By Stormy

Cool Biker Lunch and Rides motorcycle group announced another challenge that they are hosting!  You have to ride 1,500 miles in 36 hours.  The ones that completed the 1K last year were invited to inaugurate the 1.5K in 1.5 Days challenge before it opens up to the rest of the group.  The participants were: Dave Setter, Stephen Gonzales, Steve Wilson, Rachel Baldwin, Ed Collins, Jason Ennis, Austin Prather, Kristi Strother, and myself.  Jason Massey and Steve Skalski did their 1K challenge the same day and joined the 1.5K challenge.  The route was from Watkin, CO, to Corpus Christi, TX, to spend the night and head back to Amarillo, TX.  We reached 1,500 miles near Snyder, TX, and pulled over to document it and stop the clock.  We celebrated in Amarillo over steaks and drinks at The Big Texan Steakhouse.

After I did the 1K last year with Krisi Strother to Sturgis and back, I told myself that was the last time I would do that again.  It was exhausting both mentally and physically to the point where I found myself needing to talk out loud to stay awake.  But I am glad I did this 1.5K challenge. It feels great that I can accomplish something only a few people can do.  There is no one way to measure it or weigh it, but feeling accomplished is so closely tied to our needs, desires, ambitions, and drivers that it becomes a personal achievement.  I know a lot will not understand why we, motorcycle enthusiasts, do these kinds of challenges, but we do, which is all that matters.  

Stephen Gonzales

“It sure sounded like fun after completing the 1k in a day last year.  Just like last year, after about 5 hrs. I’m wondering  what I was thinking.   After a few lost items, a check engine light, a small mishap that temporarily put one person on pause, and a couple of fill-ups, all was good.  We had taken our places in line and commenced on our trip.  Great guidance, leadership, and teamwork helped us get through it with two small celebrations of completing another 1k under 24 hrs and then the milestone of 1.5 k in under 36 hrs.  A great trip, can’t wait for another one.”

Jason Massey

“So people going for a 1K or a 1.5K challenge should be experienced riders.  It will challenge you mentally and physically.  Hydration and whatever the individual needs to stay focused are important during the ride.  5-hour energy drinks are beneficial.  Would I do this again?  Yes, absolutely!”

Kristi Strother

“The Limit

I thought I would sleep better the night I got home from a 1.5k challenge motorcycle ride. We traveled over 1,500 miles in a day and a half. My body was tired, exhausted. I tossed and turned all night, thinking about my adventure, our adventure, of pushing it to the limit (that song was stuck in my head too). I should have slept, but the road with all its hidden treasures flashed through my brain. 

Poet T.S. Eliot once wrote: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” 

I am grateful for this trip. I learned I could push through exhaustion. Plus, I made lasting memories with new and old friends, who also took the leap and pushed themselves to conquer the road, the heat, the endless miles.

We left at the crack of dawn, still dark, only the peering eyes of wildlife followed us down the road. We set out on an adventure, none of us precisely sure how we would do…or how our bikes would do. All we knew was that we were leaving Colorado for Corpus Christi, Texas with a full tank of gas and many early morning biker grins. 

We had setbacks, mostly flying off bikes; an ice chest full of sandwiches, bandanas flying off heads, a bungee cord, and even a helmet.

On the outside, we navigated the road like experienced warriors roaring through the Wasteland; on the inside, each of us had our reason for taking part in the challenge. For some, it was to put their feet in the ocean, others to beat a record; I didn’t want to pass up seeing a part of our great country that I have never seen before. Yes, the merciless sun was relentless. Gallons of water drank, too many to count. But the hundreds and hundreds of miles of green hills, golden valleys, peaceful lakes, and unspoiled panoramic views kept me aching for more. Even the long stretches of interstate, staring at the parched land and decaying houses, kept me intrigued. Who lived there? Why did they let the house fall apart?

Colorado. Oklahoma. Texas. We kept moving. Time slowed. 

I enjoyed seeing gallant horses throw their heads up as we thundered by picturesque farms; I loved the wide-eyed looks of wonder from young kids in the back seats of mini-vans, and I was touched by the show of solidarity other bikers gave as we passed through towns and even on the highway. It may seem like a simple ‘biker wave,’ but the symbolism of safety never left me. It’s a good feeling to be home… and that we all got home safe! 

