Guest Post: How leroy Won the 2015 Lantern Rouge 100MoN Competition

10.20.2016 | 8:00 am

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A “Last Chance to Register Note from Fatty: Friday, October 21 is your last day to register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. What better way to cross the registration finish line this year…than to publish one last race report from last year? 

I’m very pleased to have leroy — a Seriously Incredible Friend of Fatty (SIFaF) — have his story told today. By, naturally, his dog. It’s kind of serious, very funny, and extremely inspiring.

Read it, then sign up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. It’s now or never, folks. 

How leroy Won the 2015 Lantern Rouge 100 Miles of Nowhere Competition

By leroy’s Dog

Rules are funny things. They keep changing – especially in fashion and cycling.

No white pants after Labor Day was a rule, now it isn’t. No stripes with plaids is still a rule (and don’t think I don’t remind leroy). The ketchup you dropped on your T-Shirt can’t be removed by licking; no, don’t recruit the dog is an installment in an ongoing lecture series. But it should be a rule.

Cycling specific rules are more confusing: Sunglasses arms over the helmet straps, bib straps under the jersey, shaved legs include ankles (except for show poodles).

The great thing about the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that you make your own rules.

But last year, there was a rule at the intersection of fashion and cycling that bedeviled leroy: Don’t wear the jersey if you haven’t done the ride.

Plans Made, Plans Changed

By this time last Fall, leroy had signed up for 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere and was making plans for us. Loops around Prospect Park again? A tour of every rideable bridge in NYC? A ride encompassing his annual marshalling at the Tour de Bronx?

And then life intervened, confirming that it really is what happens when you’re making other plans.

The chest pains that had been taking longer and longer to go away when he warmed up came back unexpectedly and ran into his jaw. In hindsight, it was a classic presentation of a problem cyclists often think can’t happen to them. Here’s a good article about that. So leroy rode to see his doctor. His doctor turned pale, told him no more riding, and sent him to a cardiologist.

Two days later, leroy met the cardiologist for a stress test. Of course he dressed for the occasion:


But he didn’t pass.

The cardiologist told leroy the bad news was leroy had coronary artery disease and needed a cardiac catheterization. The good news was he “had time to put his affairs in order.”

Fortunately, all she meant was he needed a cardiac catheterization in the next few days, not the next few hours.

And again, no riding no matter how good he felt.

New Plans.

leroy scheduled a catheterization, certain it would show there had been a mistake.  He was disappointed he’d miss marshalling the Tour de Bronx that weekend and worried he’d miss the 100 Miles of Nowhere the following week.

The catheterization was very cool. We got to watch. (Of course I went. I keep a companion animal vest for these occasions.)

leroy got two stents. Arteries that looked like winding country roads now look like super highways. He also got a bracelet perfect for Cyclocross.


Three weeks later, leroy went for another stress test. This time he wore the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere T-Shirt which had arrived in the interim with a jersey.


He passed.

It’s All In Your Head (Because There’s So Much Room)

leroy was told he could start riding again in a few weeks, but he had to take it easy. He went through a 3 month cardio rehab program, mostly to confirm he was fine.

He graduated rehab in Spring 2016 with flying colors, but could he ride 100 miles? He felt fine physically, but riding distance is a mental challenge.

So the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey hung in his closet. Waiting.

He rode to Nyack a few times — a 65 mile route he’s done for years.


But it wasn’t 100 miles.

He rode BSNYC’s Gran Fondon’t – about a 75 mile ride when the round trip commute from Brooklyn to the Northern Manhattan start/finish is factored in. 


Still no 100 miles.

And still the 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey hung in the closet. Waiting.

His inner monologue asked: What if you can’t ride 100 miles again?

His inner voice taunted: How can you wear the jersey if you haven’t done the ride?

His inner eight track tape looped: What if the jersey is destined to hang untouched for the rest of your riding career, a silent rebuke, testament to your mounting trash heap of inadequacies physical, mental, and moral; damning evidence of the ravages of age and ineptitude, threatening to crush you under the weight of recalcitrant recriminations, recherché regrets, recondite remonstrances, prancing, parading, perseverating like an endless stream of quick brown foxes jumping over the lazy dog ….

My Life Work As A Dog.

Aughhhhhhh!!!! Enough.

I beaned leroy with a chew toy. I’m not proud of that, but I wanted his attention.

I can put up with overheated inner monologue writing, but that quick brown fox thing is just typing.

