A Note from Fatty: Today’s 100 Miles of Nowhere race report comes from Amy Thompson, who is one of the three nicest people in the whole world.
100 Miles seemed an impossible distance to me. Until four years ago, I would not have even considered it. Four years ago, my husband Dave, signed us up for the ride explaining that we needed to push our son, Rob, to do longer rides. Rob sustained a brain injury six years ago when he was 19. Dave built a tandem three wheeled trike to help in Rob’s recovery. Dave sits in the back and Rob is in a recumbent position in the front.
Dave has been cycling seriously since high school. One hundred miles isn’t a big deal for him.
Rob loves to bike. When he began to speak after emerging from his coma, he regularly asked if he could bike. They were both eager to do a 100 mile ride.
Suffering on a bike is not my idea of a fun time. But this was not about fun, this was about a cause; helping Rob walk again. So I reluctantly agreed.
Our first 100 Miles of Nowhere took more than a month. We would bike about twelve miles at a time. After which, Rob’s legs would tense and shake involuntarily from the workout. I was worried it was hurting Rob. Dave was worried he wasn’t tolerating longer distances. Like many parents, we had different ideas about what Rob needed.
Rob and Dave continued to ride throughout the year. I continued to believe that Dave pushed Rob too hard. Often I chose not to ride with them because it was hard for me to watch. Rob’s legs would rub against the tires during a ride because he didn’t have enough muscle strength to keep his knees from splaying out during a ride. We didn’t realize how bad it was until we took his jeans off and saw the raw sores on the outside of his legs. Dave had to add bars coming up from the pedals to strap Rob’s legs in place so they wouldn’t rub against the tires.
In 2012 Dave signed us up again. Not only was he expecting us to ride, we were going to get up early and drive nearly two hours to ride with other people. I was furious. I thought Dave was setting us up for failure. What I didn’t expect was how nice and supportive the FOF’s were. We rode a 20 mile loop chatting with other riders. Rob was in heaven with all the attention. As we headed for home, Dave started planning the 2013 ride.
Three years after Rob’s accident, we were riding the Livestrong Challenge in Davis and setting a new record, 43.6 miles. It took us longer to ride those 43 miles than it took Elden and Lisa to ride the 100 mile course. I remember saying to Elden after the ride, “I can’t imagine ever being able to ride 100 miles. How do you do it?”
“You just keep doing it and it gets easier and easier,” Elden said. “You could do it.”
I wanted to laugh. But Elden was sincere. I knew he believed that.
This year we rode 60 miles at Levi’s Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa. Well, honestly, Dave and Rob rode 60 miles. I hiked several of the hills and biked the rest. Several times during the day I recalled my conversation with Elden. I knew I could do 60 miles that day. At the end of the day, Rob was tired but his legs weren’t shaking. Dave and I were both amazed at Rob’s progress.
A month later we hosted and rode laps from our house for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. Dave invited 20 people and I stocked up for 20ish hungry cyclists. We had to move the date at the last minute because of rain. Only one other rider showed up, Steve Banks.
I was hoping to set a new record for myself, but it wasn’t my day. Dave and Rob, however, biked 65 miles, a metric 100mon. They biked as long as they could. For the first time since they have ridden together, they both hit the wall. Dave considered that a huge accomplishment.
I am so proud of both of them.
I still think 100 miles is a crazy long ride. Now, I know some day the three of us will do it. All we have to do is keep riding until it gets easier and easier. After all, it’s for a good cause.
A Note from Fatty: I’ve still got several really great 100 Miles of Nowhere stories I want to post, but I’ve also been missing writing stories of my own. So, for this next couple of weeks, I’m going to alternate days between posts of my own, and 100MoN stories.
This will give me time to move forward with the project I’m working on, which I plan to unveil a week from today.
I blame the wetsuit.
Someone or something has to take responsibility for the fact that between August and September, The Hammer and I did three triathalongs: an Olympic-distance, a half-iron distance, and an XTerra. And since The Hammer had signed us up for all three of these triathalongs due to the fact that BlueSeventy had generously given her a top-of-the-line Helix wetsuit as one of the perks of being a World Bicycle Relief Ambassador.
So there we were, in Huntsvile, Utah (a scenic little town, close to Ogden), about to begin a half-iron distance triathalong (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). Which I had not even come close to training for, at all.
