Fool's Gold 2016

Dave Thomson

BBR Veteran
IBA Member
#1
Fool’s Gold – Report


My first attempt at this challenge, or indeed any gold level challenge, didn’t quite turn out as planned, but, barring any mishaps in scrutiny, should have at least got me my first BB1500.

I’d worked out my route using Autoroute and, in order to complete it within the 24 hours required by the challenge, I had to put the average speed sliders for each type of road (motorway, main road etc.) a little higher than usual…but I guess that’s why it’s a gold level challenge. If I started bang on 00:00, it had calculated that I would finish at 23:44. 16 minutes isn’t a lot of room for delays, but it is what it is.

One of the troubles I have is that, with a stock fuel tank, my range is about 180 miles and the corner locations of the route that I had to make sure I checked in at, means that I was refuelling in between some of them, before I really needed to, which all takes time. I had a total of 12 stops not including the start and finish…that’s around an hour of stopping time.

After saying goodbyes, it was round the corner to the local petrol station. I checked with the attendant before paying for my fuel, the till was showing 23:59, so I let the person behind me go first…who then took ages, so it was 00:02 by the time I got my recent…2 minutes gone already!

At this time of night, the run up the M90 to Perth was quiet, so I’d caught one of those minutes back by the time I arrived. I didn’t need fuel, so an ATM receipt to show the relevant details would do, and it was on to Hamilton southbound.

I’d managed to get 2 minutes ahead of schedule by the time I got there, so it was looking good. At least it was until I tried to go to the loo to find that truckers had taken all of them! No time to wait, so I’d just have to hold on until Scotch Corner.

It was a really cold night, so it wasn’t the most enjoyable journey I’ve ever had, but I got to Scotch Corner 9 minutes ahead of schedule, so it was still looking good…and luckily the loo was empty. Next stop was near Peterborough and somehow, I’d managed to fall 6 minutes behind time. It was probably down to the 50 mph limit roadwork sections that they stick on in the dead of night. Tempting as it was to ignore that speed limit, the law is the law…

Still within my margin for error thought 25% into the time, so I was happy enough. As I punched in my next location, Dover, the arrival time had my arriving about 20 minutes behind??? I couldn’t figure out why until I had a chance to look at the details in the comfort of my own home, but whilst the Autoroute journey took my around the M25 and across the Dartford crossing, my sat nav had decided to take me into London and through the Blackwall tunnel.

On top of that I was hitting the M11 at about 7am, just as commuters were heading into work so the pace had slowed right down. The end result was that, by the time I reached the petrol station in Dover, I was 37 minutes behind schedule. Chances are, I wouldn’t be able to get this time back, but I thought I’d keep trying and head for my next stop at Swindon and see what happened.

It was this section of the trip that finally put paid to my Gold attempt. The M25 car park was in full flow, and you can only filter so fast. On top of that, a white van had managed to spill its load of builder’s sand all over the 2nd and 3rd lanes so they were both shut whilst it was getting cleared. It could’ve been worse I suppose…he could dumped in right in front of me…not a good scenario!

So I got to Swindon over an hour behind schedule. It wasn’t exactly a short journey home, and I’d already done over 700 miles, so I thought, why not complete the planned route and pick up a “normal” BB1500 anyway. So I took a bit of time to have a proper lunch and set off to Swansea.

It was just as well I wasn’t still trying for Gold because, not only did the sat nav take a different route again (it took me up to Gloucester and along the A465, rather than along the M4 for some reason), they’re building a new road coming into Swansea and the rush hour traffic was horrendous.

The run to Clevedon and onto Plymouth was uneventful and from this point on it was North all the way. Weather forecast was for heavy rain in NW England/SW Scotland so I decided to take my time and hope that the worst of it would clear by the time I got there. Basically I stopped often, took a lot of rest breaks, keeping them short (10 minutes naps and the odd bit to eat) to save the hassle of getting receipts. It threw my time out of the window, but I now had another 12 hours to play with so it wasn’t an issue.

