Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Gary # 164 is one of the few riders who can say he has participated in all of the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge events including the Memorial ride in 2015 where rider payed homage to the 4 fallen riders the challenge has lost. The $500,000. purse and the connection with the Native American’s was a reason he was interested when he read about the challenge in the back of an Outlaw Magazine. So many memories, it’s hard for Gary to single out one memory as his favorite but does recall taking a picture of a guy on a white horse in the bushes because he thought he was imagining it. Sleeping on a picnic table in Alaska he recalls when he woke up he didn’t know which direction he needed to go. He saw a car go by so he chased it down and asked the driver which way was north.
Gary has made many new friends riding the different years. In the past he has ridden for himself but this year plans to focus on others in 2016. He recommends the ride to people searching for their inner strength and says “enjoy the ride and take as little stuff as possible.” He recommends proteins on the ride because “gas station food will kill you.” Helping others is something Gary has taken seriously, enough that he supports another family on a daily basis.
Rob # 299 has been a part of the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge since the beginning while working for Cycle Source magazine who was involved in putting together an event as part of the HHMC settling the 100 year war over Indian motorcycles and Harley Davidson’s to see who got to Homer first. They’re still debating that one. Rob recalls a “chicken fight” he had in New Mexico with a bull in the middle of the road, who was determined to win, but fortunately for Rob who at 30 feet away was thinking this may not come out to well, was pleased the bull went one way and he went the other. But that was not the only critter encounter he experienced out there, he also recalls being in Alaska with friend and brother rider Robert Stapleford # 376 who ended up parked under a female moose. They were following a cager who hit their brakes suddenly, forcing Robert to smoke his rear tire in an attempt to stop, but when the smoke cleared was parked right under that Momma moose. Not alarmed by the encounter she sauntered over him and into the ditch beside them. After realizing he had been under the moose exclaimed “Man do those things stink. Now I know what moose ass smells like.”
Showering for Rob was whenever the opportunity arose. Reminded of the first night of the challenge in Rossmeyers Harley Davidson parking lot as the sprinkler system went off, Rob jumped out of his tent butt naked, chasing the sprinklers and took the opportunity to hose off, hoping the sprinklers wouldn’t shut off before he was finished. He will be riding this year after encouraging friend # 837 Dave Krider to take on this “exhilarating” challenge and will collectively be doing fund raising for several different causes. They will be raising funds and awareness to the Homeless Vets in Pittsburgh, Sponsor the troops, AidanJack Seeger Foundation and the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce. Using his talent as a musician a concert and benefit fund raiser will take place to help accomplish their goal. Working with his Wife Karen and Dave’s girlfriend Kim they plan on covering a lot of ground.The have set up a gofundme account where donations can be made.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Ask any Hoka Hey Rider how they prepared for the Challenge and you may get a myriad of answers but they will all tell you they did a number of extensive rides to prepare their body for the grueling event. If you are a casual rider and plan to ride the Challenge without preparing your mental and physical stamina then you are in for a very difficult few days. I say few days because it will be extremely difficult to complete the Challenge without some stringent and extreme preparation. Even if you are a rider who has a number of Iron Butts under your belt there is a significant difference between doing an extensive ride (800 to 1000 miles) in a single day and doing a number of extensive rides day after day for 10 or 12 days. Get some saddle time and push yourself. It has been said any endeavor of this magnitude is 20% stamina and 80% determination. That may be true but do not discount the 20% and do not rely solely on the 80%.
Have a friend create a route for you and ensure your friend gives you no indication of which direction or where the ride will take you. You can give him a target range for miles depending on your availability of time, indicate interstates are not allowed, desire at least a turn every 50 miles or so but also have 5 or 6 turns within 10 miles at some point then sit back and wait for the route. Don’t cheat, do not ask your friend’s spouse to spy for you. The morning of the planned ride, straddle your bike, take the directions from your friend and leave; no GPS allowed. This will give you a taste of what the Challenge will be, but only a small taste. I say that because you and your friend have ridden together a number of times. Chances are the route created includes a number of roads you are familiar with and you know, beforehand, exactly where that next turn is, and what is around that turn, long before you get there… not so with the Challenge.
