Kirsten Avoids An Antelope

Mike Langford Finds A Lost Rally Flag

Tony Martin's Incredible Story of Deer Hits,
Bike Crashes,
Brake Failure, And MORE!!


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Three Tales From the 2015 Iron Butt Rally 
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We have three stories so far from the 2015 IBR.  We start with a Smurf Card "classic" event: bad situation avoided. Recall that Raider Karma refers more often to just that sort of circumstance.  Were it not for some intervention, disaster was set to occur.  OR, disaster DOES occur But then some "unlikely" events come together to save your bacon and buttisimo.   So "fate" intervenes to cause a set of circumstances where you get help just when you needed it or for some reason instead of every bone being broken you come out with just a busted lip or you take an action you had not planned on that magically avoids a problem.  Some of the tales are a bit spooky.  The odds of the circumstances unfolding as they did cannot be calculated.  Some events you might claim as just plain luck.  And a couple of folks submitting these stories are clearly perplexed as they don't WANT to believe in Raider Karma but are now mulling over what just happened to them.  For a more complete set of tales go HERE.  To get your own Smurf Card and get on the Raider List click the link in the column on the left.  These three stories run the continuum from "was that just luck?" through "I can't believe you survived".

Kirsten Avoids An Antelope Kirsten Avoids An Antelope Kirsten Talken-Spaulding's Story

Kirsten is a gold medalist in this year's Rally.  She was also in the lottery to for the opportunity to carry the Shards of Touring.  We made sure that she was among the competitors personally handed a Smurf Card when riders assembled in Albuquerque.
kirsten Kirsten Writes: ...perhaps the Smurf Card was a factor. One wonders how it was that I saw a white figure running off in the hills --- is that an ATV, a jogger, what the heck is that thing... well, what ever it is it just dropped down in a valley... um, I think I'll slow down just in case --- and out of seemingly no where in the middle of South Dakota rolling hills an antelope pops out onto the road RIGHT where I would have been had I not slowed. A startled look from the white beast and off it went... and so did I :)

Mike Langford Finds A Lost Rally Flag

Everybody seemed concerned that I might be a DNS (did not start) but I got in late Saturday (amidst typical New Mexico storms). Check on Sunday went without a hitch. At some point during the day I noticed that somebody had placed an envelop in my top case. I opened it to find a letter and a business sized "Smurf Card". This had come from Troy Martin. It seems that Dancin' Dave has some Karma that is passed around from the original Smurf via these cards. I'm not at all superstitious, so I smiled nicely and thanked Troy for his consideration. I tucked the Smurf card into my papers and didn't give it much more thought. As the Raider website says: "It Can't Hoyt!!!".

The Lost Flag
The Harry Truman site in Independence was a good bonus for me. That's about 15 miles from my Mom's house in Mission, KS and I'd be able to get my rest bonus and a good meal at her house. I managed to make it through the horrible St Louis storm cells (I was now well dressed for rain with my pant liners in place, and the Frogg Togg overcoat protecting my jacket) and headed west to KCMO. I hit the HST site and snapped the photo and headed west. I was tired and had get-home-i-tus.

The next AM I'm packing up and saying goodbye to my Mom and I don't see my flag. Yep, in my haste the previous night I'd drove off with my flag draped over my top case. Sigh my ass! I was downright SICK! I headed back to Independence in the hopes that my flag could be found. I'm about 1 mile from the site when I realize it could be anywhere along a 15 mile stretch of streets, roads, and freeways, My sickness deepens because, up to this point, I hadn't been watching the road. About that time, a 1/4 mile or so from the bonus site I spy my flag lying on the center line of the 4 lane Truman Road! It was worse for the wear but intact! Smurf? I'm still a skeptic but not so much as before.

Troy Martin's Incredible Tale In His Own Words
(Read this and marvel at the set of circumstances involved)
Troy "won the lottery" to get the Shards of Touring on his bike.  Pictures of the Shards arriving
and the "hand over ceremony" follow his tale.  And he of course had a Smurf Card and even gave some to other competitors.

This is the write up I posted on Facebook about it. It pretty much covers all the details.

