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Against the Wind: A Rider's Account of the Incredible Iron Butt Rally [Paperback]

Ron Ayres
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 29 1997 1884313094 978-1884313097
Ten consecutive thousand-mile days on two wheels in a mental race against imponderable odds and a ceaselessly ticking clock--welcome to the legendary Iron Butt Rally. Against the Wind is a riveting new book, written by sixth-place 1995 finisher Ron Ayres, telling the story of what many call the most grueling test of human endurance in all of motorcycling. With guts and shear willpower, riders must overcome (or succumb to) fatigue and danger, calling upon human reserves buried deep within. Ayres reveals the innermost thoughts of a successful contestant and lets us share the anticipation, the thrill, the fatigue, the heartbreak, the euphoria, and ultimately the controversy of completing this merciless trial. More than the mere mechanics of making it through the eleven-day ordeal, Ayres describes the elegant strategy necessary to be a contender. You'll discover what motivates the riders, how the rally is scored, what takes place each day, how the routes are planned, and what it's like to ride to the very limit of endurance--and then ride some more.As engaging as Ayres own story is, you'll also be fascinated by the experiences of other riders who are attracted to such events. Motorcycle journalist Bob Higdon states in his foreword to the book, "Here, told from the point of view of a participant, the unraveling of human souls proceeds in almost embarrassing clarity." It's an incredible journey most of us would rather enjoy from our easy chair, and now we can with this first-rate book.

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"Ron Ayres' diary-like account of the Iron Butt Rally had me wanting to climb on my bike and ride into the moonset/sunrise. . . . The book didn't have me interested just for the great roads, incredible scenery, or great weather, but rather for the comraderie of fellow competitors and the chance to push yourself against all odds.  This ride isn't for all riders, but this book is. . . . We give this book 4 out of 5 wheelies only because it left us wanting more." - Motorcycle Times

About the Author

Ron Ayres is a nationally recognized motorcycle endurance rider who has completed numerous endurance competitions, including two Iron Butt rallies. His first book, Against the Wind, chronicles his participation in the 1995 Iron Butt Rally, which he finished in sixth place after riding more than 12,000 miles in eleven days. Against the Wind has been widely acclaimed among motorcyclists and non-riders alike and is now in its third printing.

In 1998, Ron shattered a Guinness World Record when he visited all 48 contiguous states by motorcycle in just six days. After completing his 48-state journey in Washington, he continued to Hyder, Alaska, and set a record as the first motorcyclist to visit all 49 North American states in seven days.

