100 (+8) Miles of Nowhere Race Report: NASCAR Race Track Edition, by Don Buttram

11.22.2016 | 9:54 am

NewImageA 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.

They did.


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



Nessa Johnson

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 Elmore

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

Next year is already in the planning and I’m confident we can double this crowd of amazing cyclists.?


  1. Comment by BostonCarlos | 11.22.2016 | 10:14 am

    Great job, Don! You’re amazing.

  2. Comment by Don | 11.22.2016 | 10:51 am

    @BostonCarlos – I enjoyed this immensely. Okay, there might of been some non-joy around mile 87.
    Thank you my friend.

  3. Comment by wharton_crew | 11.22.2016 | 10:52 am

    That’s an awesome ride, a cool venue, and a great write-up! Nice work to all of you. You always find the most inspiration in the lantern rouge competitors who refuse to give up.

  4. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.22.2016 | 11:23 am

    VERY cool, LOVE the drone camera angles … and the event overall.

    Several Qs:

    - Did riders drop in and out of the lead pace line? What’s cool about the short track is the ability for riders to tend to biology but not get dropped?

    - Did The Judge make any stops?

    - What do you think the practical capacity of the track would be?

  5. Comment by Don | 11.22.2016 | 11:41 am

    @Jeff Dieffenbach- Hi, Thank you! We had the perfect day, a beautiful venue, and a supportive group of cyclists.

    1.) Yes, riders dropped in and out. We had no official timing. I just depended on gps devices and rider integrity.

    2.) I did not see the Judge (Scott Sifferman) stop, which for those having rode with him in the past, comes as no surprise. Scott’s paceline pulls are the stuff of legend.

    3.) I would think that 120 riders would be the practical capacity of this track. I believe rider safety would be compromised with a higher rider density.


  6. Comment by Yannb | 11.22.2016 | 12:14 pm

    Great job getting so many people to ride this with you. Sounds like a fun day overall. Would have loved to join you guys if we weren’t so far away (San Francisco).

  7. Comment by ClydeinKS | 11.22.2016 | 12:32 pm

    Don – great event and kudos to your star alignment. I had tried to get access to the Kansas City Speedway in years past but my star was dim or not persistent enough. I wish the date would have worked out for me to come join in your 100 MoN fun!

  8. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.22.2016 | 12:36 pm

    Heck, if it’s only going to take 4 hours, why stop!? [grin] I’ve done the Battenkill race a few times–that’s 68 hours without stopping. At my speed, that meant about 3h 45m–going another 15m would have been easy enough. My century speeds, on the other hand …

    I’m reminded of a great quote by Marathoner Frank Shorter. He was asked if it was hard to run 26 miles in just a bit over 2 hours. His response was along the lines of, “That isn’t nearly as hard as running 26 miles in 5 hours!”

  9. Comment by MtlDan | 11.22.2016 | 12:55 pm

    I did the 100 MoN on the Montreal F1 track a couple of years ago. Perfectly smooth pavement, no trafic, no stop signs. It was great! (Note to Fatty: feel free to post my write up, if you still have it.) But I wish I had the organizational skills to get 60 others to ride with me. Great job, Don!

  10. Comment by Madcityspecv | 11.22.2016 | 1:14 pm

    Awesome race! I fully support the NASCAR-ification of the 100 Miles of Nowhere. no racing event quite matches the insanity, over-the-top attitude, and fun of 100 MON, but circle track/NASCAR racing comes close(needs more beer and body paint).

    in 2014 I rode my own first 100 MON, the Circle Park 500. 500 0.2 mile laps around a local park in the middle of a roundabout, so I’m excited to see someone else take on the theme ( in a bigger and bolder way!). I hope you did what I did, and made sure to make engine noises while going in circles and making people consider measuring you for a straightjacket.

    I just finished my own 2016 (sort of) 100 (metric) Miles of Nowhere on the 20th, and have yet to find the time for a write up. Allez!

  11. Comment by DavidV | 11.22.2016 | 2:39 pm

    MTLDan, if you ever do that ride again let us Canadian’s know. I’d drive out to Montreal to do that!

  12. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 11.22.2016 | 2:40 pm

    @Fatty make the commitment I’ll pick up your bike on the way and you can ‘fly in’ (as award-winning comedic masterminds should) I plan to be there.

    @Yann I’ll transport your bike as well, fly in with Fatty, you can carry his bags.

