Sunday, May 9, 2010

100 Miles To Nowhere (Sort of)

Yesterday was the 100 Miles to Nowhere race sponsored by the Fat Cyclist, and it benefitted Livestrong. The idea is that you do 100 miles on your bike, but don't go anywhere, some people do it on a trainer or rollers, others on a confined circuit somewhere. I own a trainer, but have trouble forcing myself to spend more than about 25 minutes on the damn thing, so I opted to do it on a closed course. As a result I was planning on ripping up the sound engineer class at Lake Montebello here in beautiful Baltimore. Unfortunately, I have been getting my butt kicked at work (as evidenced by the infrequency of my posts here lately) and haven't been getting a whole lot of riding time in, but I thought that it would be no problem to cover 100 miles in a day there. Unfortunately for me, Saturday morning broke with some clouds, but more disturbingly, 25+ mile per hour continuous winds. But being the intrepid idiot I am, I went anyhow, as the forecast for today wasn't going to be any better. After running out to get a cooler (mine was absorbed by my work), ice, and some beverages, I loaded up the bike on the team car and off to the lake I went. Here I am at my designated parking spot.
Then it was off on my ride, and this is what it looked like for me.

This guy was riding with no hands, and taking up the whole path.
First time I came around the end of the lake (getting sprayed by water off the lake from the wind) I knew that there was going to be a problem. The whole long side of the lake was straight into the wind, and the far end was quartering into the wind. As a result, maintaining anything resembling a reasonable pace was problematic.
You can see each lap in detail there, good speed for part, then immediate plummeting velocity.
About noon Kathleen showed up to see how it was going, she was on her way back from pre-running her 1/2 Marathon course that day. Here she is enjoying some of the complimentary Carbo-Rocket.
She said it was good, not too sweet. Then she took off to go shower and get her act together, with the promise of coming back in a couple of hours with PBJ's for me.
In the meantime, I pretended that I was in the tour, even had a helicopter for a while (I think it is the Baltimore PD heli in reality).
And I sustained myself with periodic stops by the team car for little Cokes (also like the tour :) )
Kathleen swung back by at mile 52 and I stopped to enjoy some PBJ lunch, and contemplate my fate. I was already pretty blown out (pardon the pun) from fighting the wind, and was definitely questioning whether or not I could finish. I decided that a metric century was doable, so off I went to try for 63 miles. I managed to complete another 4 before realizing that I was truly done. So I loaded up my bike on the team car.
And then this shot this little panorama of the area I was parked at.

Then it was off to home to shower up. On the way there I rubbed at my face only to discover that I was completely covered in sand and grit from the wind blowing it around, there were clouds of dirt in the air all day.

In the end I ended up with a DNF in the race, but I did learn some valuable lessons. First, never underestimate how much the wind sucks to ride in. Second, use sunscreen, I got a pretty major burn on my arms and legs, probably my first real bad sunburn in ages. Third, most of my rides are very urban as I live downtown, so lots of stopping and starting. Riding at the lake was a lot like riding on a trainer, and my butt would get sore after a while necessitating a standing period, somehow this always coincided with going into the wind. All in all it was an interesting day, and maybe I will try it again next year, it can't possibly be that windy again.

In the end, I want to thank Fatty for putting this on, and all of the sponsors for the excellent bag of swag that they provided for all of the entrants, and I look forward to seeing what some of the other people did for their 100 miles.


  1. The wind can be so demoralizing. Good job on launching into it anyway, and thank you for fighting cancer. Next year has to be better.

  2. Robert, can you suggest a bike route from D.C. to Baltimore? I'm riding the Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to D.C. next week, would like to spend a day in Baltimore as well.