Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I made the Max BMW Newsletter

Last week I received the Max BMW Newsletter by email. I read through and there was a section about the Minute Man 1000. Cool! So I read a little more, and there was a picture of me in there. Sweet! I put the excerpt in below.
June: A Busy Month So Far!

This month started off with a bang and riders of every type have been busy all over New England every weekend. Below are a few photos of the activities and events so far:

MAX BMW started the month by celebrating our 7th anniversary in NH and our 5th anniversary at our NY location. Wayne Davis sent along this memento documenting the historic sale of the first bike on June 7, 2002:

Endurance riders rallied through the day and night in the Minuteman 1000 Endurance Rally. 32 riders earned their Iron Butt Association Saddle Sore 1000 certificate for completing 1000 miles in 24 hours. 24 other riders competed for points by accumulating bonuses all over the northeast. The photo below was the points bonus for being at the Adamsville, RI "Crazy Rooster Crowing Midnight" bonus location at midnight:

Minuteman riders also stopped at the MAX BMW checkpoint for a rest and food on Saturday evening:

Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 Minute Man 1000 - Recap

I am back from the Minute Man 1000. It's difficult to even try to sum up everything from the weekend, but I will do my best.

I have never done a long distance event of any kind before and I used to think the Iron Butt Riders were crazy and that I would never ride that kind of mileage. Since I've owned my RT and time has gone by I thought more and more about trying a Saddle Sore 1000, but it seemed a little daunting to come up with a route and document it according to the rules.

I arrived on Friday afternoon and promptly was asked if I wanted to do my odometer check. I had to go ride a loop down I-91 a couple exits then back up again. It was 17.9 miles. I assume this is what they use to check your corrected mileage when finished.

I checked into the hotel and I went back outside to hang out with some of the other riders. I met Adam Pierce and Jim Stoddard.

Jim told Adam and me about his experiences in the BMW GS Trophy in Tunisia.

Here is Jim in his race gear. He is on the far left. Jim was nice guy and it was great to meet him.

I was interested in walking around and looking at everyone's set ups.
Here is Bob Lilley's K-LT complet with an auxiliary tank and custom tail rack mounted on a spare seat pan to lower the top end weight on the LT. Bob was very friendly and talked to me at length. He gave me lots of pointers and plenty of encouragement. I pretty much soaked up any advice anyone had to offer.

Here is another auxiliary tank on an RT that had bedliner coating all over it. It also had huge lights on the front. I should have taken a photo of it from the front.

The riders' dinner was at 6:30, followed by the riders' meeting where they handed out the rally book. I have to admit upon first receiving this I was very intimidated. There was the fuel log, declaring your route, and keeping the rally book. It all had to be precise. The meeting ended and I went back to my room to put the final touches on my route and get to sleep early. I unfortunately didn't get to sleep until almost 10:30.

I woke up Saturday morning around 4:30am and took a quick shower. I had a small cup of coffee and a clif bar, oatmeal raisin of course. I didn't want to eat too much or drink too much coffee. I know I am really affected by highs and lows from caffeine or sugar crashes so I wanted to avoid that as much as possible.

I went outside around 5am and much to my surprise tons of people were already milling about and preparing their bikes.

At 5:30 it was time for the riders meeting.

Here I am with my rally flag.

I had to turn in my declared route for extra bonus points and get Jim Friends to sign off on my rally book.

Here I am sending my 5:30, "30 Minutes to Minute Man" blog post against Rob Nye's suggestions. I think he thought it involved logging into a laptop then into the internet rather than just a quick email from my Blackberry. I know he only had my best interests at heart and he just wanted me to concentrate on riding.

Adam of Adventure Rider fame is ready to get going.

It was getting close to 6 am and it was time to start getting my gear on.

Here is Ross making his final preparations just before the start.

I'm lined up and ready to go. I am looking over at poor Ross who just moments before had his bike warming up. Now I could hear it cranking over but I could tell it wasn't even trying to fire.

I am on the starting line now. To start the riders they had two boxes. One was a staging box, the other was the starting box. Six riders at a time would pull into the staging box,in two rows of three, then into the starting box. Then you would start three at a time.

Away I went. Only 1000 more miles to go!

My basic plan was to do the four required stop for the Saddle Sore 1000, Swanton VT, Bangor ME, Wyoming RI, and Milford CT. You could take what ever route you wanted because the 4 points are far enough that you couldn't possibly do it in less than 1000 miles. I had decided that if there were any bonus points that were within a few miles of my planned route, I would try to get them. During the week I drew out my route on a pulp based map with a highlighter. Then I went through the bonus list and marked all the points on my map in a different colored highlighter. I decided that there were 4 "easy" bonuses I could try to grab near my route.

