The 2014 100 Miles of Nowhere: SOLD OUT!

07.10.2014 | 9:16 am

[Friday, 7:00PM Update: The 100 Miles of Nowhere is SOLD OUT! Thanks to everyone who registered!]

I’m going to be honest here: my objective today is to distract you. I hope — oh, I hope so fervently — that by dazzling you with an exquisite array of cycling delights, I will make you forget that what I am about to ask you to do is just plain silly.

I mean, think about it: I’m going to try to do my level best bamboozle you into riding your bike either in your house or around and around (and around and around) on a very small course somewhere, for a hundred miles.

I’m telling you, I have a lot of nerve. 

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At least I do have one saving grace: I’m asking you to do it for a good — no, make that a great — cause: I’m asking you to do this race because by registering, you’re helping raise money for Camp Kesem, a wonderful series of camps across the United States for children who’ve been affected by cancer.

In other words, you’re making a real and measurable difference in the lives of kids who could use stand to have some good, silly, carefree fun.

Now, Fatty and Twin Six have been together since the first 100 Miles of Nowhere, but for the first time ever, you’re going to have a jersey you can wear during the event — as well as whenever else you’re out riding. And it’s a beauty. Check out the front:

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It’s the first Fat Cyclist jersey using red instead of orange or pink (because red is fast), and it’s the first 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey — instead of a t-shirt. Also, it’s almost too sexy for words. Here’s the back:

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The jersey comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, and look incredible.

So let’s get started with what you can expect this year in the 100 Miles of Nowhere.

What Is The 100 Miles of Nowhere?

The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves. (Or with a friend. Or with 20 friends.)

It’s a very strange thing where you pay $150 (I’ve raised the price so Twin Six won’t lose money on the jersey, we’re including this year for the first time, as well as labor and shipping costs, also included) 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 by myself, back before I knew it would be annual at all. The second one a bunch of us — from all around the world — did together, and people sent in their stories, many of which I published here.

Since then, the 500 available spots sell out every year.

This year, the “official” date of the race is Saturday, October 18. And, thanks to the flexibility of the event, if October 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 (Like the Suburban Unicycle Division or the Team Marine Amphibious Carrier Division, for example).

And once you’ve won your division, send me the story of what your 100 Miles of Nowhere was like. I pick my favorite write-ups and publish them here in the blog. In fact, for a week or so after the event, I generally put up several stories per day.

Weirdly, the 100 Miles of Nowhere has become an odd community event, even though we all do it alone.

How To Register, And What You Get 

Registering for the 2014 100 Miles of Nowhere is ridiculously easy. You just go to the Twin Six site and buy either the men’s or women’s jersey for the event. When you buy this jersey, you’re also officially registered for The 100 Miles of Nowhere, and will get your jersey and the following amazing stuff from the event sponsors  around October 11:

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Ride Nutrition and Tips from The Feed
The Feed’s brings convenience and education to on-the-go athletes everywhere, and helps take the guesswork out of sports nutrition. Having a hand-picked, hand-packed box show up at your door each month makes it easy to eat healthier, train harder, and see results faster. The Feed will be providing each racer a special 100 Miles of Nowhere box with energy food and recovery products, along with useful info on having a successful 100 Miles of Nowhere. 100 Miles of Nowhere participants will also get a special discount coupon for subscribing to The Feed

Camelbak Podium bottle from The Feed
Each race participant gets a brand-spanking new Garmin-Sharp branded Camelbak Podium Bottle from the feed, like your favorite pro team uses. 

A Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet from Banjo Brothers
I ride with a phone, every day. Sometimes to take calls, sometimes to take pictures. And sometimes just to be safe. And I always keep my phone — along with some cash and (if necessary) a car key — in my Banjo Brothers Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet. It keeps your phone safe, clean, and usable while you ride, with separate compartments for cash and a card, as well as a key.

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Seriously, I use mine every single ride. And every 100 Miles of Nowhere participant gets one.

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The Sufferfest: “The Long Scream” Training Video
I love The Sufferfest videos. Love them and hate them, that is. You know what I mean? Well, you will, because The Sufferfest is going to inflict on…er, give 100 Miles of Nowhere participants a free copy of their “The Long Scream” video. The 30 minute session is a time trial workout based on on the UCI Time Trial World Championships. You can see a preview here.  

