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Monday, April 04, 2011

Midlife Crisis Redux

Longtime readers may recall that when I turned 40, my patient and caring wife allowed me gifted me the opportunity to celebrate my private passage into midlife by driving the old Route 66 alone from Chicago to LA.

It was a memorable trip that I will treasure forever. 

But as my 50th birthday has crept ever closer, Zahava has been asking me what I have in mind for that milestone.  Funny she should use the term milestone...

A while back I read about a quirky organization that certifies long-distance endurance rides for motorcyclists.  They call themselves the 'Iron Butt Association- World's toughest motorcyclists' (you can't make this stuff up!).

They have all kinds of rides they certify... the shortest being a 1000 miles in 24 hours!  They call that one the 'Saddlesore 1000'.  And nowhere in their extensive rules and regulations does it say that scooters aren't eligible.

One little wrinkle though.  Due to the proportions of my beautiful-but-diminuative country, if I were to try to earn the 'Saddlesore 1000' certification, I'd have to take the following route (within a 24 hour period, of course):

  • Jerusalem to Eilat - 191 Miles
  • Eilat to the Golan Heights - 350 Miles
  • Back to Eilat - 350 Miles
  • And then back to Jerusalem - 191 Miles

The more I think about it, this has all kinds of possibilities:

1.  I could open the ride up to sponsorship (for a worthy cause - or causes - which you all could help me select)

2.  I have a Bluetooth music / speakerphone set-up in my helmet so I could post my cell phone number and let treppenwitz readers from around the world could call to keep me company during the ride.

3.  I could invite friends from around Israel to ride along with me in their cars for short segments of the ride (sort of like support vehicles).

4.  I could arrange rest breaks throughout the country at the homes of friends and soon-to-be friends (Israeli readers who I've never met) to break up the trip.

Note:  I thought briefly about trying to organize a group ride... but have pretty much decided against that.  The reason being that riding with others who have different riding styles can take you out of your comfort zone and cause additional stress/fatigue on a long ride.  I'm not completely dismissing the idea of maybe one or two other riders... but I'd have to take a few shorter rides with them to see if we are compatible.

Hmmmm... this has real possibilities.  Stay tuned.

Posted by David Bogner on April 4, 2011 | Permalink


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Hi David,
I am a longtime Treppenwitz follower--we expat Israel bloggers need to stick together! I love your idea and wanted to offer up an idea to you if you are interested. Email me and we can discuss the details! Keep blogging as I always enjoy your posts!

Posted by: Cassie Morgenstern | Apr 4, 2011 11:42:52 AM

You could really kick ass (pardonez moi) and ride to New Zealand on the Vespa. Bet THAT hasn't been done before:-)

Posted by: Kiwi Noa | Apr 4, 2011 12:14:46 PM

Ooh. Sounds intriguing. I live too far for #2-4 to apply but please keep us posted on #1! Good luck!

p.s. - Kiwi's idea sounds like fun too. :)

Posted by: Chantal | Apr 4, 2011 2:30:27 PM

I wonder how much long distance to Israel (from the US) would cost? Hmm...

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Apr 4, 2011 4:18:16 PM

Oh come on, rent- or borrow- a big fat Harley for the trip! Or get an Oleh Chadash to bring on with him. Grow a beard and a gut, get some temporary tattoos, tie a shmatte around your forehead, and take Zahava along. You can trade seats once in a while.

Posted by: Barzilai | Apr 4, 2011 4:51:57 PM

Or perhaps you could do something more age-appropriate :-) (not picking on you - I passed that milestone already and can't imagine pushing my body to make that kind of a ride)

What do you - or your family - gain from such an endeavor? You might consider a Torah-based challenge instead.

Posted by: Tehillah Hessler | Apr 4, 2011 4:55:00 PM

Just to make sure you realize, with your route at 1082 miles, you'll need to average just over 45 MPH over the entire 24 hours. For every 30 minutes stopped (break, gas, traffic, nap) you'll need to average another 1 MPH over the entire trip.

I'm not saying you - or the Vespa - aren't up to it. :) But with the back-and-forth route, you'll probably need to plan out carefully when you'll be passing through the high population areas.

Posted by: HDS | Apr 4, 2011 6:21:52 PM

Do you get credit for vertical mileage, or just "as the crow flies"?

