2021 IBR – Day 11

 Now for a Little Color

Riders are making their final push to the finish in Provo, and it may be time to fill the readers in on a few of the murky details. There was one rallywide (available during all three legs) bonus per state as I noted in an earlier report, plus an associated rallywide progressive bonus for collecting multiple state bonuses. For each 5 rallywide bonuses collected, the rider received an increasing number of points as follows:

5 bonuses: 613

10 bonuses: 668

15 bonuses: 741

20 bonuses: 839

25 bonuses: 978

30 bonuses: 1187

35 bonuses: 1529

40 bonuses: 2158

These points are cumulative. First 5 states, collect 613 points. Get another 5 states and add an additional 668, and so on. Remember that a rider can only claim a particular bonus once during the rally. Whether they are awarded the points for that bonus or it is denied, it is unavailable to them on later legs.

There are combo bonuses available. There was only one combo bonus in the Rallywide Bonus List, designated “FLIGHT”. It was a large bonus for getting both the OH bonus (Dayton Aviation Museum honoring the Wright Brothers) and NC bonus (Wright Brothers National Monument at Kill Devil Hills). Riders have the whole of the rally to claim the OH and NC bonuses and the FLIGHT combination.

What Rallymaster Jeff Earls presented the riders with for Leg 3 included several additional combo bonuses. Unlike the first leg that had a logical path with some flourishes for the adventurous, or the second leg with a concentration of bonuses in particular regions of the country, he gave them a full buffet. It is the classic conundrum: choosing to eat too much and getting sick or filling your plate with just the right amount. That is why the riders spread out all over the country. There is just no one solution that will fit all the riders but there are solutions for each rider, and it will be of their own choosing. Compounding this was Rally Mom Lisa summoning just enough bad weather to flood out some roads and pile despair on those who bit off too much. (These two are just so evil, I can only hope it doesn’t rub off on me.)

Jerry Anderson was a finisher in 2017 but DNF’d in 2019. It was a tough year for him as he was riding the Suzuki GT750 Water Buffalo, missed the mandatory riders meeting, then was beset with back pain that forced him to withdraw. I am sure he would like to erase that memory and make it two finishes for three. Right now he’s sitting in 56th place and needs keep rolling to ensure he achieves his goal, but I would bet money on him making it. He did finish 2017 on a Water Buffalo, so he has the right stuff.

Bob Bowman has three IBR finishes to his credit, two gold and one silver, so we know what he’s made of. Bob turned in a solid leg 1 and a terrific leg 2 (even though he lost 4 places). He has set himself up for a good finish and he just needs to take advantage of the time he has because he is good at routing efficiently; he has proven that.

Lance Corley is looking for his first IBR finish and so far it’s nip and tuck. He was in 63rd position after each of the first two legs. With a little bit of fortitude, he can get into the bonus-rich region of the west and fill up his claimed bonus form. I am sure he is learning lessons right now he never imagined and is going to have to reach deep for the drive needed for these last couple of days.

Eric Edelman finished with silver medals in both 2015 and 2017. He took ill during the 2019 event and that DNF probably haunts him. This time around he is in 56th place with two respectable legs, but he did drop 8 places after leg 2. He looks to put in some serious miles if he wants that coveted third finish.

James Epley finished the 2019 rally and knew he was going to have to hustle his Triumph Trophy around the circuit with determination to make a significant improvement over his 55th place finish in 2019. Right now, he looks real good moving up to 11th place on leg 2 from 15th.  He is an efficient rider netting over 9.8 points per mile. If he can keep up this pace or even improve on it, a podium finish could be in reach.

Andy Hall is hanging tough at 33rd place, just a small 2-position drop from his first leg standing.  Andy finished with a gold medal in 2017 and if he keeps pace he could be in the medals again, but Provo is a long way from where he is now and he needs to Hoover up some points.

Chris Hopper and his Harley Davidson are turning in a solid performance. He is sticking close to the top 20, currently in 22nd.  He put on nearly 7,000 miles in the first two legs, so I hope he has enough in the tank to forge a strong finish. If he does that it will be a terrific rally for someone with the second highest IBA number in the field.

Gary Huff is another of our high-digit rookies this year and he is turning in a respectable effort.  Before each leg, Jeff informs the riders of the points target to get into the finishers circle. Gary has quietly accomplished this on both legs and he is better than even money to do it again. You can see where he tried to go big on Leg 1, but to his credit, realized how deep the water was and self-corrected to get back to the checkpoint on time. On Leg 2 he was much craftier. It is a steep learning curve in the IBR.

