Pre-Iron Butt Rally 2003 Background
With the start of the 2005 IBR a couple of days from now, I went back through a few things about my 2003 participation.
After much introspection, I tied 2 things together that put my finish into better perspective for me. All through the rally I was kicking myself for not stitching together better legs (or even more aggressively routed days). At each mandatory checkpoint I'd hear other riders talking about the bonus locations they'd been to while reflecting on what I perceived as my relatively-sparce list of locations; kicking myself mentally for not doing better. Believe me the mind game I played on myself was a huge one that started at the 1st mandatory checkpoint and didn't end. And I don't mean didn't end until the finish line. I mean it didn't end until I got a copy of these documents (below) just yesterday.
Don't think I'm a lone ranger on issues like this either. I have talked to a lot of finishers over the past 2 years. This internalized denigration is not uncommon even for riders who finish much better than I. Perhaps it's the A-Type personality trait that drives a rider to make the commitments needed to ride The Big One that also work against us to drive us to "do better next time"? I'm not a professional head shrinker, so I can't say.
What I can say is that the arrival of these documents helped me put a few personal demons to rest and put an 81st place finish in better perspectives.
A tip of the helmet to every rider who made the commitments needed to be at the starting line. A hearty "HUZZAH!" to every Finisher; past and future!
MJ - 8/2005
Fusion of C5-C6
and C6-C7 Vertebrae
Post-operative X-Ray (6 weeks)
This operation was done about 18 months prior to my participation in the 2003 Iron Butt Rally. While my 81st place finish wasn't stellar in anyone's books, it wasn't last place (117 starters). Given the circumstances (the surgery, reduce range of neck movement, more aggressive riding position on the FJR1300 - requiring increased torso-forward/head craned upward seating position compared to any other bike I've owned), I am okay with the placing. More importantly I am proud to be counted among that small group of people known as "Finishers".
Mark Johnson IBA #288 - Finisher
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