One thing I did notice was that I was starting to get really tired. It was a combination of having to work on the Friday and not getting a nap in when I got home, so basically I hadn’t slept since 6am on Friday morning and had been awake for 18 hours before starting, so I’d been awake for 38 hours by the time I reached Plymouth. On top of that, there’s wind getting into my helmet when I’m on the move, and it’s coming in around my eyes, which makes them even more tired. It was a long slog up through the drizzle from about Birmingham up. Dreich sums the weather up nicely.

But I wasn’t coming all this way for nothing, so almost exactly 32 hours after starting, (and 40 hours after my last sleep), I picked up a final receipt and headed back round the corner for a rest.

As usual with these things, I try and pick up some hints on what to do better next time, because there will be a next time. First of all, I really need to try and get some sleep before heading off. 40 hours is too long without sleep. Secondly, I need to make sure that my sat nav sticks to the route I plan on Autoroute. Finally, although the route is one that is “pre-verified” I need to find an alternative doesn’t put me along the M25 in morning rush hour. It might not be possible, as we are somewhat restricted in this country unless we want to go round in circles.

All in all, I enjoyed my first attempt and have enough to tweak to try and improve.
 

saphena

IBAUK Webmaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
#4
Good report Dave, next year will be better :)
it took me up to Gloucester and along the A465, rather than along the M4 for some reason
Is that because your satnav is set to avoid toll roads? The Severn bridge is free to motorcycles but is technically a toll road.
 

Ziggy

Just Another Rider
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#5
Nice Report Dave...
Bobs hit the nail on the head with the toll roads I believe, and I'm the same as biquer once I've planned the ride I ride the plan and use the GPS as an advisor.
I only detour if I'm sure it's to my advantage and does not compromise the distance.
 

FJRPilot

Iceni Rallymaster RBLR1000 routemaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
#6
Great write up Dave, enjoyed reading and trying to comprehend what you were going through during the ride. I reckon some of the time comparison issues is because the autoroute speed settings and route choice won't match your sat nav. Also if you navigate point to point rather than as a set route you never know which way the sat nav will try and send you until you hit 'go'. I've lost count of the number of journey's this has happened to me so I felt your pain.

Well done on the BB1500 though :)
 

GraemeandSally

RBLR 1000
Premier Member
#7
Well done Dave. We looked at carrying on and doing it in 36 hrs but thought save it for another day and did a 1000 instead which we just about had at Birmingham for next year I think we be off to France to do it too many things against it this year it been a Friday, pay day for a lot of folks and in the Easter holidays and schools off too so lots of holiday makers out and about
Roll on next year and to try again
 

GraemeandSally

RBLR 1000
Premier Member
#8
Well done Dave. We looked at carrying on and doing it in 36 hrs but thought save it for another day and did a 1000 instead which we just about had at Birmingham for next year I think we be off to France to do it too many things against it this year it been a Friday, pay day for a lot of folks and in the Easter holidays and schools off too so lots of holiday makers out and about
Roll on next year and to try again

Just checked next year is on a Saturday so could be worst than this year traffic wise
 

FazerPhil

President IBA UK
Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#10
Here's my story
I started Wednesday night with prepping the Tiger and my kit and had a good nights sleep. Thursday I went to work having a ready meal of shepherds pie with sweet potato for lunch and chicken with cous cous later in the afternoon. When I got home at 6pm I had a quick shower and went straight to bed. I didn't sleep very well but certainly got rested. When I got up at 11am all my kit was laid out ready and I quickly dressed before knocking up a filling breakfast.


My route card was already taped to my screen


Its the same one I used last year and I can stick at that pace but it gives me spare time to use as I need it.

I quickly got the Tiger out of the garage and was on my way by 11.30pm. Arriving at Gordano (15 mins) I looked out my witness form and Linda in the shop signed it and got her co-worker to be my 2nd witness.


Linda has witnessed a few for me now so it's no hassle. I filled up just on midnight only to find the receipt said 11:59:50 so I asked Linda to print it again and it came out the same. It must register the time when its filled. So I picked up a Kit Kat and the 3rd receipt was 12:02. Heading south to Plymouth it was a bit chilly but a clear night. I had the heated grips on and my winter gloves to keep the expected rain out.