But we were there anyway, for The Hammer to crush the race, and for me to bluff my way through it.
So here you go, BlueSeventy: a shot of The Hammer, in her wetsuit, right before the race.
Obviously, she’s in a good mood here: happy, having fun, looking forward to the events.
I, on the other hand, was not happy, even before the race began.
And I was about to get a lot unhappier.
By way of explanation, I’m going to need to back up a little. Like, all the way to the beginning.
And, yes, I’m going to have to talk about toilets. Sorry, It’s unavoidable.
Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Attending any triathalong is an intimidating experience. Signing up for one with as intimidating a name as “2014 Utah State Triathlon Championship” is flat-out terrifying.
I had no business at such an official-sounding, championshipily-named race.
But then we got to the packet pickup, held at the Huntsville City Park (where the Bike to Run transition and Finish Line would also be), and my intimidation vanished. Because, in spite of the formidable-sounding name, there just weren’t a lot of us there. A few hundred, maybe. And of that few hundred, I’d say barely a hundred of us were doing the half-iron distance race (the rest were doing Olympic- and Sprint-distance races).
We went through the body-marking ritual, wherein we got our division and age Sharpied on our calves, then went to pick up our packets.
At which point, I asked where the porta-potties are.
“Well, we don’t have any at this area,” the race director told me. “But the park has a restroom, over there.”
“Really?” I replied. “You have packet pickup, a transition, the finish, a post-race picnic, and awards here…but no porta-potties?”
“Yeah, but there are porta-potties at the starting line area.”
Having urgent business to conduct, The Hammer and I got in line at the park restroom—The Hammer’s was shorter, because there were fewer women racing—and waited for our turns. I brought several squares of paper towel with me, not trusting there would be toilet paper in this bathroom by the time I got there.
We waited for a long time. On the positive side, however, I did not have to wipe with paper towels.
Then, finally, business taken care of—for now—we got our stuff together and rode our bikes to the Swim-Bike transition. We racked our bikes, laid out our stuff, and then, while The Hammer started getting into her fancy new wetsuit, I went to one of the porta-potties.
I had more business to conduct.
Terror and Delight
“How odd,” I thought to myself, as I walked to the porta-potty. “There’s no line to any of the porta-potties.” I thought no more of this, however, as I had things to do.
Then, as I was doing the things I needed to do, I heard a voice from outside—or quite possibly, from inside a different porta-potty—call out, “Does anyone have some toilet paper they could lend me?
For the first time since sitting, I glanced to my left.
Nothing. Not a spare to square.
“No, I’ve got nothing,” I called out…right about the same time a couple of other people called out the same thing from other porta-potties.
That’s right. This race had porta-potties…but no toilet paper.
My fury was matched only by my consternation and misery. What was I going to do?
And then, a moment of pure relief: I remembered that, stuffed into the zippered pocket of the hoodie I was wearing, were those several squares of paper towel I had earlier pocketed, just in case.
I laughed aloud. This kind of bathroom luck simply does not happen to me.
OK, maybe sometimes it does.
I finished what needed finishing, came out of the porta-potty, and then became the hero of the day to three or four people: I handed out my remaining paper towel squares.
A few minutes later, the fire department arrived (yes really, the fire department), bringing many rolls of Charmin.
By then, however, I was suited up and taking photos of The Hammer on the beach. Like this one:
I know, I’ve already shown you this photo. But this time, I want you to note that The Hammer is wearing a yellow swim cap. This meant that she—like I—would be starting in the second wave of swimmers, about five minutes after the younger wave (wearing white swim caps) left.
This fact will become significant, later.
With photos taken, we were ready to go.
Humming to Myself
The Hammer and I, along with the other hundred or so racers, waded into the water. It wasn’t cold, and there was no wind. I moved back to the very very back of the group of yellow caps. I had learned my lesson in the previous triathalong: I needed to start out very slow if I didn’t want to find myself panicked and out of breath.
“I’m not racing,” I told myself, repeatedly. “I’m doing this swim, and then my race begins. The race doesn’t include the swim. The swim is just the entry fee to the race.”
