Mavillette biker rides 2,666 km in 25 hours

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier
Published on August 30, 2014

Even buckets of rain couldn’t stop Earl Deveau this year.

The biker from Mavillette made a second and possibly successfully attempt to ride 2,500 km in 24 hours during the Wharf Rat Rally’s Iron Butt ride.

Last year torrential rain and gravel in his eyes from the splash of other vehicles forced him to give up.

This year he rigged up his 2008 Harley Electra Glide differently.

He did the ride with his tour pack this year and he kept a full-face helmet in there for night driving in the rain and a full set of oil skin rain gear.

Of course he still got soaked right through as just as soon as he took off his rain gear, he would run into, in his words, buckets of rain.

He only brought some containers of peaches and water bottles for food and water.

“I didn’t eat the peaches and sometimes I didn’t even have to drink any water because it was raining so hard I could just open my mouth,” he said.

He also brought along a container with an extra gallon of gas.

“I felt safer at night,” he said. “If you miss a gas station or they’re closed…”

He ended up using the extra gas too after trying to maximize his mileage between stops. His onboard computer was telling him he had enough fuel for 10 more kilometres.

Then suddenly it said low fuel and he drove another 10 kilometre without finding a gas station.

Once he poured in the extra gas, his computer told he was good for another 65 kilomtres.

Deveau earned the Iron Butt Saddle Sore silver in 2012 by going 2,000 k in 24 hours.

This trip he did a total of 2,666 km in 25 hours, an extra 160 km which he hopes will qaulify for the gold medal

He left the Coastal Inn in Digby a little after 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28 and drove to Antigonish, then Bouctouche, Oromocto and turned around at St. Antonin in Quebec.

On the way home he stopped in Sackville, N.B., Antigonish and Truro.

At each of those stops he either had to pick up a receipt or a signed business card to prove he was there.

The Iron Butt Association makes the final decision on all rides.

Deveau says he only had two real delays on the trip.

On the way out he ran into the construction in Bridgetown and just missed the follow me car.

“I could see the flag lady just turned the sign and I could still see the cars going and I could have caught them easily,” he said. “I got off my bike to explain what I was doing but it was too late, so right off the bat I lost 20 minutes.”

And at the Coastal Inn in Antigonish on the way home, everyone was asleep when he stopped to get the signed business card.

“I lost more time there, first I was knocking lightly and then I was pounding on the door,” he said.

Only one other rider attempted an Iron Butt this year. Jackie Goreham of Yarmouth completed the 2,000 km in 24 hour version -- the first female to complete one at Digby's Wharf Rat Rally.

Deveau was the only one to attempt an Iron Butt ride at last year’s Wharf rat Rally and the only one to attempt the gold level 2,500 km version this year.

In 2012 he made the trip with three friends from Clare.

Joey Comeau, was one of those riders – like Deveau he’s a Red Knight, a service club of biker fire fighters.

Comeau was all set to go with Deveau this year until he did the math.

Comeau has a smaller gas tank and would have had to make six more stops for gas than Deveau – at ten minutes a stop, he says that equals an hour.

“I didn’t want to slow him down,” he said.

Comeau is working on adding an extra tank so he could try the gold level next year.

Deveau says he’d go with him or any of his other friends. Even if this year’s ride qualifies him for the gold pin.

"What I'm really grateful for is I can do this Iron Butt right here at home at the Wharf rat Rally," said Deveau.

Long distance bike riding is like therapy he says, after lots of work and volunteering.

“I needed that,” he said. “I’m happy now.”