100MoN Race Report #14: Fatty’s Suncrest Century

06.9.2011 | 10:12 am

A Last-Chance-to-Win Note from Fatty: Did you know that I’m going to be doing a drawing today to see who wins my (other) Superfly 100? I am! In fact, you have only a few hours left to enter the contest. I’m then going to do all the math and stuff and notifying the winner Monday AM (so be sure to check your email). I’d be doing it sooner, but I’m going to be off the grid, racing the Rockwell Relay (check the blog Friday and Saturday; I’ll post short updates when I have signal) with The Runner, Kenny, and Heather.

This is — as I now know, having ridden one a lot like it for a couple rides — an incredible bike. More important, though, is the fact that your donation will be going to a good cause: LiveStrong, and their quest to help those fighting against cancer.

So please, go donate now, in multiples of $5.00. Several times, my bike giveaway winners have been people who make final-day entries. It could happen again!

Fatty’s Suncrest Century

I’m going to tell a story about my experience with the 100 Miles of Nowhere this year. There will be a lot of pictures. A lot of text. A couple of videos. Links to other people’s accounts of the selfsame group.

Honestly, I don’t expect many of you to stay with me through what is, in the end, a story about riding up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down.

Although I kind of hope you will stay with me, because otherwise I will get quite lonely.

Still, as a hedge against the probability of you nodding off before you get through this story, I’m going to show you the part I really, really want you to see, right off the bat.

Specifically, the elevation profile for my 100 Miles of Nowhere:


According to my Garmin 500, that was about 12,500 feet of climbing. A non-trivial amount. However, when I enable Elevation Corrections — whereby elevation gain is measured using data from professionally-measured elevation surveys rather than GPS/barometer data — I apparently did 18,488 feet of climbing.

Which, honestly, sound a little bit suspicious. But who am I to argue with professional elevation surveyors? Nobody, that’s who.

So I’m going with it, in bold for emphasis: I did 18,488 of climbing last Saturday. Which means, technically, that I bumped my head against an airplane or two. Sorry about that, airplanes!

The Past is Not the Present (Just in Case You Were Wondering)

The first time I did the 100 Miles of Nowhere, it was just me. In a spare bedroom. On rollers.

That was it. That was thee whole thing.

It’s kinda mutated since then.

And I don’t just mean that it’s mutated because 650 people did it this time, raising tens of thousands of dollars for LiveStrong, and thousands of dollars for World Bicycle Relief.


It’s mutated in that now it’s more often held outside than in. Which is why (in addition to the fact that I am lazy and tend to put things off) it’s held in June now, instead of in February (though, come to think of it, I ought to do an old-school on-rollers 100 Miles of Nowhere this February, just so I don’t forget my roots).

And where it started as a very solitary thing, it’s now much more likely to be a party. And, let’s face it, the Suncrest Century version of the 100 Miles of Nowhere was definitely a rolling party.

For one thing, I spent the night before the race boiling 72 bratwurst (bratwursts? bratwursten?) in cheap bee, while my creative twin daughters decorated the banner we planned to hang outside at the park pavillion we had reserved for the day:


I also checked with Mark, who — Godfather barter-style — owed me a service, due to the fact that I had provided him with a set of mountain bike brakes at an earlier time.

This service was that his wife — Rachel, a gifted and experienced dessert chef — would bring pie for everyone to eat, post-ride.

It’s Fun to Have Fun With the Fun

Saturday morning, at 5:30, about 15 of us gathered at the park, ready to start the first lap.


The Runner and I had come up with an ingenious tracking methodology. Each person who’d be riding wrote their name on an orange strip of paper and stapled it to the banner. Then, each time they completed a lap, they would write their stats on a pre-printed strip I had made, form it to a ring, and add it to their 100 Miles of Nowhere Chain (patent pending).