James and Bobbie Jackson are on their first go-around and are riding a particularly good rally. We have had some stellar couples in the IBR. Tom and Rosie Sperry and Jon and Ande Bergmann Good were two teams that solo riders had to fear. It is difficult to run an IBR alone much less with your spouse. Most of them will tell you it is an advantage, then again, I have seen how much luggage space my spouse requires. Routing is another potential area for differences of opinion but two heads can definitely be better than one when searching for a high point route. The Jacksons successfully pulled off the big route through Nevada and Washington State on Leg 1 and a ran a very efficient Leg 2. They’re rested and I expect they might move up the leaderboard (currently 28th).

Justin Long has medal finishes in 2017 and 2019 and I suspect the only reason he dropped a few places on leg 2 is because he somehow failed to get to North Carolina for the Wright Brothers combo. Justin, the host of the Long Rider Radio podcast, knows a thing or two about routing so he might just might pick it up on Leg 3.

Lyle Monroe is one of those people that just makes you smile when you walk by him. He is sitting in 58th after dropping a few places on leg 2. He has done what was asked of him through the first two legs so I don’t have any reason to think he won’t do that in the third. But then again, I just looked at his SPOT track and it kind of resembles the trail a mouse would leave going through a maze, and even that made me smile.

Bill Norris took a big hit on Leg 2, falling 13 positions to 50th place. He’s an interesting guy because he has an IBA number just over 6,000, which means he did his first certificate ride in the late 90s. Now he’s back playing in shark-infested waters. Putting his fall in the standings into perspective, it was a lapse of about 3,000 points and that can most likely be made up easily with a bit of extra effort on leg 3.

Marcus Reynolds is riding a Harley Davidson Road King in his first ever IBR. So far, he has stuck to a conservative plan and has executed it well. He has covered quite a few miles and is on the lower end of the points/mile scale, something that improves with rally practice, or something that could be caused at the scoring table. I say this only by looking at the data. It is going to be funny when he is telling staff all the tragedy and obstacles he had to overcome to just eke out a finish and how full of compost the “Know-It-All” scribe was.

Dan Roth was kicking butt and taking names on Leg 1. He did the big swing out to Nevada, north all the way to Washington and back, and he scooped it all up. Then he cut way back on Leg 2. It will be interesting to hear if he ran short of time or had other reasons, but it cost him 5 places. He sits in 21st place and that is a good position to be in to get a medal. A lot will depend on how he approaches the combo bonuses late in the rally. Maybe he is being cagey or maybe the 6600 miles he did in the first 6 ½ days is taking a toll.

Cliff Wall is an experienced Iron Butt veteran who finished 2 of the 4 IBRs he has entered. Cliff loves the game, he loves the whole process, especially the part about relaxing away from his high-pressure job. So, I imagine he’s just fine with his position but plans to make a good push on Leg 3 to make sure he grabs another finish spot.

Matt Wise is one of those who swept the southern states on the first leg, scooping up everything effectively and landing in 26th place. He had a good Leg 2 but dropped a few places to 26th.  Matt is a three-time finisher with two bronze medals and a gold, so he knows how to plan and execute. Sweeping the south of State bonuses on Leg 1 makes it less useful to take that track again to get to the west coast, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches this dilemma. But riders never cease to amaze me, and Matt is a Wise rider.

I need to give some credit where it is due for some of the information in my last two reports. Dave McQueeney is an ever-present figure for the IBA, and he is the one who maintains the history of the IBR. I am drawing upon his information to recall that Jim Frens rode 14,185 miles in 2011, whereas *I* only remember it as “some 14,000 miles” and thought it was in 2009. All the riders I am talking about who earn their new 3-digit IBA number would be doing themselves a favor, after they finish shining up their new number, to sidle up to Dave at some event (he is always quietly there somewhere) and spend a few minutes getting to know him. Dave’s two IBR finishes (1986 and 1987) were a long time ago, but he still rides daily and long distances. In fact, he probably scouted many of the bonuses you all collected this year.

It is also a testament to Lisa and Jeff for giving me the latitude (and longitude) to spend this much reporting space on riders who might not be top-20 finishers or are “No Drama” riders (they never do anything “bad” enough to get mentioned). They’re people digging deep for their best and that should be heralded. Some are riding motorcycles never intended for this abuse, all are reaching for their own personal achievements in overcoming adversity and getting the satisfaction of accomplishing something their friends and relatives can talk about for decades to come. The unvarnished truth is that these riders are the backbone of the IBR and the IBA (how many times have you heard someone exclaim “I did an Iron Butt”). Finally, thanks to Mike Kneebone for providing the platform for so many to expand their horizons by challenging themselves to see, in real life, from sea to shining sea.