    @MtlDan maybe we need to create an official 100MoN group ride location everyyear, I know DaveT has a thing for ‘race-tracks’. Dave to you have contacts at Sonoma Raceway or the track at up highway 5? We can host the official west coast site.

    @DB expect a tandem next year.

  13. Comment by Kate | 11.22.2016 | 3:06 pm

    Don is a fantastic guy who builds community everywhere he goes. No surprise he was the catalyst for such a great 100 MON iteration.

  14. Comment by Jim Tolar | 11.22.2016 | 4:27 pm

    Strong work, Don. Well done!

    100MtN (Dobson Ranch Edition) Executive Committee

  15. Comment by bloodpuddle | 11.22.2016 | 5:24 pm

    Great 100MoN!

    @Fatty – thanks for the link to Dicky’s blog. Any chance of the Fattycast interview with him seeing the light of day?

  16. Comment by Corrine | 11.22.2016 | 5:38 pm

    What a FANTASTIC 100 MoN. Love that you guys did this and several people had a personal best. What a great day and a great accomplishment. Can’t wait to see what you do next year. And the Judge is insanely fast. So is the recumbent rider. Awesome achievement for everybody out there. Thanks for sharing your report. I would love to be a part of this ride!

  17. Comment by Don | 11.22.2016 | 7:44 pm

    @Corrine Thank You! I so enjoyed seeing others achieve something that made them proud. The recumbent rider (Dennis Grelk) was INSANELY fast. He would have won overall by a fair margin had he not battled cramps in the later stages of the ride.

  18. Comment by Don | 11.22.2016 | 7:51 pm

    @kate, You’re too kind. Thank you, you do your fair share of community building as well. See ya soon.

  19. Comment by Alister | 11.23.2016 | 5:39 am

    Don, that is incredible.

    Fantastic idea, fantastic spirit, and … Just wow!

    Now I’m wondering how realistic it is for me next year to load the bike bag on a plane from England and come and ride laps in a NASCAR speedway!

  20. Comment by leroy | 11.23.2016 | 8:51 am

    Wow, I’m sorry I missed this!

    I don’t mean to brag, but this 100 MoN event plays to my strengths.

    According to my dog, on my best days, my riding is in the pits.

    Actually, he said “is the pits,” but it would be churlish to tell a talking dog he misspoke.

    Congratulations on a great event!

  21. Comment by Alistair | 11.23.2016 | 9:14 am

    Don: I had a lot of fun doing the ride. Looking forward to next year. Thanks for organizing it and recognizing Nessa and Charles’s inspirational achievments.

  22. Comment by JRLand | 11.23.2016 | 3:38 pm

    Perfect! Excellent Job!

  23. Comment by Don | 11.23.2016 | 7:40 pm

    @Alister – England! I will make a special “Long Distance Award” for you. Thanks for the kind words.

  24. Comment by Don | 11.23.2016 | 7:41 pm

    @Alistair T. – Thanks for being there. You’re a great friend.

  25. Comment by Don | 11.23.2016 | 7:43 pm

    @leroy – Thanks for your words of support. I truly enjoy your dog’s reports. Come join us next year, and bring your dog.

  26. Comment by Randy Fry | 11.30.2016 | 3:06 pm

    The event was unlike anything I had ever heard of. It took the mental part of completing a century to a new level for me. Going in I had completed 2 centuries in my 6 month cycling career. My mind told me I would be able to go much faster with less effort than cycling city streets or county roads and highways. Physically I was was right. Mentally…not so much.

    Things I loved about the event:
    1) The name: “100 Miles of Nowhere”
    2) The venue: Lebanon I-44 Speedway
    3) The hype: Don did a fantastic job of promotion and recognition
    4) The afternoon temperature
    5) Not having to worry about cars, semis, and pedestrians
    6) Not having to worry about climbing huge hills
    7) Not having to worry about maintenance issues
    8) Not having to worry about running out of sustenance
    9) The atmosphere
    10) The excitement
    11) All the shiny bikes
    12) All the colorful cycling outfits
    13) A drone
    14) Photographers
    15) Never having to ride totally alone
    16) The goody bag we got in the mail
    17) Knowing that everyone there gets cycling

  27. Comment by Eddie S. Ross | 01.10.2017 | 3:37 am

    Really amazing! I’ve enjoyed the race from first to last. Thanks for sharing :)


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