100 Miles of Nowhere – Vehemence of the Suckage Edition, by Noodle

06.5.2012 | 8:00 am

A Note from Fatty: A lot of the credit for the popularity of the 100 Miles of Nowhere rightfully belongs to me, because I invented it. And don’t you go and forget that fact, buster. However, A near-equally-generous portion of this credit goes to Noodle, who — three years ago — posted an incredibly well-executed video about her 100 Miles of Nowhere experience.

If you haven’t watched it yet, you should. Right now.

Well, Noodle’s back this year, with what I’d like to call an even more harrowing 100 Miles of Nowhere experience.

It seems only fitting that the parade of 100 Miles of Nowhere stories begin with this one (reprinted with permission).

100 Miles of Nowhere – Vehemence of the Suckage Edition

I’ve been told I’ve crossed a line. Matador said it. I heard it. And then I watched it sail by my ‘how will I interpret this’ radar toward the ‘just ignore it’ trash receptacle.

Sadly, I pick shit out of trash bins if they still look shiny, so it took barely a nano-smidge to realize the Matador meant the line between sanity and insanity. That while riding100 MIles on Rollers was something that could be overlooked, riding 45 times up Thomas Grade was not.

Gone too far.

Too. Damn. Far.

Speaking of radars, there was a blip of ‘shit-idiotic-bad-idea’ green on mine long before I saddled up to ride. I knew it was a bad idea. For some reason, I’d talked myself into it and I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I’m stubborn. If stubborn means oblivious to dumb ideas.

I felt bad when I got out of bed at 4.30am to get myself corrected and drive to Morgan Hill. I felt tired and grumpy as I pulled Precious out of the car to start, later than I intended and with not a whole lot of preparation for this task. And in the first hour of climbing Thomas Grade, I had my doubts that I would even last 2 stupid hours.

There was no underestimating the ‘sheer vehemence of the suckage’ on this ride.

But let’s back up. Here’s a little putty in the wall crack of this story.

I rode 100 Miles of Nowhere on rollers several years ago for this event. It was my first ever century, and certainly not one I’ll soon forget. This time, I wanted to raise the fat bar to something kinda dumb.

It should be epic to the point of ridiculous, thought I. It needs to be nuttier than a nut bar. So what’s the nuttiest thing I can think of? Where’s the smallest loop of nowhere senselessness I can imagine?

Thomas Grade.

It was the very first thing I thought of. Just POP, and there it was, floating in the front of my planet-sized brain.

Weeks went by. I considered other things. Discounted Thomas Grade as a truly stupid idea. 1 mile of climbing up a grade that is either 8% or 8.7% depending on the source. A smidge over 400 feet climbing in one mile. A fast descent for a mile with no real recovery. That would be too painful. It was just an idiotic idea. Crazy. Dumb. Something a Rock with Wheels would think of.

But the thing about a planet-sized brain is to remember that some planets are rich and fruitful and oh, boy, let’s colonize that thing! And then other planets are simply dense. Or to put it another way… rich with natural resources!

So Thomas Grade kept pushing its way to the front of the idea queue. Just hovering there. And then I had no time to think of other ideas—just too busy at work. And on Thursday, I decided. Screw it. I’m gonna do it on Saturday. A week before the official event. But I just wanted it done. Just get it over with. And if it didn’t work out, I’d have a buffer week to find a new route and do it for real.

I told no one.

I didn’t even share the plan with Precious (though he must’ve wondered why I was being fussy about getting his gear skipping checked out).

I never like to think too far ahead about pain. So as much as I knew this 100 Miles of Nowhere was going to be terrible. Hell. Pain on a hillside. I also knew that if I told no-one what was going on, to fail at it would be a lone thing. Something I could keep to myself.

And then I actually failed.