Also, for those of us who like to quantify our experiences, there was the option of turning your legs into a set of checkboxes, so that after each lap you could fill in another box. Here I am at the start of the ride, with — alas — no boxes filled in at all:


The plan was to have a 5:30am start, and we got rolling by 5:45 or so. Which isn’t half bad, really. “The first climb to the summit is a social climb!” I called out, in part to prevent any attacks until my legs were warmed up sufficiently and I was ready to launch an attack myself.

The forecast had the day as warm, but the morning was still cold. At least until we hit the end of the (relatively) flat road from the park to the South Suncrest climb, at which point — almost as if by magic — I warmed right up.

More magically than that, however, was the fact that somehow the “first climb is social” declaration somehow stuck. We all rode up together, talking, having fun.

It was downright pleasant, that first 1200-foot ascent. In the back of my mind, though, I wondered what I expect just about everyone was wondering: “How am I going to feel about this climb six — or seven, or eight — hours from now?

We got to the top of the South side of Suncrest in decent time — I’m being vague here because I never really thought in terms of time the whole day; rather, I thought in terms of “summits left to go” — and dropped down the steeper North side.

And — more magic here — somehow there was no wind at all as we dropped down the North side of Suncrest. I’m pretty sure this is really the first time that has ever happened to me, and so — again, for the first time — I was able to bomb down the road, hitting my top speed for the day — 52.4mph — on the first descent.

And then, having reached the bottom, we all pulled a sharp U-turn and started climbing up again.

Validation of a Hunch

Now, I have always felt that the North side of Suncrest is a harder climb than the South side. Everyone thinks that, actually. But now, having done each side five times in a single day, my hunch is much, much stronger.

Also, it’s no longer a hunch. I’ve got the math to prove it. The four-mile South side of Suncrest averages out to a 5% grade. The 3.5-mile North side of Suncrest averages out to a 7% grade.

I mention this all as prelude to the disclosure that my friend Kenny was doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere with us on his single-speed modified track bike (i.e., modified to have front and rear brakes as well as a freewheel).

And 50×18 gearing.

“I’m sticking to the South side for the rest of the day,” said Kenny, as his right knee popped off with a “sproi-oi-oi-oi-oing” sound.

The Difference Between Argh-some and Awesome

By the time we got to the summit of the North side of Suncrest for the first time, Steve W had set up his Suncrest Summit Aid Station.

Here’s the thing: I don’t know Steve (or didn’t ’til last Saturday); he was just a guy who emailed me a month ago or so, asking if I’d like him and his kids to set up an aid station for everyone to use at the top of Suncrest.

Of course I said, “Sure!”

But I did not expect the level of awesomeness that Steve and his family would bring to this aid station, which in fact became the hub of the entire ride for all of us.

Steve didn’t just set up a card-table with a jug of water and some orange slices (like I would have).


He set up a portable canopy, and then stocked it to the gils: fruit, nuts, water, gatorade, Oreos, cold Coke. Here’s Steve and his kids, with their masterpiece:

Steve and the kids are on the right, just in case you weren’t clear on that.

Oh, and — as far as I was concerned, the standout item for the day — Otter Pops. Nothing tasted better than frozen liquid sugar on a hot day after climbing (yet again) 1200 feet. Here’s me, eating what was probably my sixth Otter Pop of the day:


In fact, Steve’s aid station was so popular that people who weren’t even doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere started poaching, with promises they’d donate at my LiveStrong Challenge page.

Hey Contender Guy and Hammer Girl! Have you donated yet?

Of course, it wasn’t just Steve and his Aid Station of Awesomicity that made the day great. The weather was perfect, too — sunny (finally!) but not unbearably hot. And the people were great — I loved having so many of my favorite people around, many of them kitted up in Fatty gear:


And one of the unexpected benefits of an out-and-back 100 Miles of Nowhere course is the fact that whether you’re going one speed or another, you’re going to run into each other pretty often, at which point there’s no reason not to turn around and ride together for a few minutes, giving us opportunities for photos like this:

Apart from this photo, of course, we rode single file THE ENTIRE DAY.

