Circle City SaddleSore

Uncle Zoom

Premier Member
#1
Normally, I am quite content to go to the IBA store, find an In-State SaddleSore pin I like and then go do that ride. But lately, I found myself needing to do something different. Something most people haven’t done or don’t want to do. Then last year, on Chris Comly’s suggestion, I attended the IBA Jacksonville Bike Week Party for the first time. During the banquet, Howard started talking about Dave McQueeney and the fact he has ridden over 2 million miles. I got my calculator out and let’s see… Yeah! I’m only three miles from reaching that milestone myself, so that isn’t what I’m looking for. Then he mentioned Dave also has done several In-City SaddleSores. In-City SaddleSores! That got my attention. Riding a thousand miles within a city limit? Now that’s my kind of mental illness.

Once I returned home I contacted Mike Kneebone to see if he would approve an Indianapolis SaddleSore. He told me the bad news first. I-465, the interstate that circles Indianapolis actually goes in and out of the city limits so it cannot be used. The good news was three people have already done this ride and two of them live less than five miles from me. I contacted Tom and Joanna Southwood to set this in motion. After we talked, I decided instead of re-inventing the wheel I would ride their route, with the exception of using a different gas station. Unfortunately, all last summer and into the winter, the various interstates in and around Indianapolis were all under major construction. Finally, everything fell into place on the 8th of March, just in time to use this SaddleSore as my Ride-In to Jacksonville this year.

I met Tom at his house and we drove the 45 minutes it took to get to the starting gas station. If I remember right it was around 24 degrees. Arriving, I filled the gas tank, reset the GPS to zero, recorded the mileage on the receipt, started the bike and reached up to turn on SWConnect. My phone was dead. Great! That’s just great! One of the major prerequisites for doing this ride was sending Kneebone my SpotWalla link so he could follow my progress. Tom thought it was the cold causing the problem, so we warmed up the phone and put it back on the handlebar charger. The battery showed 16%, but SWConnect was working, so off into the cold dark night I went.
The route was simple and 22.5 miles in length. From the gas station, take I-70 East, (which goes through downtown Indy), turn right on I-65 South to I-465 West back to I-70 East. Always stay in the far right lane and repeat 46 times. For those of you thinking, well that’s got to be boring, it wasn’t. Joanna had told me how things are in constant change and over the course of the day I found out she was right. Things are in constant change. Some you notice immediately, others took all day. So this is how the ride went.

To start, even though the first three laps were in the dark, I couldn’t help from noticing that right in the middle of downtown on I-70, there was a huge, dead raccoon three lanes over to my left. Exactly, 11 miles away, or half way through the 22.5 mile lap was a dead squirrel in my lane. I always forgot about it being there and ended up hitting that little glob of goo each time around. On the fourth lap, turning back onto I-70 East, the sun was rising like a god right down the middle of my lane. Even though I had on sunglasses and used the Shoei sun visor, my retinas were on fire. Then, as if the sunlight had sprouted them out of the ground, traffic cops started to appear out of nowhere. There was one police officer who had a different car pulled over on I-65 on each of the following 14 laps. There was another officer on I-465 West doing the same. Then, after a while they both disappeared. A couple of hours would go by and then they would be writing tickets again.

I also noticed as I went around there would be nobody, and then on the very next lap there would be a broken down car on the side of the road. Three or so laps later the car would be gone. One time not only was there no car, but on the next lap a car had broken down and was already on a tow truck. On I-70, one poor guy ahead of me pulled over. The next lap he was standing next to his car talking on his phone. The following three laps he was sitting in his car. The next six laps he was sound asleep with his face pressed against the window and drool running down his cheek. The following lap he was gone and three laps after that so was his car.

The sky would be a brilliant bright blue and on the very next lap be filled with clouds and then blue again two laps later. Sometime in the late afternoon a Harley Road King came up on my left. I looked over and there was Tom Southwood’s smiling mug, waving at me. He followed me for two laps and then disappeared in the traffic. Pretty soon the sun was falling out of the sky and when I turned on I-465 West it was once again right in the middle of my lane causing one last bout of blindness before disappearing under the horizon. The city lights came back on and I was riding in the darkness again. The traffic cops disappeared with the sun. I stopped around 11:00 p.m. for gas and texted Tom I had around 100 miles to go. Back on the road, I was looking at the lights downtown when, with about 300 milliseconds of warning, I hit the dead raccoon. Really! Someone want to explain to me how a dead, flattened out carcass that has been in one spot for the last 16 hours can get up and walk three lanes over to its right and then lay down again just so I can hit it? Then, no kidding, 11 miles later the dead squirrel I had been running over all day long was gone. Vanished! What’s the deal? Did it get off work and go home? Finally, my GPS said I had enough mileage and my butt had enough sitting, so I pulled into the gas station to get my final receipt. There, at 1:18 in the morning, and even though they had to be up by seven, were Tom and Joanna. They signed my witness form and then we talked until after 2:00 a.m. Finally, we decided it was time to go and we all rode back to the north side together.