In the end, it doesn’t matter why each of us took on this challenge.  But I have to admit I do feel stronger. Sleepy but stronger. I pushed myself more than I ever have before. I learned a lot. Saw a lot. And I am grateful for my 1.5k friends who helped me find out how far I could go!

So put me on a highway

Show me a sign

Take it to the limit

One more time”

Steve Wilson

“This trip was many months in the making for me.  I’ve been planning to do a 1500 mile trek and tried to find destinations to go to.  My brother’s house, for example, is 1530 miles away from mine.  When Ed started planning this trip to Corpus Christi and back, I was excited.  About a month prior, I decided to bring my son, Gummy Bear, with me.  My wife and I lost him on 4 November 2017.  I brought his urn and made a little bed with his stuffed puppy in one of the fairing compartments.  He was as snug as a bug in a rug.  Having this memory with me made it all worth it.  Sure, I was hot, dirty, stinky, and tired… but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I got to have an adventure with my first son.”

Steve Skalski

“This soul is more fulfilled after following leader Ed, and riding with the others for 1.5k miles in 1.5 days.  I expected it would be both physically and mentally challenging, and I wasn’t let down.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for you and my fellow riders. THANKS TO ALL!”

Dave Setter

“What a great team effort by an excellent group on a mission!  Doing this 1.5K in 1.5 days with 11 bikes with folks on a bike for 40 out of 60 hours (with over 2,200 total miles) was just awesome.  Everyone pulled together and got it done.  Ed Collins (a/k/a the great cat herder), thank you for your leadership efforts.  You made it happen smoothly despite a few bumps but most of all, you made it fun.  Thanks again.”

Rachel Baldwin

“This was a fun event; with this many people going, it was a challenge that we had stacked against us.  We rolled through, and the ride was well organized from the start, which was our advantage.  Everyone played an essential part.  I was overwhelmed with joy that morning; everyone was prompt, ready, excited, awake, and passing out goodies to one another for encouragement on this ride.  We were a team!   We were focused.  We paid attention to detail, and I was so impressed we had a way to check codes on our bike, holy cow!  Prepared is the word that comes to mind, even with reminding everyone to add roadside assistance, bring batteries for key fobs, first aid, battery jumper, air compressors, and the like. The stop in Corpus woke my senses with the chirps of the seaside birds and the gorgeous water view from our hotel window.  I was able to run into a childhood classmate at our gas stop in Comfort, named Matt Herrera; I haven’t seen him since 2002. It was all by chance!  I had no idea he worked there, dope!  We kept in great communication with each other.  Leaders took the lead when the dynamics changed, and we all accomplished this great task together!  Thanks for this great opportunity!  What a ride!”

Ed Collins

“Bike is ready, and I am ready; everyone is ready!  And away we go into the dark morning, eleven bikes in formation headed for the Gulf of Mexico.  Twenty-one hours later, we had come through fog, a 100-degree stretch, a few turns, and the best McDonald’s burger I can remember to arrive at our hotel.

After the group congratulated each other on making it to Corpus Christi, we went straight to bed so we could ride 500 more miles in 36 hours.  The following morning I learned the definition of a CBLR member.  We had a member develop mechanical issues the day before; we got them a tow and safe before moving on.  I had set it up to grab parts and let the group move on to accomplish their goal.  They would have none of it – as a group, they decided to wait for me … that act of “selfless group sacrifice” set the tone for my experience.  I was honored and humbled to ride with this group.”

Austin Prather

“I broke down 550 miles into day one.  I got a tow to a motel from some cool rednecks. Then I diagnosed and repaired a broken wire to my electronic throttle body.  I rode back to Amarillo to meet with the rest of the team after they completed their mission.  I rode motorcycles, fixed stuff, met people, ate steak.  It wasn’t the worst experience I’ve had.”

Join Cool Biker Lunch & Rides on Facebook and get the guidelines if anyone wants to try this challenge.  It will be an epic experience that you will remember for a lifetime.