A “Hey, Come Watch A Movie With Me and Ask Me Some Questions” Note from Fatty: I’m excited to be joining Bike Utah for the 2011 Utah Bike Summit. For the Kick-off movie, they’ll be screening Race Across the Sky 2010 , which features me for practically the entire movie. Or at least for a minute or so.
Anyway, after the movie, I’ll be there — along with my friend Kenny — for a Q&A session. If you’re local and can come watch the film, you absolutely should.
The film will be shown Thursday, April 28, at 7:00pm, at the Jordan Commons Megaplex.
A Note About Today’s Post from Fatty: Today’s guest post comes from Debi, a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Survivor, helmet evangelist, and the founder of Brain Injury Connection.
The proudest moment on my bike was when I rode up that final climb to the staging area before the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) Golden State Challenge participants rode the last few miles to the Santa Monica Pier.
I met my personal goal to ride the entire route of 2010 R2R Golden State Challenge, a fundraising and rehabilitation ride, from San Francisco to Santa Monica without SAGing (cycling term) meaning needing to be picked up because your bike has had a mechanical problem; you’ve been injured; you can’t ride any further safely due to fatigue; or because of physical pain that could result in a serious injury. I didn’t want to be a burden to the R2R and take up a seat in a SAG vehicle that should be reserved for our newly injured veterans, many who have never ridden a bike or haven’t been on a bike in awhile.
I know a few people didn’t think I’d make it to Santa Cruz let alone ride over 7000 feet on the 95 mile ride day from Carmel to San Simeon via Big Sur.
I decided to get myself back in to riding after hearing the Executive Director of the Ride 2 Recovery, speak in 2009 at a brain injury resource fair. John Wordin shared how cycling is helping wounded warriors in their recovery from physical and mental injuries from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and he invited the brain injury community to participate.
I happen to be a noncombat veteran (1975 – 1978) and I was a Captain in the Army Reserves until a traumatic brain injury (TBI) changed my life and my civilian and reserve careers. This seemed like the perfect fundraiser for me. I wanted to support our troops.
I was desperate to feel better because I was very depressed. John also shared how he lost weight cycling after playing football in college. I have always fought the battle of the bulge, but the weight crept up rather quickly after the TBI. The fatigue issues that come with TBI and medications didn’t help.
It wasn’t until I told a friend I was planning to participate in the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) Golden State Challenge that I was reminded of all the hills on Highway 1. Then, I realized I need to learn how to climb hills. I was raised in Michigan and I had never climbed a hill.
It was too late to back out; I had already told John I was going to participate.
I don’t know why I was so scared of the hills, but I suspect it was my fear of having another traumatic brain injury (TBI). Cycling is a high risk sport especially when you’re sharing the road with vehicles. I happened to be out riding my bike without a helmet when I had a TBI. I was informed by a witness that I got off my bike in the middle of an intersection and took one step and fell like I was shot. It resulted in two brain bleeds.
Cycling was challenging for me initially because of my fear, but thanks to a specialist in touch hypnotherapy, hypnomassage and trauma, I have worked through that fear for now.
I’m more confident because of the Golden State Challenge. There is nothing more fun and safer than riding with cyclists who care about each other and experienced and professional cyclists who care about inexperienced riders — like me.
While having the honor and privilege of riding with the men and women, who made the commitment, took the oath and answered the call of their country, I met my personal goal, I never SAGed while climbing over 27,000 feet on the Golden State Challenge, and I faced my fear of having another brain injury.
I have found cycling to be good medicine for me.
The following is picture is of me, the fat chick in the middle, Wayne Stetina, a professional cyclist and Vice President, Shimano American Corporation and Road Product Specialist, and Barbara, his lovely bride of 33 years, at the Santa Monica Pier with my beloved TREK hybrid.
I was the only person riding the 7 day ride on a hybrid and I understand from Wayne that no one thought I’d make those hills. At the staging area Wayne congratulated me. He told me of all the people on the Golden State Challenge they thought wouldn’t be able to ride the entire route it was me.
But I did!
Every time I think about the R2R Golden State Challenge I experience a wave of euphoria. It was a confidence builder for me and it will always be the ride of my life.