Little by little, with surprisingly little agony, the chains of laps got longer:


And the checkboxes on our legs got filled in:


More folks — like these riders from Layton — joined in the ride and helped us go nowhere some more:

The big guy on the left actually picked me up and threw me 28 feet in the air, just for laughs.

And in general, a day that I expected to be really tedious and painful turned out to be an eight-hour-long rolling party.

Kenny celebrated his final lap by wearing his “Daisy Duke” shorts:


And then, 8:48 after I started (7:20 of which was rolling time), I got to fill in the final checkbox (my legs now marred by a rookie mark):


And then it was time for brats. And pie. And for the twins to take turns burying each other.


And for Kenny and Heather to have a nice, long, well-deserved nap.



A couple of the guys did writeup’s videos. Here’s Dug’s:

And here’s Paul’s:

And somehow, a ridiculous ride — where I repeatedly do a course I’ve done hundreds of times before and usually do when I need a hard workout and don’t have a lot of time, but am not really looking for a great time — became the funnest group ride I’ve ever done.

I’m a little weirded out to say this, but I’m actually looking forward to next year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere.

I kind of like the idea of 100 Miles of Nowhere: Alpine Loop edition.

Start thinking about joining us.


  1. Comment by Jared | 06.9.2011 | 10:18 am

    Good riding with you, Fatty, even if for only a few miles.

    I’ve got one thing to say, that guy on the far left in the group picture at the top of Suncrest is either a giant or there are some really short people in the picture.

    Or both

  2. Comment by GrizzlyAdam | 06.9.2011 | 10:18 am

    “Alpine Loop Edition.”


  3. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 06.9.2011 | 10:45 am


    52.4 mph? That’s well beyond the point where I start to think about how much it would hurt if my tired blew out.

  4. Comment by Christina | 06.9.2011 | 10:47 am

    At 3PM I thought, “Fatty’s eating brats and I’m still grinding.” It was actually a pretty amazing thought to think of all of the other crazy people across the world doing the same thing I was…only some were done and eating wonderful, glorious meat.

    Your girls are beautiful!

  5. Comment by GJ Jackie | 06.9.2011 | 10:54 am

    Fatty, I thought you said knee warmers were stupid. (May 16, 2007)

  6. Comment by rabidrunner | 06.9.2011 | 11:06 am

    Jilene and I ran Suncrest on Wednesday (I guess that was yesterday,) and you wouldn’t believe how excited she was to go up that mountain. Again. Whined all the way up, and whined all the way down. She was able to provide a detailed map of every pot-hole, pigeon-hole, mud-hole, and pie-hole.

  7. Comment by RandoBoy | 06.9.2011 | 11:09 am

    Way cool. Thanks for the MASH reference, too. Esoteric.

  8. Comment by Dan | 06.9.2011 | 11:15 am

    Love the “calf enhancement” in the checkbox photos!

  9. Comment by Edie | 06.9.2011 | 11:21 am

    Oreos and Coke! Oh, Steve W’s Awesome City Aid Station is just what every 100 MoN racer needs!

  10. Comment by Liz | 06.9.2011 | 11:24 am

    Congrats to the Suncrest brigade! Nice poster, girls! Thanks for the bonus shots of the beautiful scenery in the background of your group pictures.

    And thanks to Elden for getting us all “together” for the great causes of Livestrong and World Bicycle Relief.

  11. Comment by Angie | 06.9.2011 | 11:28 am

    It sounds so fun! I would have been bored out of my mind on a trainer. Good idea to pick a nice route!

  12. Comment by CRSonic | 06.9.2011 | 11:31 am

    Kenny. is crazy.

  13. Comment by Dagwood | 06.9.2011 | 11:34 am

    On an unrelated note. Lets play find Fatty! Page 39, Bicycling magazine, june 2011. (hint….look for the one person without his helmet on yet).

