The 2008 Iron Butt 150 ride report w/pics

2008 marks the fourth year of the Iron Butt 150. This ride from it's inception was never intended to be a race but rather an endurance ride. It's not just 150 miles of dirt but 150 miles of dirt with the relentless pounding of rocks that give the Iron Butt it's unique personality. I have posted many ride reports from this area, which show the beauty of the terrain and the opportunity to get close to the local wildlife. When asked about the difficulty of the ride I generally let it be known that you have to love rocks if you wanna smell the flowers. I rarely post pictures of the rugged parts of the ride because pictures just do not seem to do it justice. Instead I focus my lens on the beautiful vistas and awesome wildlife.

We usually post the date of the Iron Butt two or three weeks in advance. Every year we get a large response from those who are interested in the ride. It usually looks like we may have thirty or more riders show up. But on the day of the ride we always have under 15 riders. Most of those will never return to do the Iron Butt a second time but this year about half of the riders had done the Iron Butt before. You gotta love it.

On Saturday morning of July 19 at 7:00 a.m. some of us gathered at the Bar 14 restaurant in Ellensburg for breakfast. By 8:00 a.m. we had eaten and were on the road heading to the staging area. Our intention was to start riding by 9:00 a.m.. We did not want to get caught out after dark since no one really had proper lighting for night riding.

The ride is divided into two separate seventy five mile loops:

1. An upper loop which is done entirely in the forest and includes both double track roads known as Green Dots and single track trails through the Table Mountain trail system. This year we did the upper loop first and the temperatures were quite pleasant.

2. The lower loop brings us into desert terrain and ends up on a beach of the Columbia River located on the West Bar, directly across the river from the Crescent Bar Resort Community. By the time we arrived at the river beach the temps were well above 90 degrees. The other riders commented on the quite noticeable jump in temperature as we dropped in altitude.

The ride took eleven hours to complete. That includes stops for breaks, lunch, refueling, and regrouping. We only lost two riders very briefly as they missed the turn off of the Beehive road. Same thing happened last year except that it was not briefly. We had a total of three flat tires, two of which were inflicted upon Tony's bike. Tony had a small nail in his tire but didn't catch it on the first flat. So shortly after fixing the flat it went flat again. This time he found the nail and all was well. Last year I was the only one who had a flat.

We all need to give Tony a big hug of thanks. He rode the entire ride as the sweep rider. :thumbsup: . Thanks Tony, you are number one great guy of the ride. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I didn't take as many pictures as I should have but several other riders took pictures so this should be a really well documented report pictorially speaking after everyone posts their pictures into this thread.

Here are few of us at the restaurant:


We all geared up pretty quickly at the staging area and started the ride at 9:15 a.m.. Only 15 minutes later than we actually planned. I think that is a record. There were 13 of us that started the ride. Two quit after the first loop. That is one of the nice points of this ride. A person can put in a 75 mile day (one loop) and go home knowing they had a nice days work out. Not everyone is in the picture obviously my bike and myself are missing. (By the way if someone would please post a list of every rider by name I will edit this post and add the name right at this point)


The Green Dot roads are nice because of the scenery and pace they make possible. Just don't get two crazy because we are not the only ones using the road and would hate to lose anyone because they got nailed by a car or truck due to careless speeding around corners. Another nice thing about the morning loop is the animals are generally out in force. Three deer crossed the road right in front of me and was able to catch one on film as she disappeared into the forest.


Eventually we stopped to regroup and make sure we had not lost anyone. There is a nice stream at this spot so a person can get cooled off if they are hot:


(Picture above taken by Alan)



I rode the lead almost the entire ride, which gave me the opportunity to see any animals that might be on the road first. When we were about 4 miles from Grouse Springs where the single track trails begin a group of Elk were crossing the road. I stopped my bike and motioned for any riders behind me to stop and cut their engines. I have taken quite a few pictures of Elk through the years and have learned something about their behavior. Half the heard immediately crossed the road in front of me and climbed the hillside into the trees. I could see the other were nervous and backed up into the forest not crossing the road. I have learned that Elk do not like to separated from their heard. If you shut your motor off they will cross the road right in front of you maybe 10 to 30 yards away from the spot where they were split up from their herd. Sure enough they acted true to their nature and I got an great opportunity to use my new cameras 18X zoom lens. Here are some of the shots.




Now look really close at the neck of this next Elk. It has something tied around its neck and hanging down like a bib over it's chest. I didn't see this when I was snapping the pictures but you sure can't miss it.


