Greg Rice

Long Distance Endurance Motorcycle Rider

My Iron Butt Rallies


I rode my first Iron Butt Rally ( IBR ) in 2009 and I was hooked. I think getting hooked is what happens to many of the riders as more than 50% of the riders apply again to ride in the next IBR. When you ride in to the finish of a IBR you are saying to yourself wow I won't do that again. But by the end of the finish banquet dinner that night you are already thinking about applying for the next one.

The Iron Butt Rally is the toughest motorcycle rally in the world and you know it when you finish the rally. It takes all you have to get ready for the start of a 11 day adventure where you have no idea where you will be riding to during the 11 days except for the start, checkpoints and finish. Then you need to sum up more energy to ride your motorcycle all over the US, Canada and maybe even Alaska.

I have been lucky to have been drawn for 7 IBR's ( 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and now 2021 ), that's right 7! I first applied for the 2007 IBR and was not selected. I decided that I needed to step up my game and get more involved in the Iron Butt Association and to ride in more rallies. I rode in three Cape Fear Rallies and finished in the top ten each time. I even finished fourth in 2008. I started riding more and harder IBA certified rides to improve my riding resume. I continue to stay involved in IBA events and more IBA certified rides. In fact I recently completed my 60th Bun Burner Gold ride, 1500+ miles in less than 24 hours. I think by staying involved and participating in things like the IBA forum helps improve my chances of being drawn for the IBR.

Over the years I have owned the motorcycles that seem to be the choice of serious competitors in the Iron Butt Rally. I do not think I purposely did that but that is how it has worked out. I have ridden Gold Wings in 2009, 2013 and 2015 and BMW RT 2017 and a BMW GSA in 2019. I am hoping to ride a Yamaha FJR in 2021. Having ridden all of these motorcycles gives me some idea as to what kind of motorcycle really works best in a 11 day rally for me. The first thing I will tell you though it is not the motorcycle that drives you to the finish, it is the rider. Of course having a good reliable motorcycle to rides does help.

The experiences you get by riding in the IBR are like no other unless you participate in similar types of events which there are not many. The highs and lows are really high and the lows are real low. I do not think that at anytime during the 11 days you are not riding high or feeling low. There are so many obstacles in your way that sometimes it seems like everyone and everything is trying to stop you from finishing.

Even today I still get anxious when the next IBR selection process starts. You would think by now I was an old hat at this but I am not. One of the things that make the IBR so interesting is that it is different every time. What you did in a previous IBR may not relate to the next IBR.

The lead up to the start is nerve wracking and peaceful all in one. There are not many other events in the world that you can compete in and get the same feelings.

Keep reading and you can see how I did in my past five Iron Butt Rallies.

I have links to all of my IBR Spotwalla maps below, click on the Spotwalla map image.


How I Prepare For The Iron Butt Rally

I take preparing for the IBR serious and I take out all of the stops and I try and leave no stone unturned while preparing for the IBR. Don't get me wrong it is not all serious as there is a lot of fun and games leading up to the start. One of the places the fun and games happen is the private forum for IBR riders. If you ever get to see and read what goes on behind closed doors you would sometimes be shocked. There is a lot of joking and poking of the bear for about a year leading up to the start and I am one of the ones who likes to stick it to the next rider. It is never to early to start the mind games.

My preparation includes being sure that I have the perfect motorcycle to ride, of course what is perfect to me may not be perfect to the other riders. I do know the choices I have made on what motorcycle to ride in the my past IBR's seems to be similar to other riders because in every IBR that I have ridden in I was not the only rider riding that same motorcycle. One of the ways I prepare my motorcycle for the next IBR is by keeping the setup the same between IBR's. I try and always have my motorcycle in LD riding condition with all of the farkles that I would use in the IBR or any other rally. For me I have found that keeping my motorcycle setup the same way I would have it in the IBR makes it less stressful because I am very familiar with where everything is and how everything works. There is an old IBA proverb that you should not make big changes to your motorcycle right before the start of the rally.

I spend a lot of time going over my setup and try and be sure that every farkle I have installed is securely mounted and in the best location so it does not interfere with the operation of my motorcycle. Keeping my motorcycle in the same condition with all of my farkles installed all the time allows me to be sure that everything is right when it's time to ride.

