2014 100 Miles of Nowhere: Winners of the Alpine, UT Men and Women’s Divisions

10.13.2014 | 8:52 am

A Note from Fatty: Did you want to do the 100 Miles of Nowhere…but found that you missed the registration? And now you’re finding that the jerseys are maybe the coolest-looking things you’ve ever seen? And you happen to wear a size Large in Men’s? Well, Felix Cohen actually ordered three Hundred Miles of Nowhere kits — and is now finding that he and his friends aren’t going to be able to do the ride. If you’d like to buy one of these never-used, never-worn, actually-still-at-Twin-Six jerseys from him, he’s selling them for $70 each. Email him at felix@felixcohen.co.uk, and he’ll arrange to have the jersey sent out to you.

Note that this gets you just the jersey — not the 100 MoN swag box, and no donation to Camp Kesem. So I strongly recommend that in order to make your jersey legit, you go over and make a donation on your own. I’ll leave it up to you how much it should be (but $25 – $50 feels about right).

For the past several years, The Hammer and I have one-upped our annual 100 Miles of Nowhere effort. One year, we rode up and down Suncrest, over and over. Another year, we rode up and down the Alpine Loop, over and over. And last year we rode our mountain bikes up and down the Bearclaw-Poppy trail, over and over. After which, I said:

As for next year, I’m thinking somewhere flat.

And smooth.

And cool. 

Now, it would have been easy to ignore this warning from the past. To — with the pain of the event from the previous year safely behind us — go ahead and pick out a brutally steep route.

But we didn’t. We kept our word to ourselves. We went back to the basics: to what The 100 Miles of Nowhere is really all about.

  • We made the course short. Just a hair short of four miles long, in fact.
  • We kept the course close to home. In fact, we were probably never more than a mile from home, the entire day.
  • We made the day silly and fun. Considering the fact that the 100 Miles of Nowhere is a fundraiser for Camp Kesem — which I think the twins have nicely shown is incredibly silly and fun — I think that making this event be silly and fun needs to be an absolute top priority.

Here, Let Me Show You

To be honest, I’m a little bit amazed at how much story I could tell about our 100 Miles of Nowhere (which we held a week early because The Hammer has a 50K Trail Run race on 10/18, and I’ll be busy being in charge of the twins’ birthday), in spite of the fact that it was just a four-mile loop . And, unable to help myself, I probably will tell a fair amount of story — with quite a few photos — about the day. 

But first, how about if I show you a complete lap, sped up 12x courtesy of Instagram’s Hyperlapse:

I should note here that it is no easy thing to sit upright while riding a Time Trial Bike (yes, for all but a few laps, we rode our Shivs…and we wore our Prevail aero helmets), riding one-handed and holding a phone in one position for the fifteen-minute duration of the lap.

About the Course

The Hammer and I started and ended our 100 Miles of Nowhere at home, at 8am on Saturday morning. For 23 of the 26 loops we did, we rode around the big four-mile loop you see below

Screenshot 2014 10 12 17 28 45

As you can see, there’s a line that bisects the loop — we took that shorter loop whenever we wanted to drop by our house to shed clothing, get a drink, or pick up some riders to join us for a lap. 

There are a couple other oddities about this loop — like the little jut out in the bottom left corner. 

I will explain these in good time. 

For now, I just want to draw your attention to how ridiculous the fully-zoomed Strava of a small section of the ride looks. 

Screenshot 2014 10 12 17 15 48

Please, let me assure you: I did not ever swing a corner out as wide as the Strava track would suggest. For that to happen, I’d have to have been flying at an irresponsible rate of speed and blowing through a stop sign in order to get a really high number to flash on the radar speed limit sign just after that corner.

Which would be really fun, but that — as I mentioned before — would not be something I would ever do even once, much less sprinting to see if I could get that radar speed limit sign to flash above the speed limit (i.e., 25mph) each of the 26 times I passed it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

Posed Photos

The weather was cold when the day started, and so the below photo is in fact not us at the beginning of the day. 

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No, we were each actually wearing a lot more at the beginning of the ride. We didn’t get down to the short sleeves and shorts ’til we were forty miles (about 2.5 hours) into the day. 

But you have to admit, we make an adorable couple. And I’ve got to say that these 100 Miles of Nowhere jerseys look incredible this year. 

And I have another confession: While we put our race numbers on our road bikes and had every good intention of riding our road bikes, we started on our Shivs, and wound up staying on them for about 92 of the 100 miles. 

Hey, the course was flattish (about 240 feet of climbing per loop…which does add up by the time you’ve done 26 laps) and we just weren’t inclined to swap out bikes.

