There are more ways to gain endurance than running on a track or hitting a local gym.
For two local members of the county’s law enforcement community, Gerry Stoll, a Huxley Police sergeant, and his wife, Janet, a Story County Sheriff’s Office telecommunications professional, sitting on their Harley Davidson motorcycles for 19 hours straight (including gas and restroom breaks) was an epic challenge of endurance.
And for Gerry, it was a great way to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday, which he officially celebrated on Monday of this week. “I knew (turning 50) would come some day, but not this fast,” he joked.
Gerry belongs to a public safety motorcycle club called the Iron Warriors MC, of which the members are police officers, firefighters and paramedics. “There are a few members who have completed the Iron Butt Challenge,” he said. “They have inspired me to take the challenge.”
Gerry explained that the Iron Butt Association is a United States-based organization that started in 1984. It dedicates itself to endurance motorcycle riding. “To become a member, you have to ride one of their certified routes,” Gerry said.
So he and Janet decided to do it, each on their own bike. Gerry has a Harley Davidson Street Glide Special; Janet has a Harley Davidson Road King. They average about 7,000 to 10,000 miles a year with their usual riding, he said.
The couple considered and planned five routes they could do, depending on the weather. “The certified route Janet and I chose was the Saddle Sore 1000. We had to ride 1,000 miles within 24 hours.”
The two took four days of vacation and continued to watch the weather forecasts. “We did the ride on the nicest day, which was May 12,” he said. “We left at 3:15 a.m. from Huxley and rode to Albert Lea, Minn., Sioux Falls, S.D., Fargo, N.D. and turned around and came back the same way.”
On Google Maps, the route they did totaled 1,074 miles. “Our bike trip meter registered 1,136 miles, and we completed it in 19 hours,” Gerry said.
On a Facebook post Janet shared about their trip, she said they rode in temperatures ranging from 39 to 86 degrees during the ride. “We saw a sunrise, a sunset and an incredible orange moon rising,” she shared. “We won the lottery for the weather for the day. Sun and a little wind.”
Janet said the two had never been in North Dakota before and they loved the rolling hills. They also loved having the opportunity to add North Dakota to a map of states where they keep track of how many they’ve been in.
Even though they saw some great sights on their ride, Gerry emphasized it wasn’t a sightseeing type of ride. “It was just for endurance.” And the fact that they finished it in under 24 hours had nothing to do with speeding either. The two law enforcement professionals say they set their cruise control at the speed limit for the entire trip. “You really don’t gain time from speeding,” Gerry said, “and it’s unsafe.”
The best thing about the trip for Gerry had nothing to do with their great finish time or the fact that he accomplished the challenge. The best thing was being with his wife, and having fun completing a challenge with her.