  14. Comment by MattC | 06.9.2011 | 12:05 pm

    Fatty, I’m telling you…next year (start planning NOW) make this an actual BIG TIME event. You have the connections and all…get it sponsored, door prizes, etc…every bike race/event started out small and grew. Look at Leadville. “Fatty’s Alpine Loop LIVESTRONG Challenge” (or something like that). Heck, I’d think LS would get in on the act and make it one of their events? I’d truly consider flying for that…(shoot, after your writeup, I’d consider flying even if it was EXACTLY the same next year).

  15. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.9.2011 | 12:05 pm

    Been waiting all week for this and it was worth it. Laundry can now resume.

    100MoN 2012 Alpine Loop edition, hey MattC and Dan in Sac care to carpool from the Bay Area next year?

    Congratulations Fatty, looking forward to more guest posts, and seeing everyone in Davis. (there will be pie-not homemade-but darn good!!)

  16. Comment by Dan in Sac | 06.9.2011 | 12:17 pm

    What a great day to be out riding. Well done all of you. Fatty, those snow-capped mtns are a nice backdrop for just a “quickie” ride.

    davidh-marin, I’m half-tempted to get out there next year. Grilled brats and Steve’s “Top o’ Hill” aid station would be worth the effort.

  17. Comment by MattC | 06.9.2011 | 12:18 pm

    @ davidh….Carpool, huh? Hmmmmmmm…THAT could be pretty cool actually. A rolling party to a rollling party! And I could bring the MTB too, turn it into a vacation! Fatty can take us on a tour of his fav trails! HMMMMMMM!!

    Fatty?? Would this be do’able? (and, uhm, how many people can sleep in your garage?)

  18. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.9.2011 | 12:32 pm

    MattC- do a quick mental head count of fatty’s bikes….and he has kids..and great as she is I doubt the runner allows the bikes to be stored in the house.

    There’s tremendous Basque food at the Star Hotel in Elko, a great pre-ride meal if there ever was one. And like you I’ve been hoping for a Fatty event in Utah for some time. As for a vehicle maybe we could borrow something…could we park in the driveway:

  19. Comment by Patrick #4091 | 06.9.2011 | 12:35 pm

    I’ve not finished reading, but just saw about Kenny on a single speed, Kenny = hard as nails. Jen Voigt would be proud!

  20. Comment by Patrick #4091 | 06.9.2011 | 12:58 pm

    Also, that’s some damn fine scenery you guys have got there.

  21. Comment by Paul Guyot | 06.9.2011 | 1:03 pm

    Okay, that looks way more fun than my 100MON.

    I would like to propose that next year, I travel to Utah and ride this event with you.

    And finish it on the same day.

    Count me in.

  22. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.9.2011 | 1:57 pm

    @ Comment by Paul Guyot | 06.9.2011 | 1:03 pm

    Paul, MattC, Dan in Sac: if we go just remember to review Fatty’s ride profile. Specifically the part about the riding being between 5K-6K feet above sea level.

    Many of my rides home from SF record me traveling BELOW sea level, so The Alpine Loop will have it’s own unique challenges.

    I’m still in ‘though.

  23. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.9.2011 | 2:40 pm

    Looks like it was an absolute blast, Fatty. Way more fun than my 125 miles on a trainer.

  24. Comment by Rob M | 06.9.2011 | 2:48 pm

    Are the hills really that steep, or, is it just one of your photography tricks?

  25. Comment by Chase | 06.9.2011 | 3:01 pm

    “Now, I have always felt that the North side of Suncrest is a harder climb than the North side.”

    North side’s harder than the North side eh? Sure it wasn’t uphill the whole time too? ;)

    OOOOOFFFFFF! Good catch! Fixed. And yes, uphills both ways. And it was snowing sideways, at least it was snowing whenever the torndadoes let up for a spell…. – FC

  26. Comment by Steve | 06.9.2011 | 3:52 pm

    Great writeup – it’s really fun to go to Garmin Connect and use the player to watch the ride back and forth.

    BTW two more typos – “That was it. That was thee whole thing” and I don’t think you really boiled your bratwurst in cheap “bee”.

    Of course Utah is the beehive state so maybe you do boil bratwurst in bee there.

