Category: Iron Butt Rally 2009

2009 IBR: Last Transmission before the Rally Kickoff

2009 IBR: Last Transmission before the Rally Kickoff

Catfish Iron Butt Rally 2009The Latest News

Saturday – August 22, 2009

  • Catfish arrives at the Rally start point in Spartanburg after 1am.
  • He confirmed that he left New York with a fresh Pilot Road 2 up front and a car tire on the rear.  Cross your fingers that the Pilot Road 2 will have no issues pounding what will be in excess of 12,000 miles with the trip to South Carolina. He’s hoping to not require a tire change during the rally.
  • Catfish completes his official odometer check and passes tech inspection.
  • An oil change was completed in Spartanburg.
  • Worried about carrying extra weight, our favorite pack rat was jettisoning anything that he deemed unneeded off of the bike and sending it home with his wife.
  • Riders attended a sleep seminar as well as a media seminar

Sunday  – Less than 24 Hours before Take Off

The web is all a-flutter with news of the communication blackout outlined in the IBR media seminar on Saturday.  Any 2009 rally participant who is found to be communicating news of their rally trip publicly any time after 10am tomorrow (August 24) and through the 11th day of the rally is in deep doo-doo and will be disqualified.

That means no blogs, no texts, and no public SPOT tracker links. I personally think its crap, but it’s their rally, their rules. Not wanting to endanger Catfish’s ride in any way, I will not be publicly communicating any updates as I’d hoped to do, during the next 11 days.  Insert super-sad face here.

Riders have received their rally books and bonus listings. No doubt in this time when relaxation would be ideal, it must be in short supply.

What do we know?

  • Rally Start
     Monday August 24, 2009, 10am
    Spartanburg,  South Carolina
  • Check Point 1
    Wednesday, August 26, 9 – 11pm Central Time
    St. Charles, Illinois
  • Checkpoint 2
    Sunday, August 30, 9pm – 11pm Pacific Time
    Santa Ana, California
  • Rally Finish
    Friday, September 4, 9am Pacific Time
    Spokane Washington

We’re almost in the dark time

If I read any official IBR public updates noting Catfish’s progress, I will pass along a link.  I’m hoping to not hear from Catfish after 10am tomorrow for the 11 days following. That would mean he’s made it through to the other side.  Go, Catfish, Go!

Please join me in sending out thoughts and wishes of safe traveling to all those participating.

•    Official Iron Butt Rally 2009 Website

2009 IBR: Destination Rally Headquarters

2009 IBR: Destination Rally Headquarters

Team Catfish Iron Butt Rally 2009 LogoCatfish has left the building

This morning our man Catfish left the Isle of Long in the dark hours of the morning heading for Spartanburg, South Carolina. He carries with him a pocket full of his friends well wishes and excitement as he is about to embark on this crazy journey that is the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

Competitors have been arriving at the Rally headquarters all throughout the day. The buzz is starting; pictures are popping up all over the web. As of this moment there are only 2 days, 10 hours before the flag drops.

As of 9:00 PM tonight, Catfish was still on the road. Road construction delays, oppressive humidity, 100 degrees showing on the air temperature dial and 1 broken helmet visor fixed with duct tape. Welcome to life on the road!

Stay tuned for more updates!

2009 Iron Butt Rally: Farkled to the Max, the Catfish FJR – Which Would you Choose?

2009 Iron Butt Rally: Farkled to the Max, the Catfish FJR – Which Would you Choose?

Over the weekend we stopped in to see Catfish at work. His farkled-out, rally-ready FJR was parked out in front when we pulled up.

Farkle City

Holy smoke! Coming from riding a bike that doesn’t even sport a windshield I was on sensory overload. His custom tankbag by Linda T. alone is enough to give me fits, but all of the buttons… the buttons! Arghhhh! I momentarily imagined myself riding off the road in the grips of a maddening itch while trying to find the back scratching switch.

He fired up the Tesla coil, hit the Bunsen burner and threw some levers to show me one of his neat little doo-dads, Nexrad radar. Given my past track record with riding in awful weather, I think I’d rather not know what’s coming for me.

GPS Nexrad radar on the IBR09 Catfish Iron Butt Rally FJR

What do you think?

Is it better to know that you’re heading in to a wall of thunderstorms when your Iron Butt Bonus depends on it? Or, would you rather not know in advance and just deal with it as it comes?

Less the 5 days until Rally Time.

Stay tuned for updates. Catfish heads off to Spartanburg this weekend!

For More Information on the IBR – Iron Butt Rally:

09 IBR: Catfishs Iron Butt Rally Yamaha FJR

09 IBR: Catfishs Iron Butt Rally Yamaha FJR

There are only 14 days left before the 2009 Iron Butt Rally train leaves the station. 

Early on Sunday morning, I got an email from Catfish. Attached to the email were 4 photos of Catfish’s nearly ready Iron Butt Rally Yamaha FJR. Though I was aware of just how much farkling was going in to getting the bike ready to roll for the August 28, 2009 start, when I clicked and opened the first image, I actually said “Whoa,” out loud.  

Catfish and his 2009 Iron Butt Rally Yamaha FJR

The first thing that came to mind is that it looks like the bike is ready to go in to battle. The more I thought about that, it became apparent that in some respects that may be true. Pulling down over 11,000 miles in 11 days is going to be a fight to the finish.

The dashboard of Catfish's 2009 Iron Butt Rally Yamaha FJR


  • Rear Car Tire
  • 2GPS Units
  • Fuel Cell

Whew, there is a lot of stuff on that bike! More wire, switches, nuts and bolts than I am certain we can see in a glance; things that are buttoned up neatly and tucked out of the way. For a full listing of the modifications that were made to get the bike ready for the 09 Iron Butt Rally, be sure to visit Catfish’s Rally page!


For More Information on the IBR – Iron Butt Rally:

Anyone care to take a guess what that red switch on the left is for? Comment below!

2009 Iron Butt Rally Watch: 30 days out – 10 More Questions for Catfish

2009 Iron Butt Rally Watch: 30 days out – 10 More Questions for Catfish

Catfish Iron Butt Rally 2009 Logo

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. 
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, 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,

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.  


Catfish on a Saddlesore 1000
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!

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