A Note from Fatty About Someone Else’s Blog: Rich Dillen’s blog is a national treasure, which is why I’m starting a petition to get a movie made about it where that guy from Raising Arizona goes on a Very Dangerous Scavenger Hunt to find it. But until then, you can probably find it just by clicking here. I’m pointing this out because Rich is starting a series of posts on having been a bike messenger for twenty years. And if the first post is an indicator (and I think it is), it’s gonna be worth reading.
A Note from Fatty About Today’s Post: I’ve never been so disappointed to not be able to attend someone else’s 100 Miles of Nowhere as Don’s. I mean, just the sheer scope and planning that went into it makes my head spin. So I’m extremely pleased to present his 100 Miles of Nowhere race report.
Or, as he calls it…
108 Miles of Nowhere
by Don B
Friday 11:00 pm, my wife Ronna and I have just finished “Run to the Lights,” a 5k charity run at the amusement park, Silver Dollar City, in Branson, MO. It’s 1:30am by the time we make it back to Lebanon. A late night. Saturday I need to be at The Lebanon I-44 Speedway by 7:00am. Myself and 60+ friends are planning to ride 100 Miles of Nowhere on the track. A quick 267 laps will tick the 100 mile box. Sunday I’m racing Hannah’s Hope Cross, another charity event, and my first cross race.
At times I spread myself thin. I over commit. I have over-commitment issues.
I’ve entertained doing Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere fundraiser in the past, but life always got in the way. This year I committed and searched for the right location, something interesting and crazy. A business associate is part owner of The Lebanon I-44 Speedway, Missouri’s only NASCAR sanctioned race track. I thought it might be cool to do my race there and inquired.
With use of the track secured, I mentioned my intent to a few cycling friends. Their interest was piqued, and I invited them to join the cause. Then a few more friends showed interest in joining me, I set up a Facebook event to see if others would like to join.
So many kind and generous people contributed to this event. It renewed my solid belief that the world is filled with good people.
I was overwhelmed at the support and interest. I still am. The stars aligned well on Saturday, November 12th. While it was brisk (36°F), the sun was bright, the wind was light, and the forecast had a nice warming trend for the day. I planned this day for over a month and was filled with nervous excitement.
A few cars were sitting at the race track gate when I arrived a few minutes after 7:00am. I felt guilty for making them wait. We made haste to the pits and started setting up a couple of tables for waiver sign in and refuel stations. My friend Jonathan Graif was generous enough to provide a sound system and my wife Ronna would keep the motivational tunes coming.
The music proved to be key entertainment. Something to break up the monotony of nearly 270 laps of 3/8mi circles. Ronna would go on to lead the paceline in a stirring rendition of “Let it Go” from the “Frozen” soundtrack.
Trust me folks, that’s entertainment.
The starting line was pretty amazing. The awesome volunteers. A drone pilot/photographer, a professional photographer, a local newspaper reporter, and 60 riders.
Some of the riders were on a mission. Their goal, ride the fastest 100 miles they’d ever ridden. Others, they were there to enjoy the fun and contribute to a great cause.
While I wanted my day to be challenging (hence the single speed drop bar mountain bike I was riding), I was more concerned about the other riders enjoying themselves and making sure the event was running smoothly. I delayed my start for 15-20 minutes just for this reason. Once under way, I had a couple of light bulb moments – “It’s really cold!” – and – “This is going to be harder than I thought!” I had to keep this to myself as no one wants hear whining.
More importantly, I had to finish my 100 miles.
How would it look – Don’s “42 Miles of Nowhere.” If I completed ANYTHING less than 100 miles, I would be the subject of quiet murmurs and finger pointing at every future endurance cycling event. Failure was not an option.
The infield feed zone had a killer support crew. That blonde in the middle hangs out at my house, ALL of the time.
SPOILER ALERT: I finished my 100 miles. I was not the first rider to complete 100 miles. Not even close.
However, I was not last.
Although I was much closer to last than first.
Ok, I was…second to last.
I did however take time to stop and pick up a water bottle or two. I visited with the riders, thanking each for attending. I found inspiration in the riders, and want to share some of that inspiration.
Scott Sifferman, aka “The Judge”
Scott’s nicknamed “The Judge” for good reason, (he’s an Associate Circuit Judge), and a “seasoned” cyclist. By seasoned, I mean he remembers when JFK was POTUS. By seasoned, I mean he regularly finds himself on a podium at state level Masters TT events.
He’s a tour de force.
Scott proved his mettle at 100 Miles of Nowhere, cranking out a phenomenal century, battling second place recumbent rider, Dennis Grelk.
I was, and am in awe. Scott’s finish time – 4:02:52
In the final hour of my ride I watched the track slowly empty. The party was drawing to an end. It made me a little sad. I finished up, then stopped by the feed zone and thanked my friends for hanging around until I finished.
There were still (2) riders on the track. One of the riders was Nessa Johnson. I spoke with Nessa earlier, she said 30 miles was her longest ride to date, and wondered how long she could stay out on the track. I told her I would stay until dark if she wanted to try to complete the 100 miles.
I feel like that took a bit of pressure off.
I rode back to Nessa and asked how she was doing. She was tired, but really wanted to finish her new goal of 70 miles. She was close, and I continued riding in support. Nessa and her husband travelled from Topeka, KS to attend the event. Her perseverance lifted my mood.??She finished her new personal best of 70 miles. She doubled her previous best and then some.
Nessa, great job! You inspired me.
Charles, a Lebanon MO resident, was the other rider on the track as I finished up. Charles tells me he’s battled the 100 mile distance a few times in the past and come up short. I inform him this day is different. This is the day he completes his first 100 mile ride. Charles is still riding strong.
With (1) lap to go, my amazing finish line crew constructs a finish line tape of toilet paper. With his family looking on, Charles breaks the tape, finishing his first 100 mile bike ride.
If that fails to inspire you, check your pulse.
Charles, well done. You inspired me.
Next year is already in the planning and I’m confident we can double this crowd of amazing cyclists.?