A 100 Miles of Nowhere Registration Update from Fatty: I’m really excited to be raising money for Camp Kesem, one of my favorite charities — they provide free, weeklong camps for kids affected by a parent’s cancer. My twins have been every year since Susan passed away and it’s the highlight of their summer.
If you haven’t registered yet, please do. Just click here for details, and then click here to register.
In addition to all profits being donated to Camp Kesem, your $39.95 gets you an awesome event t-shirt, in your choice of colors — like this red one (which is the color The Hammer and I chose):
And it also gets you an awesome race plate, like this one:
Yes, 5150 is the number everyone gets this year. It seems fitting.
Of course, I’ve been curious how many people have signed up, and what color t-shirts they’ve chosen. So far (and I’m going to be honest and admit disappointment here) 163 people have registered. Here’s a colorful pie chart to illustrate how many people have chosen specific t-shirt colors. In this chart, each color represents the color of a t-shirt. The number represents the number of t-shirts chosen with that color. The pie represents the fact that I like pie.
I find it interesting that white is almost entirely shut out.
Also interesting: the percentages of men and women who have signed up:
What does this mean? Maybe one or both of the following:
- More men than women read my blog
- More men than women can identify with the idea of riding around in circles or otherwise expending a lot of effort without getting anywhere
Gloves Fatty Loves
Gloves get short shrift in cycling, even though they’re one of your three riding contact points (feet, butt, hands). Maybe that’s because when gloves are bad, they’re less obviously bad than shoes or shorts. Like, if your shoes don’t fit right, that can be ride-ending. If your shorts or saddle or chamois are no good, you can wind up so sore that you’ll be off the bike (and everything else) for days.
But if your gloves don’t fit, you just take them off for the rest of the ride, or deal with the mild discomfort for a couple hours.
The thing is, though, while bad gloves won’t necessarily ruin a ride, a good pair of gloves can really improve all your rides.
I’ve ridden with a lot of gloves, and have settled on three pair that take care of practically everything for me.
Hey, maybe you’ll like them, too.
But first, here’s some actual practical and useful glove tips I’ve gathered over they years.
A Quick Tip About Using Your Phone With Long-Fingered Gloves
I have mentioned before that all my gloves are long-fingered gloves. Indeed, it’s possible I have gone on about this fact at great length and with more intensity than perhaps I actually needed to. I’m not going to re-litigate that issue, but it’s probably worth mentiong this fact for those of you who might wonder why all the gloves I love are long-fingered. I just don’t own a pair of fingerless gloves.
“But how do you work your phone with long-fingered gloves?” I hear you ask. Well, here’s a little tip, which I revealed in a recent episode of The Paceline (listen to it!) but will recount here:
If you lick the tip of a gloved finger, you can then use that finger with your touch screen phone.
It’s true. Try it. Sure, it leaves your phone screen a saliva-smeared mess, but people are a lot less likely to borrow it that way.
Another Tip for Keeping Your Gloves Together in the Wash
Most gloves have a velcro closure strap. That’s a nice thing, but it can cause problems. Specifically, when you throw your gloves in the wash, the velcro grabs on to some other clothing item (usually the inside of a jersey, in my experience). It then disappears, effectively hidden by attachment to something else.
I don’t even know how many times The Hammer, The Monster, and I have temporarily had gloves get orphaned this way.
But then I figured out this clever trick: keep gloves together — and off of everything else — by velcroing them together.
Now the gloves stay with each other, instead of attaching themselves to stuff they have no business being attached to.
Our glove orphanage rate has gone way down since we’ve adopted (ha!) this technique.
Bonus Tip: You can attach gloves together like this to keep them together when stored in a drawer, in your luggage for traveling, or whereever else you move and store them. It’s a lot less easy to lose a pair of attached gloves than a single glove.
OK, now on to the gloves I love.
These are the gloves I love and wear more often than any other glove. I go through, in general, about two pairs per season, just due to constant use.
The padding is perfect for short rides, long rides, and general road and mountain bike use.
And the latest iteration of these gloves is their best yet. The back material is substantial, but wicks perfectly. The grip is padded exactly the right amount and in the right places. The velcro straps are easy to grab and peel off.