DO NOT rely on energy drinks to get you through the day (and night). If you are tired and feel yourself nodding off do not think a chugged cup of coffee or a quick energy drink will get you through. Stop, get some sleep and re-energize yourself for the next day. You are not Superman or Wonder Woman, your body requires (emphasis on requires) sleep, food and water. I am not a Doctor or a Nutritionist, in fact I’m not really that smart at all, but I believe it best to eat small portions several times a day rather than large meals 3 times a day like you may be used to. Drink plenty of water. I usually go through about 20 to 30 ounces of water for each tank of gas. You are going to encounter every form of weather pattern; heat, rain, sand, high wind, cold (possibly including sleet, snow and hail) and some of these you will encounter from one extreme to the other in a single day. It is hard for your body to adjust to these extreme changes and therefore takes its toll on your strength and cognitive ability. Here is a major mistake many succumb to. You are tired, hungry and thirsty but figure you will “man-up” and ignore it and, rather than stop and take care of these needs, you continue and log miles thinking you are making progress. Big mistake. Your body and mind needs these things to operate efficiently. Without them you lose cognitive ability which opens the door for you to make the wrong turn, miss a turn or have an accident because your reaction time has been affected. Rather than waste 4 hours going 200 miles out of your way, use the 4 hours to sleep. I tell you this from experience.
There is no reason a prepared rider cannot average 800 miles a day and still get in 4 to 6 hours of sleep, and sustenance needed to efficiently sustain themselves. Remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?
Determine what to pack and not to pack. The worst thing you can do is over pack, but I think everyone pretty much does it. But there are extremes you must avoid. Each rider is different but for me packing consists of protection from the environmental; rain and light, but wind resistant protection. As far as clothing is concerned, again personal preference, so for me it is more of a socks, underwear and T-Shirt thing; I do not take large numbers of pants and shirts; in fact I pack only one pair of pants for a change sometime during the ride and either wear or pack only one long sleeve shirt. If you’re looking to make a fashion statement during your ride then maybe the Challenge is not your forte. It will not matter how or what you pack; ultimately there are going to be items you will never use and there will be items you wished you had. That’s just the way it is. Ideally, the item you need but do not have will be an item easily acquired somewhere along the road.
Make sure you have ready access to a fuel booster. There will be times you will need fuel but the highest octane at the only gas station within 100 miles is 83; that fuel booster will come in handy. Not to insult anyone’s intelligence but most bottles of fuel booster has enough for a 20 gallon tank. A full bottle in you tank might make your bike run really great for a time, but I suspect that “time” may be short lived—and expensive.
Take some windshield cleaner. You’ll need it. Take bug spray; you’ll need that too. A rain proof poncho will come in handy when sleeping at the corner of No Street and Where Avenue. Sleeping bags, air mattress, tents… all personal preferences. Experience taught me the 1st night of the 2013 Challenge that setting up a tent is not worth your time.
It is best to leave the house with new tires. If your tires have 10-15K on them and you ride 2000 miles to get to the starting line to start the Challenge then, depending on your brand of tire, you may want to budget a purchase of tires at one of the Checkpoints. A soft tire is best. It will wear quicker, but it holds the road better. The only thing between you and road rash are those two 3X5 inch patches of rubber on the road; soft wears quicker but is sticky, durable lasts longer but slides quicker. Sticky is good, sliding is bad. Of course your bike should be freshly serviced and you should expect to get a service perhaps somewhere along mid-point.
Take a camera. Take the time to use the camera, use it not and you will regret it. If you stopped very hour for 2 minutes to take a picture then not only will you have a bunch of really cool pictures, but you have given your body 2 minutes every hour to improve some circulation. That 2 minute break every hour will pay big dividends when you hit that 18 hour mark. A Go-Pro or Contour video camera is a great thing to have to capture those instantaneous events. Of course, experience has shown me, I seldom had them running when an “instantaneous event” popped up, but sometimes they were. Get some good mounts to secure them to your ride. Not to sanction any specific brand, but I find Ram Mounts are among the best. Easy to install and very sturdy.
