100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report: Isaac’s Adjustment of Expectations Edition

11.20.2015 | 11:05 am

A Note from Fatty: Today’s 100 Miles of Nowhere race report comes to you from Isaac, a many-times 100 Miles of Nowhere racer. 

Another Note from Fatty: If you haven’t sent in your 100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report yet, please do. Send it to fatty@fatcyclist.com, with the subject line “100 Miles of Nowhere Race Report.” Word document format is best for me, with your photographs either just embedded in the Word doc where you want them, or as attachments in the email, or in a Dropbox folder you include a link to.

My 100 Miles of Nowhere was off to an inauspicious start. 

Less than 4 miles in (2 miles on pavement on the way to the trail), and I’d already crashed. Hard. I was riding a bike I don’t ride often — my older carbon Giant XTC 26″ hardtail — and I wasn’t comfortable on it yet. It’s got a little longer stem than I like, and a little narrower bars than I prefer.

But really, those are just excuses.

I made a mistake, didn’t keep my weight back like I know I should, and BAM. Over the bars and down I went. Landed flat on my back. Well, it must not have been totally flat, because I now have a giant bruise on the left side of my lower back.

But let’s back up a step.

I was more or less totally unprepared for this 100MoN, much more so than usual. I’ve done it a few times. The first time, I switched off between the local mountain bike loop and an 11-mile section of local paved trail that both go through the same parking lot, meeting up with a few friends along the way, and even riding a lap with my wife (who pulled our daughter in the Burley).

Then, I rode the 100 Miles of Darkness with Nancy, riding our century overnight through beautiful paved trails in central Minnesota. Last year, Nancy and I rode together again, back at the combo mountain / road loop. That time around, I rode 6 different bikes. Maybe it was 5. Honestly, everything’s a little fuzzy about that ride.

Ride or No Ride?

This time around, I thought, I was going to miss out. I’m self employed, and things have been a little slower this year — and a bunch of my clients were way behind on payments when this 100MoN was announced. I figured there was no way I could afford to ride it.

Then an anonymous donor stepped in and offered to pay for my entry. Super cool. Elden emailed me, asking if I was interested. I immediately (like within 5 minutes) emailed back that I was definitely up for it. However, thanks to the wonders of spam filters and such, he never got my message.

I didn’t really think about it much for a couple of weeks, when I followed up. Of course, nothing had changed in the spam world, so he didn’t get that message either. Eventually, I sent him a message on Twitter and finally got through. 

Planning: Pffff

By this point, there wasn’t much time for silly things like “planning” and “training” (not that training this late in the season would have made much of a difference). It was just time to go for it.

I’d seen that TrainerRoad was going to have a plan for the 100MoN, but didn’t really want to spend 5 hours indoors. Luckily, the weather has been unseasonably warm here in Minnesota, and I had a good group of friends hitting the mountain bike trail on the day of the ride. Unluckily, my wife was going to be going out with her mom the Friday before the ride and not coming home until Saturday morning.

I was going to be getting a late start. 

Asta rolled in at 9:56am, I handed the kids off to her, and took off for the trail. I was already geared up and live less than 2 miles from the trailhead. I rolled in just after 10am, the scheduled ride start, but you know how those things go… If more than one person is riding in a group, it’s probably going to be a few minutes late.


Everyone finished getting ready and we took off down the trail. 

Which brings me back to the crash. 

I’ve ridden this trail probably a hundred or more times, by myself and with groups of anywhere from 2 to 20. I’ve never seen anyone crash where or how I went down. Up into the air off a bit of a rise, tail (much) higher than it should have been, weight too far forward, and tail over teakettle, down to the ground.


I laid there for about 5 seconds — any longer and more people would have seen me — and got up to continue on. Nothing was horribly damaged, though I’ll have a few bruises and scabs for the next couple of weeks. We continued on without further incident. As we finished the lap (a little under 12 miles total), I asked who was up for another. 


Fine, I’ll Do It Myself Then

Well, I hadn’t *really* expected to ride with anyone the whole day, so I took what I could get, said goodbye, and rode off to do another lap. This time, the ride went without incident until I got into the last bit of the beginner section (which, because of the way I was putting together my loop, was at the very end of the lap).

As I went around a corner, my front tire hooked on a root, stuck, and WHAM. Over the bars I went. Again.