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CarboRocket: Two Single-Serve Pouches
CarboRocket is amazing. It tastes great, goes down easy, and fuels you the way you need to be. It’s what I drank at the Rockwell Relay. It’s what I’ll drink at the Leadville 100 in August. It’s what I’ll drink at the XTerra in Ogden in September, as well as the half-Ironman in September. It’s what I’ll drink as I solo-singlespeed the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow this Halloween. It is, in short, what I drink when I’m racing. And it never makes me sick. It is, as I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph, amazing. And you’ll get two single-serve packs to fuel and hydrate you during your 100 Miles of Nowhere.

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Gu Roctane: Two Packets
The guys at Gu Energy Labs added more of everything that makes GU Energy Gel the category leader and added a few more things for ultra distance and high intensity efforts, resulting in the most efficient, high performance gel you can use in training and racing. 

I swear by this as my go-to endurance fuel, and so does The Hammer.

Each 100 Miles of Nowhere participant gets one packet of my favorite flavor (Vanilla Orange), and The Hammer’s favorite flavor (Cherry Lime).

You decide which you like best.  

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DZ-Nuts and DZ-Nuts Bliss
Each race participant gets sample packets of the best chamois cream in the world. One his, one hers. We won’t judge you for using and loving both, regardless of your gender. 

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A Race Plate from Bike Monkey
It’s not a race if you don’t have a race number. Bike Monkey, the promotors of Levi’s Gran Fondo, Annadel XC, the Boggs Enduro, and Rebecca’s Private Idaho, are going to give you your own unique race number to ensure everyone knows that you’re not just riding around your block a hundred times…you’re racing around your block a hundred times. 

Bonus Random Drawing Prizes

Astonishingly, everyone gets everything listed here. But a few race participants will be drawn for some awesome bonus prizes:

  • (6) $100 Gift Certificates to Twin Six: The awesome guys at Twin Six are pitching in SIX $100 gift certificates to their site, setting six random people up for an amazingly nice surprise, in the form of whatever they’d like to spend their $100 on in the store.
  • A Sufferlandrian Patriot Pack to a random lucky person, including a Sufferlandrian Flag, Decal Set and Sufferfest t-shirt.

Wrapping Up 

I know, I know. This was a lot to process. So here are the essentials:

  • The 100 Miles of Nowhere benefits Camp Kesem
  • The official date is Saturday, October 18
  • It costs $150
  • Men, click here to register
  • Women, click here to register
  • You get an awesome jersey, and an incredibly valuable box of food and swag.
  • Write up your entertaining an inspiring story after you’ve won your division in the 100 Miles of Nowhere, and send it to me. I’ll do my best to post it, so everyone in the world will know how awesome you are.

Good luck, and let me know in the comments when you’ve registered

 

Registration for the 2014 100 Miles of Nowhere Opens Tomorrow!

07.9.2014 | 4:54 am

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I am incredibly excited to announce that registration for the 2014 100 Miles of Nowhere opens tomorrow

Specifically, it opens at Thursday, July 10, at 11:00 AM, EDT. (I.e., 11am EDT / 9am MDT / 8am PDT).

There are a few things that will be different this year. For example:

1. It’s directly benefitting Camp Kesem, a nationwide series of camps put on for kids who have parents who have (or have had) cancer. The idea of Camp Kesem is simple and beautiful: kids who have parents with cancer have missed out on a lot of the fun and silliness that kids ought to have; Camp Kesem helps get them caught up on that fun and silliness. I can tell you that my own twins love this camp more than any other thing they do every summer

2. It’s in Autumn instead of late Spring. With everything going on in my life, this was the earliest I could make this happen. Many of you seemed to agree Autumn works better anyway

3. Instead of a 100 Miles of Nowhere T-Shirt, there’s a 100 Miles of Nowhere JERSEY. Here’s the front (but you’ll have to wait ’til tomorrow to see the back, which is my favorite part):

 

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Yes, the sleeve says, “Finish or Pie Trying.” And instead of yet another orange/black/white or pink/black/white jersey, we’re — for the first time ever — adding red to the palette. The reason is simple: it looks awesome. 

