I apologize for a long post, just not a good way to shorten a BBG report.
Shortly after my Lake Michigan SS100, I started considering the next level of difficulty. The BBG seemed like the next logical step. I read every bit of knowledge I could find, the best reports coming from STN, (
thanks BOOV and Justin for comments), ADVrider, and The IBA website.
Fuel and Route:
I considered using an aux fuel cell right up until I ran out of time to build one.
After making a few modifications to my fuel system over the years, I always get at least 200 miles out of a tank of gas. Usually more, but my worst case has always been 200 at highway speeds. (this would haunt me) The low fuel light will come on at +170ish and I can go 40 miles before looking for a station, another 20 without fear of running dry.
When I laid out my route I set up for 200 or less mile intervals.
I was adamant I did not want to go through Chicago. So I turned left at Gary and went down through Indianapolis and St Louis, ending in Rifle Colorado, a distance of 1535 miles.
This is my route with my planned gas stops.
I researched each gas top to make certain the stations would be open, more than one station, and they were at the end of the ramp or very close. I did not want to drive 4 miles into a Podunk town to find the only station was closed.
Because of my very real inability
to follow the simplest of instructions when I am tired, I have 2 gpsís and a route sheet taped to my tank.
The route sheet is a cliff notes version of exit numbers, miles, times, and highway numbers. (Printed large enough for my old eyes to see) This saved my butt a couple of times, again mostly because I get stupid when I am tired.
I calculated the time for each of my 7 gas stops at 17 minutes max, starting from the time I started to decel on the exit ramp. That works out to just under 2 hours of gas stop time, leaving 22 hours to ride.
The average speed only needs to be 68 miles an hour. I put another hour in for other stuff, bringing the minimum average speed up to 71.5. I was feeling confident!
For record keeping I picked up a little plastic recipe card holder from the dollar store. My IBA notebook, a pencil, ink pen, credit card, and all the receipts went in this. The card holder was stored in a pocket of my tank panniers for easy access.
For two weeks before the ride, I managed to drop about 15 pounds by changing my diet and bicycling 10 miles almost every night after work. This made a huge difference in seat comfort and endurance.
I left home on June 2 at 6:00 am in 47 degree light rain. There are a lot of opinions about the best time to ride. For me, I got up at my normal time just like any normal day. I just didnít go to bed until the job was done.
The thing that I did not, could not plan on was wind. I picked up a SW 10-15mph wind just south of Gary. Because of that my low fuel lamp came on at 155; 15 miles before it should have! I was real concerned about how fast I was using fuel and how far I could go on reserve. I choose to stop early for gas, which kind of destroyed my gas stop plans.
Because of the direction of the wind, when I turned west in St Louis I still had a head wind and it was picking up; 15-25 mph across Missouri and into Kansas. At times my warning light would come on at 145 miles. My 7 planned gas stops turned into 10. Because of timing most of these were splash-n-go helmet stays on. Mid Kansas gave me a brief break in the wind, only to get hot, 90+ with a 5-8 mph breeze.
Western Kansas had a treat in store for me; it saved up all the wind for one final big blow out. I ran headlong into a thunderstorm that made me seriously consider stopping. The wind was so strong the rain looked like snow blowing across in front of me and I could feel the drops hit me through my raingear. I had to slow down to 65 just to keep the bike on the road. The next day I learned that this storm had torn roofs off houses and collapsed a gas station canopy.
By the time I got to the Colorado state line, the wind and rain were gone and it was very pleasant riding for about an hour. As I started the climb into Denver, the temperatures started to drop. I knew this was gonna be the most dangerous part, I was tired, dehydrated, wet from rain and sweating, and facing dropping temperatures and mountain roads.
I needed food, drink, fuel, and warm clothes at the next stop.
If I did not have a heated vest cranking out at full heat, I would not have been able to make the next 350 miles through Denver and Veil Pass.
I arrived in Rifle with most of my spare hour intact, 45 minutes to spare thanks to keeping my moving average up and my stops to a minimum. .
More than anything, this is a game of numbers and staying on the bike. If I wasted 2 more minutes at each gas stop I would have lost another 20 minutes.
I should apologize to the people of Colorado, I believe I used all the hot water in the state when I got in the shower at my hotel.