YES! Another installment of Gabe’s wild adventures on the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge dating back to 2014 where I rode from Key West, FL all the way up back roads to Homer, Alaska! You can learn from history and people’s past experience. Here I am in 2014 in the wild Yukon among wildlife at midnight after riding 9,400 miles in 16-days. I produce these HHMC videos from my perspective to inform newer riders of what anything valuable that I can give them. I am sure there are better riders than my self that can give richer advice.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: FL TO ALASKA!
If you navigate to the Hoka hey Challenge homepage they have a page for past runs. “Billed as UNFINISHED BUSINESS – the 2014 Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge™ followed a new route to cover some old ground between Key West, FL and Homer, AK. Unfinished Business was a journey that would convince participants that the things we have avoided are the things that have the power to transform, enrich, and even complete us. Long stretches of open highway and dark, cold, rainy nights along this year’s route encouraged participants not only to be mindful of what is most important in life, but to act on it. By taking honest and courageous stock of our own unfinished business, we all can live lives that honor our best selves.”
I made the decision to ride the 2014 HHMC after riding with so many other HH riders in different competitive events like the Legends’ Rall and the Iron Butt runs. There was some turmoil stemming from the 2011 HHMC that had advertised $1 Million Dollar purse to the winner. I cannot opine much since that was two years before my time. The 2013 I wanted to enter but I did not have enough time to prepare and then my Law Firm at the time had scheduled trial dates for the month of the run. I was so happy to begin my HHMC life riding from FL to Alaska.
In the clip below I had ridden almost 9,000+ miles being approximately one day from crossing the finish line. This was the hardest run I ever rode since I started riding back in 1979. I was not used to the mental as well as the physical challenge I imposed on myself once the Challenge commenced. I had wanted to quit 100 times but I barreled forward over the finish line in Homer Spit, Alaska.
***(I know I fucked up in the video and it’s not the Can-Am Highway, but the correct name is the ALCAN Highway! Some call it the Alaska Hwy or the Alaska/Canada Hwy. I made a mistake….sue me!)
WHAT DID I LEARN IN 2014?
RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE – This is a common phrase that many voiced out when I was performing my pre-checks and hanging in the bars getting to know the past riders. I learned that not ALL riders are equal although some guys’ egos valued themselves more than reality saw them. If you want to live through the HHMC and not die on the run I suggest you ride your own ride. Ride at speeds that you feel comfortable with in the condition that you find your mind, soul, and body in at the time. Just because you rode to Sturgis once or twice does not make you the big swinging dick in the up and coming 2024 HHMC. If you ride within your skill set and experience you are riding your ride. If you try to keep up with other riders that seem to be exceling you might fall short of your expectations causing bodily injury or even death on the road. Challenge yourself into excellence but try to ride in your lane.
Too many people have died riding at 100+ MPH trying to read their map, their turn-by-turn instructions, and navigate their bike on the unknown road while trying to read the signs on 4-hours sleep!Attorney That RIDES!
IT’S MY FIRST HOKA HEY MOTORCYCLE CHALLENGE!
IT’S MY FIRST HOKA HEY MOTORCYCLE CHALLENGE
There is wisdom in the Bible Proverbs 12:14-16, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Now, maybe you don’t believe in God but that’s your problem not mine. I am giving you wisdom here coming from ten (10) years of HHMC and other competitive runs that I have completed in my moto-career. My advice to the new guys & gals is to not try to be the first monkey to cross the finish line. If it happens naturally because your riding skills are there it will happen just like it happened for Diesel in 2020! (MOMIS KOMET).
Treat your first run like your scouting out the experience of the unknown. You have 30-days to complete the run successfully. Do not try to go outside of the realm of your riding experience because you want to make the HH finish line party. Too many people have died riding at 100+ MPH trying to read their map, their turn-by-turn paper instructions, and navigate their bike on the road while trying to read the signs on 4-hours sleep. After you have one HHMC under your belt you will know what skills you need to improve on for the next run. You will invest in gear and moto equipment that will improve your standing amongst your brothers. Most importantly, you will be alive to ride the HHMC again!