Why a jersey? Because I get asked about the 100 Miles of Nowhere all the time when I’m wearing the t-shirt, but I want people on bikes to know about this awesome thing we do. 

You should also know that this is the ONLY FatCyclist.com jersey there will be this year

Of course, many of the things about the 100 Miles of Nowhere will be the same. For example:

  1. It will be capped at 500 people.
  2. The swag box will be awesome. I know I said I’d do a lower-key swag box this year, but when it came right down to it, I couldn’t help myself. Sponsors have been extra-generous, and you’re going to be stoked with what you get. More on that tomorrow.
  3. I will want your stories and photos. The thing that makes 100 Miles of Nowhere incredible is that we get to share how we did this ridiculous event. Once you’ve done it — whether on October 18, before, or after — write it up and email it to me. Include lots of photos. Make it fun. I will post as many of these 100 Miles of Nowhere race reports as I can. 

This sells out every year, and lately it sells out on the same day registration opens. So you may want to be ready to register as close to the registration opening time as possible.

And today, I’d love to have you post in the comments section what your 100 Mile of Nowhere plan is (unless it’s so crazy you want to keep it top secret, in which case, post that too), to inspire other race participants.

PS: The Hammer and I haven’t decided yet on our course, but I’ve been thinking about the theme of “fastest” this year. Like, what if we found a nice lonely, flat, short course with right turns only, then took turns pulling each other while riding our Shivs and aero helmets? Could we do a sub-five-hour 100 Miles of Nowhere (breaks included)? It’s an interesting question!

Ringcycles Wins Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Contest

07.7.2014 | 7:58 am

A Note from Fatty: Greetings from Emerald Isle, North Carolina!

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I’m on vacation right now — on the beach with The Hammer, the kids, my mom, her husband, my four sisters, their husbands, their kids, and in some cases their kids. All of us — thirty-one of us! — in one huge house right on the beach (this photo was taken from the deck off my bedroom), kind of jammed in together and having a great time.

I plan to be be posting this week, but you know, I might be kind of tardy and lazy sometimes. And other times I might feel like writing a ton. You never know with vacations.

But I will say this: Sometime this week I’ll be launching registration for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. And we’ve got a date: October 18 (though of course you can do yours earlier or later…that’s the beauty of the 100 Miles of Nowhere). And for the first time ever, instead of a t-shirt, there will be a 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey. This will be in place of the normal annual Fat Cyclist jersey. Why? Because I started thinking about it and thought to myself, “I wish I had a 100 Miles of Nowhere jersey to wear.”

So, more information on that, soon. Really soon. Like, Wednesday, I think.

Next, I’m waaaay overdue on posting about the Fat Cyclist / Beeminder Weight Loss challenge. Luckily, my friends at Beeminder are more responsible than I am, and have written a very awesome wrap-up of the contest. Which is below. Enjoy!

(And now I’m off to go order a pair of Rapha bib shorts for the winner.)

Ringcycles Wins Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Contest

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Greetings not-so-fat cyclists! We’re pretty much beside ourselves with how the first annual (oh presumption!) Beeminder Fat Cyclist Weight Loss Competition turned out. When we say we’re beside ourselves we mean that literally — Beeminder is a husband-and-wife team and we hack on it day and night shoulder-to-shoulder. Ok, but also figuratively beside ourselves. This thing had everything: drama and suspense on the leaderboard, you all lost a ton of weight, and we raised just over $4000 for The Hammer’s World Bicycle Relief fundraising.

And when we say you all lost a ton of weight we mean that literally too. (We’re very literal. It’s a programmer thing.) To be exact, you lost a total of 1912 pounds, or 14 pounds per person.

Let’s back up for those just tuning in. In March Fatty announced a new kind of weight loss contest using Beeminder where the objective would be consistent progress, not about how much you could lose or how fast. There’s a shorter version on the Beeminder blog. The extra short version is that you create a Yellow Brick Road to your goal weight — totally up to you to pick it — and then you get points each day you weigh in based on how closely you hew to your chosen path. Importantly, you get fewer points for losing weight faster than you intended. As for what good the points were, we’ll get to that.

