2019 – TOH New England – SS1000 – Pre Trip Planning

Over the past couple of years, as I’ve started getting involved with the long distance riding world, I’ve read just about every ride report/blog I can find. This is the first trip I’ve done that I felt might be interesting to others, so I’ve attempted to write a ride report. This is my first time, go easy on me….

I started thinking about doing this ride towards the end of last summer for a few reasons:

  • Two years ago I completed an IBA SaddleSore 1000 (1000 miles in 24hrs on a motorcycle) earning membership in the Iron Butt Association. I’d hoped to do anther certified ride last year, but life got in the way and I never made it happen.
  • Last year I started participating in Tour Of Honor, I did enough to be considered a finisher and had a great time doing it, but my personal goal was all of the New England Sites, and once again life got in the way.
  • Last fall I participated in The Void Rally, a long distance endurance rally. This was my first rally of this type longer than 8 hrs. I had a blast doing it, but I had some bike issues, one of which was a vapor lock issue that occurred when the the fuel tank got below half. I rode over 1800 miles that weekend and stopped for gas 20 times. Determined not have to do that again, this winter I build an auxiliary fuel tank for the bike. I also replaced the fuel filter which, after testing and research I believe was the root cause of the problem. Before the next rally (MD2020 in May), I need to confirm the fix was successful and the tank works.

So, I want to do an IBA Certified ride, I want to complete all of the New England Sites, and I want to stress test my fuel system modifications. A plan starts to form…

The Tour of Honor (ToH) and Iron Butt Association (IBA) have special certificates if you complete ToH sites during a SS1000 or BB1500 (1500 miles in 36 hrs). Looking at last years sites, to get all of the New England region sites would be about 1600 miles and take about 32hrs (not including stopped time). Getting the ToH memorials requires more time on secondary roads that one would typically choose for a certified ride making this is pretty aggressive for the BB1500 and all sites (you really only need 8 for the certificate).

The ToH also awards trophies to the first 3 riders to complete a state/region. While a trophy isn’t going to change my life, it is an additional motivation to try for all the site. The ToH sites for the year are released on April 1st at 0001. So, here’s the plan:

  • Wake up at midnight on April 1st, spend about an hour planning a route and be on the road by 0100
  • Complete the SS1000 getting as many ToH sites as I can, with 8 being the minimum.
  • Find a hotel, get some sleep and re-evaluate based on how things are going. There are 3 main options at this point
    – Continue to get the rest of the sites and complete the BB1500.
    – Get some or all of the rest of the site but not worry about the BB1500 time constraint
    – Declare victory/defeat and head directly home.

Thinking about routing leading up to April 1st here are some of my thoughts:

  • It’s still pretty cold in New England in April, I have heated gear, but I don’t want to push my luck. I also don’t want to be in northern VT/NH/ME at night if I can avoid it due to wild life. Therefore a primary goal for routing is going to be to get through those sections on the first day before dark.
  • If I’m unable to get all the sites during this ride (which is a very real possibility), it will be easier for me to get the southern ones at a later time as they’re closer to home.
  • Therefore my preliminary strategy is to shoot up through Massachusetts into Vermont then across New Hampshire into Maine, returning to Massachusetts, or at least the interstate before dark.

All of that of course depends on the site locations and availabilities (some maybe daylight only or time restricted), so the plan will likely get thrown out the window on April 1st at 00:01:01. At least it should be good practice for routing on the clock…

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