One last thing (even though I could go on and on). When I rode the 2013 Challenge I did the research, I prepared myself, I prepared my bike, I packed and unpacked, packed again then again and again and… well, you get the idea. I was 100% prepared for every inevitability; or so I thought.
At 5:30AM the morning of the start of the 2013 Challenge I was very proud of myself for my intellectual approach and unsurpassed accomplishments thus far. Then I looked at the other bikes and realized I had not once thought of a way to hold the directions for easy reading at a glance while tooling down the road. I had nothing. I was screwed.
I said all that to say this. Regardless of how much you prepare, there is going to be something you missed. Don’t let it get you down; it’s all part of the Challenge.
The Challenge is hard and can be risky. Intentionally adding risk makes it harder and WILL increase the likelihood of accident. Chancing another 100 miles for the day when you have been in the saddle for 18 hours already may seem like a good idea at the time, but may end badly for you and your family. That extra 100 miles is not worth it.
Hoka Hey! And good luck.
Veterans, Homeless, Homeless Veterans, Our Troops, Battered Women and Children, Animals, Native Americans, Diabetes, Leukemia, Cancer, Children's Hospital, Children's Athletics, Childhood Diseases, Teen Challenge, Youth Ministry, to name several reasons are why some of us ride. A collective effort is being made for all these different causes, but that shouldn't surprise you, that is what motorcycle riders do. At least most of the one's We have met. Part of what we look for in a rider for the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge is a willing heart to help others. And we have got an amazing team of people working really hard to make a difference in other peoples lives this year. So pick a rider, a cause, read their biographies and dig into those pockets and help us help others.
Collectively reported so far we have raised $45,969.44
Collectively reported so far we have raised $45,969.44
Joe # 868 heard about the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge while watching the news. The riders, he learned were riding from Key West, FL. to Homer, AK. Fascinated by that he started doing some research and although until this year he has been unable to ride has followed the ride since the beginning. Joe loves riding long distance and the competitiveness of the riders and also liked the camaraderie and brotherhood he sees in the family of Hoka Hey Challengers.
Joe will be riding his 2012 Roadglide FLRX because Mark Hopkins # 59 has sponsored him for this year. In return Joe is planning on doing fund raising for Veterans and in respect for his Mom; he will be riding for the Leukemia Foundation. He has the support of his coworkers and customers and looks forward to reaching his goal. He feels no donation is too small and knows it all helps. Donations for the Wounded Warrior project can be made here. Pack light is the best advice he has been given so far. He also looks forward to representing Calumet Harley Davidson as another sponsor.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Brad # 867 can’t recall where or when he first learned about the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge but what he does remember is he immediately realized this would be something he would enjoy doing. He has a passion for long distance riding but 99.9% of his long distance riding has been alone. Finding kindred spirits such as is with the riders of the HHMC is one thing he liked about what he heard. Not only finding people who enjoy long distance riding but finding compatible, passionate riding partners that have the same schedule becomes difficult as well. So to find out he was going to be riding with people who when asked to ride a 1000 miles for a cheeseburger would do something like that really interested him.
His love for riding was kindled when he was 6 years old at a company picnic with his Mom. A friend of hers brought a mini bike to the picnic and when asked if he would like to try it was so enjoying it they couldn’t get him off the bike. He just didn’t want to stop riding. He remembers all the fun times he had with his Grandfather Ken Keller, who was one of the first American stunt riders on his 1928 Indian Scout. His Grandfather road the wall of death in circuses in Pennsylvania and in the late 1960’s took Brad on trips on his Honda 650 so he thinks it must be in his DNA. So this year’s ride will be a tribute to his Grandfather “I ride alone, yet I’m not alone. God’s spirit and Ken’s spirit live within me.”
Learning a few tips from HHMC rider # 373 Terry Smith such as pace yourself, and don’t over pack, Brad looks forward to meeting his facebook friend Terry in person in California soon. Brad currently is putting on miles riding the “Tour of Honor” and supports Operation Warrior. One of the things that really attracted Brad to the HHMC event is the compassion and care other riders show for the needs of people.