And it worked. Five or so minutes after the first wave of racers took off, we did too. I swam slow on purpose at first, humming the tune the soldiers sing in the wicked witch’s castle in The Wizard of Oz: “Oh-EE-oh (breathe in) ee-OH-um,” and repeat.
Except it didn’t go so bad this time. I just crawled along for my 1.2 miles, not worrying about going fast.
I got out of the water, stripped the wetsuit off, put my shoes and helmet on as I ate a couple packets of Honey Stingers Energy Chews, then grabbed my Shiv off the rack and walked out of the transition area.
I would have run, but I’m always really unsteady on my feet after a long swim. Walking was the best I could do.
Oh No, Not Again
I climbed onto my bike, then made the sharp right turn that put me on the road parallel to where the bikes were racked. I was looking for The Hammer as I went by where her bike should be racked, and—sure enough—there she was. Just a couple minutes behind me. She yelled for me, I yelled for her, and then I took off, hoping against hope that I would be able to use the bike portion of this race to increase the slim lead I had enough that she wouldn’t be able to catch me during the run.
Yeah, I’m a little bit competitive like that.
The road crested and turned slightly downhill, and my legs were feeling warmed up enough that I felt it was time to move to the big ring.
I just love how responsive Shimano Ultegra Di2 is. “Electronic shifting is so wonderful,” I thought to myself.
I picked up speed and went to shift to a taller gear, to start really flying. This would be where I’d start passing people.
I tapped the button at the end of my aero bar to shift.
I pressed the button harder.
I tried the other direction.
Nothing nothing nothing.
I tried shifting my front derailleur back to the small ring.
It worked fine. So it wasn’t the battery. I shifted back to the big ring.
I couldn’t believe it. In the entire history of my Shiv, in the entire history of my using electronic shifting, I have had problems with Di2 exactly twice. And the other time was also when I was racing a half Ironman.
“Last time it just eventually got better by itself,” I thought, so waited for a minute and then tried shifting.
“Maybe the battery isn’t seated correctly,” I thought (foolishly, since I had just finished proving to myself that the battery was working fine). I climbed off my bike, removed the battery, put it back in, and took off again.
Nothing. Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I think I was definitely leaning more toward crying.
People passed me as I rode slowly, trying to figure what was going on. People passed me as I got off my bike, trying to reboot my bicycle.
“There was some combination of buttons I was supposed to press and hold down to reset this thing,” I thought. And I began pressing and holding and pressing and double-pressing every button in every possible way.
Nothing. Lots and lots of nothing.
People passed me.
A light went on in my head. “Maybe the cable that connects to the rear derailleur got unseated while we were driving here, or while the bike was racked.”
I pulled over again, climbed off, pulled the lead out, blew into it for luck, pushed it back in, and got in my bike.
Nothing. Still nothing.
I gave up. “So I guess I’m singlespeeding this race,” I thought, knowing that this easy gear wasn’t going to let me go any faster than 20mph for the entire course.
I exhaled, hard, as still more people passed me, and tried to get used to it.
But I couldn’t get used to it. I just couldn’t.
Which is where we’ll pick up in the next installment of this story.
A Note from Fatty: Today’s race report comes to you from Jeffrey R. I love his story and course interpretation. You’ve got to stick around for what his course breadcrumb looks like.
I’ve always wanted to ride the 100Miles of Nowhere but didn’t ever want to do it alone and could never find a group to ride with me (looks like they were the smart ones). And I almost didn’t participate this year. When registration opened up and I saw the price, I was forced to think really hard about it. But, then I decided that Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches are highly under-rated. And besides, the money would be going to a worthy cause.
I had to work at my daughter’s preschool the day of the actual race so I opted to ride on Sunday. No problem. I still figured I would finish before everyone else in my division.
5am Sunday morning. Woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. Or something like it.
Now, this is a one car family so I’d be getting myself to the start line. But, I figured I could count the miles to and from home and that’d be OK with the race officials. Besides, I’d be carrying all my own water and snacks with me so the miles weren’t free. I loaded up my backpack with a couple extra large water bottles, some trailmix and some of the swag from the box and headed out. 7.5 miles later and I was at the start line.
Yup, still dark outside. That’s not even the sunrise, it’s the beautiful glow from the horse track behind the hill.