I know every bump of that road as I worked nr Exeter traveling it every day for 18 months so I found it a really relaxing ride. after Exeter the A38 is quite an interesting ride at 80mph to keep with the traffic flow.I got there a few minutes ahead of schedule and refilled the tank so that I could make it to Newton Le Willows without a stop.


After plugging in my Gerbin's jacket on medium heat I took the exit out through Sainsbury carpark rather than the station exit which comes out on the wrong side of a dual carriageway heading west!!! Heading back north there was traffic by I managed to maintain my cruising speed, knocking off 7 miles every 5 minutes, 20 miles every 15 minutes and 80 miles every hour. There were a lot of lorries on the road and at 2 degs C I was fine with thick gloves and heated jacket. There were some road works but I only lost a few minutes as the traffic was light. I arrived at Newton Le Willows and remembered from last year that the sat nav want to take me west off the motorway U turn and enter the petrol station as I got back to the petrol station so I ignored that and entered off of the roundabout. I got there at 5:19 having covered 390 miles (15 minutes early) It's important to make up time at night as there are always traffic delays during the day. It's also important to stay alert and keep the speed constant. I started the costa coffee machine as I entered to pay and picked it upon the way out. I only drank half of it as this was really just a splash and dash.
Passing the lake district the drizzle started it didn't seem to bad and visibility was good. My visor leaks rain but I just ignore it now as it doesn't ruin the visibility. As it was starting to get light I was reminded of "Red sky in the Morning" and couldn't resist a quick pic.


Passing into Scotland the rain seemed to have stopped


The ride up the M74 is always good with less traffic, after the Lake district, and brilliant scenary. It was easy relaxed cruising despite the rain starting again. I got to the BP station at 7.57am (20 minutes ahead 584 miles)and also manage to sink 1/2 a cup of tea. Through Glasgow the morning traffic was heavy but moving. I stopped for a quick photo at the Perth sign (staying in the bike)


At Perth I had my 2nd Kit Kat only at 0917 and 641 miles (8 minutes late) Returning south the morning traffic had eased and I was back at Bothwell at 10:10 am just 10 minutes late. So lost less time on the way back as the traffic eased. It was still drizzling but up to 5 degs C. Water was creeping up my sleeves and into my gloves but it was bearable with my heated jacket on. I was gently poaching. The traffic had increased on the M74 but nowhere near as bad as in England so I was able to manage to maintain my pace. As I turned left onto the A66 the rain had stopped and I wasted some time stopping at the roundabouts and managed to put my right hand mirror out of line when filtering which I soon fixed on the next but of dual carriageway. Then the traffic stopped and I could see it snaking away in the distance. I started to overtake the queue and realised that the opposing traffic was coming through in bunches. After several miles I passed some traffic lights that were turned away from the road. Presumably to ease the traffic.
I arrived at Darrington at 13.33 (30 minutes late and 911 miles) topping up both tanks and downing another kit kat. Heading south my route went down the A1 A1M and A14. I think I would have preferred M1 to M25 but wasn't sure how busy the traffic would be on the M25. I was doing a lot of filtering and inside lane riding as the traffic slowed in the Friday traffic but the majority of it seemed to be leaving London in the opposite direction. Crossing the Dartford Bridge my rout took me down the M2 and A2 into the north of Dover past the very impressive castle. When I arrived at the filling station I realised why as I had picked up the wrong station in planning and it was closed!!!!!! I eventually found the correct one at 17:22pm ( I was 48 minutes late). I had been trying to get around in 22 hours as I usually take 22 1/2 hours but it was not to be. So as I still had time to spare I decided to have a 6" sub and a coffee which I consumed in about 20 minutes.



The ride past Bristol to Swansea again was on a route I know every bump in from my European Rte's trips via the channel tunnel. I was making good time as even though the traffic was heavy it always seems to move well on the M4 unlike the M6. It started to drizzle again as I passed Swindon. I arrive at Pont Abraham at 20:57 ( just 26 minutes late) and just topped up the main tank. The last leg was very wet and I could feel my arms were damp. I reminded me of the last leg of the IBR15 when In had the same problem. In future I will be wearing my gloves inside my sleeves and wearing a one piece oversuit.