Even so, we did go out of our way to get photos taken of us on our road bikes, with number plates attached and everything.

The Hammer’s looking good, as always:

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And I really like this photo of me, for a couple of reasons. First, because it makes me look like I’m going faster than I actually am. And, more importantly, because because the way my arm naturally obscures my early-mid-October paunch.

IMG 0260 

That’s not an easy thing to do. And as autumn progresses, it’ll become less and less easy. Trust me on this.

Highlights from the Day

There’s something meditative about riding the same loop, over and over, through the course of a seven hour day (six hours of actual riding). You get to know the road better than you’d ever have believed possible, for one thing. As The Hammer and I rode one particularly bad section of pavement — it started out as chip seal and has been patched numerous times in numerous places — we slowly figured out a line that didn’t rattle our brains out or suck us into a pothole.

Likewise, we noticed the progress of the neighborhood, seeing people on different parts of their walks or runs. Anytime we saw a person a third (and definitely a fourth) time, we’d get a big grin from them. They knew we were up to something strange; no doubt they had fun trying to figure out what it was.

As we rode by one of the city parks (Alpine, UT has no grocery store, but it has three city parks), we saw people inflating giant person-sized spheres. 

On the next lap, we saw kids playing in them. A birthday party, probably.

By the time we came by a couple more times, the kids had moved on.

“Let’s see if we can try them out,” The Hammer said. So we rolled up to the guys who were standing by them, and asked if we could see what these things were like.

“Sure,” they replied, and even agreed to film us. I’m the one in the red:

During the climb for each lap, we’d see this sign:

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This is no idle sign, either:

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“I bet I can get that camel to kiss me,” The Hammer said during one of the laps. 

So she held some tall grass through the fence and sure enough it came over to take it — and The Hammer leaned in.

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This is as close as she ever got. Which is fine with me. No, on second thought, I’m not even sure I wanted her to get that close.

Sprint for the Speed Limit

As we rounded the third corner of the loop about two laps in, The Hammer asked me, “Did you see what I just did?”

I had to admit that I had not seen it.

“There’s a speed limit sign we just passed, with a radar pointing at us and showing what our speed is,” she said. 

And so for the next 24 laps, as soon as we came around that corner, we’d take turns sprinting toward that speed limit sign:

Screenshot 2014 10 12 18 53 06

The Hammer’s best — as far as the sign was concerned — was 26. The best I could ever get it to show was a 29. 

And then I looked down at my GPS as I went by…and discovered it was reporting me as two miles per hour faster than the radar detector did.

That thing is ripping us off,” I complained. “Robbing us of at least two miles per hour.”

Which, you have to admit, would be a very odd thing to say to a police officer if you were pulled over for going faster than the speed limit.

Second Sprint

Amazingly — and perhaps because they had noticed we were enjoying their other radar sign so much — halfway through the day, the police erected a second radar speed limit sign on our loop.

And this one was midway through our downhill straightaway, on the best pavement of the entire course.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away or confess to any crimes, but if you’re curious what my top speed was reported by that sign, you could probably check my top speed on my Strava report for the day


The pictures, video and text in this post have already made it abundantly clear I’m sure but let’s get explicit: Alpine, Utah is a very small town. And I love that. I chose that. 

And when you live in a small town, a new store opening is a big deal.

And a donut store opening is a huge deal.

And a donut store that already has a cult following throughout the rest of Utah, due to its general awesomeness is an incredibly huge deal.

So now you know what this little detour in the loop is for:


Yep, at noon we headed over for our first big break, to get The Hammer an apple fritter (her favorite). As for me, well, I’d probably just get myself an assortment box.

Just look at that sign! 

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So exciting!

But when we got to the door, there was just one problem: 

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Sure, I suppose a donut shop has the right to be closed by noon on a Saturday. But — and I say this as someone who has wanted donuts at literally every hour of the day — is it wise?

So we took our custom elsewhere. Specifically, we went next door, to the Sub-Zero ice cream shop.

Yes, that’s right. Alpine doesn’t have a grocery store, but we have an ice cream shop next door to a donut shop (which, if signage is to believed, is also going to be an ice cream shop).

Mmmmm. Waffle cones:

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This is my kind of town. 

This was the first time I had ever had Sub-Zero ice cream. The gimmick is clever: They mix the cream and your mix-ins in their liquid state, then use liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze it into ice cream, complete with awesome fog effects. (I apologize for not getting video; I was too busy being transfixed.)

The Hammer and I shared a mocha-almond ice cream in a waffle cone.