Patiently I explained “Doofus, it’s just riding a bike. It’s just the 100 Miles of Nowhere. You decide what the rules are. You decide the distance. You decide the difficulty. It’s supposed to be fun.”

And honestly, who are you going to listen to – some random inner voice of doubt and despair or a talking dog? It’s silly that I even have to ask.

I sealed it by telling him if he wouldn’t wear the jersey, I would…. And no complaints about wet dog smell.

The Lantern Rouge

So in early July, leroy put on the 100 Miles of Nowhere Jersey and we rode a metric century over roads we’d ridden many times. We rode around the hills outside Piermont and then to Nyack, confirming that bears do go in the woods, but not how you think:



Later that month, in coastal Georgia, leroy wore the 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey for a Fahrenheit century.


Finally, this past August, leroy tried out a new pair of Asolo bibs with the 100 Miles of Nowhere Jersey for a ride with no destination and no plan other than to meander on a nice day. 




Near Piermont, I found a couch while leroy climbed a short hill that briefly touches 16 or 17% and leads to an unwelcome sign.



We wandered over a favorite lake and then climbed to the Orchard northwest of Nyack.

We headed over to the foot of Bear Mountain to ride a quiet road that’s the northern end of the annual Escape New York Ride.

Then we moseyed along the Hudson River where they still discriminate against dogs.




We made a stop in Nyack so late that most cyclists had already gone home. Then we went home with a dirt road detour in Tallman Park.



Without thinking about it, we had wandered for more than 100 miles. (I’m not sure how far because I forgot to turn the Garmin back on for a few miles after the Hudson River bathroom insult.).


And this gives leroy bragging rights to the Lantern Rouge: completing the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere 10 months after everyone else.

Of course, if someone wants to do a ride tomorrow of any distance and call it the 2015 100 Miles of Nowhere, they get the Lantern Rouge bragging rights because the rules are the way I like them: fluid.

Not a Shaggy Dog Story

So is there a point? Why yes, yes there is.

The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a wonderful, goofy, pointless event with a very important point. It helps Camp Kesem.

And Camp Kesem gives kids a break from the emotional toll cancer takes.

The irony: leroy registered for the 100 Miles of Nowhere to help Camp Kesem.

It turned out that the 100 Miles of Nowhere helped leroy more.

He’s riding. He’s fine. His head is as empty as it ever was.

And this year, when he heads out for the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere, I’m planning a quiet little get together with friends. I’m thinking indoor beach party theme, tiki hut, luau, beach volley ball. That sort of thing.


Guest Post: Don B’s 100 Miles of Nowhere Plan

10.18.2016 | 9:40 am

A Note from Fatty: I love publishing readers’ stories from their 100 Miles of Nowhere efforts. Today, though, I want to do something a little different: give you a peek into Don B’s preparation for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. Partially, I’m doing this because Don has put something awesome together. 

More than that, however, I wanted to point it out because of how Don is doing this. Specifically, he’s doing something amazing by not being afraid to ask people he knows — people who have access to resources — to do something good.

The whole secret to fundraising success, as far as I’m concerned, is exactly what Don is doing (and what I’ve done for about ten years now): gather your courage and ask people to join you in doing something good. I believe that most people want to do good things, and when given a compelling vision, will join you.

So: read this, and start thinking about what your own plan is. And whether you’re doing something on your own, with a few friends or family, or doing a big event, thank you. 

And also, please register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. This Friday (21 October) is the last day you can.

Don B’s 100 Miles of Nowhere at The Lebanon I-44 Speedway

Saturday, November 12th, 2016 I plan to ride a bicycle 100 miles. This distance, in and of itself, is not unusual for me. I’ve done it several times a year for the past ten years.

This 100 mile bike ride is different, though. I’m riding nowhere. I’m riding in circles. On a mountain bike. A rigid, single speed mountain bike. I’m riding on Missouri’s only NASCAR-sanctioned race track located in my hometown of Lebanon.

There. I’ve said it. 

“Why would you want to do this?” you’re thinking to yourself. And — let’s be honest —it’s possible you’re thinking way worse things right now. 

I’ll give you a little background to supplement my answer. 

I like testing the limits of my endurance. I’m not fast, but rarely cave to the demons that come calling after 10, 20, or 30 consecutive hours of cycling. I enjoy the bond of shared cycling suffering. Paramount to this fairly selfish endeavor, I enjoy helping my fellow human beings, specifically those less fortunate among us. Individuals or families facing difficulties inherent to the diagnosis of cancer. I know these difficulties all too well and want to help ease the burden. 