I arrived at Gordano at 22:28 (44 mins late) having ridden 1521 miles 9miles more) This was probably due to my route in and around Dover. I went to see Linda again and got my end witness form signed. Even though it was only a short ride home I took of my coat and downed a Large Latte, a hot Cornish pasty and a packet of crisps. I got to bed at midnight. I slept well until 6am when the alarm went off for me to get to the start of the South West Peninsula Rally at 8am. But that's another story......................

Some thoughts.
Get some sleep before the start. Start rested.
Every ride has problems so don't waste time early in the ride.
Look after yourself.
I was lucky where I started so maybe you should consider not starting nr your home.
Before attempting this ride it would be good to do a BB1500 Gold on an easier route of your choosing with minimum fuel stops.
In future we will allow any route but be aware it will be verified in the normal way.

The patches are still available
 

Ziggy

Just Another Rider
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#11
Nice Report Phil with bonus Photos.. :)

Excellent timings ... congratulations on your 2nd Fools Gold.
 

FazerPhil

President IBA UK
Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#12
Thanks Ziggy. Well done on your ride. You cut it a bit fine

I'll have to do it again next year now. Maybe not so easy on a Saturday!!!!!
 

Yeti

IBA Member
#13
Great effort Dave, have to tried Tyre instead of Autoroute? It allows you to plan your route on a Google map, and the export it to your sat nav (garmin or tomtom), so you can make sure it takes you the way you want to go. And it's free :)
 

Dave Thomson

BBR Veteran
IBA Member
#15
Here's my story
I started Wednesday night with prepping the Tiger and my kit and had a good nights sleep. Thursday I went to work having a ready meal of shepherds pie with sweet potato for lunch and chicken with cous cous later in the afternoon. When I got home at 6pm I had a quick shower and went straight to bed. I didn't sleep very well but certainly got rested. When I got up at 11am all my kit was laid out ready and I quickly dressed before knocking up a filling breakfast.


My route card was already taped to my screen


Its the same one I used last year and I can stick at that pace but it gives me spare time to use as I need it.

I quickly got the Tiger out of the garage and was on my way by 11.30pm. Arriving at Gordano (15 mins) I looked out my witness form and Linda in the shop signed it and got her co-worker to be my 2nd witness.


Linda has witnessed a few for me now so it's no hassle. I filled up just on midnight only to find the receipt said 11:59:50 so I asked Linda to print it again and it came out the same. It must register the time when its filled. So I picked up a Kit Kat and the 3rd receipt was 12:02. Heading south to Plymouth it was a bit chilly but a clear night. I had the heated grips on and my winter gloves to keep the expected rain out.

I know every bump of that road as I worked nr Exeter traveling it every day for 18 months so I found it a really relaxing ride. after Exeter the A38 is quite an interesting ride at 80mph to keep with the traffic flow.I got there a few minutes ahead of schedule and refilled the tank so that I could make it to Newton Le Willows without a stop.


After plugging in my Gerbin's jacket on medium heat I took the exit out through Sainsbury carpark rather than the station exit which comes out on the wrong side of a dual carriageway heading west!!! Heading back north there was traffic by I managed to maintain my cruising speed, knocking off 7 miles every 5 minutes, 20 miles every 15 minutes and 80 miles every hour. There were a lot of lorries on the road and at 2 degs C I was fine with thick gloves and heated jacket. There were some road works but I only lost a few minutes as the traffic was light. I arrived at Newton Le Willows and remembered from last year that the sat nav want to take me west off the motorway U turn and enter the petrol station as I got back to the petrol station so I ignored that and entered off of the roundabout. I got there at 5:19 having covered 390 miles (15 minutes early) It's important to make up time at night as there are always traffic delays during the day. It's also important to stay alert and keep the speed constant. I started the costa coffee machine as I entered to pay and picked it upon the way out. I only drank half of it as this was really just a splash and dash.
Passing the lake district the drizzle started it didn't seem to bad and visibility was good. My visor leaks rain but I just ignore it now as it doesn't ruin the visibility. As it was starting to get light I was reminded of "Red sky in the Morning" and couldn't resist a quick pic.