They’re comfortable for about 80% of the range of weather I’m willing to ride in, from about 50F on up.
I put them on and don’t ever think about them again for the rest of the ride, which is exactly how much you should have to think about a glove.
Specialized LoDown Gloves
When I ride a singlespeed, I use my upper body a lot. I stand for about 90% of my climbing, which means I’m putting a lot of energy through my core into my arms, which eventually translates into rowing my handlebars.
That’s a lot of effort going through my hands. And to be honest, padding in my gloves just gets in the way, folding and pinching in uncomfortable places on my palms.
I’ve learned that a good set of unpadded gloves is really nice to have for my SS riding.
And the Specialized LoDown are definitely a good set of unpadded gloves. They just pull on (elastic wrist instead of velcro closure) and stay on, fitting like the Ridge, but without any padding (and with a bit thicker, heavier of a backing material.
I don’t really know if singlespeeding was the intended purpose for these gloves, but for me, they’re just right for this kind of riding.
Plus, they’re cheap, costing closer to $20 for a pair than the $40 or so you can expect to pay for most gloves.
I don’t ride a lot in the serious cold. When it gets ugly out, I prefer to just head down in the basement and do a TrainerRoad session.
But for coldish rides, the Giro Pivot is just wonderful.
For one thing, they are warm, thanks to the fact that they do an incredible job of keeping the precip out. They’re well insulated, but not so thick and heavy-feeling that you can’t feel your brakes or shifter triggers. I can even still reach a hand into a jersey pocket with these on, grab a gel, open and eat it, and put it back in the jersey — all without taking these gloves off.
Giro’s done a remarkable job with these gloves of striking a balance between making their gloves warm enough, without making them too bulky to ride with.
I don’t claim to have a lock on knowledge of best gloves in the market, and I’m curious about what other riders use and love. So if you’ve found a kind of glove you think is great — whether in general or for a specific kind of riding or time of year — let me know in the comments.
Update: I’ve updated the description so it describes the (very simple) shipping costs for both the 100MoN and jerseys, etc. Specifically shipping on everything is free in the US, and a flat $5 shipping fee outside the US.
Hi there, and welcome to my post announcing registration for the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere. If you already know the drill and just want to go to the registration page, click here.
And for those of you who want to know what the t-shirt looks like, here you go:
And in case you’re having a hard time reading that GPS screen, here you go:
And here’s how adorable you’ll look wearing this t-shirt, as modeled by these slightly embarrassed-looking (but still smiling!) youngsters who have literally been backed into a corner for this photo:
So, if you must, go ahead and skip on to the order page. But that would mean you’d miss my very clever movie-preview-style beginning of my registration announcement, which starts now:
2016 100 Miles of Nowhere: Registration Starts NOW
(Deep, Resonant, Menacing Voice): Now…just when you thought it was safe to stop training. The 100 Miles of Nowhere is back. And this time, it’s personal.
(Deep, Resonant, Menacing Voice, But Now With a Hint of Uncertainty): OK, actually it was already about as personal as an event could be, seeing as how most people ride it alone, in a basement or in their neighborhood.
(Same Voice, But Now With Renewed Confidence): But there’s no denying…that’s pretty darned personal. Because it’s a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves. (Or with a friend. Or with twenty friends.)
What and When is the 100 Miles of Nowhere?
OK, enough announcer voice. Let’s talk about the event, starting with the obvious question: what is the 100 Miles of Nowhere? It’s a very strange thing where you pay $39.95 (NEW LOW PRICE! INCLUDES US SHIPPING ($5 Shipping Intl)! BUY NOW!) for the privilege of riding your rollers, trainer, or a very small course (like around the block or up and down a hill) for 100 miles. The profits from your entry go to Camp Kesem — camps all across the U.S. dedicated to giving kids of parents with cancer a week of carefree fun, at no cost to them.
I did the first 100 Miles of Nowhere back in 2008, by myself, back before I knew it would be annual at all. Now in its ninth year, hundreds of us — from all around the world — do it.
Then, people send me their race reports — some folks talking about their successes, some about their challenges. Some talking about their amazing and incredible efforts:
Others write about their simple and courageous attempts at going a distance they’ve never tried before.