As a reader of this blog, you’re well versed on Fatty’s generosity. He and his family have inspired me on several occasions, but Fatty’s “100 Miles of Nowhere” fundraiser has been growing stronger on my radar for some time. His campaign to support Camp Kesem is exemplary of his selflessness.  I’ve read 100 Miles of Nowhere race reports and watched videos of years past, enjoying the ludicrousness of it all. Hours on a trainer, 100 miles of circling the block, hill repeats, etc. They’re crazy awesome efforts, and I applaud them. This year I decide to join the fun.

I’m fortunate to call one of the owners of the Lebanon I-44 Speedway my friend, and approached him with the idea of riding 100 Miles of Nowhere on the track. I thought it would be a unique experience (and substantially less monotonous than a trainer). He immediately agreed to my request. 

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With a location secured, I entertained ideas to fan the flames of crazy. What could I do to make this effort more insane? It just so happens I’m a member of two local cycling teams, Springfield Brewing Company, and Team Kuat Racks, both of which are brimming with like-minded individuals up for a challenge. 

This is a fundraiser for a great cause. If one rider is good, then 20-30 riders is exponentially more awesome! (we’re +20 riders to date). I set up a Facebook event with 10+ riders joining in the first few days.

The event page opened doors to even more generosity. There are a multitude of kind people supporting this cause. A national advertising company posting digital billboards in the city of Lebanon with specifics of the event.

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A worldwide supplier of nutritional supplements is sending race day fuel

How’s your 22 mph hand-up?

With Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere registration closing on Friday, Oct. 21st I would ask you to channel your inner cycling freak, and get registered

Buy the Good Stuff

10.17.2016 | 10:33 am

A few weeks ago, Dug and I went out on a lunch ride. “There’s some new trail in Corner Canyon you should see,” he said.

What he showed me was a two hour ride combining some of the greatest hits of Corner Canyon with some extraordinary new trail, first and foremost being a one-mile stretch of singletrack called “Mercer Hollow.”

“I don’t know how Draper (the city hosting the amazing Corner Canyon mountain bike trail network) does it,” I said. “New trail, every single year. And it’s so good: well-conceived, well-executed, incredibly fun. I can’t believe how lucky I am to live near this.”

“I feel a little bit like a freeloader just riding here for free,” I admitted, “cuz this must cost someone something.”

Dug’s actually in the Corner Canyon trail-building steering committee or something like that, and told me, “Foundations underwrite most of it. And there’s some fundraising dinner coming up.”

“I should sign up for and go to that fundraising dinner,” I said.

But of course, I didn’t.

Partially it was because I already had plans for that evening. Mostly, though, it was because I could see it was set up to be a long evening of standing in buffet lines, then listening to speeches and a comedian I had never heard of, then a silent auction. I’m sure that’s someone’s idea of a good time, but not mine.

Meanwhile, though, I took The Hammer on what I called “Dug’s New Loop.” Fall had just begun, so the trail was extra-gorgeous.


Then, the next day, we went again, this time bringing The Monster and a friend of hers:


There was just no getting around it: Corner Canyon is just world-class singletrack, right in our backyard, and it just keeps getting better and better.

So this loop — variations of which make it anywhere between fifteen and nineteen miles of singletrack with between 2000 and 3000 feet of climbing, with the trailhead about two miles from our front door — has become our go-to ride. It’s close, it’s fun, it’s great on a singlespeed. It’s about two hours of ridiculously good singletrack, about five minutes from home.

It’s so good. Maybe too good. I didn’t deserve it. I haven’t earned it. This sense of being a cycling freeloader kind of started gnawing at me a little bit. 

And then we ran into an old friend — Kris N — also riding this new trail. And he mentioned something along the same lines: he’d been thinking about that those of us who use things like this ought to contribute, in some way or another.

So — finally — I found the Corner Canyon Trails Foundation Donation page, and I donated some money. Not a lot (way less than I ought to, considering how many people in my family use these trails), but something.

Hey, it’s a start.

Grey mockup

100 Miles of Nowhere

This brings me to the 100 Miles of Nowhere. We’re down to the final week of registration for this event, which supports Camp Kesem, a foundation that proivdes amazing, silly, and fun camps to kids, supporting them through and beyond their parent’s cancer. 

I figured that with this being only $39.95 (with no shipping charge), we’d hit the 500 registration cap right away. But we haven’t even hit 300. So please: register now. Let’s support this wonderful foundation. (And, while you’re at it, allow me to recommend picking up your Fat Cyclist gear, which is now pretty deeply discounted at end-of-season pricing.)

