It’s that time in the rally. The days become longer, the finish farther away, the annoyances more pronounced, the suck more intense. Make no mistake, these are hard days for rallyists. And even harder nights.

I think about this every time my phone rings at night and early morning hours. The voices all run together and have the same tone, the same ring to them. Fortunately most start with the sweet words “I’m OK”. But then the reality of their situation comes through the ever so slight waver in their voice, the weight of the past days heavy on them. But there’s more for some of them. Those who are traveling through the more rural areas, the prairies, remote deserts and mountains of our beautiful country, they often find themselves sitting on the side of a very dark road, with little traffic, nothing within walking distance and the only light that of the stars and moon, if the skies are mercifully cloudless.

These riders may have only a flat tire that won’t plug, but some have broken rims from potholes invisible in the dense night, or mechanical issues that can’t be diagnosed, or the scary interaction with wildlife that may leave their motorcycles damaged but repairable. Things that, nearer civilization and in the light of day, seem solveable. Tow trucks, dealerships, tire stores, friendly helpers are all nearby. But on these lonely distant roads, everything changes. Cell service is spotty, tow trucks non-existent and help so desperately far away. So they sit there in the deepest dark, alone, hearing the loud tick of the incessant clock that started at 10am the Monday before last, hoping this is not the end of their rally.

If you’ve ridden the IBR, you can feel this to your core. If you haven’t, you can only imagine.