Finally we arrive at Grouse Springs and the single track trail head.


I only took a few pictures while on the single track. Oh, don't let the pictures fool you because Table Mt. single track are loaded with technical rock and root sections. The guys can all attest to that:




Finally we arrived at the camping site close to Haney Meadows. This is the halfway point of the first loop:


As we loop back to our trucks to fuel up and eat lunch we take the traditional detour up to what I call Mission Ridge look out. From this vantage point you can see the city of Wenatchee on the North side of the Mountain and the cite of Ellensburg on the South side of the Mountain and the city of Quincy on the Northeast side of the Mountain. It is an awesome view:



Here are our riders standing around the towers of the Mission Ridge lookout breathing in the spectacular views:



We headed back down the mountain to finish the first loop. And we came across a rather large herd of sheep feeding on the forest grasses. There were sheep dogs too but I didn't take pictures of them. I always find the sheep herders, their flocks and dogs very interesting. I have even had the privilege of watching the herders and their dogs work the sheep as they drive them down from the mountain pastures to the ranches. Really cool:



This is the end of my photo documentation of the first 75 mile loop of the Iron Butt 150. We ate lunch at our back at our trucks and refueled for the final leg of the ride.

Loop two is a desert ride during the hottest part of the day which ends up at the river. Here are some of the guys as we prepare to begin loop two.


There are places on the desert section where you can easily hit speeds of over 60 mph. Personally when I checked my top speed of the day it was 60 mph. I did bite it lightly in the silty sections of the desert which caused me to slow down and be more careful.


I believe that is Alan making dust in this next picture:


As you get to the edge of the plateau just before you drop down to the West Bar on the Columbia River you get a big piece of eye candy:




Looking back toward the plateau after dropping down to the rivers basin:


As I mentioned earlier it was over 90 degrees in the desert and we had been riding for one and a half hours straight. We were hot by the time we reached the water. At the beach of the West Bar we found several speed boats tied to the shore with rubber water toys strewn about in the water and guys and gals sunbathing. I didn't take any pictures of the girls sunbathing. I left that to Alan who seems to accidentally point the lens in their direction. I'm sure he will post any such pictures I already deleted the ones he took with my camera when I had him hold it for me while I cooled off. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


You might think that our motorcycles are expensive toys but they are nothing compared to the money poured into some of the boats playing on the river.




Just looking at them toys in actions cools me off. By the way the river is the half way point of the second loop. I didn't take any more pictures but others did and as I suggested earlier before this post is finished it will be really well documented with pictures.

On the return trip of the desert loop Alan spotted these deer. I am amazed that I missed them but glad he had his camera:


Alan took this picture of the Tarpiscan road which we took to connect up with the Colockum Pass road. From this vantage point you can see off in the distance Moses Coulee where the Palisades is located:


Eat your hearts out folks, you missed a really great endurance ride. We finished the ride by 8:00 p.m.. Eleven of us can say we rode it all the way. We did it. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Great looking ride you had Nick. Next year I will be there for sure.


Beautiful terrain ever there. Its been a while since i have been to Wenatchee.

:thumbsup: I had to help the missus with her garage sale over the weekend.:thumbsup: WOW, I missed another great one.

only took a few photos myself.. had to say, after wrestling the 610 around on that single track on the first loop I was pretty pooped, but how could I not finish up after coming all that way?..

glad I did.. but next year I'm bringing an oxygen mask and I am unofficially renaming it the Iron Lung 150 cuz that's what I need to breathe after inhaling all that dust.

so of the couple of pics I took these are the most interesting

the "first flat" honors of the day goes to Thomas.. so glad I was there to record the event.. or at least the follow through

Now looking at this photo of him attending his flat on the side of the road, you might be thinking.. "man, why did he pick such a rocky place to try and change his tire?.. he should have at least laid it down on the road"







until I pan the camera back a bit and you can see that where Tony is sitting on his KTM, is actually ON THE ROAD


and this was not even close to being the rockiest stuff we rode over

the type of rocks that annoyed me the most were the small, roundish shaped rocks.. lt was like riding over millions of lava golf balls, six inches deep

and finally, a shot of my rear tire after I got home which was was brand new when I started the day's ride


(just kidding, but it had quite a bit of tread at the start of the ride)

rob in renton

There is a lot of wildlife out in the pics. Looks like the ride was epic.:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Well, some honor is better than no honor. That's what my mom used to say. I was running between 50 & 60 mph through that section and I think my tire was flat for about a mile before slowing down and almost washing out on a turn. Still not sure what caused it because the tube didn't look like a pinch flat. I hit some of those rocks pretty hard so my best guess is the rocks. This was my first road side tire change and the first time I rode with a spare tube. ( thank God) thanks to Eric who let me use his CO2 to inflate the tire. Tony, Brent and Danny also stayed and supervise. Thanks.