IBA 25 Long-Distance Riding Tips
Most of Hoka Hey Riders are members of the Iron Butt Association members also. I encourage you to reach out to them for advice and other info on their runs. They have this great page of 25 awesome tips for long distance riding. Below is tip #1 “Know your limits and plan your trip around them.” I am sure they dont mind me using their tips as long as i cite the quote and give them credit!
“If the longest ride you have ever taken is 300 miles in a day, don’t plan a trip with a string of endless five-hundred-mile days. Iron Butt Association surveys also warn of an important trend in long distance trip planning (see Chart A). Discounting weather or other problems; after an initial mileage peak on days one and two, daily average mileage will steadily drop during trip days three to seven. On day seven of a trip, the typical long-distance rider will comfortably ride about 65% of the average daily mileage that they would book on a two-day trip.”
“If the pros have this type of mileage attrition rate, would you plan on any less? Also include large easy-to-cut loops into your trip plan. If you do get behind schedule, this is the easiest way to skip part of your trip without ruining the rest of it. Whether you are capable of riding 300 miles per day, or 1,000, the ability to make miles tends to decrease as the length of the trip increases. The most severe loss is in days 3 through 7, where Iron Butt types then level out to about 65% of their peak capacity.” (https://ironbutt.org/25tips.html)
DON’T WAIT FOR THE DAY OF…
All you procrastinators will suffer pain or defeat of your goals if you want for the day of the Hoka hey Challenge to try yourself. WHAT DO YOU MEAN GABE? I am glad you asked because I am guilty of trying shit out on competitions when I should have tried it out on my own private time.
EQUIPMENT – How many times before I learned my lesson getting caught in the rain in a competition when my equipment failed me when I needed it most. Helmet fogs up, rain suit is resistant instead of water proof, or those heated gloves are zapping you cause they failed to stay dry. Go out the year before the HHMC and try yo shizzle out. It’s all trial by fire on the road. Took me years before the helmet pinlock system cured foggy helmets. Took $$$$$ down da toilet before I discover the expensive KLIM gear is worth every penny. To this date I have not fount authentic waterproof gloves that are waterproof.
My advice to you is complete a few Iron Butt Association Saddle Sore 1,000 runs (1,000 miles in less than 24 hours), or a Bun Burner 1,500 (1,500 miles in less than 36 hours), before riding the HHMC. Test your equipment in friendly and non-competition mode so that the day of the Challenge your gear has been tried and tested!
MAJOR MOTOR WORK – Again, if you are going to do major motor work on your ride make sure you have ridden it 1,000 miles before starting the HHMC. Ride a quick Saddle Sore that can be completed in 17-19 hours trying your motorcycle to see if the work was completed right…the first time. There are exceptions on the challenge when you may need major work. At that point you either quit the Challenge that I do not advise. The other and more expensive option is to swallow the cost, fix the bike, and pray that an experienced mechanic worked on your motorcycle. In the past some brothers just traded their old raggedy bikes in for spanking new one to continue their run to the finish line. Don’t worry, this is allowed by the rules of the HHMC. So the golden rule on the road is to ride your bike for no less than 1,000 after major work because if it’s going to fail it will happen or get your attention that it will happen riding it 1,000 miles in da wind!
The HHMC is simple and fun on the surface but going down the competitiveness rabbit hole this turns into a complicated science of Long Distance Motorcycle Endurance riding. I can and should write a book on how to ride your ride. Don’t be an arrogant knucklehead that despises advice cuz ya know it all. have a spirit of learning from those around you even if you learn what NOT TO DO! Do some runs to try your bike and gear. get in da gym to be strong and in physical shape for the rally. I will do an installment on this in a later post. Remember what gabe says, you are competing against yourself not that ugly hairy biker with the loud voice thumping his chest at the pre-rally-party…….that guy will by most past accounts be on the side of the road crying like a little bitch on day five if he didn’t quit and go home earlier.
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