About a week ago, I started a list of people and companies I’m grateful to. At some point, the list became overwhelming. Twelve years (I’m rounding up by four months or so, but I don’t think anyone is really surprised to have me exaggerate) of people being unbelievably nice to you can make creating a “gratitude list” almost impossible.
So I’m setting aside the list and am instead going to thank the people I really owe thanks to: my readers. You.
I love writing, but I am not content to write for myself. I need to know people read and enjoy what I write. And for twelve years, you’ve been here for me. Whether you’ve commented or put me in your RSS feed or just come back to the site on a regular basis, you’ve been here for me.
But you’ve done more for me than just read.
When I was in the most difficult part of my life — when Susan was suffering from and, eventually, dying from cancer — you read and commented in unimaginable numbers. I used this blog to express and document pain and death, and you stuck with me and supported me.
Even more, you changed me and my worldview. Until this tragedy, I had never really gotten behind a cause. In response to some prodding from readers, I experimented with asking you to fundraise with me, and you did. And you still do.
Together, you’ve raised well over three million dollars for charity. You’ve made me realize that people, when given a chance, want to do good. You’ve transformed me into a positive person.
Thank you for that, too.
The End…But Not The End
It’s pretty obvious, I expect, that this is my last post on FatCyclist.com. There are a number of reasons I’m ready to stop posting here. Most of them have to do with energy and priorities.
But here’s the thing: I am not done writing. I still have stories and jokes I want to tell. Races I want to report on. Charities I care about and want to help.
I’m going to keep doing all this. But I won’t be doing it on my own anymore.
Even so, of course, this is a big change. I will miss writing here sometimes, I’m sure of it.
But mostly, I’m grateful. You have been wonderful readers for a dozen years, and I will always think of you as my friends.
PS: Like with all my posts, the comments section here will be open for a few weeks, then close. Please know that I do (and have always) read all my comments. After comments close, you can get in touch with me at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting yourself (or someone you like) a new cycling kit, maybe it’s time to get off the fence.
Why? Cuz right now the remainder of my FatCyclist gear — 2015 and 2016 styles included — are on sale below my cost. Obviously I don’t have every item at every size, but it’s worth checking out: if your size is there, you can get yourself a very nice kit — bibs (or shorts) and jersey — for around or under $100.
Plus, we’re going to throw in a pair of socks (while they last): either the 2015 FatCyclist sock design or the 2015 100MoN design. I can’t guarantee which you’ll get and I can’t guarantee which size they’ll be, but they’re good socks. If they don’t fit you, give them to someone they do fit. You don’t have to tell them you got them for free.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how amazingly high-quality DNA gear is, so these prices are a little bit ridiculous.
PS: Tomorrow I’ll be posting my annual Thanksgiving piece. It will be a little different than most of my traditional “gratitude” posts. In fact, it will be quite a bit different than anything I’ve ever posted.
A Note from Fatty About Someone Else’s Blog: Rich Dillen’s blog is a national treasure, which is why I’m starting a petition to get a movie made about it where that guy from Raising Arizona goes on a Very Dangerous Scavenger Hunt to find it. But until then, you can probably find it just by clicking here. I’m pointing this out because Rich is starting a series of posts on having been a bike messenger for twenty years. And if the first post is an indicator (and I think it is), it’s gonna be worth reading.
A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: I’ve never been so disappointed to not be able to attend someone else’s 100 Miles of Nowhere as Don’s. I mean, just the sheer scope and planning that went into it makes my head spin. So I’m extremely pleased to present his 100 Miles of Nowhere race report.
Or, as he calls it…
108 Miles of Nowhere by Don B
Friday 11:00 pm, my wife Ronna and I have just finished “Run to the Lights,” a 5k charity run at the amusement park, Silver Dollar City, in Branson, MO. It’s 1:30am by the time we make it back to Lebanon. A late night. Saturday I need to be at The Lebanon I-44 Speedway by 7:00am. Myself and 60+ friends are planning to ride 100 Miles of Nowhere on the track. A quick 267 laps will tick the 100 mile box. Sunday I’m racing Hannah’s Hope Cross, another charity event, and my first cross race.
At times I spread myself thin. I over commit. I have over-commitment issues.