To limit the contest to those who were ready to take it seriously, Fatty decided on a $20 ante to charity. That’s where most of the $4000 we raised came from — more than $3000 of it. As for the rest of it, well, this is the crazy part. Losing weight too fast cost you points. But actually failing to lose weight? That cost you money. Not the first time, that one’s free, but each subsequent time you derailed, as we call it, from your Yellow Brick Road, you coughed up ever greater penalties: $5, $10, $30, $90, etc. Normally those penalties are Beeminder’s revenue. For this contest we donated half of them to World Bicycle Relief.

Of course the top competitors never went off track. And that brings us to the exciting part. I hope you’re imagining a drum roll right now. Ringcycles eked out a victory with a near perfect score of 304 points. His prize is a pair of Rapha Classic Bib Shorts, courtesy of Fatty himself.

The contest started out slow, the pack holding together like a peloton. But the competition thinned over the course of the first few weeks, and eventually we got down to just a handful of people vying for the top slot. Mukrider and Actionplant held out longest with perfect scores, but eventually slipped. Ringcycles started out with a couple datapoints below the road so didn’t appear as a top contender at first, but then his subsequent rock solid consistency eventually paid off. Nobody else ended up as close to a perfect score (306 points).

Honorable mention goes to third place, Dena, who had some serious medical issues to contend with but anticipated them almost flawlessly. When her doctor put her on a clear liquid diet, she adjusted the steepness of her Yellow Brick Road accordingly (you’re always allowed to do that with Beeminder, the catch being that any changes have a one-week delay). The most impressive part is that she’s still forging ahead now that the contest is over. Check out that graph!

That brings us to our final plea. The contest was structured to encourage you to lose weight steadily, following the path you set out for yourself, i.e., staying on Beeminder’s yellow brick road. We wanted to encourage sustainable weight loss, rather than just dropping weight like The Hammer dropping Fatty on the descent at Frog Hollow.

So even though the contest is over, we want to encourage you to continue minding your weight. If you’re now at your ideal weight, set your yellow brick road flat, and keep weighing in, to ensure you don’t squander all this progress. You can even set your road to slope up during vacations or holidays if you’re ok with gaining weight during those times. The pattern we’ve seen over and over is that as soon as you stop minding your weight, it starts creeping up.

2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 9: Love

07.3.2014 | 8:37 am

A Note from Fatty: Hey, look what came in the mail yesterday afternoon:

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Yep, I am the now the proud owner of an Ibis Tranny 29 frame. Now I have to wait patiently — oh so patiently — for a week while my wheels, suspension fork, stem, cranks, brakes and other components make their way from SRAM headquarters to my house. 

It’s a giddy feeling, waiting for everything you need for your new Ibis mountain bike to arrive. One that you could very well be feeling yourself soon if you win in a fundraiser to help the Vermont Mountain Bike Association raise money to build more and better trails

To be entered to win, you just need to donate in multiples of $5. On July 20, they draw, and whoever wins gets to pick any Ibis you want — Ripley, a Tranny, a Mojo, or a Hakkalugi — complete with a SRAM build, including a full-on X1 drivetrain, a PIKE suspension fork, and wheels to go with. 

Click here, make a donation. You might win a dream bike, and you’ll for sure help a great organization build a great trail system.

2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 8: Love

[A Note from Fatty: This is part 9 of my Rockwell Relay writeup. If you’re catching up, you’ll find the previous installment here, or you can go all the way back to the beginning of the story.]

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It’s 1:45. In the morning. I’m standing there, peering up the road. Waiting for The Hammer. Staring at each bike light as it approaches, trying to gauge whether it’s her.

No, that’s just a bar light; she has bar and helmet lights. No, that light’s too yellow. Wait, that one might be her.

It’s not her.

I’m anxious. Keyed up. I’ve got adrenaline flowing — I have something to prove to a person or two — for the race itself, sure, but I’m also worried.

I’m worried about how The Hammer is; we left her what feels like a long way back, out there in the dark, on a bike, flying downhill, in the middle of the night.

That doesn’t seem like the behavior of a particularly good husband, I think to myself.