I love all these stories and publish as many as I can on my site.
This year, the “official” date of the race is Saturday, November 11 through Sunday, November 12. Because we’re super-flexible here at 100MoN HQ. In fact, thanks to the flexibility of the event, if that weekend doesn’t work for you, you can do it another day. And that flexibility extends to whether you ride it alone or with a group of friends. It extends to the time of day: Morning? Fine. Afternoon? Awesome. After you’ve got the kids in bed and finally have some time for yourself? Perfect.
Once in a while, I hear from people who love a different sport — swimmers and runners, mostly, though I keep hoping for a rock climber. If you want to do a marathon on the treadmill, that would be awesome. If you’re a swimmer, swim five miles. I’m not picky.
And of course, the very best thing about the 100 Miles of Nowhere is that you are going to win your division. You just need to make sure your division is specific enough that there’s no chance anyone else is in it.
In short, the 100 Miles of Nowhere has become a community event for a great cause, even though we all do it alone.
Paradoxes are awesome.
How To Register, And What You Get
Registering for the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere is ridiculously easy. You just click here and select your gender (for your t-shirt sizing), your size, and what color of t-shirt you want.
Yep. As you may have guessed from all these t-shirt photos, this year you get to choose what color you want.
Which means that there are a total of 78 different possible t-shirt size/color combinations this year. I recommend you get one of each.
Crazy, I know. But a bunch of you let me know that you are sick of black event t-shirts. And I didn’t really know what to get instead. So I went with…everything. Black, grey, white, blue, red, and yellow!
I also listened to your feedback and am having handlebar race plates made. Why? Because I agree. The fact is, my handlebar race plates are my favorite, most meaningful kind of race souvenir. Check out what the back wall in The Hammer’s and my garage looks like:
I just stand and look at those race numbers sometimes. They take me back. I don’t want to not have a race number for this year’s 100MoN to put on the wall.
But the t-shirt and the race plate are all you get this year. No bags or food or bottles. Just a t-shirt and a race plate.
Why? Because that’s making it possible for me to make this year really affordable. Just $39.95, and that includes shipping in the US, with only $5 shipping added outside the US.
At that price, I really expect to sell through the limit of 500 entries pronto.
So I wouldn’t dilly-dally if I were you.
Good luck, and let me know in the comments when you’ve registered!
Bonus End-of-Season, Pre-Christmas Fat Cyclist Gear Sale
While I’ve got you putting the 100MoN registration in your cart, allow me to tempt you with a nice little upsell: All FatCyclist gear is deeply discounted.
And just like the 100MoN registration, shipping is now free in the US, with international shipping only $5.
These are, quite simply, the best-made and best-looking jerseys I have ever had. I mean, look:
And look at this, too:
These are great jerseys, at the best price I will ever sell them at. And shipping’s a bargain. I recommend you support your friendly neighborhood Fatty (me) by picking one up today, while you make your 100MoN order.
A Note from Fatty: If you came here hoping for The Monster’s LT100 Race Report, Part 2, well…you’re going to have to wait for a while. She’s a full-time college student and the soonest she’s going to be able to write part 2 will be during this weekend. I’m guessing part 3 (because I’m guessing this is at least a three-parter) might be yet another week away.
I’m probably the only person in the world who gets outrageously busy, unexpectedly. Right? Oh, that happens to you too? Good. You understand why I’ve disappeared for the past several days.
Let me assure you, though: the registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere 2016 edition will be coming soon (I know, I thought it would be this week, but it’s going to have to open this Monday instead).
Here, let me show you what the t-shirt will look like:
And since that GPS is a little bit tiny, here’s a close-up of the fields:
Between the old-time horror movie title treatment and the GPS fields, I feel like this is the most accurate 100 MoN t-shirt, ever.
But I haven’t shown you everything about it. Further, I am coyly happy to announce that the part I haven’t revealed is probably something you won’t have expected. And it’s not the back of the t-shirt, either.
I will tell you that this will be the least-expensive 100MoN ever. And that there won’t be much (OK, any) swag beyond the t-shirt. This year, it’s going to simply be about raising money for Camp Kesem. It won’t cost you much, you’ll get your t-shirt soon, and more of your money will go to Camp Kesem, instead of overhead.
