Present at the Creation: The First Minnesota 1000

By Mark Foster, MN1K Rider #1

So...rally's the story I tell my therapist.

Eddie, whom I knew from work [Hitching Post stores] and getting him out into road racing at B.I.R., had asked what I was doing on June10, and 11,the 10th was my birthday, but I had no elaborate plans. He had been talking so much about this, I decided I would at least go and check out this rally he had been planning. My wife asked what I wanted to do on my birthday; I said... go on a ride.

On Saturday morning it was raining as I left my house to go to Bob's java hut in Mpls where the rally started. At Bob's, there were 15-20 bikes out front, and inside, there were riders of varying ages and riding gear just kinda hanging around and checking out everybody else. I got a cup of coffee and I thought everybody was already signed up and so when I went to the sign in table and asked what to do they said they were not quite sure cause I was the first one to actually sign up. Then everybody else got in line, I think they were waiting to see if anybody else was as deranged as they were to want to do this ride. You have to remember this was the first year and nobody knew what to plan for, or expect.

Eddie made some speech about us being some hardcore something-something riders and thanked us for giving this a try. He gave us our route sheet packets, said' read carefully and see ya in 24 hours'. After looking over all the checkpoints, and still not having a clue which points to go after, I thought what's the easiest way to do 1000 miles? One of the checkpoints was to go to Wichita, Kansas and get a receipt from the turnpike. So I clicked my heels like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, but when that didn't work I realized I would have to ride.

I had just sold my Goldwing, so I rode my '82 Suzuki GS850 because it had all the Vetter touring equipment that you could have bolted on in 1982. The route was a no-brainer, south on interstate 35. So with radio playing and rain still pouring I left, pumped up after Eddie's send off, but still not quite sure what I had gotten myself into.

I wasn't quite sure why I was riding six hundred some miles to just turn around and come right back. At a gas station somewhere in Iowa, I debated quitting, thinking it's still raining and it's my birthday; remember now this was the first time we had this rally and I didn't know if everybody else was still doing it or blew it off.

Somewhere past the Missouri line it finally quit raining and I took off the rain gear [which was good because it was warm in all that gear and the road was a little too straight and Marky was getting a little tired]. I knew that eating fast food was not a good ideal because it's greasy and that means well you know what that means, so, food [which I was able to eat on the bike, thanks to a tank bag] consisted of those stale looking sandwiches that are sold at all fine gas/food stations, they don't taste good but I ate way scarier stuff when I was in the marines.

When your on a timed road event, it's a timed road event, so at gas stops, you don't stand around talking to the person behind the counter about the rally you're in; again, I was new at this.

As I rode I wondered where the other riders had gone, were they behind me? Probably ahead of me. I was having fun though. Finally reaching my destination of Wichita and getting my turnpike receipt I gas up, it's midnight I have to be back by 10 a.m.! Now I admit that my math skills suck, but it took me about 14 hours to get to this point; how do I get back in 2 hours less?

Across the street from the gas station was the normal interstate hotel selection all with HBO and Jacuzzi's. Ed gave us a phone number to call if we were going to be late or quit, so.......I looked at the map, I looked at the hotels...hmm....but decided to ride for an hour and then evaluate. I felt alright at the next stop so I continued. Stopping for fuel sometime after 2 am I had my first cup of coffee since the start at Bob's and decided to go for it. The faster you go, the faster you use gas. I was still not sure I could get back in time. Remember those questions from math class that started like "if train A leaves at 3 o'clock on track 7 traveling at 31.5 mph and blah blah blah?" Trying to do the math of when I might possibly make it back to Mpls. while looking out for foreign objects like deer or blown truck tires just added to the adventure.

The sunrise in Iowa that morning was beautiful, it also gave me my second wind seeing the trip meter showing I had hit the 1000-mile goal. though I still had a couple hundred miles to go I felt like I could pull this off. By now my voice is rough from singing all night with the radio, practice does not always make perfect but it helped keep me awake.

Seeing mileage signs for Minneapolis inspired me to just stay in the saddle and ride, I even had time to get more points from a checkpoint in Mpls. with a garage door painted with a big Elvis on it. When I made it back to Bob's for the finish, I had put on 1,280 miles with twenty minutes to spare. That year I received two trophies, one for second place in the touring class, and then a unique one, the NO SNIVELERS award because I had ridden the most miles but didn't win.

Everybody that does the MN1K does it for the fun of the ride, but I think there are three different mindsets of the riders. One group wants to see if they can do it. Another group wants to get the most points in their class and win. Then there is the group that doesn't really care so much about highest points, they want to rack up the highest miles and make it back on time from the farthest checkpoint. I'm in the last category, and there are some sick puppies in this group.

To all the Teamstrange folks and everybody else behind the scenes putting these rallies on, THANK YOU!


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