Once again it’s been a little longer than I’d planned between posts – but not as long as last time at least! I hope you like the new layout for the blog – I decided to get a bit more serious about things, including getting rid of the ads (someone I know kept getting redirected while trying to read my posts) and I’m hoping this layout is nice to read and so on!
I’ve already posted about our ride to Mansfield and our failure to finish the Muster but I think it’s time to share at least some of the context to the ride and some more lessons we’ve learnt.
First up, the context. You may have sensed (or not, depending on how good I am at hiding it) that while I have been physically signed up for the IBR since late last year, I may not have been fully signed up mentally. I’ve said to the Kiwi many times over the past 8 months that I wanted to keep taking the steps and preparing for the IBR alongside him until or unless I got to the point that I knew I really didn’t want to do it. I wanted to give it a go even though I still wasn’t 100% sure I’d make it to June.
Well, funnily enough that has meant that I’ve only been half in the game. I have plenty of excuses (like everyone, I have a job and things in my life other than motorcycling that are important to me) but none of them really matters because I wasn’t really, genuinely signed up to the rally. I didn’t set aside meaningful time or headspace to do the things Kiwi was suggesting we do for prep.
Then along came the Muster. As usual, it was a busy week at work leading into it – but, having learnt our lesson from previous rides, we’d both taken leave for the day on Friday to relieve a bit of the stress. My planning involved applying for leave for the day, leaving work a bit early on Thursday to pack my pannier bag and get our nutrition bags ready and then heading to bed early on Thursday night. I didn’t read the Muster forum, I didn’t read the rules, I didn’t help with the route planning… The list goes on.
It wasn’t until we’d been on the road for 8-10 hours that I started to actually engage in what we were doing. I remembered that for last year’s muster we’d arrived and checked in on Saturday around midday and asked Kiwi early afternoon on Friday how early you were allowed to arrive and still be a finisher for the Muster… He said obviously you couldn’t arrive a week early but like 24 hours was fine, and then he went back to riding the bike. Turns out we had to arrive on Saturday. But I hadn’t engaged, or read the rules or anything. In every sense, I was basically a passenger on Kiwi’s ride.
But late on Friday, while sitting on the bike, my ass hurting like crazy and feeling pretty sorry for myself, wondering whether I really thought I could do this for 11 days, I realised that I’d rather put up with a sore ass and some physical discomfort for 11 days and give the IBR a red hot go with my partner than pull out and spend the rest of my life wondering what it would have been like. So the biggest lesson for me from the Muster? I’m all in. I’m not going to die wondering!
What other lessons did we learn as a team? Well, the things that worked for us were:
- Keeping our ride log
- Our nutrition and hydration strategy (barley sugars are excellent!)
- Having two battery packs for helmet charging during the day
- Route planning and routing
- Our sleep strategy (sleeping at the beginning/end of the ride, rather than in the middle)
- Our ride strategy (breaking the ride into quarters)
- Having two longer breaks during the day of 20 minutes off the bike, combined with fuel and meal stops.
The things we still need to improve:
- Reading the lessons we supposedly learnt last time before the ride!
- Making sure we read the rules
- Remembering to have moisturiser with us – especially lip balm
- Clothing still needs a few adjustments
I’ve bought a new pair of boots exactly the same as my current ones as the zipper on my left boot broke on the way to Mansfield (I managed to repair it but I suspect it won’t last the distance for the IBR) and splurged on a new pair of Rukka 4 season pants (Orbita) since there’s a chance I’ll need the warmth at some point during the IBR.
That’s it for now… More later