Some of our troops because of the R2R are getting in to racing because they’ve become addicted to cycling. I was bit by the biking bug, too; however, I’m afraid because of my age there won’t be any competition so I plan to ride in fundraising events for causes I’m passionate about including but not limited to those that help people affected by brain injury and cancer, America’s combat veterans, and America’s vulnerable children and seniors.
After finding Fat Cyclist’s blog searching how to lose weight biking, I learned about Team Fatty and their dedication to eradicate cancer by “Fighting like Susan” for a cure and to help those affected by cancer. I lost several friends and a family member to cancer. I plan to honor them by riding in the Livestrong Challenge at Davis in July and I hope to meet Fatty.
Participating in the R2R Golden State Challenge gave this noncombat veteran the ride of her life; an opportunity to ride with America’s combat veterans; face her fears head on; and to say that she was proud to meet her personal goal not to SAG on the Golden State Challenge.
A Note for Womanly Austinites: Janeen “Noodle” McCrae may be the most awesome Friend of Fatty in the entire universe — last year she rode 4400 miles across America to raise money for the Austin LiveStrong Challenge. On April 26, from 6:30 – 8:00pm, Janeen will be talking about her incredible trip at the Mellow Johnny’s monthly “Ladies Bike Maintenance Class.” Click here for details and then be sure to attend.
A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: I’m headed into a very intense workweek — lotsa early mornings and late nights — and I know from experience that it’s going to take pretty much every thing I’ve got. So, for the next few days, plan on guest posts. I think you’re going to like the batch I’ve got lined up, starting with this one from Gary Brennan, aka: The Amazing Shrinking Gaz, The 39-Stone Cyclist, or just “the fat lad on a bike.”
In January 2008 I weighed in at a mind- (and waist-) busting 39 stone and 13 pounds, (That’s 559 Pounds for our American readers). A few months before my Doctor had suggested to me that I consider a gastric by-pass.
I was shocked – I thought to myself “but they are for really fat people”.
I was visiting my Doctor that day for many health-related, obesity-caused issues and realising my dire situation, he thought he would make the suggestion to help me. I left and thought nothing of his words. It was around three days later that, while struggling to walk from my living room to my kitchen that I decided “Actually I am really fat” and with that, my ‘light-bulb moment’, my life would never be the same again.
I was approved for the surgery in April 2008 , however as I had a Holiday booked at the end of September they told me that it would not be done until at least October 2008, I decided that I needed to change and attempt to get a little stronger for the operation. I purchased a Giant Yukon 2008 MTB, I decided that I wanted to cycle to work, it was 6.5 miles away from where I live, and there is also a nasty hill that I had to ride on both journeys, there was no way I would be able to do that, it was something I was going to have to build up to.
From January to April I had lost around four-and-a-half stone (65 Pounds) and while I was impressed with my efforts it did mean that I was going to attempt to cycle weighing-in at over 34 stone (476 Pounds).
It was June 2008, 6pm; I had finished work, the sun was shining, my time was now, I got my bike and headed outside. I looked and felt like a total idiot, but nothing was going to stop me.
I had been watching NBC’s The Biggest Loser just a few days before, seeing people weighing up to 400 pounds doing punishing exercise. I was inspired by Mark Kruger and Roger Schultz who were both finalists, and who’d shown me in each episode how you not only need to change physically but also mentally.
The reality, however, was that both Mark and Roger were 200 pounds lighter than me – shouldn’t it have been me that was on the show?
The Biggest Loser is something I will always credit for helping save my life. If I hadn’t seen with my own eyes what could be done, then I’m not sure I would have even attempted it.
I cycled the half-mile to my local train station. I was wheezing, my arms hurt holding up my weight, my legs hurt pushing my weight along. I was soaking in sweat, like someone who had just run over 30 miles – but I had done it! I had made it to the half-way point.
I took in an energy gel, about 500ml of water and had a ten-minute sit-down. I was then ready to set off again and get home. Boy was it hard. By the time I was home I thought to myself “I can’t do this” – I couldn’t breathe, I was coughing and wheezing, tired and sore but I had cycled one mile. This was a real wake-up call for me; I had done well in losing over four stone but the reality that it was just a fraction of what I needed to do to survive this. With that I had a much needed half-hour sleep on the sofa.
Ramping It Up
I woke up the next day and I wanted to do it all over again, despite being sore, tired and embarrassed, I wanted to get out there and really go for it, so I did.