I think I’ve crashed 4 or 5 times this season, and 2 of them were today. Luckily, no one was around, so I could lay on the ground, tangled up with my bike, for a little longer before I had to get up and keep going. I finished the lap out just as my Garmin beeped that it was running low on battery.

Most sane people would suggest that this might be a good time to go home.

I am not a sane person, or so I’ve been told, anyway.

As I went out for my third lap, I wondered what would go wrong this time. As it turned out, nothing. Nothing at all. I completed my third lap without any incident other than the GPS dying on me. I got to the trailhead and turned for home. Of course, if you’re doing the math, 3 laps at 12 miles apiece, plus about 2 miles each direction to and from the trail, and we’re only at 40 miles. I still had some work to do.

Luckily, my trainer was set up. Also luckily, my kids and I have been watching Star Wars (it’s their first time at [almost] 6 and 2). I fired up TrainerRoad, set up the movie, and got onto the bike.

After 40 miles on the mountain bike and 2 crashes, I figured I had about 3 hours in front of me. At least, that’s how my math worked out — I’d done 40% of the miles, so I had 60% left to go. 60% of 5 hours is 3. Yay math, I guess.

I had, however, also figured out what the 100MMMoN would be — the 100 Maybe Metric Miles of Nowhere (Yes, kilometers are now known as Metric Miles. Take that, everywhere that isn’t the US, Liberia, and Burma.)

About 40 minutes in, I came to a somewhat disheartening conclusion: I just didn’t have another 2:20 in me. In somewhat of a letdown, I decided to make it a metric. After another 29 minutes (yay, math), I threw in the figurative towel, put on some clean clothes, and sat down with the kids in my wonderful, fluffy, nearly-impossible-to-exit chair to finish the movie as the winner of the 100 Metric Miles of Nowhere Indoor / Outdoor Duathalllloooonnnnng. 

I realize now that I should have gone and gotten the Tylenol first. Ah well. If anyone needs me, I’ll probably still be here. 


  1. Comment by Lauri | 11.20.2015 | 11:16 am

    I haven’t actually done my 100MoN yet, but when I do it will be metric miles. Nay – it will be the metric mile dollar conversion, so approximately 75km.

    I am a true fatty disciple – I can rationalize anything!!

  2. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.20.2015 | 11:30 am

    No trainer crashes, I hope?

  3. Comment by Isaac | 11.20.2015 | 11:34 am

    @Jeff, I managed to stay upright on the trainer.

  4. Comment by Corrine | 11.20.2015 | 12:15 pm

    Great writing. That takes determination to get on your trainer after riding 40 miles outdoors. Way to get it done. I had the same question as Jeff. Glad no indoor crashes!

  5. Comment by Jim Tolar | 11.20.2015 | 12:25 pm

    In my world, you get an automatic 1.5 multiplier any time a crash is involved. You had two crashes, that puts you at 3.0 * 40 == 120 even without the trainer.

    Well done, well reported.


  6. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.20.2015 | 1:00 pm

    Is the 1.5 multiplier additive or multiplicative? Maybe it’s only (1.5)^2 x 40 = 90?

  7. Comment by Isaac | 11.20.2015 | 1:23 pm

    @Corrine — Thanks! It’s been a while since I’ve written much, but it’s fun to do it again.

    @Jim – Sweet. I wonder if that works for races or not…

  8. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.20.2015 | 1:44 pm

    Great story!
    How did the kids like the movie. When I was their age it was The Wizard of Oz (in color!) Oh how things change.

    I expect my 100MoN will be in the dead of winter by the time my Dr clears me to ride again. There will probably be ‘dark’ involved.

    Keep ‘em coming Fatties!

  9. Comment by Andy@WDW | 11.20.2015 | 3:10 pm

    Bravo, Isaac! I feel your pain. On my first 100MON I crashed twice, the only times I crashed that whole year! Both were on pavement, both were on hairpin turn-arounds at each end of my short course, and both were because I simply over cooked the turns like an idiot. :-D

    Great write-up! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Comment by AKChick | 11.20.2015 | 8:51 pm

    Great ride report!!! Thank you for writing!

  11. Comment by Isaac | 11.21.2015 | 6:27 am

    @davidh – They liked them a lot. My 2 year old now runs around making “pew pew” sounds, and gets super excited if I play the Star Wars theme on the stereo. And they both like to play with my old toys now.


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