The last day you can register is this <strong >Friday, October 21

Red Kite Prayer

One last thing here: I’d like to propose that if someone’s working hard to provide you really great content, it’s probably worth a few of your dollars to support that someone. I’m talking about, of course, my good friends at Red Kite Prayer. I’ve been podcasting with these guys on their podcast for thirty-seven episodes now. We’ve kind of got a thing going.

And now they’re moving to a paid subscriber model.

I think this kind of subscriber model is awesome, and I think it should be supported. I also know that it’s easy to say, “I’ll get to that later.” But don’t. Go to Red Kite Prayer and subscribe. If you have a lot of money, give them a lot. But if you don’t, set up a $3/mo subscription. That basically a dime per day, and it’s worth way more than that.

Whether it’s the trails you ride, the causes you believe in, or the stuff you read (or all three, in my case), we bike people have got it good. That’s worth paying for.

Take My Dreamy Dream Bike Survey

10.12.2016 | 2:36 pm

I’m still away from home, working a lot of hours…and riding very little. (OK, none.)

For some reason, when I can’t ride much, I tend to think about riding even more. And — and this is the part The Hammer needs to worry about — I start thinking about my dream bike more often. I ask myself, “If I could have any bike at all, what would it be?” 

Or sometimes I start thinking about some kind of riding I would like to try — bikepacking or track racing — and my dream bike dreaming will run down that path.

I can’t be the only one who dreams about dream bikes. Can I? 

Well, I put together this little survey here to find out. Take a couple minutes to answer it if you would be so kind (it really shouldn’t take you more than a couple minutes).

There’s no trickery here — I’m not collecting any info about you, much less any personal info. In other words, you’re not going to get a call from a bike company if you happen to answer certain questions in certain ways.

Next week, once I get back, I’ll share the interesting bits of how you answer.

OK, enough caveating and preambling. Get started!

Serious Thoughts for the Weekend (and Next Week Too)

10.7.2016 | 10:30 am

Hi there. I’m going to be traveling for work for all of next week, and kinda doubt that I’ll have time to update my blog (though if I can, I will, so maybe check in once or twice during the week).

Before I go, though, there are three things I want to bring to your attention. All of them are important.

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Thing 1: 100 Miles of Nowhere Registration

As of right now, 219 of you have registered for the 100 Miles of Nowhere (exciting pie chart showing which t-shirt colors are most popular so far at right). To those of you who have taken the time, thank you

If you have not yet taken the time to register, please do. It’s way less expensive than it ever has been before ($39.95, with free shipping in the US and only $5 shipping outside the US).

It’s a fun, silly event, and — most importantly — it really makes a difference in the lives of kids who have a parent who is fighting (or has fought) cancer, by supporting Camp Kesem

If you haven’t registered because you don’t think you can do this kind of distance, register anyway and do whatever distance you can. Stretch yourself; don’t worry about the rest.

If you haven’t registered because it’s getting cold and you don’t want to do this inside, register anyway and ride in the Spring. I’ll still post your race writeup when you send it.

If you haven’t registered because you feel like I’m always asking you to donate and you’re all donated out, register for this one; I’m not going to be doing fundraisers as often as I used to — one or two per year, tops.

And in short, go register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. I’d love to see registration fill all the way up to the cap of 500 by the time I get back on the 17th. Regardless, the last day you’ll be able to register will be October 21.

Thing 2: Listen to The Paceline  

I’m loving doing The Paceline (The Podcast on Two Wheels, whatever that means) with Patrick Brady and Michael Hotten of Red Kite Prayer. Every episode is fun, but this one…well, I feel like it’s important. We get a little more serious in this episode than we usually do; we consider the question of why there are no openly gay men in pro cycling.

You can listen above, get details at Red Kite Prayer, or subscribe on iTunesAndroid, or via RSS

Thing 3: Listen to the CyclingTips Podcast

I didn’t plan it this way, but for some reason this week, I wound up talking about important issues in both The Paceline and the CyclingTips podcast. Anne-Marije Rooke and I talk about prize money in cycling, and the ridiculous disconnect between how much men and women are paid. We talk to a race promoter who’s taking some important steps, as well as a woman racer, to get her perspective. 


Listen above, get details at CyclingTips, subscribe on iTunes or by RSSStitcherSoundcloud,  Google Play, or download it directly.

For both these podcasts, I’d love to know what you think.

See you in a week! (or hopefully sooner.)

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