I’m really excited for this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere. Which seems weird, somehow. One should not — obviously! — get enthused about the prospect of riding 100 miles in one’s basement or around one’s block or up and down the same stupid hill over and over and over until one wishes one could simply hit oneself over one’s head and slip into blessed oblivion, right?
And yet, I am excited for this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere.
And I believe that you will be, too, as soon as I tell you about what I’ve got up my sleeve. And I will tell you, eventually.
But first, I need to explain what the event even is, for those who are new to the idea of this event.
What Is The 100 Miles of Nowhere, And Why Should You Do It?
The idea of the 100 Miles of Nowhere is to ride an infuriatingly small course for 100 miles (or 50, or 25, but ideally 100), to raise money for the fight against cancer. And also to demonstrate that you have no sense at all.
The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves.
You’ll have fun. You’ll be miserable. And, thanks to the fact that there won’t be hundreds of people all over the place, you almost certainly won’t have to wait for fifteen minutes to use an overflowing portapotty.
And you get some pretty decent bragging rights. Namely, if you take some good pictures of you (and your friends) doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere and send me a good writeup, I’ll post it on the blog.
Also, you get to claim that you won your division . . . since you get to create your own division. For example, I am the four-year consecutive reigning champion of the “Alpine Men’s 40-45 Year-Old Award-Winning Blogger” division. Which is a pretty big deal, if you ask me.
Most importantly, though, is the fact that you’re joining Team Fatty in our ongoing fight against cancer. And that matters.
What’s the Status of the 100 Miles of Nowhere?
I am hard at work right now with the Twin Six guys, working on the T-Shirt design (by “hard at work,” I mean that I give them bad ideas and they ignore them and instead give me great designs based on ideas of their own). And, because I am really great at multi-tasking, I’m also hounding companies to be Swag sponsors of the 2012 100 Miles of Nowhere.
I’ve got some good sponsors on board already, and am working on more. I’ll reveal who they are . . . soon. Because I am mysterious, and a little bit of a tease.
Registration will start next week, and will be strictly limited to 500 paid registrations (plus whoever beats me in the weight loss challenge, which I’m afraid is going to be practically everyone). Which is to say, I’ve learned my lesson and — unlike last year — will not add additional registrations this year. Once we get to 500, we’re done.
The event itself will be on June 2. Or another day near June 2, if you happen to already have plans on June 2.
For what it’s worth, if you happen to be interested in joining my own particular crazy course for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, I’d love to have you come along. Depending on course conditions, it will either be the climb of the Alpine loop, or Suncrest (like last year).
What’s Going to be Special About This Year’s Race?
I’ve got a story to tell. It’ll take a while. Stay with me; it’s worth it.
Of course, the 100 Miles of Nowhere is absolutely ridiculous. And — if you’re lucky — fun. But there’s always a serious purpose behind it: helping in the fight against cancer.
And, as you know, I am a big supporter of LiveStrong, so that is what we’ve raised money for in all prior editions of this event.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking. And about a month ago, I wrote my thoughts down and sent the following email to Doug Ulman, the CEO of LiveStrong:
I’ll try to keep this reasonably short, but honestly, long-winded is more my style. So if I’m not terse, I’ll at least try to be interesting.
There have been a number of events that have happened recently that have really gotten me thinking about LiveStrong, Team Fatty, and how I can be as useful as possible.
- A new blanket warmer at a hospital: Last summer I sponsored a local race — the Utah Tour de Donut — to raise money for a new blanket warmer in the cancer center where my late wife went for treatment. It was a no-brainer thing to do; I remembered Susan talking a few times about how cold she was while getting chemo there. She would have appreciated a blanket warmer. So it was a nice tribute. A few weeks ago I went to the hospital where they had a nice little “Thank You” ceremony and put a “Fight Like Susan” plaque on the blanket warmer. While this was probably my smallest fundraiser of the year (I only needed to raise $4K for the blanket warmer), it was incredibly touching and meaningful and made me want to do more to help.
- World Bicycle Relief: One of the cool side-effects of my blog is that I’ve gotten to help not just with LiveStrong (and other anti-cancer causes), but I’ve also gotten to know Johan Bruyneel and work with him fundraising for World Bicycle Relief. We raised enough money last summer to buy more than 1000 bikes for kids in Zambia. WBR has made a great video I put on my blog recently, showing some of those bikes being given to kids whose lives will be changed by having those bikes.
- A kid in my neighborhood needed money for treatment. A teenage boy in my town — I’ve met him and know his parents a little, but that’s it — has really aggressive Hodgkins Lymphoma. And no great way to pay for treatment. So I did a weekend-long fundraiser where the proceeds from my new book went to his treatment. I sold more books that weekend than I have before or since.
- The American Fork Canyon Half Marathon: Last summer I was on the organizing committee for a new local half marathon in my community, with all proceeds designed to go to local people who could not otherwise afford cancer treatment. Even in its inaugural year, we netted $50K.
What all of these things have in common is that they are really small, targeted, achievable missions. They’re things people can understand and get behind, and then celebrate and say, “I made a difference, and there’s something I can point to to show what that difference is.”
And what I would really love to do is — both personally and with my readers — engage in more of these kinds of projects.
While I can (and definitely will) fundraise with my team toward the LiveStrong Challenges, I wonder if that’s really the most powerful way for me to help. I wonder if maybe there’s some small, targeted mission a guy with 20,000 daily readers might be able to accomplish with LiveStrong. Something we (you, me, my readers) can point at and say, “We saw a problem, we attacked it, and we made a difference.”
It’s the kind of thing that gets people energized to do more. This is a lot to chew on — probably too much. But I appreciate your taking the time to read it.
I look forward to helping LiveStrong, in any way I can.
Elden “Fatty” Nelson
Doug replied right away, inviting me to an event that happened last week — The LiveStrong Assembly — saying he thought it would be a great place for me to find exactly that kind of project to get behind.
And he was right.
Meet Camp Kesem
One of LiveStrong’s Community Impact Partners is Camp Kesem, a (from their website) “college-student run summer camp for kids with a parent who has (or has had) cancer. [The] one-week sleep away camps are a chance for kids 6-13 to have a fun-filled week and just be kids.
Camp Kesem (“Kesem” is Hebrew for “magic”) was represented in force at the LiveStrong Assembly; I got to know some of the counsellors, and I got to understand their mission: letting kids who’ve been affected by having a parent with cancer catch up on being a kid.
As a dad of kids who mostly remember their mom as someone who was sick or dying, the idea of this camp really resonates with me.
And it resonates with Doug Ulman, too — here we are together, wearing very awesome Camp Kesem headbands (which are acquired by making a $5 donation to Camp Kesem):
Right now, there are 23 Camp Kesems across the U.S., and they’re looking to add more all the time.
But they need help.
And that’s what this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere is going to do.
What I want to do with this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere is raise $30,000. That money will go to LiveStrong, which will then turn around and donate it to Camp Kesem.
And Camp Kesem will use part of that money to launch a brand new camp — one in Southern Utah, which I’ll be sending the twins to this year (so watch for their camp report late this August).
And the balance of that money will go toward sending kids to existing camps (no child has to pay to Camp Kesem).
I hate the way a parent’s cancer robs kids of what should be a fun, carefree time in their lives.
And I love the simple, direct way Camp Kesem is addressing this: by giving kids some of that fun, carefree time back.
And I appreciate you joining me for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. As always, we’ll have fun. As always, we’ll be doing something in the fight against cancer. But this year, we’ll be getting a little more specific about who we’re helping, and how.