So, off I go. It was still dark out so I stayed on the perimeter and interior paved paths for the first few laps until it started getting lighter. And then it was time to hit the trails.
Around and around I went. And it was all easy cruising until about 8:30am. That’s apparently when the doors are opened and they release the dogs walking their humans and the coffee zombies. And the dogs walking their coffee zombies. So the speed came down and the calls of, “on your left” and “bicycle” could be heard throughout the park.
The great thing about the Spectacular Berkeley Marina Mixed-Terrain, Gravel Grinder, Cyclocross Extravaganza is that there is no set course. You are free to ride wherever you want and that keeps it interesting. You decide when to go off road or stay on. You decide which trails to take and if you go left or right. You decide which trail has the least amount of traffic to steer clear of the coffee zombies.
Let’s try this trail. Let’s see what’s at the top of this hill. I wonder where this goes. Oops. Not gonna take that one again. And luckily, there were no wrong turns because they all led back to the same place. Right where I’d dropped off my backpack full of snacks and extra water.
But then, right about noon, my preferred pit location was filled with spectators who had come to lend a helping hand. And they came with food. Lots and lots of food. And PIE!!! Look at that beautiful apple pie. Yummy.
They, of course, thought I was crazy when I told them how far I still had to ride.
And all too soon it was time to head back out onto the course. My 4 year old daughter brought her bike and led me for a lap. And then it was time for them to return home and I was once again left alone with my thoughts.
Round and round I went. Back and forth. Up and over. Around and through. The day was getting long and the wind was starting to build. Less off road. More on road. Who’s idea was this anyway? No wonder none of my friends ever wanted to join me. This is just ridiculous. And the miles ticked by. And the wind grew stronger. And the loneliness set in.
And then, suddenly, it was time to head back home. 95 miles done. If I took a couple shortcuts, I’d be home right on target. I grabbed my backpack from where I’d locked it and was glad that it was lighter than when I started out in the morning. Pedal home. Watch out for traffic. Can I catch that light? No, Ok, time for a mini break. Green light, time to go again. Home again. Whew.
And I looked at my GPS and I’d ridden 101.5 miles.
Exactly 1.5 miles too far. Which is exactly 1 lap of the Berkeley Marina. Sigh.
A Note from Fatty: Today’s 100 Miles of Nowhere race report comes to you courtesy of Martin B, who first caught my attention when he posted this shot of himself on Twitter as he was riding Ragbrai, on a fat bike:
Clearly, this is a man to be reckoned with. Plus I like his choice in clothing and his hair style, for some reason.
Anyway, when he started tweeting that he was going to do his 100 Miles of Nowhere as a gravel grinder, I got excited…and a little bit suspicious. Excited if he was going to really make it a “nowhere” ride—a true short course going around, on a gravel course, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, sounds about as perfectly “100 Miles of Nowhere” as is possible.
But I was also suspicious: was this going to really be what he was going to do? Or was he going to just do an epic 100 mile point to point at night and call it his “100 Miles of Nowhere?”
Note that there’d be nothing wrong with that; it just wouldn’t be quite as “nowhere,” as it were.
As it turns out, I had no reason to be suspicious.
100MoN: Winner of the Iowa County Gravel Grinder In the Dead of Night Division
2014 has been the year of gravel. I dipped my toe into the gravel scene last year and was hooked. I bought a fat bike and rode the gravel roads all winter, signed up to ride Dirty Kanza (the 100 mile “Half Pint” version), and even rode RAGBRAI on my fat bike.
I was having a ball.
So, when Elden announced the date for the 2014 100MoN, I knew I had to ride it and I knew exactly what that ride would be. It had to be on gravel. And to make it more interesting I decided to do it at night because I needed experience riding in the dark.
In hindsight I should have thought about it a little bit more.
Since I’d done several century rides this year I didn’t give much thought to preparation. I’d ridden Dirty Kanza in May and the memory of my suffering had long since been forgotten.
It didn’t take long for my legs to remind me that I should have prepared more.
With less than a week until the ride, I started thinking about my nutrition plan, what I was going to wear, and what music I wanted on my iPod. My box of swag for entering the 100MoN came in handy. I supplemented it with some peanut butter sandwiches, some small cans of Coke and baggies of almonds and peanut M&Ms and pretzels.