Ok, I guess it's time for a write up on what happened to my IBR run that I'd been planning and training for for 5 years. I'm out of the rally at the end of leg 1. It's odd that it's not due to mechanical or personal failure really, just bad luck, several times. It all started about 2 months before the rally when I took my bike to the shop for pre rally maintenance and they found a chip in my cam, not critical but let's replace it anyway. 2 weeks extra to get the part and it doesn't fit, ok, put it back together and let's go with it. Then I couldn't find my passport, Amanda found it for me. Then loading my GPS with audio books it failed and corrupted the disk so it wouldn't boot up. After thinking on it for a day I fixed it by formatting the micro SD card and starting over. Then I installed all the rally equipment back on the bike and I noticed my cruise control wasn't working. I tracked it down to a short that was blowing a fuse, back to the shop. They discovered when I installed my aux tank, one of the mounting bolts pinched the trunk power feed causing the short, which caused the brake lights to not work (ground feedback issue I think), which caused the CC to not work. While it was in for the short I let them go ahead and do my brakes and tires which I had planned on doing myself (remember this part). So now I'm ready, but I've got a week still so hey, who wouldn't do some last minute adjustments. I go to lay the bike down in the garage and POP! I broke the shift pivot bolt. No problem right? I'll just drill it out. 3 days, 2 broken cobalt drill bits, a broken extractor, and countless hours, and I can't get it out. Thursday morning (leaving for the start on Friday morning) I ride to the shop in first gear and beg Tony Lewis to fix it and save me, which he does, because he's awesome. Ok, so now I'm ready, get to the start, start, everything is going smoothly, here's where the issues start getting dangerous. My GPS decides I should ride 40 miles down this BIA road in Arizona. Now I've been down these roads before during BL7 and they suck, but it looked ok so I went for it. 5 miles later I'm ready to turn around and go on pavement. I see a good wide turn around spot and slow to head for it, but there's a section of really deep ruts before it and I dump the bike. Ok, I can recover from this. Righted the bike, got out the roll of duct tape and went to work. No problem, I dropped it 2 more times before I got out of the ruts going back through them after turning around. Ok, I'm back on track, later that night I'm riding through a national forest in Wyoming and the area is SATURATED with forest rats (deer). I come up to a couple standing in the middle of the road, but the closest one is facing away, I should be alright but I'm watching her. Naturally, she turns and runs straight into me. Her head hit my turn signal and ripped off everything below that, including my aux light. Ok, I can recover from this, more duct tape (this is the picture you see in the daily report about it).  [Editor's note:  So you hit a deer and walk away.  Lucky, not yet a Smurf Event.]

The next day I picked up a vibration in my front brakes around little bighorn, and later while chasing cows off the road at a missile silo I heard a POP! and had no front brakes at all. I stop and walk back up the road and find one of my brake pads fell out. The retaining pin was missing. I collect the bonus and go to work. While I'm still working on them Eric Jewell (1st place after leg 1) shows up. I get the pad back in and run a couple of zip ties through the keep it in place. Back on the road and I got to ride with Mr Jewell to the next bonus. He said he'd follow me in case anything else fell off. Ok, recovered, doing well, bike is covered in duct tape and there's zip ties holding my brakes in place, just a normal IBR right.

The next day in Kansas, I pulled over onto a soft shoulder for a second and when trying to get back on the road my rear tire caught, sending me into a whip which ended in a high side. Now this one did some damage. I landed on my face and my shield broke off leading to a skid on my nose. A little scraped skin, no big deal, more duct tape, ok, crap, I bent my shifter and can't get my foot under it. I was on the phone to my wife telling her I may be out when a guy stopped and asked if I needed help, I said not unless you have tools that can bend the shift lever back out, "let me see what I've got". He pulls out a bucket with a couple of pipe wrenches and we manage to bend it back to usable form, woohoo, I'm back in the game.  [Editor's note: Smurf Event for sure including the fact that you survived the high side.]

So now I'm scraped up, the bike is literally held together with zip ties and duct tape, but I'm still running and doing well. I collect my last bonus and head to the checkpoint. 30 miles from the checkpoint, my audio book got boring, so I went to switch the audio system to ipod, I looked down, when I looked up, there's a guy doing 65 in a 75 zone. He was in the right lane, but so was I and I couldn't get slowed down and I hit him, hard. I managed to stay on the bike and kept it upright (it would have been really bad if I'd gone down) and got pulled over and stopped, with blood pouring out of my mouth. During the impact I put my teeth through my lip. An officer saw it happen and was right there so it didn't take much time to get the police report completed. They were both amazed that I didn't go down.  [Editor's note: Smurf Event #2...what else explains it?]

The bike was rideable, but the forks are bent, the fairing is crushed, the front fender evaporated. I rode it the last 30 miles to the checkpoint and arrived in time to not take any penalty points, so I checked in and had a heart to heart with the rally master (several riders reported seeing me on the side of the road with an officer). I completed scoring and was sitting in 4th place. Wow, with everything that went wrong, I was still only behind 3 amazing riders, and ahead of 83 others. But the bike was totaled and with everything going on I didn't feel like I should continue. I could have gotten another bike and been a finisher, but i don't think now is the time. The issues have been getting progressively more serious and I didn't want my family to have to deal with the next one that I couldn't walk away from, so I dropped out and my dream ended.

Today I'm sore, my lip hurts, I'm not looking forward to dealing with insurance, but I'm home, with my loving wife and children, and that's more important than ANY rally, even the big one. I'm enviously reading the dailies and watching the spot tracks, and already making plans to return in 2017 if the rally staff will have me. My wife and I will be heading back to Albuquerque for the finish and to pick up Nicole (the bike). Look for me in '17 on a black trophy with yellow accents named Lemony Snicket.

So, that's what happened and why I dropped out. There will be other rallies, and other IBRs, but not if I got killed because I couldn't take the hints the universe was giving me. 

Shards And More and Tony 
Shards Of Touring "Honor Guard" Arrives In Albuquerque

troy              shards