I won’t go into the gory details, I think the video captures most of it, but I have never thought on a ride before that I would not finish. That I would not be able to overcome pain and tiredness and just get it done. With five loops to go—a mere 10 miles—I didn’t know how I was going to complete this dumb idea. It was dark. I was done, in the mind. Just done. Cooked. I shot a piece of video saying I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I look wrecked. Distraught. And then I say something like “Oh, let’s just get it done” and off I go.

Five loops.

Two loops down and it’s dark as a black hole as I begin the third loop. Just two to go after. I can do this. I can do it.

The light starts flashing about a third of the way up. I think. I assess. This is a dark climb, I think. I can probably work my way from switchback to switchback using the lights of houses, because there aren’t a lot of streetlights. But the descent. That worries me. On the previous loop, I noticed the street lights. Very sketchy distances between, and it’s a fast fast descent. I figure my ascents are probably averaging out around 13 minutes, but my descents… we’re talking 40 seconds. Imagine flying down that descent and having the light fail? Imagine? And me, with my history of letting the ground rush up to hug my face and head until I drift off into the sleepy land of Concussionville.

I pulled the pin. Turned around mid-grade and rode back to the car with a light flashing near death and a relief in my heart. I didn’t care that I was short of the 100 miles. Did. Not. Care. 4 miles short. 96.2 Miles of Nowhere.

Milkshake. That’s all I cared about. Where would I get a milkshake?

Could barely speak as I stood at the counter of McDonalds. The brain was saying vanilla shake and the mouth was saying ‘gaaahhgahh boooo blop’. I had to physically point to the size I wanted and managed to rasp out the word ‘vanilla’. I sat in the parking lot and sucked it through the straw with what remaining energy I had.


Yes. It was a dumb idea. But that’s the spirit of the event, right? That’s the whole point. It has to be a nowhere. For nothing. Pointless. And correct me if I’m wrong but that, my friends, was pointless. Eleven hours and 53 minutes of pointless. 45 times up a 1 mile, 8% grade of pointless. 100 Miles of Nowhere pointless.

I’ll leave it at that. Good luck to everyone who dares ride to nowhere this weekend! May your mind be strong and your tolerance for butt numbness be significant.

It doesn’t look like the Strava embeds aren’t working right now, so here’s direct link to Part 1 before Garmin died and Part 2 where Strava app picked up.


Pretty graphs! (Though I wish they were in one file)


  1. Comment by Turn The Damn Cranks | 06.5.2012 | 8:10 am

    Best 100 MON report ever. I am going to ride mine in stages over the next week or two, but now I don’t even see a point in a race report, as it will pale in comparison. Noodle, I bow before you.

  2. Comment by Mary Timberlake | 06.5.2012 | 8:19 am

    Also bowing….”rock with wheels.” Love it.

  3. Comment by Charlie | 06.5.2012 | 8:22 am


  4. Comment by TK | 06.5.2012 | 8:31 am

    The good news: This Race Report is awesome.

    The bad news: This Race Report makes me realize the Vehemence of the Suckage of my Race Report.

    I want to ride and write better…or ride with people who write better.

  5. Comment by Dave T | 06.5.2012 | 8:53 am

    Well done Noodle very impressive. The video was fantastic! I have been up that climb before, once is enough I can’t even image doing over and over.

    Rob and I have done 30 miles so far. We are hoping to do another 50 this weekend. Should finish just in time for the Livestrong ride in Davis.


  6. Comment by roan | 06.5.2012 | 9:11 am

    Glad I’m not stubborn, heck I still owe 100MoN 68 laps around a 400 meter track from last year. Reading this though does make me think about those 68 laps with a little guilt.

  7. Comment by Tommysmo | 06.5.2012 | 9:20 am

    Well done! Even in your addled state, you made the proper choice. Had you wripped your head around the chipseal (or concrete or what have you), we may never have gotten to truely understand the vehemence of the suckage.

  8. Comment by Liz | 06.5.2012 | 9:31 am

    Wow, what a sufferfest! I say with rounding it is 100. Awesome work!