I’ve entertained doing Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere fundraiser in the past, but life always got in the way. This year I committed and searched for the right location, something interesting and crazy. A business associate is part owner of The Lebanon I-44 Speedway, Missouri’s only NASCAR sanctioned race track. I thought it might be cool to do my race there and inquired.
With use of the track secured, I mentioned my intent to a few cycling friends. Their interest was piqued, and I invited them to join the cause. Then a few more friends showed interest in joining me, I set up a Facebook event to see if others would like to join.
So many kind and generous people contributed to this event. It renewed my solid belief that the world is filled with good people.
I was overwhelmed at the support and interest. I still am. The stars aligned well on Saturday, November 12th. While it was brisk (36°F), the sun was bright, the wind was light, and the forecast had a nice warming trend for the day. I planned this day for over a month and was filled with nervous excitement.
A few cars were sitting at the race track gate when I arrived a few minutes after 7:00am. I felt guilty for making them wait. We made haste to the pits and started setting up a couple of tables for waiver sign in and refuel stations. My friend Jonathan Graif was generous enough to provide a sound system and my wife Ronna would keep the motivational tunes coming.
The music proved to be key entertainment. Something to break up the monotony of nearly 270 laps of 3/8mi circles. Ronna would go on to lead the paceline in a stirring rendition of “Let it Go” from the “Frozen” soundtrack.
Trust me folks, that’s entertainment.
The starting line was pretty amazing. The awesome volunteers. A drone pilot/photographer, a professional photographer, a local newspaper reporter, and 60 riders.
Some of the riders were on a mission. Their goal, ride the fastest 100 miles they’d ever ridden. Others, they were there to enjoy the fun and contribute to a great cause.
While I wanted my day to be challenging (hence the single speed drop bar mountain bike I was riding), I was more concerned about the other riders enjoying themselves and making sure the event was running smoothly. I delayed my start for 15-20 minutes just for this reason. Once under way, I had a couple of light bulb moments – “It’s really cold!” – and – “This is going to be harder than I thought!” I had to keep this to myself as no one wants hear whining.
More importantly, I had to finish my 100 miles.
How would it look – Don’s “42 Miles of Nowhere.” If I completed ANYTHING less than 100 miles, I would be the subject of quiet murmurs and finger pointing at every future endurance cycling event. Failure was not an option.
The infield feed zone had a killer support crew. That blonde in the middle hangs out at my house, ALL of the time.
SPOILER ALERT: I finished my 100 miles. I was not the first rider to complete 100 miles. Not even close.
However, I was not last.
Although I was much closer to last than first.
Ok, I was…second to last.
I did however take time to stop and pick up a water bottle or two. I visited with the riders, thanking each for attending. I found inspiration in the riders, and want to share some of that inspiration.
Scott Sifferman, aka “The Judge”
Scott’s nicknamed “The Judge” for good reason, (he’s an Associate Circuit Judge), and a “seasoned” cyclist. By seasoned, I mean he remembers when JFK was POTUS. By seasoned, I mean he regularly finds himself on a podium at state level Masters TT events.
He’s a tour de force.
Scott proved his mettle at 100 Miles of Nowhere, cranking out a phenomenal century, battling second place recumbent rider, Dennis Grelk.
I was, and am in awe. Scott’s finish time – 4:02:52
In the final hour of my ride I watched the track slowly empty. The party was drawing to an end. It made me a little sad. I finished up, then stopped by the feed zone and thanked my friends for hanging around until I finished.
There were still (2) riders on the track. One of the riders was Nessa Johnson. I spoke with Nessa earlier, she said 30 miles was her longest ride to date, and wondered how long she could stay out on the track. I told her I would stay until dark if she wanted to try to complete the 100 miles.
I feel like that took a bit of pressure off.
I rode back to Nessa and asked how she was doing. She was tired, but really wanted to finish her new goal of 70 miles. She was close, and I continued riding in support. Nessa and her husband travelled from Topeka, KS to attend the event. Her perseverance lifted my mood.??She finished her new personal best of 70 miles. She doubled her previous best and then some.
Nessa, great job! You inspired me.
