Got Iron Butt? Tips for riding 1,000+ miles in under 24 hours.

Most people think that riding motorcycle any amount of distance, or any amount of time over 30 minutes creates an iron butt. But (tee-hee) the official term used to describe us crazy folk who ride a motorcycle over 1,000 miles in under 24 hours is the IRON BUTT (IB).
Who DOES that, you might ask??? Me. I do that. Kind of a lot. (5 or 6 'official' IB rides and another 5 with no official paperwork because I started out unknowing that I would be riding that far...) Why would someone do an IB ride???? Well, for starters, I don't need a lot of money, I don't so much care what I earn per hour at work so long as I have vacation time. And I am what you could call a vacay hoarder. I try my best to make THE best of the limited vacation time I have (15 days + 5 bonus if yada, yada..). In order to see the States as I want to, utilizing my time off means hauling ass to get to my general destination, then having enough time to stay, play, ride, and repeat. Yes, I do this VOLUNTARILY and am in fact, usually the ring leader of the idea...and yes, I have a few crazy followers in my riding circle - they all rock!  Anyways  my most recent Iron Butt ride came about for the sake of time. I took off for Montana and had minimal days to play... so, instead of lolly-gagging and taking 2 days to get to Montana like most sane people, I decided we would BLAST out to Missoula. While we only made it Great Falls (965 miles - we ended up bypassing it to get the remaining miles in, but quickly learned there were NO more lodging options for hundreds of miles, so we circled back and make Great Falls the end of the ride, logging 1,038 miles total in just 19 hours. Leaving at the crack of dawn, I met Shelly at the gas station, and this part is CRUCIAL when doing an IB ride (gas is also crucial but...) we got situated, made sure our gear was working for the temps, made sure we had water in our cupholders, and made sure we were literally ready to ride the second we were done pumping gas. Before we pumped gas, we needed a witness. You see, the people of IB world don't just 'believe' that you do the ride, they require proof. Proof as in a starting witness and an end witness who have to sign off on the IB form that you were indeed at the starting/finish location, at the time said, and with the odometer reading verified. So we wandered into the gas station, fully geared up, explained what we were doing, and asked the gas station attendant to be our witness. (This witness is from my very first IB.. I have since not taken their pictures!)

I have had mixed reactions to this request - something about putting ones name, address, and work phone number, along with the word WITNESS (while wearing full leather gear, including helmet) sometimes freaks people out. But not enough to prevent them from signing. No one has ever said no. Some are just a little slower to do it than others. And I am sure attendants have hit the 'record' button so get our faces and plates in case the 'witness form' is for some other sketchy unknown reason that winds up on the 10pm news.  Lucky for me, I am LONG gone by 10pm... lol

Anyways, the attendant signed his life away (THANK YOU!!!!) and we both proceeded to the gas pumps at the exact same time. And this is when the official clock starts ticking - when the time stamp on the gas receipt comes out of the printer. So first off, always make sure that info is accurate!!!! The hardest part of an IB ride for me is remembering to say YES to the "Do you want a receipt?" question. Habit is no. But for an IB ride, it is a MUST. Here is what I do for the start of my IB ride:

I have learned over the years a few helpful things when doing an IB ride:

1. Print the forms, place in a Ziploc bag, along with a pen. This way, it is all in one spot AND if it rains, you aren't SOL, as the receipts are dry. 
     1a. Take a picture of the odometer and 1st receipt - then if the receipt is lost, if the mileage is not legible that early in the morning, it doesn't matter because there is a picture to go back to. Sometimes I take pics along the way of odometer and gas station receipts, but I usually skip that part now. 
2. Write the gas stop # and the mileage on the odometer at the top of each receipt. Otherwise, after the ride is over, I spend more time sorting through date and time stamps on receipts to list them in order and its a pain in the ass. 
3. Set a timer at gas stops, especially if there are 3 or more people on the ride. Its amazing how quickly 15 minutes goes after riding 180 miles, having to get gas, pee, eat, etc. 
4.  Pack lots of water, high protein foods, and some sort of energy for the ride. 
5. Make sure the iPod is fully charged and loaded with songs that I can sing along to. Sure, new music is GREAT, but if I cant sing along, I get sleepy and the music just adds to the constant noise. 
6. Wear ear plugs. 1,000 miles complete with pipes, road noise, music, and wind really takes a toll on hearing and really enhances the constant ringing of the ears I already have.
7. Eyes - my eyes get really tired along the way. Eye drops help because apparently somewhere between mile 750 and 1000+, I forget to blink and my eyes always look like I am SUPER high at the end of the ride. 
8. This is a lesson rarely learned through all of the IB rides I have done, but its a REALLY good idea to check the end destination city to ensure there are hotel rooms available... I have ran into more than a few occasions in which I eyeball a city for an end point only to find all hotels are booked, or there are no lodging options in that town, or...…. 

The worst scenario of rolling in to find zero place to stay was on the way from Minneapolis to Fresco, CO. I landed in Fresco, in darkness, having ridden over the fun, twisty mountain roads past Denver, only to find zero lodging available. Not only that, every town within a 50 mile radius was also booked due to summer festivals and such. At midnight, after having left at 6am from MN, we were still homeless and now riding in the pouring rain, after midnight, through the Colorado mountains in search of a home. We ended up having to go another 2.5 hours to find lodging. It was NOT the most fun I have ever had. 

IB Swag: 

                                                   And I have a plate on each of my bikes!!

Inspired to ride 1,000+ miles in under 24 hours?? Check out the Iron Butt Association website at:    *The association is run by all volunteers who literally check over every detail of your ride and of the receipts, so it takes a bit of time to get the IB swag, but its so worth it!!!!*

Ohhhhhh, how the miles fly by!!!!!

                                                                 6/21/15  19,569 miles

9/20/16  33,487 miles

4/28/17   43,076 miles

6/10/17  51,015 miles

9/14/17  64,357 miles

5/24/18  74,785 miles

7/18/19   106,792 miles


  1. ...and did that gas station witness actually walk outside to read your odometer? After all, that's what he's being witness to.

  2. My life goal right here! Sounds amazing.

  3. Love to contact you. CVMA member. Unsure how to without making me public.


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