Over the coming days I forced myself to up my mileage and I was at the stage after a week that I could cycle to the train station, and then cycle from the train station near work to my office, every day.
I was doing two-and-a-half miles a day and starting to gain confidence. Within six weeks I was getting on and off the train two stops before I needed to, and then on August Bank Holiday 2008 I decided I was going to cycle to work, the whole way. It was a Bank Holiday, I was off work that day. I didn’t need to cycle to my office, but I was ready…
I made the 6.5 miles in 43 minutes, I felt fresh, strong and ready to do more, I decided to take the train home and save myself for the “Real” Commute the next day.
Over the next 3 weeks I cycled to work every day, but took the train home, the homeward leg was harder as it’s a gradual uphill with a kicker of a hill at the very end.
But every single day from then, to today, I have upped my mileage, going longer, harder and faster than before.
After my holiday I received the news I was expecting and yet dreading at the same time: I no longer qualified for the gastric by-pass, due to losing so much weight. I was thrilled, yet at the same time scared.
I had lost 115 Pounds from April to October – I had shown that I could do it.
The next day was a freezing cold and wet morning, one I am never going to forget. I thought to myself “I am on my own now, it’s all me.” Then from nowhere a good friend drove past. It was Christy, the one was pushed me to cycle in the first place. He waved and encouraged me on, and with that, the rain, the wind and the freezing temperature no longer mattered.
Two weeks later and I was cycling to and from work, doing 13 miles each day. Before long it was January again, and I decided to think about doing the Manchester to Blackpool ride. My target was 2010, but I had already come so far – and while I was training some new starters at work one of them said “Gaz, you can do it mate, I’ll do it with you” – and with that the seed was planted. I started increasing my mileage, getting to as much as 17 miles per day, and before I knew it, it was July. I was still weighing-in at over 350 Pounds.
I wasn’t ready for this, but I was going to do it anyway.
Gaz In The Media
Before the Blackpool ride I made a conscious effort to make my story public. I was interviewed by Granada Reports, BBC Radio, BBC Online and a host of local papers.
You might ask why someone who was still classed as morbidly obese would want to seek such publicity. Well, in my mind it was simple, to pile the pressure on me.
I had been cycling for around a year, yet I was still only around a quarter of the way though my journey. I had lost more weight than an average woman weighs, cycled more miles than 80% of the cyclists in my building at work and yet, I was still fatter than the majority of people who realise they need to lose weight. In fact, I was 12 months away from where most people START – shocking!
So I knew I needed to do something to keep me focused. The first year had been enjoyable, but I was nearing the point where cycling wasn’t as hard, but wasn’t easy, and I knew I was in for a rough ride.
So I started to write my blog, went public and signed up to a few cycling forums, all providing me with the motivation, drive and support I would need in the coming months.
Manchester To Blackpool
The night before the ride I couldn’t sleep – not to put too fine a point on it, I was on the toilet most of the night. When I got on the start line I was already knackered and my tummy would still not settle down. In the blink of an eye we were off – two colleagues and I were rolling.
I had to hold myself back from sprinting, I was so full of adrenalin. The first 15 miles flew by – our pace was good, and while not being record-setting, we were all in our stride and them boom – disaster. My colleague and I had a ‘coming together’; I held it together, he didn’t. The ensuing wait for medical help and then a stop for paramedics 10 miles later put us all off our stride. I struggled to get going again after being stopped for around 90 minutes in total.
In the end we made it to Blackpool. We were around four to five miles away and my cycle computer showed four hours and 50 minutes. I got a second wind and cycled harder than ever before – there was a nasty head-wind but I was going to push as hard as I could to get there in under five hours. The miles flew by, and before long we were on the sea front.
Around half-a-mile from the finish line, I said to Paul “Sorry mate, the adrenalin has kicked in, I’m going to sprint this,” and with that I watched my speed go from 14 mph to 18 mph, to 22 mph. Paul was still with me at this point, I then kicked into the big ring and stood up – I gave it hell, crossing the line, still sprinting at 29 mph. I was going a little too fast – the announcer told me to slow down, and my supporters said that they weren’t able to get any pictures due to my speed. What a result! I had finished, a year early, managed a sprint AND been told off for going too fast!
