100 Miles of Nowhere, Team Marine Division (MUST READ)

05.12.2010 | 9:00 am

A Note from Fatty: You gotta read this one.

We are both deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS NASSAU. I’m a Harrier pilot by trade and John is an Aviation Ordnance Officer. In other words, he makes the bombs and slaps them on the planes, and I deliver them with care.

I’ll admit it, when I had heard about the first “100 Miles to Nowhere” I thought it was a horrible idea. I admired the “bullheaded” nature of the effort, but who in their right mind rides 100 miles on a trainer or around their cul-de-sac?  

Fast forward 2 years and here I am, 111 days into a deployment at sea on an amphibious carrier. That’s 111 days without a single stop in port. The only option to keep bike fitness from withering away is to ride the spinners in the ship’s gym.  

Thankfully, I have a friend and co-worker out here with me who shares my love of cycling (probably even more than I do) and keeps me motivated to get on the trainers.  

We are both fans of the Fatty blog, and when the 100 Miles to Nowhere was announced this year, we thought what better place to do it, than stuck on a hunk of steel floating in the Gulf of Aden?


With a flight schedule to contend with and the unreliability of mail out here, we figured the chances of receiving our kit on time and having the 8th as a free day were pretty slim. However, the moons aligned and our kits arrived with a few days to spare and the ship even scheduled a rare “day off” to celebrate our half-way point on the deployment.  

You have to understand that our ship, the USS NASSAU is over 30 years old, and I doubt the spinners in the gym are much younger than that. We are Marines, so we are used to making due with less than perfect equipment. Adapt and overcome, right?


It took a little maintenance and TLC to get the spinner up to speed for the ride, including gerry-rigging a cyclocomputer on the bike and sewing some homemade straps for the toe clips. My wife even mailed me my saddle and some of my cycling gear from home to make the ride a little more enjoyable.

John came through with the “support” equipment too. In order to keep our heads in the game and break up the monotony, we plugged his laptop into the TV in the gym so we could watch some cycling races. The 2009 Paris-Roubaix took us all the way to the 75-mile mark or so and we finished up with the Col de Tourmalet stage of the 2001 Tour de France.  


We even sprinted with Boonen in the velodrome and got out of the saddle a few times on the Tourmalet. It made the ride a lot more fun and enjoyable.  

We knew we would get a lot of questions from our shipmates as they used the gym, so I made a couple signs to spread the gospel of Fatty.  


We had a great deal of support from our friends and co-workers during the ride, including manning the feed zone and taking pictures. We even had our own domestique who brought us ice-filled water bottles and even rode the last 40 miles with us.


We completed the ride in 4:50, with only a few “comfort breaks”.  


Including our breaks, our total time was under 5:10. All things considered, the ride went by much faster than we had expected and I dare say it was even fun.

Our only regret from the day was having to do it all inside. We had grand plans to ride the last hour on the flight deck or one of the catwalks on the ship. Due to some logistical issues, we couldn’t make that happen. All in all it was a huge success though.

Seeing as there is zero opportunity to ride a bike out here, it was the closest either of us had to a real day of cycling (we even busted out legit cycling kit, despite the opinion of lycra among most Marines). So we would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to “escape” for a day.  

We’d also like to thank your sponsors for making this happen too – especially Clif for the nutrition, and DZ Nuts for the tingle down below. It was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this year’s ride. Keep up the great work Fatty!


– Captain Jason R (snot rocketeer) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 John M (bykjunkie)  


  1. Comment by Christi | 05.12.2010 | 9:06 am

    BOO YAH!

  2. Comment by Uncle Joe | 05.12.2010 | 9:16 am

    congrats to John and Jason how cool is that.

    Semper Fi

  3. Comment by Cherie | 05.12.2010 | 9:16 am

    That’s our hero’s, not only fighting for our freedom but fighting against cancer while fighting for our freedom!!! John, the kids and I miss you so much. We are so proud of you and cannot wait until you get home.

  4. Comment by bobbie | 05.12.2010 | 9:25 am


  5. Comment by KM | 05.12.2010 | 9:30 am

    I’m a runner, not a cyclist, but I’ve been following this blog for a while. The 100MoN stories make me want to buy a bike! (How weird is that)
    This was definitely my favorite report so far, great job guys!

  6. Comment by GeorgeNotHincapie | 05.12.2010 | 9:37 am

    Absolutely nothing else to say except; thank you for your service. Because you do what you do, the rest of us live in peace without fear. You are American heroes.

  7. Comment by OldManUtah | 05.12.2010 | 9:46 am

    First thank you for your service to Jason, John and all current or former military people who read this blog. Fighting for country and against cancer you have inspired us all. My prayer is for you to be safe and for you families as you are apart from each other that they know we apreciate their sacrifice also. God Bless You Both!!

  8. Comment by MattC | 05.12.2010 | 9:48 am

    GO MARINES! You make us all proud! I can surely relate to riding in a steel room to hold some level of fitness (my fav days were when the weather alowed I would take my cateye cyclosimulator outside to the fantail and watch the albatross’s crisscrossing the wake as I suffered). Though the 6 ships I sailed on were MUCH smaller than yours.

