Friday, August 15, 2008

IBA Meeting in Tulsa

So many attendees!! So many legends of the LD Riding community!! So many very-well equipped motorcycles in the parking lot!! And did I say, so many long distance legends??!!

I got downstairs early so that I could register and got to introduce myself to Lisa and thank her for such a well-organized event. Waiting in line for breakfast, I was joined by another MTF member, Randy Freyer, and as we were being led to a table, another MTF member, Lori Majors, waved at us to join her at her table. I think the large group is overwhelming the restaurant staff at the hotel. The night before, three of us - Sheila Winnie, Lori Majors and I - had dinner together and, as the restaurant filled, they pressed the bartender into helping wait tables. Lori had done a BBG to the meeting, arriving that morning, and she was clearly beyond tired and fading fast as we waited for our food.

This morning's session got off to a rousing start with a talk given by Dale "Warchild" Wilson about an endurance ride he did last summer. He was followed by an MD and her LD riding husband, to talk about nutrition, hydration, and "truck stop pharmacology." Before we broke for lunch, several LD riders participated in a fashion show, demonstrating the riding gear each of them chooses to wear.

The delivery style was at least as entertaining as the story itself. It was to set the tone for the entire day of excellent seminars and workshops. The format was the same both days: general assembly and topics in the morning, break-out sessions in the afternoon. Each afternoon several "Farkle Masters," wearing blue t-shirts, conducted parking lot sessions on bike electronics, wiring, soldering, autocom set-up.

Friday afternoon I attended the afternoon breakout sessions which included topics on riding a first rally and efficient rallying. The second topic was of much greater use to me, as it was not necessarily specific to rallying and provided information of value to the type of riding that I do, i.e., "power sniffing."

During the breaks and at lunch I had the opportunity to meet some MTF members for the first time, even though I'd "chatted" with them on the forum. This was a real treat for me. We all had time to socialize for an hour or so after the sessions and before dinner. Dinner was excellent, and the guest speaker was Bob Higdon, who gave an excellent photography presentation of his and Mike Kneebone's trip on rented BMW dualsports across Australia. This was followed by a preview of the '07 IBR!! Really well-done, so far.

On Saturday, the day started with a panel discussion about the upcoming 2009 IBR. The panel consisted of past IBR participants, both rookie and experienced. It was a good cross-section of experience and lack of it, covering everything from rally preparation, motorcycle preparation, mistakes made, and things done right. This was followed by two very rally-specific topics: digital photography for bonus verification, and Electronic navigation and mapping. I popped in and out of these two, finding the digital session of little value and filled with questions, the answers to which, were very obvious. I skipped the navigation session to go out to the parking lot with Richard to adjust my chain. I had the bike serviced prior to this trip but could feel the chain binding when decceleratiing to a stop.

Another great lunch, and it was then into the breakout sessions on doing the National Park Tour (one of my favorites) followed by rallying in the rain which, again, I skipped so that I could spend some time with one of the vendors. I ended up buying a pair of First Gear Katmandu summer-weight riding pants, which they were introducing here at the meeting and offering at a national meet discount.

The newly renovated Marriott hotel handled the event beautifully, preparing the meals, serving them buffet style, the room set-ups...everything seemed to go flawlessly. The last evening's dinner featured an hilarious presentation on rally bloopers, given by Tom Austin.

I wasn't much into the bar scene each evening after dinner, pretty much wanting to get back to my room to watch the olympics. I was so disappointed that I'd missed the women's marathon Saturday, catching it moments after the winner crossed the finish line.

Before dinner I had taken a load of things out to the bike to get a jump on the next morning's packing. I also sent an email to Glenda to confirm our lunch date Sunday at Ft. Scott, KS. I'm looking forward to getting on the road again, riding up through AR, MO, and KS, and collecting some national park stamps and AMA bonus points.

Tomorrow: Big things, Italian things, and lunch with friends.

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