I took off up I-91 north and into VT eventually coming to I-89 to head west and then north.
My first bonus location was Waterbury VT, home to the Ben & Jerry's factory. The bonus was to read the time line near the visitor's center and answer the question, "Ben & Jerry were named entrepreneurs of the year. When was it and by whom?" I went looking for this wall but it was missing. I saw a man watering the flowers and he told me the wall was taken down while they were remodeling some things. He went and checked for me though and the answer was 1988 and by Ronald Regan. I took care of my rally book and off I went back onto I-89.

My next bonus stop was in Richmond VT to find out how many sides The Old "Round" Church has. It has sixteen. It was about 9 or so and I was feeling really good and excited. It was early, it was a beautiful day, and I had gotten two bonuses already! I hadn't really thought about how I would work fuel stops.

I had to head off to my first required Saddle Sore stop in Swanton Vt at the Carmen Brook Maple and Dairy Farm. I got back on I-89 and headed north. I got off in Swanton VT and stopped in at the Shell station and filled up. I filled out my fuel log noting time, odometer, and gallons. Frontage road to Carmen Brook was just across the street. The road turned to gravel after a few miles and I had to go up for about another mile. When I got there, a bunch of other riders were already there including eventual SS1000 winner Jeff Parker. I went inside, purchased my required pint of Maple Syrup ,an extra one for me, and got my receipt (very important). I got back to my bike, had a Clif bar and some water, filled out my rally book again noting time, and odometer. It was about 10 and I was feeling pretty good.

Now I was heading out to Mexico ME, for my third bonus stop. Jeff Parker was following me on RT 78 for a bit but got tired of my slow pace and quickly passed me off into the distance. Not long into my route on the way to Mexico, the main street in a town on the way was closed for a parade. So I tried going around but that wasn't working. I ended up doubling back an re-routing my GPS a different way. I connected back up with Rt 58 which was part of my initial route. Rt 58 is a seasonal road at one point and is also known as Hazen Notch Rd. It turns to dirt just a mile or so in, and gets quite narrow at times seeming like a Jeep trail. When I got back to the tarmac I realized this road is part of the old Bayley Hazen Military Road. At this point I missed my turn hop on I-91 down to St Johnsbury VT, so I could take RT 2 across to Mexico, ME. My GPS routed me this crazy way to Mexico. I can't recall the exact way but I took a bunch of remote roads and I was starting to doubt the GPS. I saw a huge Moose on the side of the road at one point. I would have stopped to get a picture but it was getting late in the afternoon and I was wondering if I had went too far out of my way to complete the SS1K in time. I took 26 through Errol NH, and I thought to myself that sounds familiar. Then I continued south crossing into Maine and through Grafton Notch State Park. That place was amazing as were the views. I finally reached Mexico ME mid-afternoon and found the post office which was the place of the next bonus. I once again saw Jeff Parker at the bonus stop. I got out my rally book and realized why Errol NH sounded familiar. It was a bonus stop worth 8000 points. I learned my first LD Rally lesson. Load all of the bonus locations into your GPS, not just the ones you think you will stop at. I was going right by and if I had it noted I would have bagged some easy points. So I sighed and got back to the task at hand. I noted time, and odometer, then answered the question, "What do the two signs say below the United States Post Office Sign?" "Customer Parking."

I stopped for gas at the Shell station in Mexico, noted my fuel log again, and off I went to Bangor. This portion of the trip was uneventful and I made it there in about 2 hours. I got off the I-95 exit and at the light I once again saw Jeff Parker. He was getting back onto I-95 having already completed his stop. I pulled in and there were some other guys there taking a break. I figured this was about the halfway point so I decided to take a brief rest as well. I filled up the RT, noted the fuel log, and parked my bike under a tree. I went inside got some Gatorade G2 and water fulfilling my second SS required stop requirement, and noted my rally book. I ate another Clif bar, drank some water, and got out of there.

Back on I-95 south my next stop was Freeport ME, home to LL Bean. While running down I-95 somewhere near Augusta ME, earplugs with in-ear speakers decided to stop working. No more sound. I was debating by-passing Freeport to head directly to Max BMW New Hampshire which was the next bonus since you had to be there by 8:30 for a 20 minute rest break to take the bonus. I decided to go ahead and stop in Freeport. I got my pictures of the original Maine Hunting Shoe and note my rally book to get the bonus.

I arrived at Max's BMW for my 20 minute rest bonus. At this point I knew I had plenty of time to complete the SS1000, I just wanted to be able to claim the big rest bonus so I had to be at the hotel by 2 am. I had a couple burgers and a bit of mac salad and set off to Rite-Aid to get some cheapie head phones. Hockey was coming on and I wanted to listen on XM. Plus I wanted to be able to hear the turn by turn from the GPS. I also filled up again before getting on the highway. All told I probably wasted a good 45 minutes between those 3 stops. If I had to do it again, I probably would have blown off the Rite-Aid stop but I think the last leg of the trip would have been difficult. I was 8:30 pm.