IMG 0255

Clearly, we have both gone to our happy places. Also clearly, my happy place looks pretty darned dorky.

Stop. Hammer Time.

As the video at the beginning of this post clearly illustrates, our loop has four stop signs. Multiply that times 26 laps, and you’ve gotta lotta stoppage.

I say this, of course, by way of implying that we did in fact stop for all 104 stop signs. Because we did. Because we are both very law-abiding examples of law-abiding-ness to the rest of the world. Or at least to the half-dozen people who got this far in this race report (hi Mom!).

And besides — as further proof that we stopped at every single stop sign, as if that were even necessary — if we didn’t stop at every stop sign, how would I have gotten this picture of The Hammer at this stop sign?

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More to the point, though, you might be wondering why I took this picture of The Hammer with this stop sign. 

Well, here’s why:

IMG 0166

Yep, an MC Hammer reference graffiti’d onto the stop sign at Main and 100 South in Alpine, Utah. Who’d have expected that?

Furthermore, who’d have expected that anyone would still be making MC Hammer references in 2014 (or whenever these letters got affixed to the stop sign)?

Even more furthermore, is there a single city in the United States that does not have at least one stop sign similarly altered?

The mind boggles.

More Awesome

You should know that stop signs with nearly two-decade-old pop culture references are not the only peculiar and wonderful things we passed twenty-six times during our 100 Miles of Nowhere. 

We passed this tree, for example:

IMG 0153

“Who would paint a tree that way?” you might wonder. “That would be terrible for the bark.”

And then I would have to correct you, because that tree isn’t painted. That is colorful twine (yarn? string?) wrapped around the trunk of the tree in someone’s front yard.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Also every lap, I was taunted by some hand-made benches someone had put out for sale:

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“We’d be delightful to rest on,” they said. “Just for a few minutes,” they said.

“Wouldn’t you like to take a nap?” they said.

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Also, for the final two laps, we picked up The IT Guy, for his first exercise in about four months.

IMG 0218

It’s not easy to get out when you’re both working and busy in school.

Also joining us was The Swimmer, stealing my helmet and her mom’s bike clothes: 

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The Swimmer, too, is busy in school. So it was really awesome of both of them to come spin for a couple of laps with us on what had turned out to be a perfect Saturday for riding.

Around in a loop.

Over and over. And over.

Summing Up

Really, when you think about it, The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a terrible idea. Riding around on a tiny course sounds like a miserable way to spend a day.

But each year I’ve done it, I’ve loved it. I’ve loved how I notice details that I don’t see when I ride a road once. I love how the course fades into the background and the ride becomes just about riding. I love the expressions of people who saw us, over and over, as they wondered what we were up to.

I love figuring out what the course will be each year, and that — so far at least — we’ve done very different courses every year. 

I don’t know what we’ll do for our 100 Miles of Nowhere next year. But I’m looking forward to it.

And now, I’m looking forward to your own reports. 

PS: Here are our numbers, for those of you who are curious:

Screenshot 2014 10 12 17 56 24


  1. Comment by New Zealand Ev | 10.13.2014 | 9:25 am

    Awesome post on your 100 MON!! I am keeping A my fingers crossed for good weather this Sat for mine, otherwise I may have to postpone it. Looking forward to this Sat down here in Christchurch, New Zealand.

  2. Comment by Derek | 10.13.2014 | 9:53 am

    dibs on jersey please! email sent.

  3. Comment by Corrine | 10.13.2014 | 9:54 am

    Great report. Doesn’t sound like there was very much suffering,though! Except for the donut shop being closed. I’m sure that did cause some suffering! What a great day you guys had. Did the twins join you for one or two laps?

  4. Comment by Fat Cathy | 10.13.2014 | 10:30 am

    If my little town looked like Alpine, UT, I’d probably enjoy riding around a 4 mile loop for 100 miles too.

    We have 3 grocery stores, but not a single donut shop. Obviously we need to get our priorities in order.

  5. Comment by Noel | 10.13.2014 | 10:38 am

    Great report! We’re doing ours on this coming Saturday and, so far, the long range forecast is calling for 77 and sunny. Looking forward to it, and we’re going to steal your idea of swapping between road and TT bikes. Though I strongly suspect we’ll be spending much more time on the road bikes than you guys did.

    Can’t wait!

  6. Comment by BamaJim | 10.13.2014 | 11:06 am

    Looks like a really good time! You are smarter than I am, I passed the neighborhood ice cream shop on every lap and never stopped.

    Any instructions on how you would like reports formatted?

