kip’s in Pagosa Springs. They make some tasty green chile burgers!
The ride out of Colorado was nice all the way into Utah, where I my overnight stay was just beyond the border.
July 1, 2021
This would not be a hurried day in the saddle. I wanted to get to Provo a bit after noon to visit friends during the calm prior to the return of the riders.
The Spotwalla site showed a scattered but converging group of riders. They would have to be at the finish by 8:00 on Saturday with penalty points or a DNF looming afterwards.
Some riders decided to arrive in the afternoon well ahead of the next morning’s deadline.
July 2, 2021
This was the big day! It was the end of a very unique journey of around 11,000 miles for the majority. Not many riders have the right to the 3-digit IBA numbers reserved for finishers of the Iron Butt Rally. There are around 77,000 Iron Butt Association members. To be a member, one must document at minimum a 1,000-mile ride in under 24 hours. Consider the even smaller number of IBR finishers, and it then it may sink in on how these riders are considered the elite in the long-distance community.
My morning came very early, as I was drafted by Chris Ross for odometer documentation at the finish. I was honored to serve as an ad hoc IBR staffer! Tobie Stevens was the official IBR photographer. He captured me with an early morning returning rider.
The riders started arriving more frequently as the light from the sunrise started to filter in.
My time in Provo was limited. I had already told Chris I would have to leave by 8:00, so after handing over my odometer check sheet, I packed up and began my return ride into Colorado. It was really fun seeing all of the friends I have made over the years!
Colorado was,,, well, Colorado! It’s hard to go wrong any time of the year here. The sky is spectacular as is the mountain views! My ride over Raton Pass was a bit too exciting with a thunderstorm and single-lane construction traffic. Once I arrived in Raton and dried off, I had a tasty New Mexican dinner at the lodge. I slept very well!
July 3, 2021
It would be a long day, but a simple ride back home.
I made a few more stops for BLX boni and the Tour of Texas. After I fueled up in Amarillo, I saw a post in the Facebook IBA group by Lisa Landry that Bill Thweatt had a tire failure just south of Panhandle, TX. I checked my route and figured out he was a couple of hours ahead of me. I let him and the group know of my expected arrival at his location, but he had already found Ricardo Machado to help him out.
What a great trip, and planned at the spur of the moment in less than a week from departure!
Rally Photos https://photos.app.goo.gl/jG149vRcq8bfZFtS9