The day before the ride, I was ready, except I hadn’t yet chosen a route. I knew I’d ride somewhere west of town but not much beyond that. So off I went Friday afternoon to do some reconnaissance.
Friday afternoon reconnaissance 15 miles west of Williamsburg, Iowa. Love the jersey!
There were several possibilities, but all had tons of climbing. Finally, I found a loop that measured a mile square and had “just” 304 feet of climb for each 4-mile loop. That works out to around 7600 ft of climb (Eric Gunnerson: I was happy to get it down to this).
My route was in the middle of nowhere. Five farm homes and two abandoned homes.
Up and down. Up and down. 7600 feet of climbing.
I had a four-mile loop with just over a mile of “Level B” road. In Iowa those are the roads that receive no maintenance. They can be full of ruts, random rocks and debris, and usually no gravel whatsoever.
“Minimum maintenance” roads = Primitive.
I mentioned my route to someone who lives near there, and she cautioned me to be on my guard for coyotes. “They love to hunt along those “B” roads. Bring mace,” she advised.
Day of Reckoning
The forecast called for calm and nighttime temps hovering right at 50 degrees. Perfect. I loaded up the car and headed out to my staging location. At the edge of town, I realized I’d left my warm clothes and food back at the house. Damn. I’m glad I went back.
I got to “home base” around six. A family on the route was gracious enough to let me use their property as my headquarters. Sunset was around 6:30. A riding partner of mine, Mike, showed up to ride the first 25 miles with me.
Mike and I hit the road around 6:30. We did one lap before darkness took over. The moon set shortly after the sun, so I had dark skies the whole night. One lap done, no problem. Laps two, three, four, easy. We took a nature break on lap five (20 miles) and pulled in again after lap six. It was 8:30 and Mike was heading home to heat, food and TV.
Mike (on the left) looks happy. He’s heading home after riding 24 miles.
My lights were working well. I had no trouble seeing the road and any hazards that lie ahead. About two months ago I’d bought a Salsa Fargo with the intention of using it for long gravel rides. Tonight would be my longest ride on the Fargo. It was comfortable all night and descended the gravel roads like a champ.
Love this bike!
Around mile 35 a group of deer ran across the road just ahead of me. You’ve all seen Bambi.
Well, up close and personal Bambi is a freight train that could send me flying into the next county. Now I’ve got to worry about deer bursting from the fields and man-eating coyotes.
I learned a few things about riding at night.
- It gets really cold in low-lying areas.
- You can’t tell how steep a hill is if you can’t see it.
- You can’t see what you’re eating.
- You can’t see your Garmin so you never know what speed you’re going. I like knowing my cadence, average speed, climb, yada, yada, yada. But tonight I would be in the dark when it came to my riding performance (pun intended).
What I saw for nine hours
At mile 48, I picked up a baggie of almonds and M&Ms and dropped about five unwrapped snack-size Snicker Bars into my Revelate Designs Gas Tank. Trick or Treat to me!
I ate the rest of a Subway sandwich, and got a fresh bottle filled with CarboRocket. This is my new favorite drink. Raspberry Lemonade is wonderful.
You’ll note I’m not mentioning my hardworking support crew. That’s because there was no support crew. My friends were home in bed.
It was now around 11pm and time to start the second half of my 100MoN. Only 13 laps to go. I noticed it had gotten really cold. This didn’t feel like 50 degrees. I learned later that it was in the high 30s. I hadn’t planned on temps that cold.
I felt warmer after a couple of laps. Sometime around mile 60 I dropped my water bottle. As I turned around to pick it up I noticed something large and black coming straight for me. I started screaming, hoping to scare the beast away. Was it a dog? A panther? A raccoon? Nope. It was my shadow. Headlights on dark nights can play tricks on you. Trick or Treat on me!
I picked up the water bottle. I didn’t bother wiping off the dust because I knew it would have a fresh coating in a few miles anyway. Down to the bottom of turn two. Stay to the right and miss the washboards. Halfway up the hill, get to the middle of the road where there’s less gravel.
Crest the hill and stay in the middle because it’s smoother there. Go another half-mile and turn south at the cemetery. This is a little downhill segment that I could get up to 22 miles an hour. Up over the first two stair step hills at a good clip, then crawl up step three at 5 miles an hour.
