Bloomington, Ind., Sep. 14—It’s 3 a.m. and I’m listening to an ancient machine sputter to life in the hotel parking lot below my second story room. They’ve been twisting wrenches and testing engines all night long so they will be ready to do it all over again come daylight.


This is the part nobody else sees. Or hears. The stuff that makes up the heart of the Motorcycle Cannonball—the addictive part. The running on empty, adrenalin rush, a fanatical thing that makes seeing your commitment through to the end come hell or high water all the more real. Watching the sun rise and set behind a set of handlebars, or wrenches, while your friends and fellow lunatics sweat it out right beside you. And you all commiserate together, cheer each other’s accomplishments and feel each other’s pain when defeat takes one of the herd into its clutches. And there’s been a lot of that already, though it’s only been four days, 824 miles and seven states.


What began as 90 riders on the starting line at Stage 1 has dwindled down to 70 for Stage 4, and only 24 still hold their perfect scores. Today was an easier day, over all. Fewer machines on the sweep vehicles and no real disasters, but tomorrow is a 247-mile day into Missouri, which is a lot to expect from an engine that was built long before their riders were even born.

View the Stage 4 standings below and click here to download the full Stage 4 results.


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