I also spend a lot of time preparing the tools I use in the rally like GPS's, SPOT and my route planning process spreadsheets. I always keep my GPS's update to date with the latest maps and firmware from Garmin so I am sure that I have the best possible information available. I also use my GPS's on my motorcycle on every ride I do so that I am very comfortable how they work. It is too late to learn how to use your GPS the week before the rally. Another thing I do is use my mapping / routing program ( Basecamp ) to plan all of my rides. This way I am very comfortable with Basecamp when it comes time for the rally. By using all of the tools in my normal riding gives me the confidence when it comes time to plan routes in the IBR and the process I use.

I have a process I follow ( you can read about it on my Rallying webpage ) that works well for me. Having and following this process also gives me the confidence that I need to plan aggressive routes so I can compete with other riders.


Links To My Past IBR Rally Ride Reports

2009 IBR - Leg 2: 2009 IBR Leg 2 Ride Report


2013 IBR - All Legs: 2013 IBR Rally Report


My Iron Butt Rally Planning Worksheets

Over the years I have developed some spreadsheet tools that help me plan and prepare for the IBR and because I think these tools help me I have made them available to everyone who has asked. Below are some screen shots of some of the tools I have developed that I use to help me plan including my routing in rallies.

One of the tools is to build a GPX file of bonus information from the file that is provided by the rally master at the start banquet of a rally. This tool builds the GPX file that has all of the bonus information that I like to see in my mapping software ( now Basecamp ). I designed this for how I like to create my bonus names and to also provide me some additional information ( including sunrise and sunset of the bonus ) about the bonus that helps me when planning my route.

 Click The Image For Full Size


Below is screen shots of another tool I use to identify how many riding hours I have in a rally along with how many miles I should plan for when creating my routes. The spreadsheet takes into account all of the know reasons I would be stopping during a rally while on the clock and then I subtract that time from the known leg hours to arrive at how many riding hours I have in the leg. I then calculate the possible miles by using a moving average speed for that leg. It could be different each leg based on the part of the country I will be riding in. I then try and builds routes that have approximately the same number of miles in my spreadsheet. Click on the image for a full size version.

Click The Image For Full Size

Below is another screen shots of spreadsheet tool I use to identify how many points I should target from bonuses in a leg based on target point information provided by the rally master. Usually in the IBR we are given a target number of points for a particular leg. Click on the image for a full size version.

Click The Image For Full Size


2021 Iron Butt Rally

I have been very lucky to be chosen as a rider in the 2021 Iron Butt Rally. It will start in Provo, UT on Monday, June 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM. The finish will be back in Provo, UT on July2, 2021. The start and finish hotel has not been provided by the IBR staff.

This will be my 6th Iron Butt Rally that I will be starting in and I am just as anxious as I was for my first Iron But Rally.

My 2021 Weather Webpage Link: 2021 Weather Webpage

Time to start the planning!


2019 Iron Butt Rally

The 2019 Iron Butt Rally will start in Greenville, SC on Monday, June 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM. the start and finish hotel is the Marriott Greenville.

My 2019 Weather Webpage Link: 2019 Weather Webpage

I have made a big change in the type of motorcycle I ride and in this IBR I will be riding my new 2019 BMW R1250 GS Adventure. As I get older I need a motorcycle that is more nimbler and capable of going anywhere and the GSA fits that bill.

I hope to redeem myself from the DNF in 2017 and have a good finish in the 2019 IBR.

I have been working on improving my rally spreadsheets and I think I have them ready to help me plan and ride the 2019 Iron Butt Rally. I have added some new functionality to my spreadsheets since the 2017 IBR to better help me plan my time and miles available and to improve the data I capture for each bonus. I think for what my goal is of using spreadsheets to improve the bonus data and the miles and time available during the rally I pretty much have the best approach.

Since I now have a house close to the IBR start I will be able to arrive at the start in good condition well rested. I will only have a 100 mile ride to the start.

My goals for this IBR is to be a finisher and I will probably not be pushing as hard in past IBR's. I really need to be sure I have a good shot at finishing this IBR since I was a DNF in the 2017 IBR.