This should be the end of the story, but it isn’t. When I arrived in Jacksonville, I literally had 25-30 people come up to me at various times and say, “So you’re the one?” All I could do was lower my head and say, “Yeah that would be me.” At one point several of us went to eat. There was an IBA member I had not previously met nicknamed, Hammy. He asked why everyone was calling me crazy and they told him about the SaddleSore. He grabbed a paper placemat and wrote out a certificate stating I was in fact off my rocker. Turns out he could do that, he’s a psychologist. Or so he says!

Going around in circles for 18 hours allowed me to see all the constant changes that take place at a certain point that you don’t get to see on a normal SaddleSore or BunBurner going from point A to B. Unfortunately however, this ride had a negative aspect. I no longer think of the Indianapolis 500 race as a big deal. I mean let’s face it. They drive around on a closed track with other professional drivers only going 500 miles in cars with the latest safety features supported by a pit crew. I, on the other hand drove 1,035 miles on a motorcycle with the air that surrounded me as my safety feature. I had to share the road with people of all driving abilities, watch for individuals who hand out performance reports, plus I had to fill my own gas tank. Not once, but seven times! Seven times I tell you. I didn’t see a pit crew anywhere at that gas station. Also, let us not forget the dead animals that mysteriously moved around on the road at will or disappeared into thin air like a vapor. Yeah, I think I will be viewing the Indy 500 with a different perspective this year.

Would I do it again? Already talked to Mike about doing Jacksonville and Howard has volunteered to be my witness. Talked to Dave McQueeney and he just e-mailed me his route for a SaddleSore (or BunBurner) in Albuquerque. Yeah, I’m gonna’ do it again. Remember, I’m certifiable.



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XPLSV

Premier Member
#6
Congrats and thanks for sharing, Jackie. When I started reading your post, I thought "ugh," but as I went on, it really did sound like an interesting experience. Your observations had me reflecting back to a lot of things over the years. Seeing traffic cops: I was pulled over in Alamosa, Colorado when I looped the town twice one evening because I appeared suspicious. Broken down cars: I sometimes see late model cars and trucks broken down on the side of the road as I travel to and from work and marvel that they are there for five or six days and I think that I've typically had a tow within an hour or two at most. Animal carcasses in the road: watching some movement over the course of days (again, back and forth on the ride to work) and paying particular attention to their locations when they are skunks!

Did you think about reversing direction at the halfway point?
 

Bill53

Premier Member
#11
Got me thinking ! Just roughly mapped out what I would like to call the GTA GT. Ontario residents will recognize this as the Greater Toronto Area with GT keeping the motorsport theme. It would be 16+ laps for the required distance and with the current 'Stay Home' state the busiest highway section [401] in North America is remarkably quiet. I suppose I should get Mike Kneebone or someone of authority to vet the route plan though.
 

dmcqueeney

Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
IBR Staff
#12
Got me thinking ! Just roughly mapped out what I would like to call the GTA GT. Ontario residents will recognize this as the Greater Toronto Area with GT keeping the motorsport theme. It would be 16+ laps for the required distance and with the current 'Stay Home' state the busiest highway section [401] in North America is remarkably quiet. I suppose I should get Mike Kneebone or someone of authority to vet the route plan though.
Greetings, Bill ...

See my reply tonight (27-Mar, 22:00 PDT) under Iron Butt Association Q&A > Pre-Ride Approval
… or directly, here

Regards ... Dave
 

HACKLE

Well-Known Member
#14
Great read, great ride. What surprises me is that you did the ride March 2020 and have already received your certificate while I still wait for one from the ride I did August 2019. Guess I'll just have to be a little more patient.
 

Mike721

Premier Member
#15
Great read, great ride. What surprises me is that you did the ride March 2020 and have already received your certificate while I still wait for one from the ride I did August 2019. Guess I'll just have to be a little more patient.
I'm a premiere member, for me it's worth a little bit every year to support the organization and get the perk of faster verification. I suspect that is how they got their certificate quickly too.
 

Uncle Zoom

Premier Member
#16
Well... If it makes anybody feel better, remember I did the Indianapolis SaddleSore, then I had to drive another 1,000 miles to Jacksonville to get the certificate at the banquet and then drive another 1,000 miles home.
Does that help? At all? Sorry, that's all I got!