I arrived at my third required SS stop in Wyoming RI some time around 11-ish. The fog through RI was brutal and I was really wishing I had some auxiliary lights. I arrived at about 10:30.

Next up was my final stop Milford, CT. I was worried about having a let down after my last stop knowing I only had to get back to the hotel. I was just starting to feel a little tired. I filled my tank for the last time, noted the fuel log and rally book, and rode off into the darkness.

I finally arrived at the hotel at 1:30. I went straight to bed. I set my alarm for 4:30. I got up and decided to check my log books. I remembered I had wrote in times from my RT clock, not the receipt and I started wondering if I should have used the times from the receipt when applicable. I figured it wouldn't hurt so i went back and adjusted my times. I decided to organize all my receipts so they were in chronological order and separated into fuel and other receipts. I also double checked I filled everything in and almost forgot to write in my name and rally number. Number 55.

I went to check in and get my odometer checked. Then I went to scoring. Scoring felt like a final exam. They check your receipts underlining times, place, and gallons when its fuel, then match this against the rally or fuel book. At this point, I was extremely glad I went back and adjusted my times. All of my bonus points were accepted as was my completion of the Saddle Sore 1000!!! I had acquired 69,500 points but having never done this before, I had no idea if this was good or not. I had a corrected mileage of 1031. Breakfast and awards were not until 10 so I went back to bed.

I arrived at breakfast around 10am and they let us eat a little they started the awards. They announced the SS1000 guys first. When calling out names then they got to the top ten. I still had not been called. Then they got to number 4, Alex Steele with 56500 points. Then Rob said 3 guys were tied and called their names. I was NOT one of them. My mind was racing! Was I eliminated for something I did? Apparently they all tied for third place with the same exact score of 59750.
Then for second place Rob Nye called my name. I couldn't believe I had gotten second place in my first LD rally. I was ecstatic! The winner of the SS1000 was Jeff Parker.

All in all I had a fantastic time. Bob Lilley kept saying he could tell by the look in my eye that I was hooked and I think he was right. It's very challenging and it's also kind of like a scavenger hunt. I would do it again in a heart beat. I talked to a lot of guys that said it took them a while to decide they would do it again. I am ready to do another right now.

I wouldn't change many things about the way I did it except for sure load all of the bonus points onto my GPS. I really need to work on my stop times. That's where it's at. It's not about speed, it's time management and making the most of your stops. I would probably also install some auxiliary lights.

Thanks to Rob Nye and the rest of the volunteers of the Minute Man 1000 for a great event.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I'm back and finished with a total mileage of 1031 in 18 hours 45 minutes with an ave speed of 55 mph.
Time for sleep!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bonus 4. Max BMW , NH

I am about 700 or so miles in. I just have my two rerquired stops left to go in Wyoming RI and Milford CT.

My customer ear phones are dead so I have no sound. I can't hear music, my intercom, or the gps directions. I'm going to try and find a pharmacy on the way to the highway to get regular headphones.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

3rd bonud, Freeport ME

I'm at LL Bean. I'm still feeling good but I'm a little achy. Now I'm off to my last bonus stop in NH.
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Hogan Road Deli

I'm in Bangor ME and I'm at the second required stop. I've been by Mexico ME for a bonus now its onto Freeport ME. I've gone over 500 miles. I'm starting to feel it a little but I'm doing well.
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Carmen Brook Farm

I am at the first required stop. I'm feeling pretty good. Eating a cliff bar and drinking some water. Its a beautiful day. Its W
10:10 and I'm 236 miles in in 4 hours riding avg. 59.8 mph.
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Bonus 1, Ben & Jerrys

Made it here at 8:33. Onto the next. Its cool but nice and sunny!
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30 Minutes to Minuteman 1000

Time for drivers meeting. It was all pretty straight forward. Heading out soon. Wish me luck!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, June 5, 2009

T - Minus 1 Day to Minute Man 1000

I arrived at the rally conference center. When I arrived I had to do an odometer check. I went out and had to go south on I-91 down to exit 16 then turn around and come back up to exit 18. The loop was 17.9 miles. I will go get some things off my bike then try to catch a nap before the riders dinner and meeting tonight.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, June 1, 2009

Minute Man 1000 Route

Here is a map of the approximate route I will take for the Minute Man 1k to complete my Saddle Sore 1K.

View Minute Man 1000 in a larger map

There will be some bonus locations I may add in as well so I am sure it will change somewhat but this is what the basic route will look like.