Also, I’m also worried for myself. I know from descriptions people who have actually seen this stretch of road in the daylight that there’s a stretch of it that just drops off into empty space on either side of the shoulder…not a good place to fall down.

To get a sense of what I mean, check out Cody Larkin’s really awesome video from this year’s Rockwell Relay. The whole thing is worth watching (this is what happens when a racer brings some skill and good equipment to film their experience, instead of just saying, “everyone take video and pics with their phones”), but the freaky section I’m talking about is from around 4:30 – 5:00.

But I’d be riding this in the dark, naturally. Which, now that I think about it, is almost certainly a lot less scary than riding it during the daytime.

Please, Just Stop It

I was, as I may have just mentioned (at great length, and with no small number of asides), nervous. Anxious. Jumpy. And very, very caffeinated.

Which might have made it a not-awesome time for the exchange point volunteer to do what she did next.

Specifically, she talked to me. No, that’s not specific enough. It’s what she said. It’s how she said it.

“I want you to be careful on your ride,” she said to me, looking earnestly into my eyes.

“I will be,” I said. Hey, I’m 48, have a mortgage, about twenty people who rely on me for room and board, and at least seven readers (quite possibly more!) who would be mighty disappointed if I veered off the edge of the road.

“No,” she said, urgently. Maybe even stridently. “I want you to be very, very careful and don’t take any unnecessary risks.”

“I won’t,” I replied. “This is our fourth year here; we know what this section of the race is like.”

“I don’t think most of you racers know how dangerous this road can be,” she said.

Okay, now she was just freaking me out. 

She continued.

“If you crash on this road, you could definitely die.”

“Please,” I said, “Stop it. Just stop it. You’re not helping me by saying things like that.”

She took the hint. But not very well. 

“Will your racer be coming in soon?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “My wife. She should be here any second.”

“Oh, I hope she’s OK,” the woman said. “There are so many deer out there, and they seem to like to jump out in front of things.”

I turned away. This might have been rude, but I did not want to hear another word from this woman.

She kept talking.

“A lot of the racers coming down are saying they’re just freezing cold from the descent. All shivering and hardly able to control their bikes. Was your racer dressed warmly?”

“We put a jacket and warm gloves on her at the beginning of the descent,” I said over my shoulder.

“Oh, I hope that was enough,” she replied.

I contemplated crossing to the other side of the street to wait for The Hammer. Anything to get away from this Oracle of Doom and Despair.

I didn’t have to, though, because at that moment, The Hammer rolled up, and I — oh so grateful to get away — took the baton, gave The Hammer a kiss, and rolled away. 

(For what it’s worth, The Hammer was freezing cold by the end of her descent.)

Attack!

This was the leg I had been waiting for. This was the leg I had been thinking of when The Hammer told me she was willing to mix things up this year. A long night leg — 56.7 miles long — with a decent amount (3921 feet) of climbing in it. And an elevation profile that looks like this:

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A quick climb, a big (and, lest we forget, treacherous) descent, a couple of quick steep climbs, more descending, and then a big ol’ grind of a climb, followed by a monster descent to the exchange.

It was that big ol’ grind of a climb that I was looking forward to. It was where I intended to make my public response to the people who had told me earlier about how they were underwhelmed by my performance in my first leg.

Because I can climb. Pretty fast, pretty hard, and pretty much forever.

So I did not hold back, not even at the start. I didn’t expect to work with anyone on this leg — Team Fatty was dangling in the limbo-state between the fast competitive teams and the just-having-fun folks.

I was just going to try to catch and drop as many people as I could.

Standing up and in a much bigger gear than most people would consider wise (but which seems to work pretty well for me) I began charging up the first short climb.

And that’s when I discovered an important truth: If you’re a standing climber and you’ve got a super-powerful bar-mounted light, you need to turn that thing off.

Cuz it’ll pretty much blind you otherwise.

Death Viewed, Dimly

The first climb was over in just a few minutes, long before my team finished getting The Hammer and her bike back into the van. So I was alone as I began the first big descent.

And then, thanks to the amazingly bright full moon, I saw what was on either side of me.

And what was on either side of me was a big drop. Really big. 