    USN (retired)

  9. Comment by Chuck | 05.12.2010 | 9:57 am

    Although its been a long while since I worked out on ship, I can totally identify with how hard it is. GREAT Marines!, stay safe and smoothe sailing.

  10. Comment by Michelle of Utica | 05.12.2010 | 9:59 am

    John and Jason –
    Thank you so much for what you do! Go MARINES! I loved reading your account of the 100MoN – I haven’t ridden it yet because of work – but will get out there soon and remember you two being stuck inside to ride.
    Thank you again for your service to the USA!

  11. Comment by NoTrail | 05.12.2010 | 10:00 am

    Great write up. And I love the signs you posted about what you were doing too.

  12. Comment by JB | 05.12.2010 | 10:01 am

    Way to go guys!
    I am truly humbled by not only your service to all of us Americans here at home, but your committment to team fatty and the fight against cancer.
    “Marine’s opinion on lycra”, made me laugh.
    Come home safe to your families!
    With Respect, Jim

  13. Comment by Bee | 05.12.2010 | 10:13 am

    These guys are my favorite so far! Esp for that sign of theirs. Great job, guys!

  14. Comment by Isela | 05.12.2010 | 10:19 am

    Go Marines!

  15. Comment by Canadian Roadie | 05.12.2010 | 10:22 am

    Good job guys! However, I have one other thing to say. How did you get your “race packages” before I did?! Seriously, you’re in the middle of the ocean near Africa for pete’s sake. I’m in Canada and still haven’t received mine. Man, I hate customs.

  16. Comment by Kyle | 05.12.2010 | 10:25 am

    Guys – awesome work for a great cause – thank you!! A cycling buddy sent me this blog – first time I have seen it. As an avid cyclist who has done countless centuries, I’ve never imagined doing something like this. But now I just may. And as a former Harrier pilot (A and B) who has cycled a few miles on the Guadalcanal, it does my heart proud to see you guys accomplish this. Was at the Harrier reunion in PCola 3 weeks ago and there are definitely some cyclists amongst us old guys, and I can’t wait to send them this story. Ride on MARINES! Semper Fi, Bongo

  17. Comment by NYCCarlos | 05.12.2010 | 10:31 am

    Nice job boys. Keep up the good work out there and do us all a favor and come home safe.

  18. Comment by lucas | 05.12.2010 | 10:34 am

    Wow… awesome guys! Great ride, and thank you for your service!

  19. Comment by Stop Sign | 05.12.2010 | 10:41 am

    As a ‘former’ Marine, all I can say is that takes dedication on a ship! Especially in lycra! I can imagine that you’ll be getting ripped on for that for the rest of the deployment. :) Semper Fi!

  20. Comment by Larry | 05.12.2010 | 10:53 am

    Re: Third picture.

    Tyler Hamilton is jealous of these guys’ calf muscles.

    Well done.

  21. Comment by Ian | 05.12.2010 | 11:02 am

    Ironically these guys might have travelled further than anyone else during their 100 MoN. How far does a ship like that travel in 5hrs 10mins?

    Thanks for everything you guys do! Mad props.

  22. Comment by Leslie | 05.12.2010 | 11:49 am

    Awesome! Thanks for your service, you’re in our prayers daily!

  23. Comment by snot rocketeer | 05.12.2010 | 11:52 am

    Bongo – Glad to hear of another Jump Jet cyclist out there. I’ll be heading to P’Cola post deployment, maybe I’ll catch you at a future Harrier reunion.

    Ian – The ironic part is that we “travelled” far further than the ship could dream of. The best she could do is under 20MPH, and during our ride probably wasn’t doing much more than 3MPH, so we ended up much higher in the “GC” standings than the Big Nasty.

  24. Comment by Arizona Guy | 05.12.2010 | 11:59 am

    Semper Fi Brothers -

    I spent my time on ship in the Gator Navy with Tracks & Tanks. I used to run around in the well deck and do the ‘high knees’ drills over the cables that cinched the tanks down so they didn’t slide around. Nothin quite as fun as a flat bottom ship in high seas…

  25. Comment by Marilyn Z | 05.12.2010 | 12:21 pm

    John and Jason I am very proud of you for doing this. Thank you for keeping us safe. Jason I must tell you I know you were in good company.

  26. Comment by AngieG | 05.12.2010 | 12:46 pm

    John and Jason- You guys are awesome!!! Thanks for protecting us every day, thanks to your families for the sacrafice they make in supporting you and thanks for the great story!!!

  27. Comment by Mark | 05.12.2010 | 12:47 pm

    Bravo Zulu! Don’t see many bikes or spinners on submarines, where I suffered through a patrol running in place for exercise (and surely not 100 miles!)
    (USN, ret.)

  28. Comment by rich | 05.12.2010 | 12:54 pm

    Awesome jobs guys! and Thank you for all you do and the sacrifices you make on our behalf!!!

  29. Comment by fishdaddy | 05.12.2010 | 1:01 pm

    Awesome job guys. Thank you for your service.