Charles, a Lebanon MO resident, was the other rider on the track as I finished up. Charles tells me he’s battled the 100 mile distance a few times in the past and come up short. I inform him this day is different. This is the day he completes his first 100 mile ride. Charles is still riding strong.
With (1) lap to go, my amazing finish line crew constructs a finish line tape of toilet paper. With his family looking on, Charles breaks the tape, finishing his first 100 mile bike ride.
If that fails to inspire you, check your pulse.
Charles, well done. You inspired me.
Next year is already in the planning and I’m confident we can double this crowd of amazing cyclists.?
A Note from Fatty: I am always awestruck by people who have the energy, tenacity, and skill to organize actual real-life events. As you’ve probably noticed, I am not one of those people. Which is why I put on a ridiculous virtual event: the 100 Miles of Nowhere.
What amazes and inspires me is that some people take my silly fake event and turn it into an awesome real event. For example, did you know the 100 Miles to Nowhere (Dobson Ranch Edition) is a real event, and has been going for seven years now?
They raised nearly $10,000 for Cardon’s Pediatric Oncology Program this year. (Sure, that’s a different fundraiser than my intended charity for the 100MoN, but I am 100% in favor of people leveraging my ideas to do good in other ways.) Check out Jim’s race report here.
I have to say, though, that I’m extra double-excited to see that David Harman of Houston put together a 100MoN that sounds like…well, it sounds like a bike-themed county fair to be honest. I wish I could have been there. It sounds that cool.
Of course, that’s becoming a bit of a theme: practically everyone is putting on better 100MoN events than I ever could.
Which, to be clear, I am absolutely perfectly cool with.
100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report: Family Fun Edition by David Harman
Saturday, November 12th, 2016 at Bear Creek Park on the west side of Houston dawned clear, calm, and full of… boy scouts?
Wait, isn’t this a write up about a bike ride? Supposedly about FatCyclist’s 100 Miles of Nowhere, a ride without a place that raises funds for Camp Kesem?
Its a write up about families. Families that just happen to be riding bikes, watching people ride bikes, eating while riding bikes, eating while watching people ride bikes, launching rockets near bike riders, and chunking pumpkins after people finished riding bikes.
At said park, a bunch of members of Northwest Cycling Club got together to ride in circles around the local crit loop, .75 of a mile with a whole 4 feet of elevation per lap. It was nothing short of a gruelingly difficult course. Especially considering the awful 70 degree, non humid and mostly sunny conditions.
This kind of challenge needed baked goods, lots of them, and spectators. The former was taken care of by my wife, Erica Harman who baked enough to qualify as a Keebler elf the day before the ride.
The latter was held down by a large group of boy scouts who were unexpectedly camped in the middle of our loop! There’s our first non traditional family of the day, 100 or so well behaved scouts who might look at us a bit oddly as the day went on.
Ron Breitwieser II and Gail Scruggs were there early, along with Christina and they all helped us set up a pop up tent, table, food, coolers, tape lines for start and finish lines, and finally, our own bikes.
Rich Faulkner showed up in the middle of the process, the first of our awesome photographers for the day. His skepticism was high for the quality of the ride, but we would soon prove to him that the supremely difficult route was a worthy challenge.
More riders showed up as we approached our 8 am start time. Andrew Rubin, Greg Smith, Kerilyn Scoville, Leigh Willis Moorman, James Monroig, Geoff Donnelly, our second awesome photographer Jeff Rohling.
One brave soul even came out to run with us, thanks Janet Vrasic! Her significant other Sandro came out and rode his old school 30+ lb 80s hardtail MTB for quite a few laps too!
Later in the day, Leigh’s hubby and kids came along, as did Kerilyn’s. They all rode laps too (Dan Scoville promptly blowing away everyone on the course, and Danielle Scoville dropping some seriously speedy laps for a 10 year old, proving to her parents that she’s a sandbagger for sure!)
Throughout the day, the same theme repeated, as James’ wife came out, Kerilyn’s mom and dad showed (and rode!) Brent’s wife and recently introduced to the world future champion cyclist child River came. Jeff and Christina worked together in the past. Janet and I had as well. Family, of all kinds. Blood, friends, colleagues, all united by the intensity and insane difficulty of riding a tremendously difficult challenge. United in insanity.
United with 5150 race plates.