This will be the third year I have done this ride, I ride in memory and honour of some amazing people that touched my life who are no longer with us, but I also ride for the future, I have saved my future by losing 26 stone but so many out there, who are touched by cancer might not be as lucky as I am, for that reason, to give something back to those less fortunate than I am, I ride to help beat cancer once and for all.
If Gary’s story has inspired you, you can sponsor him via his ‘Just Giving’ page.
A “TODAY is Your Last Chance to Register for 100 Miles of Nowhere” Note from Fatty: Registration for the 4th Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere ends tonight at Midnight, CT. Which means that if you’re planning to ride it, you need to register now.
As a quick recap, The 100 Miles of Nowhere — The Race Without a Place — is an event where you ride your bike for 100 miles by riding the shortest (and, often, most ridiculous) course you can imagine. It’ll be hard, you’ll have fun, and you’ll help Team Fatty help LiveStrong in the fight against cancer. For details, read this post.
Men, click here to register. Women, click here to register.
And then mark June 4 on your calendar for the strangest, most awesome 100 mile event of your life.
Stuff Fatty Loves: Bicycle Dreams
If you do something enough — and by “enough,” I mean “too much” — that something will get into your head. It will burrow in and start occupying a space way out of proportion to its actual importance.
You can get so close to a single tree that you forget there even is a forest. You can get so close to a tree, in fact, that all you see is a couple square inches of bark. And then, if you lean your forehead against the tree, you have to strain hard to see anything at all.
As a guy who has, from time to time, stared intently at a couple of square inches of bark for months at a time, I found myself empathizing with the people in Bicycle Dreams — an excellent documentary about the 2005 Race Across America (RAAM).
I also found myself thinking. And asking myself some questions.
It’s a rare movie that does that to me.
I Recognize These Guys
Bicycle Dreams concentrates on a handful of solo racers. On one hand, this means that some people who undoubtedly had compelling stories to tell never even appeared on screen.
On the other hand, this also means that for the people the show does concentrate on, you have enough time to start to get to know a little bit about them. Why they’re there. What they’re going through.
And if you do any kind of endurance racing — no, not necessarily ultra-mega-endurance, just plain ol’ endurance — you find yourself identifying with what they say.
When one of the leading racers, Jure Robic, says of the race, “It gets like poison into you. I like…I love this race,” I found myself nodding in agreement. The key words in what he said seemed carefully considered: I’ve had an event take over my system like a poison. I’ve felt an attachment to a race that felt so emotional and strong I’d call it love.
When I watched how personally involved the racers’ crews were — watching how they would beg with and plead with and calm and care for and make hard decisions for their riders, I thought about crews I’ve seen at races and how racers are only a small part of a racing team and how the crew carries the heavier burden.
And when I saw the complete exhaustion and hallucinations some of the riders experienced, I thought about how I felt after riding the Kokopelli.
But in each of these cases (and many more like them), I really only had enough of a basis of comparison to understand what these guys were going through a little bit.
I mean, I’ve had crews give up a weekend for me, but never two-plus weeks. I’ve gotten involved in training, but I’ve never quit my job and flown around the world to do a race. And while I was completely wiped after riding the Kokopelli for 18 hours, the first people to abandon the RAAM had ridden more than twice that amount of time — the winner of the race would have slept around eleven hours in eight days. Unbelievable.
So I guess I’m saying I can relate to these guys because of my own experiences, but only just barely. These guys take my most obsessive race experiences, and then multiply them by ten. Or more.
I Like These Guys
I don’t want to portray this Bicycle Dreams as a movie about obsessive-compulsives on bikes. The fact is, most of the guys doing this race are around my age — guys in their thirties and forties. And I like them, because they’re not too different from me. They talk about looking for meaning in riding their bikes forever; I talk forever (this blog is now six years old) about riding my bike.
Over and over, while watching this show, I turned to The Runner and would comment on how I thought I’d be doing in the same situation — whether it be a hallucinating rider, a rider who has to don a makeshift neckbrace, the rider whose exhaustion is so complete he can no longer bring an image of his wife and child to mind. These guys, at least from what I saw in the movie, were candid enough about their experience that I couldn’t help but imagine myself right there with them.
And I found myself rooting for every single one of them.
In particular, I found myself identifying with a particular rider — Dr. Bob Breedlove — who was riding his sixth RAAM (he had completed each of the previous five attempts). In one of the first shots of the man, he’s asked how he’s doing. He replies “Another day in paradise.”