  9. Comment by eclecticdeb | 06.5.2012 | 9:47 am

    Wow…I think you kicked the Death Ride in it’s arse. Incredible…we have similar climbs where I live (close to you .. in San Jose), but there’s no way I’d want to think about doing them 50 times.

    I suggest you come up with a “safe” thought … one that you can go to whenever silly ideas like this one pop into your Noodle. Just sayin’.

    Good Job.

  10. Comment by Keenedge | 06.5.2012 | 9:48 am

    Wow! As someone who stalks you on twitter and sees times you post for miles all I can say is Wow Drenched in Suffurage. Gonna have to reavaluate my 100MON.

  11. Comment by Vicki D | 06.5.2012 | 9:58 am

    Way to go, Noodle! Glad you made the right decision and pulled the plug before your lights failed entirely. The point of any ride (to me, 100 MON notwithstanding) is to get home safely. So you WON!!! Looking forward to next year’s report. I won’t send mine in this year – 100 flat miles toodling around the neighborhood pales in comparison to 45 hill repeats!

  12. Comment by Mark J. in Dallas | 06.5.2012 | 10:05 am

    Great story, very well told and the videos were outstanding. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Comment by mykill | 06.5.2012 | 10:14 am

    This is why i am not writing a race report – no suckage, vehement or otherwise, in my tale… and i couldn’t spin a tale as nicely as Noodle did here anyway. My report fits nicely in the comments, like this:

    I did my 123.9MoN hanging out with great people like Yann B’s group and Dave T’s family (g’luck finishing your 100 and we will see you guys in Davis!) and the day went by in a blur of joy and camaraderie. Can’t wait to do it again next year. On a different bike.

    Great story Noodle, glad you made it through so we can enjoy future tales of suckage from you!

  14. Comment by Hautacam | 06.5.2012 | 10:16 am


    Note to self: Do not ever, under any circumstances, mess with Noodle.

  15. Comment by ScottR | 06.5.2012 | 10:36 am

    That is the most awesome ride graph I’ve ever seen.

  16. Comment by Tim | 06.5.2012 | 10:47 am

    If you want to stitch your files together, I think SportTracks (free download) may be able to help. If you really want to know how to do it, try contacting DC Rainmaker. If it can be done, he probably can do it. In fact, he reads Fatty’s blog…

  17. Comment by Rod Martin | 06.5.2012 | 10:50 am

    I lived the pain vicariously – thanks Noodle!

  18. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.5.2012 | 11:01 am

    Janeen – You have already recognized this as insane, but the question is – have you gone the whole way and committed yourself yet? :-)

    fun video – I prefer to just make funny faces for a fun video, but I am lazy.

  19. Comment by davidh,marin | 06.5.2012 | 11:18 am

    Awesome!!!! Did not realize you relocated to the land of milk and honey…and tofu. Glad to have you in our state! Levis Gran Fondo/Kings Ridge will be a simple spin for you this year.

    Thanks Fatty, for putting the Noodle where she belongs; At the TOP!!!!

  20. Comment by MattC | 06.5.2012 | 11:31 am

    Noodle, there just aren’t words for how crazy you are (in a really REALLY good way!) Kind’a puts things in perspective for me…from now on whenever I’m thinking of doing something that the little guy on my shoulder says “that’s STUPID”, I can ask how it compares to 45 repeats up Morgans Hill. And most likely it will come back as NOT so stupid after all.

    You are a GODDESS (and WAY more stubborn than I) to have gone that far. I bow in your general direction. Also echo what Hautcam said (about not messing w/ you under any circumstances).

  21. Comment by BigShorty | 06.5.2012 | 12:08 pm

    I bow to your greatness Noodle!

    Do you think Precious shut the light off just to steal your glory?

  22. Comment by Erin | 06.5.2012 | 12:26 pm

    Noodle wins. Again.

    (Noodle, I think that noggin knock might have had some lasting effects.)