In 1999, Ron and his wife Barbara relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa. Ron is Chief Executive Officer of EDS Africa, a global firm which provides information technology services to companies in sub-Saharan Africa. Ron continues his motorcycle adventures in Africa. In March 2000, he and South African rider Shaun Powell will lead a group of experienced motorcyclists on an "8 Flags" ride through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique. His e-mail address is ron@ronayres.com.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impatient Insomniacs On Parade Sept. 2 2002
Eight iron butts sat in folding metal chairs at the Midland fairgrounds rally in July, explaining comfort strategies. Just listening to them made my rear sore. How else to explain the anguish le derriere must tolerate to compress 10K miles in 11 days worth of Iron Butt Rally-ism?
Against the Wind author Ron Ayres, who etched an entry in the Guinness Book for most miles ridden in X days (at the tender age of 55 no less) and who led the panel of IBR contestants, acted as though he had seen God and lived to tell the tale. Yet he was short winded on endurance riding tactics.
Others dispensed these pearls of wisdom: get comfy; sing in helmet; play math games; run around bike at gas ups; stand on pegs, stick face in wind; dream of next steak; suck fireballs.
Held on every odd year, the IBR ought to be classified as an extreme sport. This race makes ESPN's X-Games look like Bambi Goes Hollywood. These crazies crisscross the U.S.A. twice, collecting points by hanging a pink towel at designated side road attractions, taking a Polaroid for proof, catching a catnap on the auxiliary tank before remounting again at 3:23 a.m.
The insomniac who can ride 1,000 miles per day on maximum sleep deprivation and minimal state trooper interference, boldly avoiding bodily harm while hallucinating at 100 mpg, wins a $13 trophy.
Nearly half the field drops out. Dehydration is common; misjudgments more so. Yet the thrill of completing the world's toughest endurance race is said to change one's life permanently, providing one still has a life to change.
As a read, Against the Wind is a page-turning adventure that constantly begs the question, "how?" Evidently there are vast reserves of kidney juice in storage waiting for just such a feat.
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By A Customer
Once I started this one, I couldn't put it down.
This book is a MUST read for anyone interested in nuturing their Walter Mitty streak buried beneath years of family responsibilities and too many hours spent listening to NPR rather than living the Dream.
The author's writing style is so refreshingly clear and embracing, readers will feel they are riding along behind Ron Ayres on his BWM motorcycle as he races from checkpoint to checkpoint, and covers 12,000 miles in 11 days around the country.
This book is not so much about motorcycles and those who ride them as it is about each of us striving to achieve our personal "best". In the Iron Butt Rally, participants of both sexes, from their 20's to their 70's, holders of "day jobs" ranging from grandmothers and corporate VP's to shopkeepers and computer geeks race against the same two clocks we all face every day --the external one ticking away at our respective "checkpoints" (at the office, school, or home) and the internal one that tells us how much stamina we have left before throwing in the towel.
Some of the BEST writing I have ever read.
If you're over 50, and haven't read this, you will have missed something. Even if you're not, it makes a terrific gift for those of us who are!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice anecdotes, pretty lousy writing March 1 2002
By A Customer
The charm of Ayres' book is definitely not his writing style; rather, it's the stories he includes from other Iron Butt Rally Riders, such as Eddie James, Ardys Kellerman, and others. Ayres is, without a doubt, one of the best endurance riders on the planet; however, in my modest opinion, it seems to me that his contribution to the book is pretty much "I did this, then I did that, and now here's a word from another rider," and those words are invariably more interesting than his text. I would love to have someone like Fritz Lang or Adam Wolkoff write a book about their Ironbutt Experiences, for they would surely be a supremely entertaining read.
This book is much more entertaining if one knows the players involved; for someone outside the endurance riding community, it may be a fairly dull read. Ayres has written at least one other book, but my advice is this: Ron, keep your butt in the saddle and away from the word processor.
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Most of us will never ride in an endurance event but by reading this book we can get an idea of what it entails. It certainly causes the reader to respect those who are endurance riders! There are many practical tips that are helpful for the 300-500mile/day rider. I sent a couple E Mails to the author and recieved a speedy response and an answer to my question as to why there were so few Harley's in these events (apparently BMWs are better suited for the 1000+ grueling miles and nature of these contests.) Any motorcycle rider would enjoy this book as would any non biker who enjoys reading about individuals meeting and overcoming challenges in life.
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By A Customer
If you have ever thought about trying a long cross country ride, then you will love this book. I have read articles about the Iron Butt Rally, but there is no way a 2 or 3 page article can capture the true spirit of this many miles in so few days. Congrats to Ron Ayres on the wonderful job he did in putting it all together. This is a tale that will be enjoyed by all of those who strive to expand the limits of their every day lives. This should be required reading for anyone thinking about taking on the Iron Butt. I've read it once and now I'm going to read it again.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Against the Wind
Fantastic in depth log of Ron Ayres 1995 Iron Butt Rally.Many stories of his experiences and of many of his fellow riders. Read more
Published on June 10 2011 by Dougie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure Riding Book
Having ridden three Iron Butt rallies myself, I find that this is THE BOOK to describe this unique sport to others. It gives the reader an insight into the challenge of the ride. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars What a challange!
I, as an Harley Davidson enthusiast from Istanbul Chapter in Turkey, found Ron Ayres book very inspiring. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2000 by Taner Celik
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and awe-inspiring
Ayres carries the reader along on an extraordinary adventure. Wonderfully capturing the sense of freedom, perseverance, danger, and courage, this book inspires readers to overcome... Read more
Published on April 28 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired by William Blake?
This book could have been inspired by "Songs of Innocence", "Songs of Experience". Read more
Published on Nov. 21 1998
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding account of Ron's efforts in the Iron Butt
Ron is a consummate gentleman who has, without any bravado or macho BS, brought to life the trials and tribulations of a rider competing in the Iron Butt motorcycle rally. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 1998 by rpward3@prodigy.net
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on this sport to date!
Ron has put into words the trials and emotions that go through a participants mind in this legendary event! Read more
Published on Aug. 23 1998 by gsmcqueen@aol.com
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