Steve Strickstein's Ride Report
To friends and family of mine this endurance hobby I have gotten into the last few years seems well, just odd. Why not slow down and see things, stop and take in the scenery. However many times I say I do see and touch my surroundings they just don't understand. I guess you just gotta be there. That's what it is about endurance riders. The more miles you pile on the less people seem to tag along for the ride. Somewhere along the way you find yourself looking for those with the same sanity level, or lack of it. I guess ya just gotta be there.
I signed up for the first ever Buckeye 1000 last winter. I am planning my wedding and funds for this years endurance rides are a bit slack for some reason. Instead of planning for one big ride like last year(ButtLite7000). I planned several smaller events. My first would be the Sew the Mitten Run, I wrote about earlier in the season. The last will be the a undetermined 2 day 2000 mile run of some insanity in the fall. That left just the filling to the season. I wanted to compete in 1 day event, one with some really challenge to it. I have competed in 4 TEAM STRANGE events so far. Eddie and Adam of www.teamstrange.com definitely have a twisted sense of humor. Last year after breaking my foot jumping a retread in Amarillo, Texas I found myself climbing 1/4 mile up a 8000 foot mountain up steep steps to have my picture taken at a Catholic Shrine. To some torture, but to the sick few who compete in these events, it is these twisted moments that you remember when the snow is drifting outside the door.
I arrived on Friday midday to the Lenox Inn outside of Columbus near the town of Pickerington. Eddie James is the Director of Road events for the AMA and held a special Bar-B-Q on the bac porch of the AMA's Facility. After stuffing myself with chicken and ribs I would regret for 1000 miles the next day, We were given our first glimpse of the torture to come. An IronButt rally is kind of like a scavenger hunt. The rally master(Eddie) sends you fun and strange places and you bring back proof. Sound easy enough? Well I opened up the envelope and looked at the instructions. I was expecting 9-10 pages, just 2. The obvious were listed, the corners of the state of Ohio,for gas receipts. There was a run to Atlanta, Georgia for a hotdog at the famous Varsity of I-75. But all these seemed to lack any points? was Eddie slipping? Only Saturday morning would tell. "Get a good nights rest, you'll need it, oh and don't waste too much time on planning you will get an additional sheet in the morning 1 hour before you leave."
Back at the Lenox I took out the mapping software and planned a tour of Ohio. I new he would throw in some weird stuff but I can to run Ohio. I was done all to quickly. "Have some Chicken we brought back from dinner" Eddie told everyone as the evening wore on. It was only the beginning of chicken problems.
Saturday I awoke 1 hour before start time sick to my stomach from the chicken. I downed tums, it did not help. Eddie stood on his abused Ford Ranger and passed out the second sheet. I went back to the room and looked. The big point run was to go from the Lenox to Hell, Michigan, then to the Big Mac bridge and on to Parry Sound Ontario and Niagara falls before returning the next day before 12:00 noon. On my 1983 R100S I did not feel I could make this hardy a run, A mistake, the winner Will Outlaw(what a name!) did. I planned a fun run from touring the state of Ohio in a counter clockwise path. As I came to the starting line Eddie looked at me and asked" you sure you don't want a piece of chicken for later?" dripping grease on my windshield. I burped and said " no thank you!" Little did I know what was being shoved in my saddlebag as we spoke!
I left the Lenox and headed East to a fish hatchery and on to Zanesville and Ohio's magnificent route555! Route 555 is 60 some miles of twists and turns and rollers like nowhere else I have found outside of Cedar Point. For 1 hour I chased another rider from the event over hill and dale, giggling in my helmet like a kid. I even lifted both rims from tarmac off one hill. You just had to be there! As I arrived on the south end of 555 at the Ohio river I approached a young woman I recognized as another rally entrant. She looked green. "I think that road made me sick!" she said." No it must have been the chicken" I said. I rode on. I got a gas recedegreen Marietta, Ohio on the river and headed out onto the highway North to find my next clues. My stomach was churning. Outside Wheeling, West Virginia I pulled off to get the name of a Honda dealership. As I pulled the pen out of my pocket, I lost footing on the loose gravel,over the bike went. I looked down and learned a fact of BMW Airhead twins, they fall over on the complete 90 dgree side from the road tires off the pavement. A helpfull soul helped me up and I brushed myself off. Other that a bruised ego, it appeared my huge soft luggage saved the bike from damage. God my gut hurts!