Good to see a few familiar faces but not many. I think the only repeat riders ( other than Tony and Nick) were Alan, Katy and myself. I might be wrong though. This year I dragged my friend Brent ( riding a Ktm 250) along for a fun ride.

Ya, my feet were hurting near the end as well. The last 20 miles were brutal. Sun glare, rocks, dust, sun in my eyes and the trail in the shade made for a very difficult ride.

Thanks to everyone


I so want to go on that. I just showed my wife the pictures of it and she said good luck LOL. Will there be a 2nd for this year? I will have to see if I can talk some of my buddies into it.

I so want to go on that. I just showed my wife the pictures of it and she said good luck LOL. Will there be a 2nd for this year? I will have to see if I can talk some of my buddies into it.

Actually there is talk by some of those who could not attend of holding another ride some time in September. I don't know if it will materialize.

awesome super cool report !!!! I so hope we can come next year! Can someone pm me with a little info on the staging area, like how many trails go out of there, we'll be planning a trip around this ride next year(saving up for gas...)

What a gorgeous route and so many things to see! I love that pic with the mountains. I was walking on the hiking trail at Browns Camp and an elk crossed the trail right in front of me, the brush was thick and bam there it was. Of course my dog was off her leash and she chased it, then I had fun bushwhacking chasing my dog :thumbsup:. I was surprised how BIG it was, like a horse, I always see them far away.

Thanks for the nice comments Nick, riding sweep was not a bad thing at all. :thumbsup: Over all the dust (Katy has a dust free google trick) was not an issue for me and had great company with Danny, Eric, and Thomas most of the ride. I think the best part for me was after I had fixed both flats and Eric, Thomas and I picked up the pace a bit. Thanks for the tube Eric! It would have been a slow ride out with the back tire zip-tied.

We had fun with the flat tires. I remember Thomas checking the inside of his tire for debris. I was not that smart. We fixed my first one and I made it another 200 feet and had another. Standing there I noticed a nail imbedded in the tire. :thumbsup: I should have found it but never even checked the tire before putting in the tube. Good thing Eric had another tube!

Riding out of West Bar in the setting sun was brutal. I just could not see and this is one place you "need" to see the next rock. By this time the flats had 4 of us about 1 hour behind the main group. In my haste to catch up we bypassed the Tarpiscan section. This cost us a few miles. In the end though I felt great and certainly could have done another 50 miles (so long as it didnt include West Bar rocks). :thumbsup: are the man. Thanks for breakfast and good job of leading us! :thumbsup:


I was running between 50 & 60 mph through that section


no wonder you got a flat


I always carry a spare rear and a front, as well as a patch kit - especially in that rock fest

p.s. this thread needs more pictures.. Danny, Mark.. I know you dudes brought cameras.. what's the hold up?

Starting out the day.


Line up fer yer picture!


Say cheeze!


Brent is always glad handing.


First in line for single track.


I love dogs. Especially cow dogs.


Quick stop.


Allan doing his best impersonation of the tree.


This pooch and his twin brother were watching over the sheep. Did I mention how much I like dogs?


Quick stop on the second loop.


The man, the myth, the legend.:thumbsup:




And a parting shot as I left green dots. Nice to meet everyone, sorry for kicking up dust, Thanks Nick for setting up and leading this ride, Tony thanks for looking out for every body.


Actually there is talk by some of those who could not attend of holding another ride some time in September. I don't know if it will materialize.

Looks cool, I'd like to join you if you do it in Sept. :thumbsup:

Looks cool, I'd like to join you if you do it in Sept. :thumbsup:

me too. no more bike sellin'/buyin' or garage sale hostin' either.:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Looks cool, I'd like to join you if you do it in Sept. :thumbsup:

I'll post before hand as soon as I find out if it is gonna happen. The idea of 200 miles in Sept. is ridiculous unless you have night lighting. Believe me you do not want to get caught out after dark in this rocky terrain without special lighting.

I got caught out after dark on one ride and injured myself pretty bad.

150 miles would be OK if the ride starts an hour earlier (meaning 7:30-8:00 a.m.).

The idea of 200 miles in Sept. is ridiculous .

Thats something to consider for next year. I think it could be done with the right group and riding closer to the longest day of the year. :ride:

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