So it turns out I might have been bitten harder by the rally bug than I first thought.

At the finishing banquet rally master Lisa Erbes asked whether I’d maybe do it again and I was pretty emphatic in shaking my head that this was a one-time only deal… I was sleep deprived, I had pimples on my ass and I was quite prepared not to get back on that bike. Ever.

Kiwi very kindly offered to pay for me to fly back to Minneapolis and I only half-reluctantly accepted. But when I arrived at the airport and Kiwi was on his way to Minneapolis on the bike, I felt like I was missing out. After 10 days together on and off the bike, it felt like I was cheating by flying back and I felt really jealous of Kiwi – he was off having adventures on the bike without me!

Not much more than 12 hours later he joined me back in the Twin Cities and we proceeded to have a fabulous week of holidays.

As we were relaxing with our MN family up at Long Lake I may have mentioned that if Kiwi purchased the Grand America (K1600 B BMW) I’d join him on the IBR. It was a fairly empty threat at the time since I couldn’t see him putting down $25,000 on a new bike when the 1200 has done good service so far. But in all seriousness, I felt like if I could be more comfortable on the bike, then I’d consider doing it all again and on steroids.

Then about 3 weeks after returning home from BLIX in July, I started thinking that maybe the rally had been kind of fun after all. And a week later I might have mentioned something to Martin about how if I had more time to prepare for an IBR I might consider it. Over a few wines at the Turner RUC in Canberra we considered what an IBR two-up might look like for us – could we ride a rally that we’d both be comfortable with? Could we ride smart enough to compensate for my lack of hard riding and would we both be ok with that?

Some of the best women in the business (and their trusty chauffeurs) were kind enough to share their wisdom with me – John and Nadine Huvall Skyped with us for an hour from Lafayette, LA, Lynda Lahman suggested I check out Two-Up: Navigating a relationship 1000 miles at a time, and Lisa Erbes just gave it to me straight up. But none of them said ‘don’t do it’ (which is kinda secretly what I wanted them to do).

So many voices in my head were saying it was a crazy idea. 11 days is a long time, what if we have a massive argument? what if I can’t do it? what if I fail? Worse, what if I let Kiwi down? To be honest, it’s been about four months and I still have all those questions running through my head. It’s taken me this long to put it in writing because this makes it real. But I haven’t come up with a good reason not to do it…

In September sometime I sent off some paperwork signing my life away and asking if I could sit behind Kiwi for the 2019 IBR… And the Queen of the IBR said “sure”.

Which means I’m currently entered as a pillion for the 2019 IBR! Am I totally insane? That’s entirely possible? Have I told my mother yet? HELL NO! As far as she’s concerned, the US of A is one of the most dangerous places in the world right now (don’t ask) and combining that with extreme motorcycling would likely give her heart palpitations… Did I mention I’m an only child?

I’m under no illusions that the IBR will be easy. It’s twice the duration of BLIX and we’ll have to ride another 50% more distance each day just to be finishers. Also, the release forms I signed says

“the risks associated with participating in the 2019 Iron Butt Rally include divorce”

Holy Crap, Batman! For now I’m trying not to let the freak-out get in the way of being excited about preparing for the next level of crazy. Or as Kiwi is now calling it “Piglet Rides Again”!

Over the coming months I’ll be sharing my story – the preparations, the wins, the misses and, I’m sure, the doubts. Happy 2019! I have a feeling it’s going to be a big one!

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