The Fatcyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere is a “must do” event for me every year. I’m convinced that I love the reaction of people when they realize I am riding a really long distance in ridiculously short laps. Yes friends, normally predictable John is slightly unhinged.
The premise of the 100MoN is something akin to a combination of those “choose your adventure” video games we played on Apple IIe computers as kids, blended with a Groundhog Day repetitiveness and finished with a dash of cycling. Pay the man some cash as a donation to Camp Kesem, pick a course – preferably one that is challenging and includes some elements of suffering – then ride it for 100 miles.
I eagerly awaited the opening of registration, fearful that this year will be the year the secret gets out and the event sells out faster than a Beyoncé concert. But alas, Fatty is no Beyoncé (yet), I was #86 of 500 registered.
One would assume that with over three months to plan my ride I would have all sorts of elaborate route maps and cues. In reality I used last Thursday to daydream up a route that I was sure would be vaguely shaped like a slice of pie (it wasn’t). The route would be interspersed with stops to purchase and eat pie or pie-like products.
Mile 4.2: Breakfast quiche at Baked & Wired,
Mile 20: Tart at Le Vie France,
Mile 47.5: Pie at Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery,
Mile 71: Pie at Pie Gourmet
Mile 92: Pie at Dangerously Delicious Pies
It seemed so perfect! Sure I was a few miles short – but I would make that up somehow. On Friday evening I prepped my bike and decided to make a nice healthy dinner to fuel up. Bad Idea. Eating healthy almost derailed my entire 100MoN.
Looking forward to my pie filled day, I absentmindedly grabbed a pan that only a minute earlier I had pulled from a 450 degree oven. It took a few milliseconds for the pain to set in, but it lasted for hours. I actually fell asleep for the night with my hand in a bowl of ice water, dejected, knowing that I would not be riding the next day.
Change of Plans
By Saturday evening things looked and felt mostly back to normal, though braking and shifting were difficult with my tender fingers. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the 20 miles of dirt paths I had planned for my decidedly non-pie shaped route – but I knew I could easily return to Hains Point, where I rode my first 100MoN. If the pain was too much I could find a way home, tail between legs. Thirty laps would be just about right. We ride on Sunday.
The morning came, I slept through my alarm clock, but eventually I awoke to a cold gray day. I could hear the wind rustling leaves off the nearby trees, but thought nothing of it. I was instead focused on a stop for coffee and donuts on my ride to Hains Point. Should I have one, or two donuts. Fancy style, or plain style. Heck – why not both!
Now, there isn’t much exciting about riding 30 (ok, I caved and only rode 29) laps around Hains Point. In fact, I saw many of the same thing things oh… approximately 29 times. Instead, I recorded my thoughts on my phone every few laps to see my progression from mostly sane, to completely broken. Here’s my lap by lap summary:
1: Oh yeah those donuts were good. I should get more.
2: Hey that Hyperlapse thing sounds neat, they should make Hypolapse too. Hmm, it’s windy.
3: I think I can learn which spots are windiest, and soft pedal there to conserve energy for later.
4: Nope, bad strategy. But hey there fellow riding near my pace, I’m going to nestle in behind your wheel, m’kay?
5: What’s going on, you’re slowing and talking to me? Why yes, it is windy – hence my wheel suckage. Oh, you’ve gotten in 3 laps and you’re leaving?! I no longer like you.
6: I can do this on my own. I’ve ridden harder than this. Yeah. Mmmm, these Gu Roctanes are tasty.
7 to 10: Acquired and then successfully exorcised a weird earbug (The Mountain Goats: The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton)
11: Ok this wind is getting really really annoying. And I’m sort of cold. Should I quit?
12: No. No quitting. That’s quitter talk fool. If I’m still cold at lap 15 I’ll ride home and get warmer clothes, but then I’ll come back. (Coincidentally, I had just read the following tweet):
13: This wind blows.
14: You know what – lunch is a great meal. I like lunch so much I would have it every meal of the day. I should get lunch.
15: This lunch is going to be amazing. And a the energy I get. Time will fly. I’m 15 laps in on 30. I must be 75% done.
16: They call that a grilled ham and cheese? For 8 bucks?! It looked and tasted like you wiped the bread on your freshly sealed parking lot. Blech
17: mmm that was a good grilled cheese.
18: Hey that lady is waving at me. Hey. That’s my wife. Everyone, my wife came to visit. This is great!
19: Heck yes let’s ride another lap together. Yeah. The wind is horrible. But I’m on lap 19, so I’m like 85% of the way right? Or… 58%. Uh. Yeah. That wind sucks.
20: I miss my wife. Maybe she’ll come back for more laps?
21: Single digits remaining! I can do it.
22: I hate this wind
23: I mean really really hate the wind. I hate all the air.
24: This wind is my worst enemy. Hey dude on the carbon fiber track bike with aero bars, your bike is making awful noises.
25: 5 more laps. Or is that 6. Or 4. I hate you wind.
26: Hey broken grinding track bike dude. You’re getting on my nerves. List of enemies: a) wind b) you c) wind.
27: Three! Or four? Definitely less than 5 laps to go! I would give away many things for the wind to stop
28: Is the wind stopping? No. It’s me. I’m riding at 8 mph. I might puke.
29: Ok. If I ride a long way home I’ll just barely get 100 miles. I think. 94.5 plus 2.5. That’s over 100 right? Oh come on wind. Just give up. I’m taking my things and going home. You’re not invited to my birthday this year.
I made it. More mentally anguished than physically, but I made it. The helpful folks at National Airport, across the Potomac River from my route recorded average sustained wind speeds of 15 mph during my ride, occasionally up to 28 mph. Gusts were even friendlier – up to 36 mph.
Of course I’ll ride again next year. I should recover from my newly developed aversions to hot metal and wind by February 2015. Oh, and I won’t feel so bad about cutting out a lap. I mean, look at this GPS record – it’s totally cutting corners on me!