It was the perfect weekend for doing the Iron Butt Association Lap of Florida Insanity Gold ride. Jacksonville to Fernandina Beach to Perdido Key to Marco Island to Key West and back to Jacksonville in less that 32 hours. Only 5 other IBA members have accomplished this challenging ride. The weather forecast was for sunny skies, temps in the 70s-80s during the day and mid-50s to mid-60s at night. The bike was prepped, the route was planned, the bags were packed and off I went at 4:45 am yesterday to begin the ride. I stopped at the Gate gas station on Old St. Augustine Road at I-295 to get my first receipt of the ride and then it was North on I-295 to 9A over the Dames Point Bridge and the exit to Heckscher Drive.
It was a magnificent morning and the full moon illuminated the coastal water as I rode up scenic A1A through Amelia Island toward my first stop. I got to Fernendina Beach right on schedule, filled up with gas and got my second receipt. Then it was a 100 yd ride to the beach where I grabbed a handful of sand and placed it into a plastic baggie.
Then back down A1A for a mile or two where I cut over to Rt 200 to head west to I-10. I was pulling away from a stoplight, running through the gears when I grabbed the clutch and it went right to the grip with no resistance. I knew immediately that the clutch cable snapped and that the ride was over. I suspected that the local Kawasaki dealership would not have the cable in stock (I was correct) so I would be unable to obtain and install the cable that day. Additionally, I had timed the start of my ride so that I would be riding through the Keys in the wee hours of the morning in order to avoid traffic and make the best time. Starting again in mid-afternoon after being up for nearly 12 hours was not going to work.
After a phone call home, my daughter came and picked me up. I got my son’s truck and trailer and drove back to Fernandina, loaded up the Beast, and sadly trailored it home. The cable is on order and should be arrive in few days. I think that I’ll try again this coming weekend since the weather forecast looks pretty good.