So, watch for the registration to go up this Monday, and mark November 11 (the Saturday during the Camp Kesem Leadership Summit) for doing your ride (of course, you can do it later or sooner…that’s the beauty of the event).
NEW! Paceline Podcast
Of course you know that I participate in the Red Kite Prayer Paceline Podcast. And I love every single episode. But I especially love this one, because at the very end, you get to hear Duke go completely nuts when the doorbell rings.
And also you get to hear me contemplate how weird it is to find that I am now blocked by Lance Armstrong on Twitter.
Listen to The Paceline below:
You can also get more details at Red Kite Prayer, or subscribe on iTunes. Or both. Yes, now that I think about it, I definitely recommend both.
New Pinnacle Podcast
I’m also working with Yuri Hauswald on the GU Pinnacle Podcast — inspiration and information from athletes and experts at GU. In this episode, we talk with Magda Boulet, who has done a lot of inspiring things. Like, an insane number of insipiring things.
She’s represented in the Olympics — where she endured tragedy and came back stronger. She’s won the Western States 100. She’s been the NA Ultra Runner of the Year.
And most recently, she’s clobbered the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc (UTMB), the toughest, most prestigious 100-mile trail race of them all.
When she’s not destroying the field on the trail, Magda leads Innovation & Product Development at GU Energy Labs. Magda is an incredibly smart and inspiring athlete. You’re gonna love this episode of the GU Energy Pinnacle Podcast:
You can listen to it above, download it directly, or subscribe on iTunes.
What About the FattyCast?
You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t released an episode of The FattyCast in a while. That’s because I just…don’t have time, what with a new job and working on three other podcasts.
Will there be a new episode of The FattyCast? Ever? Honestly, I don’t know. I really liked doing that podcast, but my life is pretty full right now.
What About Regular Posts?
I have stuff I want to write for this blog: a post about gloves I love (really!), a post about my new road bike (hint: it’s not new and it’s not a road bike), and a writeup about the Crusher in The Tushar (I’m guessing it’s about a five-episode story, and is hardly at all about me, and is therefore a lot more interesting).
And In Conclusion
Come back Monday morning, ready to register for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. It won’t cost an arm nor a leg. (In fact, it will cost $39.95 including shipping.) And it will do a lot of good — I’ve seen myself what an amazing charity Camp Kesem is — and you’ll get an awesome t-shirt.
A Note from Fatty: I asked The Monster to write up her Leadville experience. It’s a terrific recounting of her story, and has been a lot of fun to be reminded of what it’s like to be in Leadville preparing to do this race for the first time. Enjoy!
I went into this race telling myself that I wasn’t going to let not finishing even cross my mind. Unfortunately though, as many of you I’m sure are aware, you have absolutely no control over what your mind is thinking during mile 90 of a 100+ mile race.
It was there, as I approached the final climb to Carter’s Summit, 90 miles in, that I was literally trying to breathe in between dry-heaves. “I’m gonna have to get off on walk” I thought to myself sullenly. And as though the heavens decided to sprinkle a bit of happiness down upon me, a voice exclaimed—“You’re the monster!!!!!” A sudden jolt of energy struck me back to life.
There’s no way I’m going to let anyone think that I’m suffering. I AM the monster, and monsters don’t suffer.
Now I’m not getting religious on you, I really did hear a voice reminding me of who I was. But I’ll get back to this in a moment.
The pregame of champions
We arrived in Leadville with the gloomy chance of rain every day.
That didn’t stop the Fatty Family. Because Fatty and the Hammer have both raced this race over ten times (almost double that for Fatty), they realized how important it was to know the racecourse.
Also, we got there more than a week early—what else would crazy cyclists do other than go for a leisurely 40-mile ride?
We started our first day with Powerline climb. “You’ll be able to ride this today easily—that’s why we want to do this. Race day it wont be so easy. We want to give you some confidence and show you that you can do it.”
We started the steep Powerline climb.
Slow pedal. Slow pedal. Grunt. Stand. Slip. I fought but didn’t make it. I dismounted and hiked up the last three quarters of the way up the face.
What a GREAT way to start my first day of pre-riding.