Posted by: Maureen | Apr 4, 2011 7:00:31 PM

I've done this several times (on a motorcycle). There have been a few scooters in the Iron Butt Rally, the Helix comes to mind. Make sure you read up some of the hints and suggestions on the Iron Butt pages. Do not depend on coffee or other caffeinated beverages. And I agree, ride by yourself, or with just a very few people. When I did my first Butt ride, I did it with two others, we have ridden together before, had similar riding styles, length of time between rest stops, etc. Also, this may sound like TMI, but make sure you have VERY comfortable underwear. Those little "rubs" you notice after an hour or two? They get worse after 4, 5, 7, 10 hours. I'd be happy to help out with other feedback if you'd like.

If you want to get in touch with Mike Kneebone or some of the others "officials" of the IBA, shoot me an email, they are all great folks and would be happy to help with the "what you need to know" type of stuff. Heck, if I were there, I'm an official IBA witness and would love to cover you. (but won't be able to go over until at least next year).

Posted by: JDMDad | Apr 4, 2011 8:53:16 PM

Instead of joining the Iron Butt Association, maybe you and Zahava could just join the Mile High Club -- I think it would be more fun than riding a Vespa for 24 hours... :-)

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Apr 4, 2011 9:08:29 PM

People... The idea is not to ride for 24 hours. I'd just have to ride 1000 miles within a single 24 hour period. If I stuck to main roads and highways, I should be able to do it in 18 or 19 hours.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Apr 4, 2011 9:13:08 PM

I'll donate coffee and a hot shower in the Golan.

Posted by: Israelinurse | Apr 4, 2011 9:23:41 PM

Do it on a bike! you could start the Randonneurs of Israel (if they don't already exist. 1000 miles on a road bike in Israel...I would join you for that.Could easily manage it in 2 weeks minus Shabbat. You could even have an extra big piece of cake because of the calories you burn. So, when are we going!

Posted by: Alan T | Apr 4, 2011 10:00:56 PM

I love the idea! You should totally do it. I guess it would be difficult to tweet as you go, huh?

Do be careful about the underwear thing though, as JDMDad cautions. Chafing would be a terrible thing on a ride like that.

Posted by: Baila | Apr 4, 2011 10:36:33 PM

I love the idea! You should totally do it. I guess it would be difficult to tweet as you go, huh?

Do be careful about the underwear thing though, as JDMDad cautions. Chafing would be a terrible thing on a ride like that.

Posted by: Baila | Apr 4, 2011 10:36:33 PM

Can't you just go out for dinner like everyone else?? :-)

Posted by: marsha, in Toronto at the moment | Apr 4, 2011 10:43:04 PM

I volunteer to give you a ring while you are riding.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Apr 5, 2011 7:34:33 PM

I love Marsha's comment!!!!

Yeah, Dave... what's the big deal???! Just turn 50 and try to do it gracefully like everyone else! :)

Posted by: val | Apr 5, 2011 9:06:02 PM

Cassie Morgenstern... Thanks for being in touch.

Kiwi Noa ... Most of the way would be a bit wet. :-)

Chantal... Hey, with Skype and other such programs, calling from where you are would be pretty cheap.

ProphetJoe ... Like I said to Chantal,talk is cheap these days.

Barzilai... Nah, I want to do it on my old faithful scoot.

Tehillah Hessler... Call me up while I am on the ride and we can discuss the parsha. How's that? :-)

HDS... My goal is to do it in somewhere between 18 - 20 hours.

Maureen... The miles are per the route map, not as the crow flies.

JDMDad ... Read (and will be re-read several times). Thanks for the advice.

ProphetJoe... Did I ever mention that Zahava is claustrophobic? :-)

Israelinurse... Deal! Expect me to be in touch once I set the date so I can figure out exactly where on the route you are.

Alan T... I did most of the country (and even into Egypt) on a bike when I was in university. Those days are gone forever (for me anyway).

Baila... I could probably call Zahava and have her update my tweet feed during the ride.

marsha, in Toronto at the moment... Since when have you seen me taking the normal route on anything? :-)

Ilana-Davita... I'd like that!

val ... I'd follow your example of how to turn 50 gracefully, but it's been so long since then that I can't recall what you did. ;-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Apr 6, 2011 8:35:13 AM

Here's the Iron Butt "Archive of Wisdom." Some of these are for multi-day events, but all of them can give you tools for success. (I wasn't sure if you meant you read my tips, or the Iron Butt tips, so playing it on the safe side)


Posted by: JDMDad | Apr 6, 2011 5:13:02 PM

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