  27. Comment by Margaret Rose | 06.9.2011 | 4:04 pm

    Hey Fatty,
    Just a note to say “Hammer Girl and Contender(Guy) who is actually a girl,” have made a contribution! Thanks for the water at the Suncrest Summit. We’ll join you for real next year! Keep up the good work.
    Margaret (Contender Kit :-)

  28. Comment by Bill W | 06.9.2011 | 4:53 pm

    Alpine Loop edition would be amazing.

  29. Comment by Chase | 06.9.2011 | 5:09 pm

    I do what I can, chief.

  30. Comment by cece | 06.9.2011 | 7:28 pm

    What an awesome post! Felt like I was there with ya!

  31. Comment by roan | 06.9.2011 | 8:51 pm

    This was a really great post, I checked out the videos, even checked page 39 (Dagwood…the hint was too easy & Runner’s there too).
    The ride pics are awesome, wish I was there.
    Steve’s aid station, from someone that Fatty’s never met, beyond words to do justice.
    Most of us know Fatty from his blog but it appears the Suncrest 100 Miles of Nowhere may have a few more local riders looking for Fatty’s Stuff.
    Maybe Fatty could get the “big guy’ to replace the ‘rock’ from the Void.

  32. Comment by Kristina the Troll (was Ross W) | 06.9.2011 | 8:51 pm

    Hey, what happened to Kenny’s beautiful Natalie rockin the Fatty attire?

    Why look! It’s Kristina the Troll, everyone! This time with the pseudonym “Ross W!” – FC

  33. Comment by Scott R | 06.9.2011 | 9:48 pm

    Beautiful pic of the twins working on the poster, and mad props to Steve and his family for being awesome. :-)

  34. Comment by Debi | 06.10.2011 | 8:24 am

    Enjoyable read, pictures and videos. Awesome 100 Miles of Nowhere event.

  35. Comment by evil3 | 06.10.2011 | 3:40 pm

    I would love to join you next year, on the very loop you did this year, although I would have the issue of making it over there. (that and I don’t know how my body would react in the thinner air when I haven’t been in the mountains for close to 10 years (darn this low flatish IN landscape)

  36. Comment by Brian | 06.10.2011 | 5:03 pm

    Fatty, being the “big guy on the left…” I was honored to attempt your 5 summit pain fest but alas, time would only permit 2 complete passes hence we bailed early. Not to mention I’m quite confident a 5 pass day was not in the cards for me anyway. My idea of attack on those hills would be a bit different than yours; while you inflict pain to the other riders as you sprint up the hills, I on the other hand would simply yell at the walkers and other children as they walked, saundered, skipped faster than my “fat self” going up the hill.

  37. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 06.11.2011 | 8:22 am

    That is all kinds of awesome! Methinks a trip to Utah is order next year – you guys rock!

  38. Comment by Herr Prof. Dr. Bikenstein | 06.11.2011 | 11:30 pm

    Fatty –

    Lovely post, as always. And since you were wondering, the correct plural for “Bratwurst” would be “Bratw├╝rste,” with the “├╝” sound being made by puckering up your mouth as if you had just eaten some particularly sharp horseradish…

  39. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 06.12.2011 | 10:53 pm

    Brian: Being a ‘Big Guy’ myself (currently about 1.4853 fatties) and 6′-4″, maybe we should form our own podium team for next year. I’m sure we are not alone.

  40. Comment by Barbara | 06.13.2011 | 6:21 am

    Loved the writeup and the scenery – best was the picture of your beautiful twins working on the beautiful sign! They are the image of Susan and I know you are very proud.

  41. Comment by Mike C | 06.16.2011 | 10:29 am

    Hi Fatty.

    As always, your description of events was a blast to read. I completed my 100 Miles of Nowhere and it was actually my first Century, my first time riding 100 miles in one day. I hope to be a regular every year.


  42. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » What We Have Done This Year | 12.26.2011 | 10:34 am

    [...] We did that as a team by raising money through bike giveaways, by selling jerseys, and by doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere. [...]


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