I still made it to the top of the front face faster that Fatty and the Hammer—due to their ridiculous choices of bike; they of course have to walk more than I do with their single-speeds. We met at the top of the climb, and they pulled off, as they are much faster than I am on climbs that don’t require a granny gear.
About 2 miles into the remaining 3 miles of the Powerline climb, I looked up from my front wheel to see that the Hammer was RIGHT in front of me. And not just riding right in front of me, dismounted and walking up a technical section right in front of me.
“I can totally pass her,” I thought.
But, I wasn’t the only who noticed I had caught up to her. As I tried to swiftly move past, The Hammer glanced over and, with shock on her face, flew over her top tube faster than a cowboy could mount a beloved mustang. She put her head down and attacked.
I grabbed on, but I was suffering. I could tell she was suffering too.
We crested the top of the climb together—and this marked the first climb that we ever did at our hardest, finishing within seconds of each other. I have always been SIGNIFICANTLY slower. Maybe I really was ready for this race.
A First at 12.5
On day 2 in Leadville, we took on the Columbine Climb. Knowing that this is the dreaded crux of the Leadville 100 race, and after going hard the previous day, I had low expectations for the outcome of this ride. There was a bit of confidence still looming around from the tight finish between my mom and I on the Powerline climb, but I didn’t know how much I had in me.
Again they told me “we want you to experience what it is like to ride this whole thing, on race day it won’t be rideable.”
We approached the last quarter of the climb, where the trail gets stupid-steep.
Slow pedal. Slow pedal. Grunt. Stand. Slip. I didn’t make it. Again.
But this time, Fatty was there to comfort me. “If you look over there to that ridge [he pointed way out to the left] well, you really have to look. Like squint even—here I have some binoculars. You can see the top. Only a bit of climbing left.”
A Bit . Great.
I moved my eyes from the ridge back to the trail. My head craned upward toward the sky to meet the top of the steep trail. I let out a sigh, and started hiking.
About 84 hours later, we DID finally make it to the top. What a close ridge we were climbing to.
Being my first time at 12,500 feet, we took advantage of the wonderful photo-op, and had some lunch before heading back down.
I decided to take this descent into my own hands though: I wanted to see how fast I could get down it since I was disappointed with the ascent. I let Fatty and the Hammer leave first; I was struggling to put on my arm warmers. I also looked down to see that my shoe had come untied.
As they pulled off, I leaned over to tie my shoe—I have Giros with real laces—and after struggling for about 30 seconds, I realized I literally couldn’t remember how to tie it. I guess this is what it’s like to be at 12,500 feet.
I dismounted and sat down, eventually figuring out how wrap the lace around the bunny ears and pull it into a bow. Finally.
I hopped back on, and started ripping down the steep loose section. My favorite. I was flying, and in no time, I caught up to Fatty and the Hammer. I passed them, and the three of us passed someone hiking up the climb. Someone wrecked. I didn’t look back. I was on a mission.
Before I knew it, I was at the bottom. Based on strava, I really was flying.
Let’s zoom in on this precious piece of art.
That’s right. There’s me, on the same leaderboard as the 4x Leadville 100 winner, Rebecca Rusch, AND a 2016 olympian, Anika Langvad. I really WAS ready for this race.
Fast and Steady Wins the Race
To finish off our pre-riding, we decided to make a loop out of St. Kevins and the boulevard.
To be honest, I was stoked for this ride.
I must be peaking.
This is every cyclists dream: peaking the week before a well-anticipated race. The fire beneath my feet had been re-ignited, and I was ready to spin some dirt.
We left the house and I was feeling great. Fatty, The Hammer, and I were forming a pace-line for the road to Kevin’s. Normally pacelines with these two are incredibly painful for me. While they are working at their comfortable level, I am always struggling and fighting to stay attached to their rear wheel. This time was different.
We turned off the pavement, and I spun around to see that the Fatty Family was not with me—they were about 50 feet back. I waited for them to catch up, and asked them what was up.
“Nothing is up with us” Elden preceded to tell me. “Something is up with you. You are riding like a speed demon”.
Elden then told me that he was going to give this climb everything he had, and I decided to tag along because I was feeling so great. Also, no one talks about St. Kevin’s… therefore it must not be that big of a deal.