I ran up the East side of the state to the lakeside town of Ashtabula, coasting in on fumes sputtering all the way, 265 miles to a tank. Maybe the chicken was helping my milage? I now turned West toward Cleveland and the Rock and Roll hall of fame. But first, I had a visit with a family in the suburbs for a 1/2 hour, for big points. Off the highway and onto secondary roads I followed my GPS(I LOVE THIS THING!). Arriving at the home of a rally volunteer ( The organizer of AMA VINTAGE DAYS) I punched a time clock and stopped for the first time in 9 hours. "Want a hotdog?" Will asked? " Maybe after a while, can I use the bathroom please?" Stopping is nice sometimes! After visiting with Will for 30 minutes I bulleted it to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. As I pulled in I was greated by a security guard, "no parking please!" I pulled up in the loading zone and paid a couple $5.00 to watch the bike for 2 minutes as I ran across the entry way to the building and bought a post card. I must have been a sight.
Out on the highway I had a while to relax before Toledo. It funny, most folks stop and relax. Endurance riders move and relax. That was good, because Toledo was not fun. Find a gas reciept in the CITY of Toledo, how hard could it be. A reciept must have several things: time, date, address,and gallons purchased. 4 stations later, I found all of these. Not a great place to be late at night. Toledo being my turn south I decided to stop for the night outside of Lima Ohio and wait 4 hours( I hoped the rain would pass). The next hour I played a game many riders know all too well MONKEY BUTT! No matter where you move the bottom just hurts too much. God my stomach still hurts! I paid the hotel attendant $45.00 for the motel room and passed out in the room.
My alarm clock awoke me 4 hours later, It was raining, hard! I dressed in my AeroStitch riding suit and layered with a rain suit. This was not going to be fun. I exited the highway on US 33 at Wapakoneta, Ohio and headed west for US 127. As I road south on 127 I was to find out the name of the most famous person from North Star, Ohio. As I arrived in this small town it was raining so hard my bike was injesting rain and running sluggish. Annie Oakley! a sign said, I am not stopping to write that down. I note the time and my miles on the GPS and went on. getting another gas reciept in Greenville, Ohio in the rain I again had reciept problems and had to have them stamp the back. I am sure Eddie is laughing somwhere. God that chicken, URP. I continued south gathering bonus points and headed to the last turn, Cincinnatti. How hard can it be to get a gas reciept at 8 am on a sunday in this town? OH boy. Look at a map of the city some time and ask , where is Cincinnatti and where is it not? I asked the attendant at the speedway off I- 75 just inside the city limits sign," can you print a gas reipt if I fill up? " yes" she said. I filled up. She was hand writing it and had no stamp! There was another station 3 doors down I pulled in and put the credit card in the pump. .05 gallons out the overflow. I looked at the recipt: gallons, time, date, city. Just not the right city! My stomach began to hurt. The hand written would have to do.
My origonal plan was to run the Ohio river to Portsmouth, Ohio and then North to the Lenox. It was still raining I was frustrated and tired and my stomach was in much pain. I pulled onto I-71 and headed for the barn. For the next hour and a half I was into the wind hard. 30 MPH headwinds. I was wipped. I thought of going to the truckstop on the other side of Columbus and joining the Buckey BMW club for breakfast(worth points) I decided not to. Good thing, to 3 riders leaving at the exact time I would have crashed on the exit ramp near the truckstop, slipping in a mixture of deisel fuel and rain. I pulled into the lot at the Lenox and into a spot near my room. Stopping felt good.
Sunday at 2 pm we had the finishers dinner. I listened to stories of rides and tails of others troubles, this is what Endurance riders like to gather for, bench racing. Seems that the winner, Will outlaw rode all night and day without a break to make the 1500 some mile ride. As crazy as I felt at that moment it felt good to know someone in that room had less of a grip than I. I did not get a trophy this time, but did not care. I had fun. My stomach didnt hurt any more thanks to a bottle of Maylox. Although 24 hours of riding had just ended most of the riders departed for home, some like me headed for bed.
As I awoke Monday I smelled this rotten smell somewhere in the room. I looked everywhere. It seemed to be coming from my bag! I removed all the items I had brought. nothing. In a small pocked on the back of the bag I saw it and heard Eddie's laughter, a grease stain from the inside. Opening the zipper, there it was a slimmy piece of chicken with 1000 miles on its back.
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