  7. Comment by Mike Kennedy | 10.13.2014 | 11:20 am

    I got my package a few days ago and the jersey is awesome! It does not however fit as well as yours seems to.
    100 MON on 10/20/2014 to avoid conflict with Waffle Cross race at the Velo Park.

  8. Comment by Christina | 10.13.2014 | 11:37 am

    “The Hammer and I started and ended our 100 Miles of Nowhere at home, at 8am on Saturday morning.”

    You guys are indeed impressive, being able to start and end at 8am.

    You guys did this thing right! My favorite part of 100MON is that I stop at my house. It’s a fun ride that I make suit me.

  9. Comment by Andy@wdw | 10.13.2014 | 11:43 am

    What a fun and zany ride! I love the camel and the giant balls in the park!

  10. Comment by ClydeinKS | 10.13.2014 | 11:54 am

    Great report and the devastation was experienced here now as well – The Hammer isn’t smiling!!! She also appears left out as the image shows you on the inside (wise of them to continue the parking lot inside the store for bike traffic). Waiting for coaching priorties to end and get this year’s 100 MoN in before any snow comes. No additional fundraisers this year and also thinking of staying near the house.

  11. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 10.13.2014 | 11:55 am

    Thanks for the great write up, once again.

    We did our 100 MoN yesterday as a family event. Son, daughter, son- in-law and three grandchildren rode a 1.1 mile loop as a simultaneous relay event. The grandchildren also set up a lemonade stand and rIsed $95 in contributions (how do you want us to send those in?). We had a great afternoon – more of a family gathering and fun afternoon than sufferfest. Knave a couple of pictures, and more on the way, if you want any.

  12. Comment by Cyclingjimbo | 10.13.2014 | 11:57 am

    raised $95; and I have pictures

  13. Comment by Jim Tolar | 10.13.2014 | 12:13 pm

    Congratulations on you 100MoN. We held the 2014 100 Miles to Nowhere (Dobson Ranch Edition) on April 12. Here is our write-up: https://www.facebook.com/notes/100milestonowhere-dobson-ranch-edition/2014-100-miles-to-nowhere-dobson-ranch-edition-its-in-the-books/751058684926763

    and here are some pictures: https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xaf1/v/t1.0-9/10154341_10154020487305524_579241741075423029_n.jpg?oh=8e1ebd5f8afc181ab36cb2130adb8e3c&oe=54F659BD&__gda__=1421351946_61bbbbb18d0c7a54c6ab9daff263712b

    and: https://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xap1/t31.0-8/10494903_10154469666240524_25136369373791135_o.jpg

    You and the Hammer are welcome to join us any time at the 100MtN (Dobson Ranch Edition)!

    jt & Kathleen

  14. Comment by MattC | 10.13.2014 | 12:52 pm

    Fatty, who knew your happy place involves eating lemons!

  15. Comment by Marshmallow | 10.13.2014 | 1:21 pm

    Such fun! It’s making me inspired for my own, first 100 MoN, even though there will be 100% less camels and ice cream.

  16. Comment by Heidi | 10.13.2014 | 3:38 pm

    Yay, the best part for me is the video of the two of you battling it out in the giant spheres! The term for what happened to the tree, if indeed it is yarn, is yarn bombing. If you google “images for yarn bombing” you’ll see a bike – even a tank!

  17. Comment by Fellowfattychris | 10.13.2014 | 3:56 pm

    Sorry I couldn’t join you and The Hammer for the ride, looks like it was a good time. I’m still planning on going 100% solo on a TT bike w/ aero helmet.

    Please wish The Hammer good luck on the 50K, I just completed my first a few weeks ago. http://www.strava.com/activities/203278035 If I could do it, we all know The Hammer will crush it!

    PS, love the jersey this year!

  18. Comment by dug | 10.13.2014 | 4:17 pm

    i’m going to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches.

  19. Comment by Jeff Bike | 10.13.2014 | 5:47 pm

    Wow A long report and in only one posting and lots of pictures and not one but two videos.

  20. Comment by wharton_crew | 10.13.2014 | 6:54 pm

    I have a large jersey that I want to swap for an XL if anyone out there also mis-ordered. My MoN changed from 100 miles of road cycling to 25 miles of technical single track mt biking due to wheel issues on the morning of the ride. I had to loop in some local Boy Scouts to come with me so that we could reach 100 miles together. They got a merit badge and I got a donut (I win). I am working on the video now.

    Let me know on the jersey swap (unused, please!) if you’re interested.

  21. Comment by Tes | 10.13.2014 | 8:12 pm

    Seeing the map the first time, my guess was a donut shop! Extra sprinkles for being right! Love, love, love the jersey and am quite nervous about Saturday, one thing though… Horizontal stripes?! Now we look like even fatter cyclists! ???? My course, weather permitting will be a 0.75 loop around a tiny island park on Lake. Michigan. Can’t wait!

