Thursday, May 21, 2009

IBA Run Playback Part I - The smell of exhaust in the morning

While riding, I am able to mentally compose blog entries with such descriptive richness that a reader can experience the sights, sounds, tactility, smells, and even tastes of a motorcycle ride. Unfortunately, dismounting initiates a mental degaussing process that erases the elegant prose that moments before flowed like water. Some call this Adult ADD.

What follows in this post and a few subsequent posts will be a chronological description of my experiences and observances while on the 1K-mile trek. They will include comments about the weather, road conditions, other riders, and spurious thoughts that transpired throughout the 18-½ hours I was on the road. I hope you find these entertaining.

Dawn breaks with the smell of over 400 motorcycles
Having not gotten to sleep until after midnight--I kept wondering what I had forgotten to pack--I got up a 4am and peered outside. The sky was overcast with a hint of rain in the air. I decided a hearty breakfast was warranted and cooked eggs over hard with toast and juice. Conscious of gastric function, I carefully monitored the quantity of ingested food attempting to strike a balance between sufficiency and that which would require frequent stops. My goal was to synchronize nature calls with fuel stops.

The temperature was warm enough that I thought it prudent to open the zippered air flaps in my riding suit before heading off--they stayed open for all but the last 100 or so miles of the ride. I made some last minute adjustments to my packing by removing about half of the tools I squirreled away. I also decided to run back in and make some peanut butter sandwiches that I had previously decided not to take. I rolled out of the garage headed for the stop/start point in Chantilly at about 4:35am. It was dark. And as always when I happen to be out and about at such an early hour, I was surprised at the number of vehicles on the road--the Washington metro area never sleeps.

I arrived at the start/stop point just at 5am. Riders, probably at least a ¼ of the total, were already staged and anxious to get going. As I found a spot in line, one of my good motorcycle riding friends walked up and met me. Having no need to seek the hidden zen of 1000-miles in 24 hours, he was not riding but only there to see me off. A good friend indeed.

At about 5:15 the first set of "special riders" were sent off. The IBA crew then combed through the staged riders collecting rider identification sheets, making note of rider IDs, license numbers, and odometer readings. I was off at 5:35 just 14-min before the sun was due to rise. Despite the overcast morning, there was soon enough light for motorists stopped by Fairfax police to count the 423 riders snaking their way towards I-66 heading east for the Capitol Beltway and then south towards Richmond.

I love the smell of motorcycle exhaust in the morning!
(Not really, but I can't think of another way to end this on a dramatic note.)

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