Passing into Scotland the rain seemed to have stopped


The ride up the M74 is always good with less traffic, after the Lake district, and brilliant scenary. It was easy relaxed cruising despite the rain starting again. I got to the BP station at 7.57am (20 minutes ahead 584 miles)and also manage to sink 1/2 a cup of tea. Through Glasgow the morning traffic was heavy but moving. I stopped for a quick photo at the Perth sign (staying in the bike)


At Perth I had my 2nd Kit Kat only at 0917 and 641 miles (8 minutes late) Returning south the morning traffic had eased and I was back at Bothwell at 10:10 am just 10 minutes late. So lost less time on the way back as the traffic eased. It was still drizzling but up to 5 degs C. Water was creeping up my sleeves and into my gloves but it was bearable with my heated jacket on. I was gently poaching. The traffic had increased on the M74 but nowhere near as bad as in England so I was able to manage to maintain my pace. As I turned left onto the A66 the rain had stopped and I wasted some time stopping at the roundabouts and managed to put my right hand mirror out of line when filtering which I soon fixed on the next but of dual carriageway. Then the traffic stopped and I could see it snaking away in the distance. I started to overtake the queue and realised that the opposing traffic was coming through in bunches. After several miles I passed some traffic lights that were turned away from the road. Presumably to ease the traffic.
I arrived at Darrington at 13.33 (30 minutes late and 911 miles) topping up both tanks and downing another kit kat. Heading south my route went down the A1 A1M and A14. I think I would have preferred M1 to M25 but wasn't sure how busy the traffic would be on the M25. I was doing a lot of filtering and inside lane riding as the traffic slowed in the Friday traffic but the majority of it seemed to be leaving London in the opposite direction. Crossing the Dartford Bridge my rout took me down the M2 and A2 into the north of Dover past the very impressive castle. When I arrived at the filling station I realised why as I had picked up the wrong station in planning and it was closed!!!!!! I eventually found the correct one at 17:22pm ( I was 48 minutes late). I had been trying to get around in 22 hours as I usually take 22 1/2 hours but it was not to be. So as I still had time to spare I decided to have a 6" sub and a coffee which I consumed in about 20 minutes.



The ride past Bristol to Swansea again was on a route I know every bump in from my European Rte's trips via the channel tunnel. I was making good time as even though the traffic was heavy it always seems to move well on the M4 unlike the M6. It started to drizzle again as I passed Swindon. I arrive at Pont Abraham at 20:57 ( just 26 minutes late) and just topped up the main tank. The last leg was very wet and I could feel my arms were damp. I reminded me of the last leg of the IBR15 when In had the same problem. In future I will be wearing my gloves inside my sleeves and wearing a one piece oversuit.

I arrived at Gordano at 22:28 (44 mins late) having ridden 1521 miles 9miles more) This was probably due to my route in and around Dover. I went to see Linda again and got my end witness form signed. Even though it was only a short ride home I took of my coat and downed a Large Latte, a hot Cornish pasty and a packet of crisps. I got to bed at midnight. I slept well until 6am when the alarm went off for me to get to the start of the South West Peninsula Rally at 8am. But that's another story......................

Some thoughts.
Get some sleep before the start. Start rested.
Every ride has problems so don't waste time early in the ride.
Look after yourself.
I was lucky where I started so maybe you should consider not starting nr your home.
Before attempting this ride it would be good to do a BB1500 Gold on an easier route of your choosing with minimum fuel stops.
In future we will allow any route but be aware it will be verified in the normal way.

The patches are still available
Nice report Phil, and I'm already planning a BB1500 Gold attempt for later on in the year to try and get my eye in :)
 

Megabuck

IBAUK Verifier
IBA Member
#16
For me, the moral of the two contrasting stories is clear: any route going anywhere near London during morning rush hour is not a good idea! Congratulations, Dave, on rescuing a BB1500 from the ride. Nice ride, Phil, and good planning.

Regards,
Martin