I turned to The Runner and said, “That’s the guy I want to be like when I grow up.” I want to be the guy who, once he’s picked a challenge, embraces it and enjoys it and soaks up the fact that he’s doing something pretty remarkable.
It seems weird to want to avoid spoilers for an event that happened nearly six years ago, but I’m going to assume that most people don’t ordinarily follow RAAM any closer than I do, and I’ll just say this: partway through Bicycle Dreams, the numerous expected dramatic moments are interrupted by a tragedy, and it bothered me enough that the first time I watched this movie I wasn’t able to concentrate on the rest of the film. In fact, it bothered me enough that I didn’t feel like I could write a review about the movie (which I’ve had for more than a year now) until I watched it again last night.
Then, watching the show again last night, I found myself saddened by a whole different event. Many of the riders do ultra-endurance rides because there’s something sublime about riding your bike well past where you thought your limits are. I nodded my head in agreement. If you’re willing to push yourself, you deserve an epiphany.
But then one of the riders pulls over to the side of the road and says, quietly, “I’m done.” He had his epiphany, and his epiphany was that racing wasn’t worth what it had cost him.
He says it with such conviction, such certainty, such clarity, that I can’t imagine a person who’s dedicated a big chunk of his life to biking not feeling a little bit shaken.
So, be ready. Bicycle Dreams is inspiring and exciting — Stephen Auerbach deserves huge kudos for the beautiful look and compelling telling of the story — but you’ll probably find yourself asking yourself some serious questions afterward.
Wrapping up, then. Is this movie for everyone? I don’t know. I’m sure that my mom would experience it differently than I did. One thing is certain, though: If you ride a bike and have, at some point, thought about pushing yourself to find out what your limits really are, Bicycle Dreams is a movie you absolutely must see.
A Note from Fatty: If you’re planning to do the Fourth Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere, it’s not too late to sign up. Click here to sign up for the men’s (i.e., to get a men’s t-shirt) category, or click here to sign up for the women’s (i.e., to get a women’s t-shirt) category. While the first 500 registrants got dibs on the swag boxes, you’ll still get the oh-so-dapper event t-shirt, as well as the race plate, so you can tell people you totally won your category in a race, and have the race plate to prove you were there.
I am currently in the middle of an intriguing experiment. An experiment I am conducting, oddly enough, on The Runner and myself.
We are finding out what happens when people who usually exercise every day (in my case, biking; in The Runner’s case, biking and running and P90X) stop exercising — pretty much cold turkey — for nine days, while on vacation at The (second?) Happiest Place on Earth(tm).
That’s right. We knew we’d be busy most every moment we were awake, and we knew that this busy-ness would be to the exclusion of three-hour bike rides.
Plus, we were trying to keep the luggage down to a minimum.
Since this experiment is still in progress, I do not yet have the data I need to draw a final conclusion. Still, I am pleased to present some intriguing observations I have made.
Day 1: We (The Runner, me, and six kids) got up at 4am, and spent the day going from car to parking lot to shuttle to airport to airplane to airport to airplane to airport to shuttle to car rental place to rental van (a massive Ford yacht that seats 8) to rental house. By the time we arrive, any thoughts of exercising that day are gone. We just want to go to bed.
But first — but first — we decide to go to a grocery store to buy a week’s-worth of groceries, so we can both save money on food and not gain as much (or, ideally, any) weight by not going out to eat all the time.
But there’s a problem: we bring The Runner’s 20-year-old son (The IT guy) with us when we buy groceries. And The IT Guy loooovvvves ice cream. Drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, multiple cartons of different flavors of ice cream, italian ice, Blue Bunny single-serves, ice cream on a stick.
I am not exaggerating or making any of this up. If anything, I might be forgetting a couple of things.
Suffice it to say that in the space of a single trip to the grocery store, the freezer went from empty to very full and ridiculously tempting.
And suffice it further to say that I don’t have much in the self-control department.
Day 2: We spend the day at Epcot. For most of the day, I have a nagging sensation — something is missing. What is it? I can’t figure it out, but something’s out of place; I don’t feel right.
And then I figure it out: This is the second day since I’ve been on a bike.
I ask The Runner, “Have you had a weird sensation, that something’s out of place?”