Well my finish in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally was a little less than I had hoped for. I was hoping to do well and finish in the top 10. I had a good first leg and was in 9th place at the end of leg 1 and I was feeling pretty good about how I was doing and how I understood the rally.

When the bonus pack was handed out for leg 2 the rally master let us know that if we went to Alaska or north of a certain latitude we would not have to make the leg 2 checkpoint. I knew right away I was not going to Alaska as I was not trying to win and I did not see that many points to win. there was other possible routes that could give you more points and Wendy Crocket saw that and rode like the wind and was the first women to win the Iron Butt Rally.

I decided on a more conservative route that should give me the point needed to be in the top 10 but not have to go to Alaska. I rode south to southern California picking up a good number of bonuses and then west over the mountains to Santa Monica pier which was another bonus. I then rode up the center of California on I-5 towards San Jose and the famous bonus Alice's Restaurant. After scoring Alice's Restaurant I had been riding for about a day and a half so I took my rest bonus in San Jose.

After the rest bonus I headed north across the San Francisco bridge towards Oregon. I scored a few bonuses in Oregon and then headed for the checkpoint. I was reasonably happy with the leg but I feel I could have done a little more.

Leg 3 had me headed back east and I needed a rear tire. I called around and found a place in Bozeman, MT with the help of a good friend, Bob Torter. The person there had me in an out in 30 minutes which was great since I was on the clock.

I had decided on the Mississippi River combo bonus route and I needed to score 10 bonuses to get the extra 19,000 combo bonus point. I had a good run and scored all of the bonuses and even scored a few more on the way back to the finish., or so I thought. More later.

I felt so good that I even went for the last minute Linville Falls bonus Blue Ridge Parkway. I arrived there around 2:00 AM and I had to wait until sunrise. I tried to get some sleep in the parking lot but it was difficult as this place was dark and no one was around except the animals including bears. Another IBR rider ( JD Smith ) arrived around 4:00 AM and we waited for daylight together. This was a daylight only bonus and I was still going to be 2 hours to the finish in Greenville, SC.

I arrived at the checkpoint about 10 minutes before the penalty window started. I felt good and got ready to be scored. I sat at the scores table and we started going through my bonuses. In all past rallies I have never screwed a bonus and never lost any points. When we got to the Isle of Capri Casino bonus I felt good because I had taken about 5 bonus photos and they all had my flag in the photos. The scorer asked where was my poker chip. I am like what are you talking about. they showed me the rally book and sure enough I was supposed to buy a poker chip along with taking the photo. I lost that bonus and the 19,000 combo points. I fell from the top 10 to 40th place. I was not a happy camper!

Below are some photos from the rally.

Start / Finish Hotel

Getting Ready For Rider Meeting

Riding The Ferry To Outer banks In Leg 1

Mammoth Ski Area Leg 2

Santa Monica Pier Leg 2

Crater Lake Bonus Leg 2

Road To Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Bozeman, MT On The Clock Tire Change! Leg 3

2019 IBR Complete Route - Click Image For Spotwalla Map


2017 Iron Butt Rally

Unfortunately I was a big DNF in the 2017 IBR. After being in 4th place after leg one I had to drop out of the rally in the middle of leg two. It was a good learning experience for me as I had never before had to drop out of a rally. Of course this left a very bad taste in my mouth and I have been having nightmares ever since.

Start and Finish Location

Marriott Minneapolis West
9960 Wayzata Blvd
St. Louis Park, Minnesota 55426

My 2017 Weather Webpage Link: 2017 Weather Webpage

My 2017 IBR Checklist: IBR Checklist

In this IBR I was not riding a Gold Wing like all of my past IBR's. I bought a new 2016 BMW RT in 2016 and I sold my Gold Wing after riding the RT for a year. I wanted to be sure I did not make a mistake by buying the RT. Now with over 30,000 miles on the RT I am confident the RT will serve me well in the IBR.


2017 IBR Spotwalla Tracking Map - Click Image For Spotwalla Map


2015 Iron Butt Rally

After my success in the 2013 Iron Butt Rally and the 2015 Cape Fear Rally I could not wait to get back to riding in another IBR and I was very happy the day I left to ride to the start.