We passed the indicative starting-line gate of the Kevin’s climb, and Fatty blasted off. I put my head down, and surged with what I could. Moments later, I looked up and Fatty was completely out of sight.
I surged on.
A Shift of Tides
It took him five seconds—FIVE SECONDS—to drop me.
I approached the steepest section of the climb—one I in fact did NOT anticipate. I thought this was the climb that no one talked about??
Slow pedal. Slow pedal. Grunt. Stand.
I crested the top of the climb, and made the sharp left that indicates the top of the steep stuff and where things will “even out,” as The Hammer puts it, on race day.
I looked up to find Fatty hunched over his bike—demoralized, but not in pain. “Are you alright?”
“Ride on,” he said steeply.
So I did—and this marked the first climb I finished faster than both the Hammer AND Fatty.
I was elated.
We finished the ride—or maybe we didn’t. I seriously can’t remember, because I was so happy.
But as we approached the house we were staying at, something didn’t feel right. My stomach did a front flip, and I dismounted my bike—and dove for the toilet.
I stayed like this for the next three days.
PS From Fatty: …and that’s where she’ll pick up in the next installment!
Suppose, if you will, that I were going to, for some reason or other, start a circus. I would not call that circus a zoo, because it’s not a zoo. If I were to call my circus a zoo, well…that would be misleading and would probably really disappoint the people who were hoping to see a real live woolly mammoth at a zoo.
Sure, they’d be disappointed even if I had started a zoo and called it a zoo, because my zoo wouldn’t have the woolly mammoth they were hoping for. I don’t think you could reasonably call their disappointment my fault, though. Unless I happened to name my Zoo the “Actual Live Woolly Mammoth on Premises Zoo.” Which is something I probably would be prone to do, if I’m being honest with myself. So I guess it’s a good thing I have no plans to open a zoo. Nor a circus.
Also, I no longer have any idea what my original point was when I started this argument.
No, wait. Now I remember. You shouldn’t give something a name that leads people to believe it’s something it’s not.
Which is a real shaggy dog approach (within this shaggy dog of a race report) to me saying that The Hammer and I reached the Carter’s Summit mini-aid station, and then kept on climbing.
Which means Carter’s Summit is no summit at all. So it should be called Carter’s “Hey You’re Pretty Close to the Summit” aid station. Or something like that, but maybe a little more concise and catchy.
Just a thought.
Big Pitch, Last Descent
I think both The Hammer and I were feeling elated at this point. Energized and excited about the fact that somehow, she had turned it around. Somehow, she had gone from maybe not even finishing as fast as her previous SS best to likely being twenty minutes faster.
The Hammer rides a strong second half.
A little more climbing, a quick descent, a sharp turn, and one grunt of a steep pitch — one that most people, exhausted by what this race has done to them — walk.
We both rode it. Cleaned it. Crushed it.
We took our time descending St. Kevins. Not lollygagging. No. But not pushing it, either. In the nineteen times I’ve done this race, I’ve seen well over a dozen people flatted or crashed out on this “easy” descent.
I got to the bottom a little before The Hammer, made the right turn onto the dirt road that leads to the pavement connecting to the last climb of the day, The Boulevard.
Everyone Knows It’s…
I coasted, waiting for The Hammer to catch me. Then I stopped and put a foot down, wondering why she hadn’t caught me yet.
The Hammer flew by, yelling, “Can you feel this incredible tailwind?”
I hadn’t thought about it. But she was right. When we had turned onto the dirt road, this ordinarily flat part of the trail had felt distinctly…downhill.
Now that I thought about it, this wasn’t just a tailwind, it was a strong tailwind. A perfect tailwind. At the perfect place in the race.
I sat up straight and flung my arms out, making myself into as big of a sail as possible. No need to pedal, this wind was more powerful than we could spin a singlespeed gear.
“What if,” The Hammer said, “we had a wind like this, but in our faces?”
It was a sobering thought.
“I think,” I replied, “that we’d have to say goodbye to that record you’ve been chasing.”
We had been so lucky during this race. It had never really gotten hot during the day, and wind hadn’t been a real factor — until now, when it was suddenly going to be a huge factor in our favor.