To spice up the 133 lap mental challenge, we dropped a few challenges in throughout the day. We had the following races during the race:
Flying 200 meter sprint (ok, more like 150 meters or so):
POSKOM Ok, this one needs some explanation. We did a lap each on a very heavy, single speed cruiser with coaster brakes. Basically the hardest thing to go fast on. It was highly amusing, and MUCH harder than expected!
1st – Brent Neal 2.19
2nd – Dan Scoville 2.24
3rd – Ron Breitweiser 2.26
Slow ITT Who can ride about 50 feet the slowest without putting a foot down or crashing?
1st – Ron Breitweiser
2nd – Brent Neal
3rd – Gail Scruggs
Fastest lap of the day
1st – Dan Scoville 1.52
2nd – Brent Neal 1.55
3rd (Tie) – Ron Breitweiser and Kerilyn Scoville 2.06
4th – Greg Smith 2.08
Around and around we went, alone, forming small groups, duos, trios, stopping for banana bread, cookies, brownies, pie, cake, and ok, some water. We chatted, We rode hard, we rode easy, we rode with people we always ride with, we rode with people we were just getting to know better. And we gradually became our own kind of family. Supportive, different in style and approach, a little crazy, and a whole lot of fun.
People packed it in when they felt like it. Some rode only a few miles. Quite a few rode 50 or more. Janet ran more than six miles. The boy scouts started launching rockets around noon.
For a 133 lap slog, it never got boring! There was Rich’s and my near death experience setting up for my flying sprint attempt (brakes were hit during the 3 man lead out wind up, my rear wheel locked and went sideways at 22+ inches from the next wheel, and Rich was behind me filming the whole thing. If we go down, we all go down hard. But I managed to right the ship, nobody laid it down, and we nailed the sprint the next lap through!)
The wind picked up making the finishing straight tougher as the day went on. More folks showed up, Teresa Foshee Cardamone did a couple laps on the POS bike and rode with us on our final lap, Daniel Sanchez and his wife came out for the last hour or so to cheer us on.
Four brave folks finished the full 100. Greg Smith finished first in a blistering 5:40 or so actual time. He got the big medal for his category, Fastest Crazy.
Then Kerilyn Scoville finished about an hour later, getting the award in her category, Fastest Person with a Metal Rod in her Leg.
Then James Monroig, in the category Fastest Person who Tossed his Cookies in the Morning Pre Ride.
I rode with them all on their last laps. Finally, I closed the course down in about 7:20 actual time (lots of stoppage time though.) On my last lap, all the brave souls still at the park came out and we rode a victory lap. I won my category, Fastest Actual Fat Cyclist.
Other category winners:
Ron Breitweiser – Fastest Insurance Adjuster
Gail Scruggs – Fastest 57 year old
Geoff Donnelly – Fastest Jet Lagged Brit
Jeff Rohling – Fastest Former Super Cop
Rich Faulkner – Fastest Former Skeptic
Dan Scoville – Fastest Really Actually Fast Person
Brent Neal – Fastest On The Least Sleep
River Neal – Soon To Be Fastest Neal
Danielle Scoville – Soon To Be Fastest Female Rider In NWCC
Andrew Rubin – Fastest Person Getting or Getting Over a Cold
Christina – Fastest Person With A Cup Holder On Her Bars
Erica Harman – Fastest Baker
Medals were summarily awarded to all cat champions. I’m forgetting some, so please call me out in the comments!
All in all, it was a truly memorable day with our families, blood and otherwise. Great fun was had by all, anyone who was skeptical about how good a ride around a circle 133 times could be was convinced otherwise.
And to top it all off, while we rested at the end, beer or cake in hand, the boy scouts set up a trebuchet (yes, really) and tossed a couple pumpkins for our entertainment. You can’t script this stuff.
Next year, even sillier, even bigger, and even more fun. See you all then!
A Note from Fatty: I’m very happy to be posting this story today, because it’s proof that I’m a real thinker. See, this is by a couple long-time Friends of Fatty — Jeff Dieffenbach and Carlos Perea — who got together for their own wacky race / road trip. It’s a longish post…which means you might want to read / watch (cuz this is a multimedia extravaganza) this in multiple chunks.
That’s what weekends are for, right?
