It’s been a while…

Just over two and a half years in fact and some of you may have wondered where we went.

It’s been an interesting couple of years. After my episode during the 2014 European Tour a brain scan indicated possible MS. We moved house and I spent the next couple of years under investigation. At one point I was told I did have MS, only to be told  a month or so later the specialist had misinterpreted one of the scans (the scans look different if done on different machines; one had been done in Kent the other in Lincolnshire) and I had to wait another year for a new scan. Shortly before Christmas last year I was given the all clear. I can tell you that was a huge relief for both of us.

Kevin meanwhile was having his own issues. During 2015 it was too painful for him to ride the bike for anything but short distances following complications from a hernia operation. That was finally resolving itself when he thought he was going down with ‘flu in December of that year. Two days later he literally couldn’t get out of bed, stand up from a chair, shower or dry himself without help and could only shuffle instead of walk. Things didn’t improve and the problem was fairly quickly diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It’s currently incurable but his medical regime has evolved to weekly injections topped up with copious painkillers and the odd steroid injection which are mostly keeping it under control. (For anyone thinking “We all get a touch of arthritis when we get older, I can’t see what the problem is.” click the link and you’ll see we don’t get RA.).

It wasn’t all bad though. Our second granddaughter was born in 2014 and we have been able to concentrate on refurbishing our new-to-us home (it’s nearly finished now).

On the riding front, we had to pull out of the 2015 Iron Butt Rally (IBR) while I was being investigated for MS and we pulled out of the 2017 IBR when Kevin was diagnosed with RA. We haven’t rallied or done much riding – nothing long distance – since September 2014.

So that, you may be thinking, is that. Well not quite. We’ve just started riding again; only short rides until this week, nothing more than around 150 miles, and the amount of riding we’ll do will be less than we used to but it’s good to be back in the saddle.

Where are we now? We’re in a hotel in Minnesota waiting to start the 2017 IBR.

Kevin’s RA isn’t going to get any better but it’s reasonably well controlled at the moment. After a short discussion about three months ago we came to the conclusion this might be our only opportunity to ride the IBR again so it’s worth a shot. Lisa, the IBR Organiser, kindly allowed our re-entry so here we are in Minneapolis preparing for the rally. 

We landed in Toronto on Monday, picked up the bike, spent the night in a hotel then rode about 500 miles to a friend’s house in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario (thanks for your hospitality Neil and Grace). After a day spent sorting out an issue with the the bike’s lights and chilling, oh yes, and having our first North America ice cream for a while, we rode a further 500 miles or so to Minneapolis today. That’s our IBR riding preparation taken care of then ;-).

The ride was uneventful. The weather was awful – I hadn’t realised we’d hit the Wisconsin monsoon season – but the sun came out as we got into Minnesota.

I just liked this weir.

This was my view for most of the day

Miles and miles of roadworks – at least they were doing something here

Does it look brighter ahead?

We pulled into the car park and saw our first friendly face, Scott from Switzerland; shortly afterwards we bumped into Gerhard and Robert who we’ve known for years and were with us for the 2013 IBR. There are other old friends here we’ve yet to see.

We’re not confident we’re going to finish – fatigue is one of the symptoms of RA and we’re nothing like bike fit. If Kevin has a flare during the event there’s no question we’ll have to pull out but if that happens we’ll go for a bit of a wander when things calm down and still have some fun.

The rally starts on Monday 26th June and from around that date the IBA will be posting updates here. There’s also a page on Spotwalla which will show the current position of IBR riders who have chosen to share their location. There are mid-rally checkpoints on the 29th June and 2nd July in Allen, Texas, and the rally concludes back in Minneapolis on Friday 7th July. Let’s see how it goes shall we?

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    • Tim Bowman on June 23, 2017 at 04:40
    • Reply

    Good on you both for continuing to try!

    • Dave on June 23, 2017 at 06:26
    • Reply

    Good to hear from you both but not the news about Kevin’s health
    However I am looking forward to hearing about your latest trip

    • Sheena on June 23, 2017 at 08:10
    • Reply

    Stay safe, have fun and save some energy for Wales! xx

    • Colin & Pat on June 23, 2017 at 08:21
    • Reply

    Wow – a real mixture of good and bad news! Good luck with the rally, and we hope to go biking with you again when you get back.

    • David Badcock on June 23, 2017 at 08:40
    • Reply

    Wow you guys have been through the wringer! Enjoy your time in the States, about time you had some good riding luck.

    Look forward to reading your reports again.

    Love, light and kindness,

    Dave Badcock

    • William Burke on June 23, 2017 at 10:40
    • Reply

    Wow. Just wow. Your perseverance and courage are an inspiration to all. My dear 90 year old Mum in St. Peter (about 60 miles SW of you) would be as inspired as I am today. Welcome back and have as safe and as long a ride as you decide to make it.
    Bill Burke
    Rutland, Vermont

    • P E Hewitson on June 23, 2017 at 10:55
    • Reply

    Adventurous spirit will out son! Best of luck both. Enjoy. xxx

    • Joe Fisher on June 23, 2017 at 17:58
    • Reply

    Amazing fighting spirit! Here’s hoping for a trouble free ride for you in the IBR.

    • Chris Kilner on June 23, 2017 at 22:58
    • Reply

    Hi Both
    Great to hear you both are riding again, it’s a long time since we caught up.
    Nothing like a gentle iIBR to get your biking mojo going again !

    Good luck on the rally enjoy it and ride safe.

    Chris & Bev

    • Anonymous on June 25, 2017 at 21:04
    • Reply

    Ride safe guys….have loads of fun…

    • Leigh on June 25, 2017 at 22:18
    • Reply

    Have fun both of you and good luck! Whatever you do, enjoy. Xx

    • The Colonel on June 26, 2017 at 18:15
    • Reply

    Good to see you both back in the saddle take care and enjoy. XXX


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