I thought another moment, then said, “The way things are, though, I think it might be time for us to start thinking about a new best-case finish time.”
Somehow, the tailwind stayed a tailwind, even as we made the final few turns. Like it was intent on fiercely blowing us into town. Along the dirt, up the pavement, and even up the Boulevard.
Side by side. up the road, cresting it…and there it was: the red carpet.
My nineteenth finish, but the first time I’d ridden this race with someone. My best finish. My most meaningful finish.
“I am so incredibly proud of you,” I said. “I love you so much.”
Out of the crowd, Couch and Car joined us, running behind us as The Hammer and I crossed the line, hands clasped.
We each kept a hand on a grip, because neither of us are dared ride no-handed that close to another rider.
My only regret for the entirety of this race is that the twins jumped in after we had ridden by them; we never knew they were with us ’til we had crossed the line. Honest, girls, we would have slowed up for you.
9:26:19. A new women’s singlespeed record (by almost exactly twenty-five minutes)…which had been, of course, also set by the current women’s singlespeed record holder.
Hugs and photos and laughing. Usually This had been the best finish in the best race I had ever done. Having my twins and wife with me here: incredible.
But there was one family member missing from this group: The Monster.
Now our wait for her would begin.
Return of The Monster
As The Hammer and I cooled down, David Houston came up to us. I was happy to see him — David is one of those genuinely nice people who loves to do things for others — but also sad: the last time we had seen him, he was riding up Columbine. This meant he hadn’t finished. Next time.
Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that he had ridden sixty miles with around 6000 feet of climbing and therefore had the right to feel plenty tired himself, David bustled around, taking our bikes from us so we didn’t have to worry about them. Taking photos. Giving me the hat off his head I wouldn’t burn.
Then The Hammer and I went back into the finishers’ area and began staring down the finishing stretch. Watching for The Monster’s blue bike, blue kit and blue shoes, and her very distinctive riding style.
Twenty minutes goes by — the amount of time we had heard The Monster was behind us at Twin Lakes.
Thirty minutes goes by. The Hammer begins to get nervous. “I hope she’s OK.”
Thirty five minutes goes by. I’m also beginning to get nervous. People I know are crossing the finish line, and I’m giving them only perfunctory congratulations. I hope they understand.
Christina Ross — The Hammer’s competition on the singlespeed — comes in with a finish time of 10:00:01. How awesome, to have a palindrome for a finish time. (Better than a palindrome, really, because you could turn it upside down or look at it in a mirror and it would still be the same.)
“I should go congratulate Christina,” The Hammer says. But she can’t tear her eyes away from the finish line. And to be honest, I can’t either. (And for what it’s worth, Christina has about thirty people crowd around her when she finishes anyway.)
Forty minutes goes by. I’m worried now. I know that The Monster tends to just let the downhills fly, and that she crashes a lot. And there are a couple of big descents in the final twenty miles of the race.
Without saying anything to The Hammer — saying the opposite, in fact — I am becoming certain that The Monster has crashed, or at least flatted and was at that moment learning how to change a flat tire.
Then, at 10:12 — fourteen minutes less than an hour after The Hammer finished, for those of you keeping track of their contest — The Monster rolled in (alongside DB, another great Friend of Fatty).
The Hammer grabbed her in a great big hug, and The Monster began to cry.
And cry and cry and cry and cry. Big huge sobs. Not because of pain, but just because. This race does that to a lot of people.
“I can’t lift my legs over my bike,” The Monster said.
“Give me the handlebars and I’m going to lay the bike down,” I replied, and The Monster stepped over. I couldn’t help but laugh: I had done the exact same thing for her mother the first time she had finished the Leadville 100, sixteen years earlier.
I looked over at The Hammer. She had noticed.
The next morning, we went to the awards ceremony. The Hammer, of course, had won the women’s SS division:
The Monster took second in her age group:
And they both were (and are) just straight-up amazing competitors — both as proud of each other as I am of both of them.
And I’m pretty sure that’s about as happily-ever-after of a finish as a race report could ever be.
PS: I haven’t included much of The Monster’s story, because it’s hers to tell.
PPS: Many of you have wondered about the 2016 100 Miles of Nowhere. Details will be coming for it next week.
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