100 [mumbles] of Nowhere Race Report by Jeff Dieffenbach and Carlos Perea
Buffalo and Bruiser midway through the pizza run
It all comes back to the power of bicycles. Through Fatty, the power of bicycles is powering the wonderful Camp Kesem. The Power of Bicycles is certainly World Bicycle Relief (ride report co-author Carlos Perea is a WBR Ambassador). Sometimes, though, the power of bicycles is made apparent a lot closer to home. But that’s getting ahead of things a bit.
Jeff and Carlos have separately ridden the Fat Cyclist’s 100 Miles of Nowhere several times each. This year, we decided to ride it together. We wanted to do something different this year, so rather than necessarily build our ride around all of the miles, we built it around all of our bikes.
As such, here’s the back of Jeff’s sport utility van. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s (from back to front) a hardtail 29er, a Bruiser beach cruiser, and a Buffalo.
We know what you’re thinking. “Jeff, that’s not very many bikes. Not very many bikes at all.” And you would be right in thinking that … unless you decided to look *inside* Jeff’s SUV. From left to right: fBIKE folding bike, CX bike, fat bike, road bike, and another fBIKE.
Jeff drove from his undisclosed location to Carlos’ undisclosed location. After a bit of setup and other bicycle futzing, we set off on the first of our segments: the fat bike.
At the end of the loop, we had tallied 7.5 of what would eventually be the full [mumbles] miles.
Next up: MTBs.
In the first picture below, you can see Carlos’ kit change–spreadin’ the wealth! In the second picture below, you can see friend David W at left. If you could see David’s face, you would see a look of inexplicability. You see, David has just watched Carlos plunge inexplicably off the trail for no apparent reason whatsoever. Fear not, neither Carlos nor Carlos’ bike suffered any lasting ill effects.
At the end of the MTB loop, we’d added another 8.4 miles. Grand total: 15.9.
Calling that something of a midway point, we decided that it would be irresponsible not to go get lunch. As any cyclist worth his or her salt knows, however, lunch does not transport all that well on a fat bike. Or an MTB. It was time to put the Buffalo (and it’s 250 lb capacity rear rack) to good use.
Carlos took the Buffalo, Jeff took the Bruiser, and 1.1 miles later, we were at the pizza place pictured in the photo that leads off this ride report.
A careful eye might detect one small problem in this photo. The Bruiser has gone flat! We quickly formed a plan. Carlos would continue back to his house with the 250 lbs of pizza strapped to the back of the Buffalo. Jeff would start pushing the Bruiser. Carlos would then return with a car to pick up Jeff and the Bruiser.
Score: Buffalo 1, Bruiser 0. As Carlos pedaled away on the Bruiser, Jeff was left not just to contemplate but also to experience firsthand the power of bicycles (and of the lack thereof).
Back at Carlos’ house, we consumed 125 lbs of pizza each while doing the math: 18.1 miles (choosing to ignore Jeff’s failure to cover the 1.1 mile return trip).
Sure 18.1 miles was only a small fraction of the full [mumbles] miles that we would cover. But we weren’t worried. We had more bikes to go.
The shortest loop of our plan was via folding bike. We set off, and by the time we were back at base, had added a whopping 0.7 miles to the score sheet.
18.8 for those of you keeping score at home, but on the folding bike lane, we came across a great omen: Century Street.
Segment 4 was via road bike. By this time, we had remembered to affix our race plates. And Jeff added his 2015 100MoN tool container as a good luck totem.
With road bikes under butt, we quickly added to our mileage in the way that only road bikes can. This time, the kit change was Jeff’s.
Another 10 miles brought the count to 28.8.
We were clearly on pace to hit our target of [mumbles] miles. That is, as long as we had enough bikes.
Bonus Velominati-styled quiz question: how many bikes is enough bikes?
Next up: cyclocross. This choice afforded us a chance to get back onto the trails that had served us so well on the fat bike and MTB segments.
A wonderful (see photos and videos above) 8.3 miles later, we had reached pretty much the end of daylight. And of our pile of bikes.
We cleared our desks, sharpened our pencils, and added up the numbers. Hmm, 37.1 miles (Strava).
So, did we reach our objective of 100 [mumbles] of Nowhere?