“Yeah,” replies The Runner. “The whole day. What is it?”
“We haven’t ridden or run in a couple days.”
“That’s it,” exclaimed The Runner. Then she was quiet for a moment before asking, “Has that ever happened before since we’ve been together?”
“No,” I replied. “Not even close.”
Day 3: We get up late, having been exhausted from the previous day’s exhausting marathon session of walking, standing in line, sitting on rides, and eating very expensive Mickey Mouse Ice cream bars. We decide it’s a beach day, and that we will go on a run on the beach.
But by the time we make sandwiches, pack the ice chest, gather the kids and slather them with sunscreen, and drive to Cocoa Beach, it’s about noon and 102 fahrenheit. (Not that I’m complaining about the heat — it’s snowing back in Utah).
“There’s no way I’m running in this heat,” I say, as I eat another handful of Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (by Nabisco).
“Mmmmff,” says The Runner, chewing a Rice Krispie treat.
Day 4: We’re up early and at The Magic Kingdom by the crack of dawn, or at least by 10am (Hey, if you’re herding 6 kids, 10am is basically the crack of dawn).
The Runner and I are each in a foul mood, and not because we’re cranky about being in an amusement park (neither of us are the types of adults who sneer and turn up our noses at theme parks; our kids have fun there, and so do we).
We’re cranky because we’re suffering withdrawal symptoms. Irritability. Headaches. Inability to concentrate. Shakes. Short temper, which I guess is actually just irritability, but we’re really irritable, so it bears mentioning twice.
Day 5: We spend the day at Hollywoodland, or whatever it’s called. “I’m feeling better,” I tell The Runner. “The impulse to exercise is fading quickly.”
“I think we’d better run or something tomorrow morning,” replies The Runner.
“But you know what’s weird?” I observe. “Even though I’m exercising a lot less, I find I’m actually just as hungry as ever! Which reminds me,” I then say, “We’re just about out of ice cream. We should get more since we have a few more days left in our vacation.
Day 6 (today): We set the alarm and get up before anyone else, then go on a five mile run in the morning.
It’s about three miles into the run that I make an astonishing discovery:
In the space of one short week, it’s possible, with concerted effort, to completely erase any fitness gains one has made up to that point in one’s life.
A “Wow, That Went Fast, Let’s Keep Going” UPDATE from Fatty: I would never have believed that registration for the 4th Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere would register its 500 slots in one day!
My guess is, there are still a lot of you who would like to register and do the event, but didn’t get time to register yet.
The problem is, I got a commitment from my sponsors to provide swag for 500 registrations, and it would not be cool to strain their generosity by asking them for (possibly a lot) more.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
From this point forward, the registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere has a few differences.
- What you get: Registration now gets you the t-shirt and race plate.
- New price. Instead of $85, the registration is now $80. This reflects the lower cost of shipping. My suspicion is that most of you appreciated getting the swag, but will survive without getting it, so $5 off the price should be an acceptable — albeit disappointing — tradeoff.
- New registration pages: Men click here to register; women click here to register.
So, throughout the rest of this post, you might find a couple of updates due to the quick signup of the first 500 people. I’ll flag those with a big red bold UPDATE.
I’ve got a feeling this is going to be the biggest, most-ridiculous 100 Miles of Nowhere yet!
Thanks for your generosity.
A Let’s-Get-Right-to-the-Point Note from Fatty: If you already know you want to sign up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere and just want to hurry up and register, click here to sign up for men, or click here to sign up for women .
I’m in Florida right now. It’s Spring Break for the kids, and so we’re splitting the week between Disney World and Cocoa Beach. The weather’s been in the low 80’s; we’re soaking up the sun and loving the strange, wonderful feeling of being able to wear shorts again. Saturday, we went to Epcot. Yesterday we relaxed on the beach and body-surfed. Last night, we watched the fireworks show at Disney World.
The kids are happy; I’m exhausted and a little bit sunburned. It’s past midnight, and there are very few things in the world I’d rather do than go to bed right now.
However, I’m writing this post anyways. Because registration for the 4th Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere starts today (Tuesday), and announcing that is more important than sleep.
Yes, I said it. This event is more important to me than a good night’s rest. And for those of you who know exactly how grumpy I get when I don’t get my 10.5 hours of sleep per night, you know that this event must be very important indeed.
