|Certificates framed and hanging in home office|
|Certificates framed and hanging in my home office.|
As I take down all of my IBA ride certificates, remove them from their frames, and get ready to store them in a file folder, memories are flooding back to me, each ride presenting its own unique challenge. Thanks to Steve Maxwell and his idea to scan the certificates in first, and then post a bit about each one on the IBA Facebook page (excellent suggestion, Steve). I've copied those posts here into a blog entry.
Nearly all of this National Park Tour was worked in around other trips I already had planned...BMW national rallies, MTF events, RTEs around the country. I gained tremendous planning and routing experience by doing this first of several National Park Tours. And I learned so much! What do we think of when we hear the words National Park? Yellowstone, Yosemite... until I did this National Park Tour, I had no idea of the breadth and scope of our National Park System!
Looking at my ride calendar for the next twelve months, I realized I was in the perfect position to complete this. An MTF event brought me to the Northwest corner of the U.S. (Lolo, MT get-together) stamping through some of the most spectacular national parks along the way. From there, a fellow rider and I rode together from Lolo to Ft. Spokane so that I could get that WA state. My son's wedding in California? Bingo! Several parks collected in that state. A stamping trip through OH, upstate NY, and on into New England brought me ultimately to Acadia National Park. And of course, the annual trek to the IBA party in JAX gets that final corner of the country. And in between those four corners? Lots of new parks and experiences, including following wagon trails and tracing George Washington Carver's life, from Missouri to Alabama to Georgia. So in August 2007, I earned my 3rd IBA certificate, my 2nd National Park Tour and 1st National Park Tour Silver. I'm so much richer for having done these IBA National Park Tours.
This was a confirming experience for me back then. I'd gotten a new Bill Mayer saddle and a heated jacket liner in preparation for the 50CC. These served me well on that attempt and then again on the BBG. It was wet and cold for much of the day during that BBG. I remember dreading having to stop for gas and the bathroom because it would mean unplugging the liner and freezing until I could get plugged back in and back on the road. I was pleased with my planning and preparations, and it validated my ability to stick with the plan. Earning this BBG certificate, the first of two, changed my riding forever. I learned that I did indeed know how to stay in the saddle, that my marathon fitness translated well into long distance riding endurance, and that I could sustain good riding 'form' for 23 hours, living off of peanut butter sandwiches and Gatorade. I was very proud of myself when I pulled into my own garage at the end of this ride. My 5th IBA certificate and first BBG.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. My own bed felt wonderful, and I got up early and rode the last 871 miles to the JAX hotel. Friend Claye Curtis had done her own ride-in and we arrived at about the same time. We had a late dinner at the Steak & Shake to celebrate. I'd done it! 3,000 miles and two IBA certificates in 4 days, My first multi-day IBA certificate, a SS2000, and my 7th IBA certificate.
|Legends Autograph sheet-served as our SS1k documentation|
Bob Higdon, Dave McQueeney, Ardys Kellerman, Jim Owen, Shane Smith, Marty Leir, Ross and Jean Copas. Jean was so excited upon seeing me. I was the first female rider to arrive at their checkpoint, which was the last one before the finish.
I remember being passed along I-10 near Tallahassee by an older yellow BMW GS. When I rode through Marianna, that same bike passed me again as it came up the entrance ramp from what was no doubt a gas stop.
We stayed together all the way to the next checkpoint in Pensacola, where Marty Leir was waiting for us.This was the turnaround point and the yellow GS and I were still together as we left that stop and started our long ride on I-10 to the next checkpoint in Tallahassee. When we made that turnaround in Pensacola and as we rode East, we saw many other ride participants heading west. It was fun seeing them, as we all gave each other giant arm waves of acknowledgement.
As I left that last checkpoint in Tallahassee, I fell in with Steve Short and we rode pretty much together all the way to the finish at the hotel in JAX. It was so cold, even with my heated gear on, that I was shivering uncontrollably as I got off the bike to retrieve my paperwork and hand it to the IBA staff for validation. Steve and I went next door to the Steak and Shake and wrapped our freezing hands around cups of hot cocoa while we waited for our food to arrive. It was truly a memorable and "Legendary" SS1000! My 5th SS1000 and 11th IBA certificate.