  23. Comment by yannb | 06.5.2012 | 1:11 pm

    Great write up, you set the bar VERY high! We had a fun 100 MoN with MyKill and the Thompsons and a few other friends.

  24. Comment by Obstinate Roadie | 06.5.2012 | 1:33 pm

    I wonder if someone will to do the 100 miles completely downhill (or uphill for that matter)?

  25. Comment by Corrine | 06.5.2012 | 2:53 pm

    Love the video. Noodle, you are one tough chick!! You rock! Also watched the first video and I absolutely love it, too. What will you do to top this next year?

  26. Comment by 3d brian | 06.5.2012 | 4:29 pm

    Wow. That was stupid.


  27. Comment by Laura | 06.5.2012 | 4:30 pm

    I love your story and your writing. When and where is the next Noodle adventure and write-up?

    Your exploits (first and second MoN) are truly motivating.

    Finish a 65 mile mtn bike race in 90 degree heat? Sure, easier than 45 laps of Thomas Grade. Finish a 75 mile mtn bike race where 60-70% is true technical singletrack? Any day of that is better than 100MoN.

    Finish a six day mtn bike stage race at altitude when unacclimated? Still, better than the 100 MoN Noodle style!

    Thanks and good luck with your next ‘idea.’ :)

  28. Comment by Noodle | 06.5.2012 | 4:39 pm

    Hello. Insane person here. Thank you for my insanfamy, Fatty. Signal boosted!

    As many of you know, I work at a bike company, and oftentimes people here do hill repeats on Thomas Grade during lunch. Just wanted to let you know that even they think I’ve lost it.

    Also, a couple of days after the 100MoN, I went and rode the last two loops during lunch. I FLEW up that hill. It was glorious. But it really does bug me that I didn’t finish it on the day now. I’ll get over it.

    Also, ALSO, please share your stories. I saw a guy on Saturday tweet a short video of him riding the tiny circle in front of his house. That seemed far worse to me than Thomas Grade. I could have sworn he said he was riding around it 3,000 times or something…

    Ride on!
    Noodle “Rock with Wheels” McCrae

  29. Comment by AustinSteve (aka Captain Steve) | 06.5.2012 | 8:45 pm

    It must be said:

    “We are not worthy.”

    That is all.

  30. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.6.2012 | 5:39 am

    This gives me all kinds of terrible, awesome ideas for the future. Uh, thanks. :)

    Loved it!

  31. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 06.6.2012 | 7:37 am

    That. Was. Awesome. :)

  32. Comment by Anonymous | 06.6.2012 | 7:54 am

    With all due respect, and you are due a ton, and admiration; you, Noodle, are bat crap crazy. Somewhere Jens Voight is thinking “Me, no…Noodle is the tough one.”

  33. Comment by leroy | 06.6.2012 | 11:37 am

    My dog asked me why I can’t be more like Noodle.

    I asked him why he tried to convince me the DZ Nuts sample package was an energy gel.

    Awesome reports!

  34. Comment by Fat Cathy | 06.6.2012 | 12:04 pm

    I’m not sure what is more amazing – your insanity or your video making skills.

    Either way, Bravo!

  35. Comment by skippy | 06.6.2012 | 1:06 pm

    My 100MON is on L’Alpe d’Huez , thursday 7th June !

    HOW does 32 million euros raised so far on L’Alpe d’Huez for the Dutch CANCER Research foundation sound to you Guys ?
    Didn’t know it was possible to ride today also , got a lot of catching up to do in the morning !

  36. Comment by Jeremy | 06.10.2012 | 11:48 am

    Noodle, you have, once again, captured the crown of suckage with a brilliant video conveying all the feelings and pain this ride can bring.

    You know you’re going to have to repeat the feat and actually finish, right? There’s a hole left in one’s soul when you set yourself upon a challenge, only to fail. The only way to fill the hole is to finish it correctly and mightily. Here’s to next year.

  37. Comment by Robert | 06.12.2012 | 11:47 pm

    Awesome video!


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