General Information, Things You Ought To Know, And Whatnot
The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves. (Or with a friend. Or with 20 friends.)
It’s a very strange thing where you pay $
85 [UPDATE: Now $80] (which includes shipping) for the privilege of riding your rollers, trainer, or a very small course (like around the block or up and down a hill) for 100 miles. And then the profits from your entry go to LiveStrong, to help them as they help people, worldwide, in their battles against cancer.
I did the first annual one by myself, back before I knew it would be annual at all. The second one a bunch of us — from all around the world — did together, and people sent in their stories, many of which I published here.
In the third year, the race went absolutely bananas, and the 500 available spots sold out in no time, and for a few days, I posted a new story from a reader every couple of hours. I plan to carry on that tradition this year, as well.
This year, the “official” date of the race is Saturday, June 4. I’ve made the date a little later, due to the fact that more and more people are taking the 100 Miles of Nowhere outside and making it a fun, strange thing to do with friends, rather than a solitary form of torture you inflict upon yourself and the time is whenever is convenient for you.
And, thanks to the flexibility of the event — i.e., it’s just you, really — if June doesn’t work for you, you can do it another day.
Like in October, if you feel like it. Or later this afternoon if you just don’t have anything else to do. It’s your call, really.
And also, the “100 Miles” part is more of a guideline than a rule. For example, if you would rather ride 50 miles, that’s fine with me. So is 25.
Or if you’re a runner and you want to do a marathon on the treadmill, that would be awesome. If you’re a swimmer, swim five miles. I’m not picky.
And of course, the very best thing about the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that you are going to win your division. You just need to make sure your division is specific enough that there’s no chance anyone else is in it.
What You’ll Get
The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a fake event, but the schwag is real — and it’s better than what you’d be getting at a lot of events that make you get up at horrible hours, travel ridiculous distances before you even get to the starting area, and then wait for half an hour to use an overflowing portapotty.
Oooh, I just had a terrific slogan idea for next year: “100 Miles of Nowhere: No Overflowing Portapotties.”
OK, back to the pitch.
Here’s what you’ll score — shipped to you in late May:
The Event T-Shirt [UPDATE: Late registrants still get the shirt] : My good friends at Twin Six have — once again — managed to come up with a pure-genius design for this year’s event shirt. You saw a small version at the top of the post, but here’s a closer look:
And an extreme close-up, to give you an idea of what the text looks like:
A Race Plate [UPDATE: Late registrants still get the race plate]: My favorite souvenir of races is the race plate I get to put on my bike. The Runner and I like to staple them to the wall in the garage. So this year I’ve asked Bike Monkey — the folks who promote and run the amazing Levi’s GranFondo — to design a race plate you can attach to your bike. You know, so the fans will be able to recognize you. And so when the cops pull you over because the neighbors have complained because this is the 48th time you’ve ridden past their house in the past 7 hours, you can explain, “I’m not a public nuisance, I’m a bike racer.”
PRO Bars [UPDATE: the Halo bars went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these]: PRO Bar recently introduce Halo bars, “The Sinfully Healthy Snack,” which you’ll be getting in your swag box. A week ago, they sent me a box of 12 for each flavor.
All of them are gone now.
The Runner, my kids, my friends, and I descended on these like a horde of hungry yaks.
They’re good for you, but they taste like they’re not. You’re going to love them.
An Issue (and special subscription rate) of Bike Monkey Magazine [UPDATE: the magazines went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these]: Tired of biking magazines that teach you the same 15 tips and tricks, over and over and over, year after year? Or that review stuff you’ll never even consider buying? Then you’ll enjoy Bike Monkey, a magazine that’s about people, bikes, and rides. I dig it, and hopefully will someday be good enough to write for it.
You’ll get a free issue of Bike Monkey with your swag box, as well as a great discount offer in case you decide to subscribe. Which you should.
Leverage [UPDATE: the Leverage coupons went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these]: This is an action-packed show about a group of thieves who run cons to help people who have nowhere to turn. They’re bad guys being good guys.
If you haven’t watched an episode, this is going to be your chance, because you’re going to get a coupon to download an episode for free. And then you can leave a comment telling Paul Guyot — writer for the show and frequent commenter on this blog — how awesome he is. Which is in fact true.
This is already one of my favorite shows for while riding the rollers. Now it’s going to be yours.