The bike's chain and sprockets still looked very good with 26,000 miles on them, but I thought it prudent to go ahead and change them out and put new tires on as well. I was ready. She was ready.
The ride to Las Cruces went smoothly until just over the state line in NM. Traffic was at a standstill on the interstate and I was starting to fry from the heat coming up off the tarmac and off my bike's radiator. We crept along and finally made it to an exit where we were being diverted onto a local road that ran parallel to the interstate. About 2 miles up the road, I could see the problem...a car fire. I was thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't among those cars stuck in that 2 mile stretch beyond that exit ramp. My BBG would have been over had that happened.
It was getting dark as neared Colorado. The sun setting behind the foothills along the interstate in New Mexico was stunning! The ride across Raton Pass in the dark and in the cold was nerve-wracking as the warning signs grew more ominous by the mile....watch for deer, watch for ice, watch for elk, watch for bears, watch for falling rocks.
At the final gas station, just on the other side of the interstate from the hotel, I was elated. I'd done this on my little 600cc sport bike! She performed flawlessly. The gas station was closed but the pumps were open. It was pitch black and I was totally unable to find the side stand with my toe to deploy it. I struggled with it for a few minutes, then just sat there and laughed at myself. After riding 1500 miles through the desert and through the mountains, in the heat and then in the cold, if this was the hardest thing I had to do all day, then I was in trouble. I finally snagged it with my toe, got it deployed, got my gas, and rode the short mile to the hotel. Done!! My second BBG and 12th IBA certificate. And on a 600cc sport bike!
IBA certificate #15: The ill-fated "Waffle House" SS2000. In 2012, a rider in the IBA community came up with the cool idea of a Waffle House Tour, which included doing a Waffle House IBA ride of our choosing. I decided to do a SS2000 to the IBA JAX party in March and to do it on my 600cc sport bike. The first leg was an out-and-back 1,000 miles from my home. I would sleep in my own bed, then get up early the next morning and do another 1,000 miles to JAX, picking up Waffle House photos with my Waffle House flag along the way. The route was planned and entered into my GPS, and I headed out early the next morning and got the required start receipt at a nearby Waffle House.
After about 800 miles of that first leg, my knees started to ache, being folded up in that sport bike position. I usually didn't have the problem at all, in fact I found that riding position to be more comfortable for me than any other position, but here's the problem. I had begun to really step up my running, adding more miles and doing more half marathons. And I had just run a half marathon in Little Rock, AR the weekend before. So when I got home after that first 1,000 mile leg, I had to decide if I was up for the second 1,000 mile leg on that bike. I could always change bikes, doing the second leg on my BMW. But then it wouldn't be a SS2000, but would be two separate SS1000's. I already had plenty of those hanging on my wall. So my decision was made. I would forgo doing the second leg, and just submit this on my own, not as a Waffle House ride, but as a plain and simple SS1000, my 7th SS1000 and 15th IBA certificate.
As it turned out, it was to be the last IBA ride of my riding career. I had scheduled and made plans for other subsequent IBA rides but things always seemed to get in the way and I'd have to cancel my plans. Ultimately my long distance running began to really take over my free time and spare money, so that resources originally spent on Long Distance riding were now being diverted to travel to run fun and interesting destination marathons around the country.
I have wonderful memories attached to each of these 15 IBA ride certificates and have made some really wonderful friends along the way.
|Mile Eater Certificate|
The other certificates are now taken down, removed from their frames and safely filed away. Thank you for following along as I reminisced about each of these certificates. The only IBA certificate that will remain on the wall: My Mile Eater Bronze certificate. Mike Kneebone included the line on the certificate: "No other rider has completed more National Park tours - Five - than Barbara Smith."
I'll always keep this one certificate hanging. It summarizes my IBA resume. I was only 3 easy SS1000 rides away from earning the Mile Eater Gold - I already had all of the extreme rides needed for that Mile Eater level and had even considered cranking out those last three SS1000's just to qualify - but in the end, decided my IBA riding career was complete as is.
It's funny how our minds can rationalize things. I reasoned that the money I'd spend doing those last three SS1000 rides, an amount equal to about $300 when gas and certificate applications are factored in, would pay for three good marathons. See? There is life after IBA rides!