  22. Comment by AKChick | 10.13.2014 | 10:17 pm

    Love the race report, photos and videos. I just love The Hammer. She is just one of the bestest people ever. (psst, I do like you too Fatty :)

    I’m thinking that I might do my 100 MoN the weekend my husband and several friends take off for Southern California to celebrate of our best friend’s 40th birthdays (Oct 25 or 26). I had a couple really great ideas and was going to do some fundraising, but my mom went into the hospital on August 16th and they discovered a suspicious lump in her upper right lung (she was in originally for sepsis, UTI and pneumonia – she was really, really sick). Yep, that mass is small cell lung cancer – an aggressive SOB of a cancer. However, in an amazing twist, it hasn’t seemed to have spread beyond the mass in her lung which is pretty big. You can’t operate on it because that triggers a fight response causing it to spread. Interestingly, Small cell responds REALLY well to chemo and radiation so catching it early is key. Which is the case with my mom. It doesn’t look like it has invaded her lymph nodes, but since there could be microscopic cancer cells, they are going to radiate them. She isn’t supposed to lose her hair and side effects should hopefully be minimal. Treatment is 3 days chemo every three weeks and then SIX weeks, FIVE days a week of radiation. Ugh. However, with treatment, she should have several more years under her belt. Also, no more smoking. This cancer is directly caused by smoking for over 50 years. I wasn’t surprised by the cancer, but I was by the prognosis. I have been around cancer long enough to know there are not promises though and we aren’t clear until then end of treatment and the tumor has shrunk or the cancer is completely eliminated (a possibility).

    Unfortunately, the same day I received the amazing news about my mom, I received devastating news from my sister My young brother-in-law (he’s 31) decided to forgo chemo for alternative treatments and clinical trials. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer at 28. He didn’t want to compromise what time he had left by undergoing treatment and being tired and suffering from nausea and the various other fun side effects from chemo. However, that has meant that the cancer has grown and spread. He has been having kidney problems and spinal problems. The pain finally got so bad (my brother-in-law is superman tough) he had to go to the ER. My sister and he went to see his doctor the next day and she asked based on all the facts at this moment, how long they were looking at. The answer is 2-3 months. Ugh.

    So I have been wracking my brains over what I want to do for my 2014 100 MoN. I have some ideas. I still think I’m going to ride all four of my bikes mountain, cross, fat tire and spin bike (my sweet new carbon bike won’t be here until Dec/Jan). Since my spin bike is hooked to Google Maps, I can actually map the just over three mile course in our neighborhood. I’m not sure what the weather is likely to do – we are having a pretty mild fall so it might be sunny and 45 or it could be cloudy, cold and in the 30’s. I’ll be ready no matter what. And this year is going to be very special as I’ll be riding for my mom and my brother-in-law and in memory of my dad as well as in honor and memory of too many others I’ve come in contact with over the years. I expect it will probably be just a tad bit emotional too.

  23. Comment by Corrine | 10.14.2014 | 9:28 am

    @AKChick so sorry to hear about your mom and your brother-in-law. Life isn’t fair. My thoughts are with you.
    As for your 100 MoN, I love the idea of riding all of your bikes! Glad I did my ride early as I still don’t have a fat bike so won’t be riding any more this winter.

  24. Comment by JL | 10.14.2014 | 9:29 am

    Here’s the story of the yarn tree:


  25. Comment by RobF | 10.14.2014 | 11:29 pm

    Great story. It looks like you had a great time and didn’t suffer too much. I was hoping you would suffer more, since I’m still upset I didn’t get to shake your hand at Levi’s.

    I still haven’t decided on a route for 100 MoN. I’ve been looking at repeating out-and-back on a 14-mile strip of straight, flat, country gravel nearby. What do you all think? Would that be subverting the spirit of the thing? Will Fatty come out to TX and confiscate my jersey and drum me out of the corps?

  26. Comment by MtlDan | 10.15.2014 | 12:53 pm

    Hey wharton_crew,
    I tried on my size ‘L’ and it’s a bit tight. I’ll do a swap.

  27. Comment by Mtn Goat | 10.16.2014 | 3:02 pm

    We have ours slated for Sunday, helping with a trail build on Saturday so figured a good reason so switch the date… but no jerseys as yet :( looks like the Customs office is not quite sure how or what to charge us for them considering they are not really a purchase (my thoughts anyway).
    Great report!! looking forward to reading more!


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