The one thing that matters more to competitors in MERA’s 10-n-10 Rally than a strong finish.
When the 35 men and women entered in the Motorcycle Endurance Riders Association‘s inaugural 10-n-10 Rally roll out of our Salt Lake City hotel‘s parking lot next Thursday morning, each of us will be attempting to ride a minimum of 10,000 miles in just 10 days. Which, in case you don’t keep track of such things, is roughly four times the number of miles the average motorcyclist racks up in an entire year.
Now, in my last blog post I hinted that there was one thing all of us—on the whole, a pretty diverse and competitive bunch—wanted more than a podium finish in this MERA event. And that’s to arrive back at the finish line on September 5 with both ourselves and our bikes in one piece.
While riding 1000-plus miles a day for 10 days straight may seem a little nutty (I actually had one experienced motorcyclist tell me it was flat-out impossible), it should be pointed out that members of the Iron Butt Association in general, and entrants in MERA rallies in particular, tend to be some of the safest riders on the road. And though you can chalk some of that up to experience, a lot of the credit also goes to the methodical preparation that goes into getting ready for an endurance rally like this.
I’m talking here about things many motorcyclists never give a second thought to, like understanding the importance of proper hydration and nutrition. Same goes for knowing and recognizing the warning signs of fatigue.
As someone who survived a near-fatal motorcycle crash 20 years ago, I probably take this subject more seriously than most. Which explains why I’ve spent at least as much time and effort on safety items as I have adding comfort-oriented farkles or planning my route (and I’ve spent a ton of time on both).
Even if you never take on an admittedly extreme two-wheeled challenge like this, I thought a look at some of my safety-related prep work might give you a little extra peace of mind on your next ride:
Experience over the past of couple months has shown that Clearwater Lights’ super-bright Glenda dimmable LED running lights mounted on the fork really catch a driver’s attention. Because 18 hour days inevitably mean riding in the dark, I also had them bolt on a pair of their even brighter, whiter Krista driving lights that turn night into day at the flick of my high-beam switch.
Adding this simple-to-install headlight modulator gives me another chance to catch the attention of all those cell-phone-blabbing drivers I’ll surely encounter during my travels.
Because getting hit from behind is bound to be just as unpleasant, adding these two bright 16-LED flashing auxiliary brake/running light modules on either side of the license plate means I’m covered coming and going.
Okay, let me just say I don’t plan on dropping the bike. But exhaustion and gravity can be an ugly combination. With these babies in place the damage will hopefully be minimal.
I know my jacket’s high-viz yellow color may not be the height of cool, but it’s definitely hard to miss. Add substantial crash protection, a water-repellant finish and heated liner, plus more pockets than I can count and I’m ready for whatever the next 10 days throw my way.
NEXT TIME: MERA’s 10-n-10 Rally: 3 Countries, 2 Oceans, and 27 States (Not that I’m counting or anything).