The adventure 2: Cambelton to Perce

29 August 2016  |  Admin

BUTT SERIOUSLY: FIRST TIME OUT ON THE IRON BUTT RALLY: AN IRISHMAN'S STORY / Richard KeeganThe road from Campbelton to Perce is a beautiful one, bordering the Atlantic. Small towns and villages line the road all the way, with beautiful painted timber houses and lots of people on holidays, relaxing and enjoying the views. It was essential to keep our full attention for ‘Sunday drivers’. You know the type: “Oh, look at that lovely seagull! Let’s stop the car in the middle of the road and take a photograph!”. It is very important to remember that the Iron Butt is a Rally and we were very careful to make allowances for the Sunday drivers.

Perce Rock is spectacular. A huge rock broken from the mainland, with a section of sea-bed that is clear of the ocean at low tide. It appears to be a major tourist attraction, with lots of couples and families walking out to the rock at low tide. This day, they were joined by a number of guys in bike gear with cameras and Rally flags.

Homer and I got our gear together and headed along the stone beach to the rock. The footing was difficult but we made good progress, walking through ankle-deep water to get to the rock, as the holiday-makers stepped from stone to stone to keep their feet dry. We met four or five other Rally riders on the rock. It was like an impromptu committee meeting, as we discussed the detail of the bonus instructions. No one wanted to have ridden all the way to Perce Rock only to have their photo disqualified back in St Louis. Photos were taken to the agreed standard and we headed back to the bikes. It was time for another Iron Butt moment.

As we struggled back along the beach, the Bionic Man approached us. It was Rob Nye, running along the beach. Full run. Arms pumping. Breathing easily. No sweating. “Rob, that’s impressive”. “Yes”, he replied, “six miles a day, six days a week, for the past 18 months”. That is, since he was told he had a place in the Rally. I turned to Homer and said I was glad I wasn’t running in that Rally! The level of preparation and commitment of the Big Dogs in the long-distance community is very high. As Rob pulled away towards the Rock, three more guys came running along the beach. This time, they were still wearing their riding jackets and at a full run. Impressive.

We checked we had all the requirements for the Perce Rock bonus and looked at our route back to St Louis. It was Wednesday, 14:00. We had to be back in St Louis on Friday, at 17:00 I thought, but in fact it was for 19:00. Time to make tracks.