I decided I would take the exchange volunteer’s counsel and be very careful indeed. Which is not to say that I went any slower.

No.

It means that I hogged the road in a blatant and egregious way. Not only was I not riding on the shoulder, I wasn’t even riding on the right half of the right side of the road. I stayed, essentially, just a smidgen to the right of the double-yellow line, trying to be as far from both edges of the road as possible. 

Strava tells me that on this portion of the route, I hit 44.3mph as my top speed, and that I was slower than roughly a third of the people who have recorded a time. Pretty conservative, right?

Well, it didn’t feel that way to me. I laughed almost entirely the whole way down, partly out of giddy terror, partly out of the sheer weirdness of my when and where (middle of the night, middle of nowhere), and partly — let’s go with mostly — because this is in fact a really incredibly fun descent.

I Am Emotional

Before I got to the bottom of this big descent, my team caught me — which indicates a pretty impressive driving performance on Kenny’s part — and then passed me, so they were prepared to help me get out of my windbreaker for the hours of climbing I had in front of me. 

I pulled into the overlook where they were parked, stopped, still straddling my bike.  “Hi there,” I said, “it’s good to see you guys,” and I stuck my arms straight out without explanation. I knew they would know what to do.

Expertly, one of my teammates undid the snaps on my reflector vest. Expertly, another pulled my windbreaker off. Expertly, the first teammate snapped the reflector vest back in place. 

Total time: maybe seven seconds.

“I cannot believe how incredible our team is,” I said, laughing, and I took off again. 

I ramped up to the speed and power I knew I could maintain without blowing up and started passing people. Sometimes one person at a time, sometimes a couple of racers working together. Occasionally a group of three.

Some try to hold my wheel as I go by. None of them succeed. This is what I do. This is who I am. 

My team passes me often, cheering. Then they pull over and cheer some more. I start laughing, and then crying just a little bit, just for a moment. I am so happy to be where I am, happy to be doing what I am doing, happy to be with the people I am with, happy to be killing it on a bike.

Sure, maybe some of that comes from endorphins, some from sleep deprivation, some from caffeine. But not all of it. Far from all of it. Probably not even most of it.

I catch Alex Lawrence, a guy I know a little bit from Twitter and have just ridden with for the first time earlier that week. He’s riding strong and it costs me something to catch him, but I do it. “Good job, Fatty!” he calls, and asks if there’s anything he can do to help me catch the coed teams ahead of us. 

“Nope, this year we just hope to hold on to the podium at all,” I reply, and keep going, then think about the kind of person — and really, the kind of people — who are so friendly they want to help you, even as you pass them. 

I laugh some more. I love this sport. I love the kind of people who race, while still having fun.

I’m at the top of the big climb now. I don’t even know how many people I’ve passed. I pull over to the side of the van, stop, and put my arms out again.

Within a few seconds, I’ve got my windbreaker back on and zipped up for the last ten miles of this segment of the race.

I pedal the whole way down, still at the limit of what I can do. Still smiling.

Man, I love this race.

PS: I know, this isn’t much of a cliffhanger, but pretend it is. I’ll be back with the next installment this Monday. – FC

PPS: Here’s my Strava of this leg of the race. Ninth overall, taking about 3:02 to do the 56.7 miles / 3921 feet of climbing of this leg. So yeah, I am proud.

2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 8: Werewolf

07.2.2014 | 1:58 pm

NewImageWant to Win a Bike Like Mine? Sometime today — sometime real soon — I’m taking delivery of my brand-new Ibis Tranny 29 frame, along with a Gates Carbon Belt drivetrain. A week from now, I’ll be getting wheels, a suspension fork, cranks, and more from SRAM. You have no idea how excited I am for this bike, but my post from earlier this week might give you a sense of my enthusiasm.

I’m going to say it loud and proud: I love Ibis. Love the way they innovate. Love how their bikes look. Love the way they ride. Love the way they keep price reasonable (I’m not naming names, but the Tranny 29 frame costs around half as much as competitors’).

And I love how generous they are when it comes to helping good people get the money they need to do good things. 

You might remember how Ibis donated a Ripley 29 for the latest Grand Slam for Zambia fundraiser — the one BostonCarlos won, and is now loving. 

