I Ride For Me, Not You

It has snowed a lot this week. I’m sorry a metric shit-ton (for those of you that would like an actual measurement.) Anyway, the snow has sparked a good many thoughts such as: Why did I choose to live here? When will it stop? How long until summer? And of course, on the rare day it sneaks above freezing and isn’t snowing: Time to ride? The answer to that question is almost always no, and for a myriad of reasons including the fact that it’s still freaking cold.

Many people who live here take pride in riding all winter, not letting the freezing temperatures stop them and wear it like a badge of pride. To each their own, I’m glad that they are doing what makes them happy and there is no judgement from this girl. I, however, am more than happy to hibernate, and winterize my bike. My beautiful baby is currently in under a full cover, somewhere amongst the pile of snow I’ve tirelessly shoveled from my driveway. Many of my friends anticipate that I’ll be out riding soon. I suppose that’s because they see me as a hardcore rider, but they are wrong. I have no intention of bringing my bike out for at least another month (if not two). And, I am proud of that.

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Iron Butt: Idaho Falls to Butte

This is the second part in a series.The first part of this story can be found here

I sat in Jack-in-the-Box pouring over maps and routes, calculating routes, and options for travel. After about 30 minutes, I had formulated a route that would allow me to complete the Iron Butt. The next step of my trip would be the same, I was headed to Butte, but from there I would turn towards Bozeman. It was all highway so it would be faster but likely boring and surely not as breathtaking as Glacier would have been. I took a moment to mourn the loss of that experience, but knew that it would be safer and better for me in the long run. As I finished my coffee, I sighed, rose from the table and shook off my dark mood. This was exciting! There was still so much to see and experience, and no matter where I was headed it was sure to be a thrilling ride.

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Iron Butt: The First 200 (SLC –> Idaho Falls)

I spent this summer travelling everywhere on my motorcycle. Every chance I got I would pack up with a change of clothes and my camping gear and take off to somewhere new. I even attempted an Iron Butt (1000 miles in 24 hours or less.) As with any trip, this one was not without its problems.

Over July 4th weekend, I decided to add another National Park to my jacket. (I have a leather jacket covered in patches from all the places I’ve been.) Some friends had recently gone up to Glacier National Park and it looked amazing. It was a perfect time, during the small window that the “Going to the Sun” road, which runs through the park, is open. Glacier isn’t too far, about 1400 miles and I figured I could easily do over the three-day July 4th weekend, After some planning, I decided that I should just make the trip an Iron Butt. I did lots of preparation (much more than usual); I made sure I knew where to get gas, packed for quick and easy access and ensured that I would be able to complete the 1000 miles with plenty of time to spare. My ending point was in Bozeman, MT. Bozeman was over 400 miles away from home, but if I was going to ride through Glacier, it was the best stopping point, for finding an end witness and finding a place to sleep.

I left home at 3:00AM. 3:06 to be exact. This was strategic, it allowed me to go home and sleep after work, ensured I would avoid any traffic, and maximized my 3 day weekend. I met with two of my friends, who had just gotten off work, at a gas station. They signed the witness forms and wished me luck as I filled up with gas. My first stop was Malad, Idaho, a little over 100 miles away. I felt good, not too tired, and felt incredibly prepared.

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2017? Bring it on!

​For many of you, 2016 was pretty rough, I however had a pretty good year. I started the year off with a new job that was closer to home and has great benefits. And before the year was over, I was promoted and given a raise. 

On the moto-front, I started the year off on a pretty sour note. My previous bike, Bubba, bit the dust in October, and the prognosis was pretty bad. Having run out of oil, almost the entire front cylinder had been worn away, and to fix it I would need to either replace the entire engine, or rebore the front cylinder. Either one presented it’s own monetary challenge and then there was the question of figuring out how the oil had “disappeared”. After a full inspection of my bike no one could tell where oil might have leaked from, and it hadn’t been burning any, so the idea of trying to diagnose that issue was not one I was particularly excited about. I also didn’t want to buy a new bike since I had just bought a car, and wasn’t sure I could budget another payment. 

Then fortune struck, my mother (who has always been staunchly against my owning a motorcycle) told me she would give me access to a stash of money she had invested for me, money that she had been holding on to for a big purchase, like a house. She had never let me touch the money before now and I was shocked when she offered. I couldn’t believe that she offered, given how much she hated the fact that I rode. I think she realized how happy motorcycles make me and how important they were to me. We bargained about how much I’d be allowed to use, or would need. With my new found wealth I was could afford a to buy a new moto.

I eventually landed on a 2015 Yamaha Bolt, brand new with 0 miles. I had always loved the way they looked; they were that perfect combination of functional and sexy. I fell in love on the first ride, that first pull back on the throttle, the way the bike responded with the slightest touch. I felt an immediate connection; I knew this was the bike. Fortunately, for a number of reasons (including the fact that it was the middle of February in Utah) I got a great deal on it and stayed well within my budget. It was an indication of the riding season to come. 

Braeden and I made a great pair, and he was broken in by the end of March. He was completely different in the way he rode and handled and the first few months weren’t without a fair share of close calls. (One time, I got a little too relaxed and sort of autopiloted until I was almost thrown off when I pulled back a little too hard on the throttle). 

I did more riding this year than any other season, riding 10,000 miles before the middle of November. It’s surreal to me, as I don’t feel I rode to that many places, or even really spent that much time on my bike. For most of the season it wasn’t even a conscious effort to hit 10,000 miles. It wasn’t until returned from a trip in August, and realized my odometer had hit 8,500 miles that I started to think about the “big 10,000”. It wasn’t much of a push, by the time I returned from Babes Ride Out (a 1,200 mile round trip), I was only 150 miles off. I of course made a ceremony of it and will certainly write about it at another time. 

2016 was a pretty good year overall, through my success at my new job, and the numerous adventures with great friends, I really found myself again. As we cruise headlong into 2017, I am excited to see what this year holds for me. However you felt about 2016, for better or worst it’s over, and now we’re on to 2017. And just like every year, I hope it will be better than the last.