Then it’s downhill again at 22 miles an hour. Turn west on the “B” road and hang on.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Here, the video kind of tells the story:
I stopped at mile 72 for something to eat and sat inside the heated workshop that my host family opened up for me to use (flush toilet!).
Done Is Not Done
I was shivering. It was 1:00 am. By my calculations I could be at this until 4 am. I had hoped to finish around two. I went outside.
I looked at my bike and said to myself, ‘I’m done.’
But it didn’t seem right to quit at 72 miles. Who does that? I would feel better if I quit at 75, so I got back on the bike for one more lap.
Somewhere around mile 80 I spied two glowing eyes on the road ahead. Coyote? A Cougar? I could barely make out the shape of its sloped back. My blood went cold(er): Hyena!!!
Then the deer turned its head and walked away. Those weren’t the eyes of any normal deer; he was on this earth to claim the souls of those unlucky to cross its path.
Of that I’m sure.
Aftermath of my encounter with a soul-sucking deer with glowing eyes
Then the countdown was on. Five laps to go. Then four. I was going to miss the four spent shotgun shells lying in the road. I was going to miss the dirt-caked vegetation on the side of the road that look strangely like dirt-covered snow that refuses to melt in late spring.
At 3:30 am, I pulled into the farm drive for the last time. I took a few pictures and let folks know I had finished.
Riding at night is dark. It’s lonely and quiet. The stars were spectacular. I learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of doing when I’m cold, tired and hungry.
Thanks, Fatty. You make cycling interesting.
I’m glad it’s over.
I actually rode faster than the 0.2mph this shows!
A Note from Fatty: Today’s 100 Miles of Nowhere race report comes from Jeff DeVries AKA “ClyedeinKS.” It’s super double awesome. Enjoy!
Oh, where to begin for this writeup?
Could it be that for this past year I have had an amazing amount of ride envy in reading ride and race reports, as my riding has taken an incredible hit with other activities seeming to take precedence?
Should I mention that leading up to the weekend Strava laughs at me when I see my yearly totals of 91 miles and 9 rides (clearly short rides—as time allowed with baseball coaching, rides with my son, and a 6 mile Corporate Challenge TT race (podiumed that one in 2nd place!))?
Could it be that this is my 3rd year for the 100 MoN and neither of the other two reached a full 100 miles (last year’s Spin & Bid ride was the closest, with cramping and many pedestrians limiting the total to 66 miles).
Could it be that I have never been able to finish a century ride yet with MS ride coordinators determining that rain and mother nature would prevail, limiting me to a 75-mile personal best a couple of years ago?
I guess that’s a good lead-in to know where my base stood, but this year presented some other challenges as well. Weather was a concern as we’d already experienced rainy days in the 40’s but this past weekend was looking to cooperate: dry, sunny, and in the 80’s.
The local weather never seems to mention the wind speed.
I am currently extremely limited in time (who isn’t?), with any spare time devoted to studying for an advanced certification exam coming up in the next weeks (just a bit of stress knowing it carries a 60% success rate for initial takers). With the studying being a continued need this weekend, I knew I was needing to be forced onto the trainer.
Yes there was going to be some studying during this ride, with the book propped up against my aero bars, but as the ride was starting, it was going to wait.
My sons decided they wanted to be in the basement with me, with my youngest saying “I’m gonna watch you race Daddy.” I figured it would be hard reasoning with him and trying to explain a race on the trainer, so I let it go. They both decided it would be movie time while I rode so we began watching Captain America – The Winter Soldier.
We had fun sharing a mask through the movie.
This day of riding was going to need be split up, due to a “Costume Piano Recital”— interesting concept indeed, but it went well and I had 35.02 miles done in an hour and 25 minutes. I remembered why the trainer is such a dreaded, but also very effective tool. I also realized my lack of riding time was requiring a saddle break-in period.
Not a fun realization.
Back to the Pain Cave
Following the recital and some family time, it was back to pain cave on the trainer. As I got back on, and now repositioning my saddle to somewhere near my diaphragm, I determined I was dedicating this year’s ride: to remember a Grandfather taken by cancer, to honor my Father who has survived and overcome his battle with Leukemia, Camp Kesem because of course the ride supports them but also because of the incredibly awesome work they do, and also for a friend battling cancer (and other challenges) in hopes to help fuel their fight.