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Well, Ibis is now donating another bike — any Ibis (in any size, and in any color) you’d like, whether it be a Ripley, a Tranny, a Mojo, or a Hakkalugi — to a lucky donor in a contest to help the Vermont Mountain Bike Association raise money to build more and better trails

And this isn’t just a frame. Nosirree. This is a full-on bike, with my friends at SRAM donating a full-on X1 drivetrain, a PIKE suspension fork, and wheels to go with.

I tell you, this is going to be a seriously nice bike.

The “how” of this is easy. Click here, then donate in multiples of $5. The more you donate, the more chances you have to win. 

On July 20 — a scant couple weeks from now — VMBA will draw a winner from the donors, and some lucky person (you, I hope) will be confronted with the deliciously difficult decision of which Ibis they want. 

And you should feel free to consult with me to hear my case for the Tranny. Or with Carlos to hear his case for the Ripley. Or with Allison to hear her case for the Hakkalugi. Or with the thousands upon thousands of people who have fallen in love with the Mojo during the past near-decade.

So. Click here, make a donation. You might win a dream bike, and you’ll for sure help a great organization build a great trail system. (And for more details, read here.)

2014 Rockwell Relay Race Report, Part 8: Werewolf

(This is part 8 of my Rockwell Relay writeup. If you’re catching up, you’ll find the previous installment here, or you can go all the way back to the beginning of the story.)

The Hammer is, by all accounts, a sweetheart. More to the point, she’s my sweetheart, and — even 4+ years into our marriage, people often comment that we look like we’re on our honeymoon.

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She’s beautiful, she’s nice, and she has a killer smile. Everyone agrees on all of these facts.

When, however, she begins a race, she changes into a beast. A focused, ferocious, fighting freak of nature. An animal that wants nothing more than to attack.

This is one of the things I love most about her.

The full moon had risen and The Hammer started off in the semi-dark, on a leg that was—for all intents and purposes—one giant climb, then one big descent. 

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Kenny came in, and The Hammer took off. And I mean that very nearly literally. Kenny piled into the van, we loaded up his bike, and took off after The Hammer.

It was time for the show to begin.

Full Moon Fever

The great thing about racing at night is you can see your carrots, from far away, courtesy of their red blinking lights. 

The Hammer loves a good carrot.

She’d see someone climbing off in the distance and — within a few minutes — she’d be riding by them. 

“Have a great race,” she’d say to the man (or, occasionally, woman) as she passed. Which served the dual purpose of being friendly and letting the person know he’d just been chicked.

We’d drive up to the next person she was chasing down, and time how long it took for The Hammer to pass that point, then shout out the time check to The Hammer.

After a while, we stopped doing this. It was happening to often. Instead, I just remarked as one racer went by, “That guy’s already been beaten; he just doesn’t know it yet.”

As The Hammer got close to the mile marker 100 — the highway marker that means you’re about to turn downhill in a big and permanent way — we got out her jacket and gloves. The downhill is always so cold on this section.

I stood outside, The Hammer pulled over, and — like the highly-trained pit crew we are — we got her reflector vest off, got a jacket on, got the reflector vest back on, got heavier gloves on her, and gave her a push on her way.

Then we passed, riding a couple hundred feet in front of her, with the understanding that if we saw something she should slow down for, we’d tap the brakes rapidly. For this descent, if anything was going to hit a deer, we did not want it to be the cyclist.

Then, with five miles left in the descent, we took off, leaving her to get to the transition. We wouldn’t have much time to get me ready once we got there, so I got fully dressed and ready to go — sliding around on the floor of the van as I struggled into my tights — while Heather drove down to the transition. 

We got there with a few minutes to spare before The Hammer arrived. Kenny got my bike out and ready to go while I took one last leak. All of this was pre-arranged and communicated. Our team is that close.

Tights, long-sleeve jersey, reflector vest, helmet light, bar-mounted light.

I was ready to roll.

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I had a lot of climbing in front of me for the next leg, and I was excited. Excited to get a little vindication. Excited to let a little of my inner wolf out.

But then the volunteer at the exchange point started talking to me. Telling me things I did not want to hear. At all

Which is where we’ll pick up in the next installment

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