For those of us who are excitedly watching from the sidelines, we’re now in the home stretch with less than 30 days before riders in the 2009 Iron Butt Rally begin their departures from the Marriot in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s facing more than 11,000 miles in 11 days but our cool as a cucumber hometown hero Catfish was gracious enough to answer 10 more questions about his participation in this year’s Rally.
How many days are left before you your front wheel rolls across the starting line of the Iron Butt Rally?
As of Monday July 27th 10am there are 28 days left until kickstands up. Start date is Monday August 24th 10am.
RALLY CHECKPOINT INFORMATION
Checkpoint 1 – Wednesday, August 26, 9 – 11pm
Checkpoint 2 – Sunday, August 30, 9pm – 11pm
Finish – Friday, September 4, 9am
When you sit down and imagine what the night before the start will be like, what do you envision? Do you think you or anyone will get any sleep that night?
-Are you good under pressure?
-Do you actually feel any pressure regarding this undertaking?
Vomiting and not alcohol induced this time.
I think I’ll get some sleep once I’m done planning my route. The question is: Will I even get done planning my route before kickstands up?
I’m OK under pressure. Better than some, worse than others, I suppose. I wouldn’t say there’s any pressure. I refuse to put any pressure on myself over this. The most important thing is to come home safely and I would really like to be considered a finisher (100,000 points). If I can do that, I’m cool with everything else. Those things are up to me so I should be alright.
Is there any special place, state or location that you’d like to see and that you hope will be on the checkpoint or bonus list? Do you think this will be fun or strictly a challenge that you’ll reap the emotional rewards of much later on… or maybe a little of both?
I haven’t traveled much of the Eastern US and absolutely none of the Western US so instead of hoping for a special place on the bonus list, I’m looking forward to the scenery of the ride itself. A little of both I hope.
Is your bike all set and ready to rock and roll or are you still testing and twiddling knobs? What has proved to be the most difficult task regarding getting your bike ready? Was anything surprisingly easy? Is there anything that you thought you would have time to do that has been jettisoned for time or money?
The bike is almost done and I’m just tweaking some things and trying to make sure all the surprises are gone before I leave. I’ll be riding to Spartanburg so hopefully that will prove to me that there are no problems left to rear their ugly, little heads.
The most difficult things? I’d say that’s a tie between finding the room to mount things, with the FJR being such a compact bike (for the sheer amount of things I’ve mounted the FJR is compact) and the money to pay for them.
Surprisingly easy? Nope. I would have been surprised if anything was easy. I’ve pretty much done everything I wanted to do before leaving.
As Catfish says, "Too much to list has never been truer." In keeping with his online store’s name farklemasters.com, his ’07 Yamaha FJR has been farkled within an inch of its life. You can read more about the transformation of Catfish’s rally machine on his website, catfishracing.com.
What type of riding preparation if any have you been doing to get ready? Do you think that a training regiment is necessary or do you think you can just go in cold turkey and take each mile as it comes regardless?
Ideally, I would’ve liked to be running a Saddlesore a week for 2-3 months prior to leaving but it just wasn’t in the cards. I’ve been riding my bicycle more and still hitting the gym 3-4 days a week. For me, I really think extended seat time would have helped. Some guys (and girls) have been doing this so long even though they are out of shape (round’s a shape!!!) the riding is effortless. Nothing on this trip will come easy but I’ll get through it.
Have you been in contact with any veterans of the rally? Have they given you and words of wisdom or advice you’d care to impart on us?
The best tip I’ve gotten was not to ride as hard as you can from the beginning because if you do you’ll never make it the full 11 days.
Imagine day 5 of the Rally. Where are you now? What’s the weather like? How are you doing?
Heading west toward Colorado. It’s probably raining and I’m dying to stop at the Dinosaur National Monument to see Jaime and Diesel (wife and son) but figuring if I do I won’t continue. It’s going to be tough.
Are you crazy?
I’ve heard that before.
World’s Toughest Riders, huh? Do you think that you’d be able to finish the rally if you had to listen to the entire Neil Diamond catalog non-stop for the whole journey?
No. I’d ride off a bridge.
Looking back say, 6 months ago: In terms of preparation are you where you thought you would be at this time? How about in terms of mood? Are you more/less nervous or excited than you imagined you would be with only a few days left before go time?
Even though I’m not completely ready yet I’d have to say I’m probably ahead of where I thought I’d be. I figured I’d be welding stuff to the bike the night before I rolled out for sure. At this point if I don’t have it, I don’t need it.
I’m right where I thought on mood. I have butterflies and I’m assuming that will escalate to scared to death level as the last 4 weeks go by. Mood, excitement, and nervousness are all intertwined at this point. I can’t really untangle what I’m feeling at this point. I have pushed all my chips into the center of the table and called All in! I know what cards I have and now I just need to see what everybody else is holding.
Sit there, twist that, don’t fuck up! Catfish on one of his Saddlesore adventures.
I am still in awe of such an undertaking. I’m so proud of our guy. Go, Catfish!
For More Information on the Iron Butt Rally:
Do you have any questions for Catfish? Words of encouragement? Want to tell him he’s a crazed madman? Click the comment link below!