No, I didn’t just take a trip around the world. These were road signs I encountered on my recent trip to Asheville, North Carolina for the BMW Rally at the Biltmore Estate.
I rode 1,009 miles in 15 hours and 15 minutes from Asheville, NC to home on Saturday. Riding distances of this magnitude is similar to running an ultra marathon. I recall hallucinating after 20 hours of continuous running during my last 24 hour run. I certainly questioned whether I took a wrong turn when I saw the road sign for Damascus 12 hours into my recent motorcycle ride.
Riding 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours on a motorcycle is the most sought after benchmark in the long distance riding community; similar to qualifying for Boston in the running community. Being able to exceed that standard by 9 hours is something I’m extremely proud of achieving. It requires the same virtues required to qualify for Boston…discipline, determination and mental fortitude.
Next month I will take my endurance riding to an entirely new level and will solidify my reputation within the long distance community. I will attempt to ride from Grafton to Miami (1500 miles) in less than 24 hours on the first leg of a Four Corners Tour…one of the most coveted achievements in endurance riding. I am required to ride to all four corners of the United States (Madawaska, Maine-Key West, Florida-San Diego, California-Blaine, Washington).
The next benchmark I will pursue within the Four Corners Tour will be to ride coast to coast (from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego, California) in less than 50 hours.
What does endurance motorcycle riding have to do with running? Running and motorcycling are two of my greatest passions. They are certainly quite different and I’m definitely an anomaly in both communities. Runners tend not to ride motorcycles and fewer motorcyclists are runners. However, I’ve discovered they are incredibly similar; particularly when you pursue both to the degree I have. Endurance pursuits in any arena test the outer limits of one’s physical and mental ability.
During my recent 1000+ mile ride, I had to ride in the moment and not obsess about how many miles remained. It’s the exact reminder I give Marathon Coalition runners during the marathon. You have to run in the moment and focus on your breathing, your rhythm, your breathing and properly manage your attitude to arrive at the finish line in relative comfort.
I am excited and nervous about next month’s 13,000+ mile ride around the United States on several levels. I am concerned about the exposure to the elements and inattentive drivers, coupled with the fatigue I will encounter after seemingly endless hours of riding thousands of miles. But I’m excited about accomplishing something so significant.
On my next endurance ride, I may actually be riding in Damascus, Syria…Dublin, Ireland…or Newfoundland, Canada!