Banjo Brothers Seat Bag: [UPDATE: the Seat Bags went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these] You know who the first advertiser I ever had was? You know who the first company that ever did giveaways with me was? In both cases, it was Banjo Brothers, a small company making great bags for cyclists. I have their Seat Bags on every single bike I own — both road and mountain.
This year, Banjo Brothers will be supplying a variety of different seat bags for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. Which will you get — the Mini, the Small, the Medium, or the Large? You won’t know ’til you get your box. Regardless, since you’re always going to be getting new bikes, you’re always going to need a new bike seat bag. Then you won’t be that guy who is unprepared when you get a flat.
DZ-Nuts: [UPDATE: the DZ-Nuts went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these] DZ Nuts returns for a third year as a sponsor of the 100 Miles of Nowhere. Awesome. If you use chamois cream, it’s high time you try DZ-Nuts. If you have never tried chamois cream, I cannot think of a more perfect time to begin. As I have noted in my review, this is good stuff.
Seriously, if you’re going to be riding your bike for 100 miles and not going anywhere while doing it, you should at least be protecting your junk.
CarboRocket “Half Evil” CR333 [UPDATE: the CR333 went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these]: A couple years ago, my friend Brad told me about a new sports drink he had in mind: something powerful enough that you could drink it — and consume nothing else — long term, for however big your ride is.
Soon, had had invented “CR333? — because it has 333 calories per serving.
“You know,” I said, “333? is half the number of the beast. You should call it ‘Half-Evil’ in your tagline.”
In my defense, I didn’t honestly expect him to take me seriously.
Taglines notwithstanding, CR333 is amazing. You seriously can go all day with it. No upset stomach, no bonk. And 100 Miles of Nowhere racers will be the first people in the world to get to try out the new single-serve packets, in both raspberry and lemonade.
Give CR333 a spin during your 100 Miles of Nowhere; I think you’re going to decide it’s your new favorite endurance fuel.
Winchester Bars [UPDATE: the Winchester bars went to the first 500 registrants only. Those are gone now; late registrants will not get these]: What’s the antidote to yet another energy gel or energy chew or whatever? Meat-ergy is, that’s what.
Since getting a couple of boxes of these Winchester Beef and Cranberry bars, both the Runner and I have become huge fans. They’re like jerky, but with cranberry to give both taste and texture variety.
I was kidding when I wrote my original “Meat-ergy” post, but I’m not kidding at all when I say that these are fantastic. And if you’re a vegetarian, you can give yours to someone who isn’t. They’ll be glad you did. (And I’ll leave you to consider the ethical considerations of a vegetarian giving meat to someone.).
How Do You Register?
Registering for the 100 Miles of Nowhere is easy. Go over to Twin Six — this page if you’re a man, or this page if you’re a woman — and pick the size of T-shirt you want, then pay the $85 registration.
In late May, you’ll get your kit, and you’ll be all set to go.
Now, there are a couple things you need to be aware of:
- You can do this race anywhere: One of the nice things about 100 Miles to Nowhere is that it can be anywhere. I’ve had people ask me if they can do the race in Europe and Canada, and the answer is yes.
The schwag is capped at 500 : The sponsors of this event have very real costs associated with this event, and since — mostly — it’s small companies sponsoring the 100 Miles of Nowhere, I need to assure them that they’re not going to have to come up with — for example — 2000 seat bags. Last year, this race filled up in about a day, so I wouldn’t dilly-dally.
- UPDATE: While it’s too late for you to get the schwag (as indicated at the beginning of the post and hinted at in the now-stricken-out bullet point above), it’s not too late to register. However, registration closes at Midnight (CT), April 18, and when it’s over, it’s over for real. So you’ve got time to persuade your friends to join up, but not much.
Got a question? Leave it in the comments. I’ll answer it in comments — or if it seems like something a lot of people are wondering, I’ll update this post.
And In Conclusion…
This will be a lot of fun, and it will be very stupid, and it will do a lot of good.
Thanks for — for the fourth time — racing nowhere for 100 miles with me!
PS:When I originally posted this — around midnight — I accidentally put the date at June 11. That’s the incorrect date; I have corrected it to June 4. Sorry for the confusion (and that’ll teach me to post when I’m about to fall asleep at the keyboard!).
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