Last year’s Spin & Bid 100 MoN truly came together with the additional silent auction, volunteer support, and city approval for the event through the assistance of a past patient and friend. This individual has been battling cancer for I believe the past year (maybe year and half) with many ups and downs, and through this weekend she was going through procedures and battling stays within the ICU, while recovering from the procedures.
I got into a groove on the trainer Saturday early evening and churned out another 40.04 miles in an hour and 41 minutes. I had originally planned for 25 miles but the mindset for ridiing for others shot me past that and ultimately helped me for the next day, with more time constraints leaving a small window of time. But this ride was going to completed outside on an approximately 1.5 mile loop.
Sunday afternoon I needed to stop at a work location and work on some equipment, so my ride was heading there. As I mentioned earlier, we were blessed with sunny temps in the mid 80’s.
I was stopped at a red light nearing my clinic and realized I was destined for more pain. The picture doesn’t give justice to the weather channel app, stating wind at 24mph. So to move forward into that, must I be going at least 25 mph to creep ahead? Yea, I know my physics memory wasn’t accurate and my mind was playing games with me!
As I climbed back onto my bike and now felt very comfortable with my saddle positioned squarely between my shoulder blades, I was ready to finish my multi-event. Of course it started into that headwind. As I pre-planned this route, I believed it to be a rectangle with the short ends only affected by the wind.
When I got on the course, I realized I was very wrong and it was more oval shaped and much more into the wind than I had planned for. Oddly the way the wind was blowing and without any true tree or buildings to block the wind I seemed to have a tail wind for only about a 1/3 of the loop – but the 1/3 was heaven-sent.
Tucking into the aero bars wasn’t seeming to have any benefit, could be due to my bike fit resulting from tinkering and trial-and-error? or again riding with my saddle now creeping higher, encroaching the neck? This pain in a headwind gave me an analogy for my friend’s fight and others battling the same. I hear many times “why me” or “why isn’t this working” or “what am I doing wrong” while a twisted natural occurring mutation is battling their body and their wills. I was facing naturally occurring headwinds and body pains that were battling my body and will.
I knew now there wasn’t anything stopping this ride until I completed 100 miles.
Of course, I again needed to be getting to another obligation and time was running down. I had roughly 5 more miles to go and knew with the headwinds I would be facing I would be quicker getting back to the house riding home and then later going back for the car. I had more tailwind and crosswind for that remaining portion but I was homeward bound. After hearing songs on the Ipod about surviving, winning, being the best, etc., it was absolute karma that for the final 1.5 miles a song came on that I first heard at the LiveStrong Challenge ‘06 in Austin and I always go back to when needing a pick me up tune and realizing what others are going through – Wide Awake’s “Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow.” It brought me home WINNING my event, not a one-day century, but more than doubling my mileage for the year, and hoping to inspire one individual.
My end total was 101.05 miles in 5 hours and 8 minutes of riding time (it’s too hard to determine total duration though with the required breaks).
You know who you are and I KNOW there is nothing that can knock you down, there is no pain that you can not endure, there is no stopping your ultimate WIN, there is no opponent that break your stare and focus, there is support around you and we’ll hold you up through the remaining procedures. Your WIN is nearing despite the thoughts of failures. As my ride went into the final 25% to win that’s you are, if not further, YOU GOT THIS!!
Thank you once again Fatty for this event, and for this year taking my mind in so many directions!
PS from Fatty: Someone who wished to be left unnamed sent me the following, asking if I’d include it at the bottom of ClydeInKS’s story.
You have all just read about Jeff’s journey to 100 MON. But what Jeff left out is the courage, strength, encouragement he has given me to battle my 100 miles. Jeff, as well as all of you, are angels. Jeff’s ride I know has just inspired me and gave me the strength to push through my last miles to this win.
I want all of you to know, he has been a true support, friend, and has stayed on the ride for much longer than 100 miles to keep me on my journey. For that, Jeff, I thank you, I will win and for all those riding, just know the ride may be for enjoyment, for honoring someone or just for a good cause, but for me the ride Jeff took, the pain , the push and effort he gave has meant the world to me. To all of you and to Jeff… Thank you.
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