2015 IBR Poster

Tech Inspection Camera Check

Start Banquet

Where Is My Hair!

ODO Check

Tech Inspection

IBR Start Rider Meeting ( 15 Minutes Prior To 10:00 AM )

Heading Out At The Start

PEFO – Petrified Forest National Park - Group Bonus Photo

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site - Group bonus Photo ( Heavy Rain )

Lots Of Rain In The Rally Like Usual

More Heavy Rain

2015 IBR Leg 1

2015 IBR Leg 2

2015 IBR Leg 1

2015 IBR Spotwalla Tracking Map - Click Image For Spotwalla Map


2013 Iron Butt Rally

The 2013 IBR was a rally I was waiting for. I had to drop out of the 2011 IBR due to family and work issues and I could not wait to be accepted in the 2013 IBR.

2013 IBR Poster

2013 IBR Group Photo Before The Start

ODO Check

Riding Out At The Start

Pikes Peak Bonus On Leg 2

Arriving Leg 2 Checkpoint

2013 IBR Leg 2 Checkpoint

Arriving At The Finish Of The IBR

ODO Check At Finish

Scoring Table At The Finish

Wow, 9th Place In The 2013 IBR!

2013 IBR Leg 1

2013 IBR Leg 2

2013 IBR Leg 1

2013 IBR Spotwalla Tracking Map - Click Image For Spotwalla Map


2011 Iron Butt Rally

The 2011 IBR would have been my second IBR and I was really stoked to be selected! Unfortunately life got in the way and I had to drop out of the IBR about 4 months before the start.


2009 Iron Butt Rally

The 2009 IBR was my first Iron Butt Rally and wow what a rally, what a ride!


2009 IBR Poster

2009 IBR Group Photo Before The Start

2009 IBR ODO Check

Start 2009 IBR

Me At The Start Of The 2009 IBR

2009 IBR Leg 2 Route Planning

Finally Leaving For Leg 2

Arrived At The Finish Of 2009 IBR

2009 IBR Stopping The Clock

2009 IBR Finish Banquet With My Wonderful wife

Bonuses I Scored In The 2009 IBR

2009 IBR Spotwalla Tracking Map - Click Image For Spotwalla Map

 

 


 

Miles Ridden

725,000


BBG Count

1500+ Miles In 24 Hours

60


BBG Miles

92,070


IBR Miles

Iron Butt Rally

49,700


Next Ride

BBG


IBA Rally Presentation


Just Completed

2019 Iron Butt Rally


Mexico SS1000


56th BBG!


Mexico SS1000


Coast to Coast 29 Hours 23 minutes


50th BBG IBA Record!


45th BBG To Texas

Lake Okeechobee 1000

Weird BBG Ride Report

BBG3000 Ride Report

BBG3000 Ride Report

2017 Iron Butt Rally

 

I completed my 40th BBG on February 25, 2017.

I just finished the 2015 Iron Butt Rally, my third IBR. Click her for the daily reports and the final standings.

Rob and I won the 2015 Cape Fear Rally starting in Florida

I attended the IBA National Meet in August in Denver and had a great time

I completed a BBG Quattro Gold on June 17, 2014. You can find out more info about the ride on Tim Masterson's blog, click here

I finished 9th in the 2013 Iron Butt Rally in July. Read my IBR ride report, click here

I rode in the 2013 Cape Fear Rally in April and finished 5th place

I just returned from a ride to Alaska. I rode from Key West, FL to Fairbanks, AK and back. See my photos on my photos webpage

I competed in the 2012 Cape Fear 1000 Rally and took first place for the Arcadia starters


Ride Reports

BBG3000 Ride Report

2013 Iron Butt Rally

BBG 3000 To Pinks

BBG Gold Quattro

BBG Trifecta

Memorial Weekend BBG

FL In State BBG II

FL In State BBG

Border To Border 2008

50CC The Hard Way

BBG3000 2007

First BBG 2004

 


Farkle Reports

2013 IBR Gold Wing Prep

Gold Wing Suspension Upgrade

Garmin 2797LMT GPS

Gold Wing AUX Tank Mount