Actually, I don't recall the phrase "non-stop" being mentioned. I do recall that the group that went out first was referred to as the "express" group which I incorrectly interpreted to mean "brisk or peppy". Had I known that translated to "no bathroom break" or "fill the camelback back up rather than stop" I would have worn my Depends, which, Kelly smirked, I should probably include in the ATGATT list.
To be fair, I am to blame for not communicating clearly and assuming everyone would have the same interpretation of ambiguous terms like "Express bus" or "we're not stopping".
Leslie and I may ride faster on our own bikes, but on one bike loaded down with gear for traveling cross-country, having the responsibility of bearing the Queen safely to the UnRally on unfamiliar roads and in the rain . . . I admittedly dialed it back a bit.
But there is a valuable lesson here and it's one that I thought I had learned many years ago: the importance of the pre-ride "rider meeting". As the leader of my group I failed in that and I take full responsibility. When the departure from Steve and Kelly's got bumped up 15 minutes due to the rain starting I was not as prepared as the rest and we had no time to meet before departing. Then when the restaurant got crowded and the one waitress was trying desperately to keep her head above water as my table was last to be served I tried to put my table's bill on one check to speed things up. She had already divided everything up so it took every bit as long and it meant that everyone else was already out in the rain waiting on ME or had already gassed up down the street waiting on me again with helmets on--and again no meeting. Two of our group had no radios so they could not follow the conversation over the air. It's unfair to them NOT to let them know what's going on and it's unsafe to just leave them hanging wondering WTF is going on when one or more of the folks with radios change the initial plan on the fly. IMHO, one (in this case I, as ride leader) has an obligation to stop the group and fill them in on the change of plans. Some of us had not ridden together before and we had different ranges with respect to gas tank and bladder capacity. This is no one's fault--but it must be recognized and addressed ahead of time in the rider meeting to avoid problems (I did not do that). True, some of us were perhaps not being honest with ourselves about our preferences/needs/limitations and a group relies on its members' candor to get down the road in a timely fashion while having fun doing it.
One of the advantages of testing oneself against the Iron Butt Association's benchmarks is in refining one's riding style, stretching one's range/comfort zone and knowing one's limits. I could no more "hang" with "Eebie" doing the "Iron Butt Rally" (11,000+ miles in 11 days) than some others could "hang" with Leslie and I doing a 50CC (Coast-to-coast in <50 hours). I barely managed to complete the Bun Burner Gold (1500 miles in 24 hours) ride--my two riding buddies carried me and it kicked my ass. The key is in knowing where along that very broad "Sport Touring" continuum your personal comfort and riding style lies. "Are we talking about a 'Bun Burner Gold' pace or a 'Saddle Sore 1000' pace or just a 'smell the roses pace' so I can plan appropriately"?
I've noticed that geography plays a significant part in the "default" one chooses to measure a ride. In the West you frequently need to cross a thousand miles or more just to get to somewhere else fun to ride. You can also get there fairly fast if you limit your stop time and handle as many details en route as possible. Bike-to-bike radios make this an incredibly efficient way to move a group down the road and I see now why ArizonaAl carries so many spare parts on group rides--even if you can only monitor the conversation--you're not left out in the cold. I was hooked on radios my first group ride with some of the founding members of this Forum and I can't look back. Whereas in the East, it seems to me you can't usually get as far as fast so the "default" of what is considered a "long ride" is a bit shorter.
I don't want anyone feeling bad about the group ride we had--it came off incredibly well considering the disparate group we cobbled together for that last leg. For the K-bike riders: you have a right to be concerned about gas range when riding with fuel tankers like the 1200RT's--hell, even I was the weak link on the way out with my puny 1150RT and it's 37 mpg loaded down in the wind. Know your needs and communicate them ahead of time--if it's no fun for you, why do it? For the pillions: you frequently have a harder job riding on the back--and don't let your pilot tell you otherwise until they've ridden back there for a day themselves!
This gives me a good idea for a post to have riders attempt to accurately describe or somehow quantify their riding style for hooking up with compatible riders they've never ridden with before at a gathering or doing a Pied Piper Run in the future. Hmmm, I'm going to have to give that one some thought!
Anyway, Leslie and I had a GREAT time! I apologize for contributing any stress to the group in any way (but I was admittedly a bit "barn sour" myself towards the end) and I don't want anyone to feel like they were "the culprit" in any "who done it" scenario. It's no easy feat taking a very diverse group of a dozen or so bikes--a few of them two-up--and getting them down the road together safely over wet, foreign roads. We had no serious problems and everyone arrived safely at the UnRally--which is, AFAIC, the "Prime Directive" for such rides. Besides, if Jan hadn't needed to stop to feed his blood sugar demons, we would have missed seeing Tom "3Putt" and Joyce in Montpelier, VT! Since they had to cancel from the Pied Piper Run, that was one of the highlights of the day for me!
I need to take this opportunity to again thank Paul "rocer" and Kath as well as Steve "BarNone" and Kelly for their UNBELIEVEABLE hospitality on our Pied Piper Run! There'll be no Pied Piper Run for Leslie and me next year as "Un IX" is only a "day's ride" from the house . . .
. . . but keep a look out in 2011 for another group of crazy riders hooning through your neck of the woods!