  30. Comment by Shannon | 05.12.2010 | 1:03 pm

    Jason – I love you baby! We miss you so much and can’t wait for you to come home!

    Shannon & kids

  31. Comment by Bob Newsham | 05.12.2010 | 1:04 pm

    Jason & John, this is just AWSOME, I really enjoyed the the story, thank you both for what you do for us all every day and also your families sacrifices.
    Dave Wallace of NBCC sent the link to me.
    Down East Cyclists.

  32. Comment by Rob M | 05.12.2010 | 1:28 pm

    Great job guys on winning your division of the 100 MoN, U.S.S. Nassau, port and starboard side.

    And thanks to you and your fellow Marines for all you do.

  33. Comment by justin | 05.12.2010 | 1:41 pm

    When you’ve done the Crucible, 100 MoN is a walk in the park but commendable and entertaining. Great writeup!

    Semper fi

  34. Comment by Ben C | 05.12.2010 | 1:45 pm


  35. Comment by John & Cherie's neighbors - Dawn & Tim | 05.12.2010 | 2:23 pm

    Great Job John and Jason!!!! Cherie told us you guys were going to be doing the 100 Miles to Nowhere…glad you are able to keep cycling even while you are on the boat! Come home soon…Tim has some beer waiting for you!!!

  36. Comment by Mike | 05.12.2010 | 2:46 pm

    Thank you.

    And great job! Nice write up!

  37. Comment by Carl | 05.12.2010 | 4:00 pm

    Thank you both for your service and thanks to your families for their sacrifice. Come home safe!

  38. Comment by Erine | 05.12.2010 | 4:47 pm

    Rock On!!! So nice to see my much beloved (and beleaguered!) Marines on the Nassau kicking tail in the 100 Miles to Nowhere, Team Marine Division… Brings back F-O-N-D memories of spinning on the Iwo with TDF 2005 in the player. Dear heavens.

    Hope to see you at the MS 150, New Bern style!

  39. Comment by k_deck | 05.12.2010 | 8:03 pm

    Thank you for your service and for the BIG smile of reading your write-up!

  40. Comment by roadrash | 05.12.2010 | 8:31 pm

    Well done gentlemen. Way to improvise!

  41. Comment by Aunt Joan,Uncle Howard | 05.12.2010 | 8:54 pm

    John, Jason, job WELL done! John, we are so proud of you as we always have been. I talked to Cherie today, love that girl.

    Love Aunt Joan and Uncle Howard

  42. Comment by Betsy | 05.12.2010 | 10:26 pm

    John and Jason, thanks for your service! It was great reading your report, awesome job.

  43. Comment by Dave Wallace - NBCC (New Bern, NC) | 05.13.2010 | 4:59 am

    On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 1:34 PM, Dave Wallace wrote:

    Capt Jason Rubin,

    It is with great admiration that I added a Century trip for you on the NBCC Century Recognition List at http://pages.suddenlink.net/davew/nbcc.htm despite the fact that you and your teammate didn’t run into much wind like we’ve been having here.

    So everybody here will be aware of your cycling achievement aboard the USS Nassau in the Gulf of Aden (off Yemen), I’m forwarding this message to all NBCC cyclists. I hope they will all take a look at the webpage you sent. (Jason is the Marine Harrier pilot).

    Good luck and keep spinning. Be nice to run into some wind if you went up on the deck.

    Dave Wallace – NBCC

    At 12:22 PM 5/12/2010, you wrote:


    You can add me for one more century, albeit an unusual one. Read here for the full scoop:


    - Jason

  44. Comment by buckythedonkey | 05.13.2010 | 6:53 am

    Well done boys. WIN!

  45. Comment by Lesley Jacobs | 05.13.2010 | 10:27 am

    You guys ROCKed the 100 miles of nowhere!

  46. Comment by nova | 05.13.2010 | 11:33 am

    Ohhhhh… say hello to Mike Fox for me! He’s a harrier pilot on the USS Nassau! :-)

  47. Comment by Philly Jen | 05.13.2010 | 3:36 pm

    Jason and John, you should definitely become virtual members of one of the Livestrong Challenge teams!

    Team Fatty Seattle and Team Fatty San Jose both have former Navy men — Clydesteve and MattC — as their co-captains, so I think they get first dibs. However, if you join Team Fatty Philly, I’ll run the 2010 Marine Corps Marathon!*

    You’ll have to see if Mike Roadie comes up with an even better recruiting offer for Team Fatty Austin…

    * Okay, I’m signed up for MCM regardless, but who couldn’t use a little extra oo-rah?

  48. Comment by debbie dumas | 05.13.2010 | 4:50 pm

    congratulations on a great adventure, Tim and I are so proud of you Guys, This is a great way to show team spirit in more ways then one. Keep your heads low and your spirts high.

    Love muffet

  49. Comment by 100poundsago | 05.15.2010 | 3:49 pm


    Strong Work! You Brothers Stay safe out there and come home soon.

  50. Comment by Keith G. | 05.24.2010 | 8:27 pm

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this, guys. And a major “thank you” for your service to our country.


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