My Velocity Squared

September 4, 2010

Land of Enchantment 1000

Filed under: Uncategorized — smarmbeast @ 10:11 pm

Land of Enchantment 1000, Oct 1st-3rd. Thoughts on long distance rallying as a crucible for your soul.

I have entered the Land of Enchantment 1000. 24 hours, 1000+ miles. Unknown route to be planned about ten seconds before you hit the road. The only known waypoints are the start at Los Lunas, and the Trinity Site at the White Sands missile range. The good news is that the name of the road lading to the trinity site is “Jornada del Muerto”. Which really should be the motto for the entire race.

I may have said before that doing a 1000 miles on a motorcycle is hard in 24 hours. I would like to restate this. A motorcycle is two points of contact desperately seeking a third. Add into this a foriegn land, and on the fly route planning, and New Mexican heat, and it’s going to be a fun run.

To prepare for a proper rally, you need a few things:

1. At least a basic grasp of math.

1000 miles / 24 hours = 41.6MPH. In order to finish, you must average 41.6MPH over the course. Be aware, some bonus locations my require more than 1,000 miles to hit. Plus, you at some point will want to rest. So subtract that from your 24 hours. Not resting is a very good way to die.

2. A touring motorcycle. Preferably, a sport touring motorcycle.

This is the important bit. Lay the foundation wrong, and no matter how many farkles you hang off of it, you will not finish.

It must be comfortable. Fully faired, non fatiguing to ride. Smooth engine. Harley’s are out. 40 MPG + with a large gas tank. Most bikes running these events are shaft drive. ST1300’s are very popular. BMW RT1200, Goldwings.

3. Tank Bag

Important bit of kit this. Under estimated by many. Here is where all the essentials go. Must be big enough to fit:

– 2 liters of water
– Phone charger
– Light gloves
– Heavy gloves
– Replacement face shield.
– Replacement pinlock shaded.
– Replacement pinlock un-shaded.
– Lara bars x 6
– Snickers x 6
– Caffenated energy shots.

Marsee makes very nice tank bags, and to boot they are cheap. Plus, they are waterproof, so you can dump ice in the bottom compartment with your water and bars. There is nothing more refreshing in hot weather than freshly chilled water.

4. Modular helmet.

A few LD riders still ride without them. When time is of the essence, it takes 1 minute to take off a full face helmet with glasses. It takes 2 seconds to flip up a modular.

5. Hydration system.

Camelback. Accept no substitutes. Insulated, with wide mouth for ice. My sippy tube is velcroed inside my helmet so I can take a drink anytime I want.

Hydration is important. Get dehydrated, you start to slow down. Just slowly sip all day. On a 90+ day, you should go through 2 liters of water per tank of gas. Motorcycles can pull a ton of water out of you.

6. Satnav.

Must have. If you can use it with gloves, great. These cost about $600. I prefer stop by a pawn shop and get a couple of decent reviewed Garmins for $100 total. Update the software. Dirty little secret… most Garmins are fairly waterproof. More so if you run a bit of silicon on the seams. A ziplock bag and a couple of rubber bands will fix a thunderstorm. Plus, you have a spare. Useful for when it routes you wrong way and you fling the first one into traffic.

7. Laptop and Street Atlas™

See the satnav above? Great. Punch in addresses manually, or locations that have no proper address and you lose. Plot it out, spam into GPS and go.

8. Technical gear.

Textile, flexible, layerable technical gear. I am partial to Joe Rocket™. They have stepped up, their gear all comes with removable rain liners for a nice price, and works together well. Riding around in hot weather in full leathers, you might get heat stroke. Textile is the choice for most riders in LD events for a reason. ATTGATT. Jacket, Pants, Boots and gloves. Heavy and light gloves. Heated jacket as well, even in the hot areas for nighttime riding.

9. First aid kit.

Bandages, peroxide, povodine iodine, non-narcotic pain killers, immodium. Small wounds wrapped in hot protective gear have a way of getting really, really nasty, really, really quick. Lesson learned outside of Boston 3 years ago where I got a bad leg infection. If you get a wound, take the time and dress it up proper.

Miscellaneous tips and tricks:

Fuel stops are killer. I have a ritual:

– Take of hydration system, hang from handlebar.
– Fuel bike.
– Fill up hydration.
– Chow down on a bar.
– Choke down energy shot.
– Bathroom.
– Check route, contemplate

I factor 10 minutes per fuel stop. It is a bit long, but if you skimp here, you wind up stopping more later to add water, snack, restroom, etc. Make sure you save the receipt.

Do not speed. Wears you out faster, risk of tickets, increased risk of death.

Jornada del Muerto. But at the end, the accomplishment you get from doing a proper run is the best feeling you’ve ever had.

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