As much as I joke about this event it's obviously enough fun to keep me coming back. Thanks to my friend Tom W 2011 is the third year I have participated in the 100 Miles of Nowhere and if he keeps providing such fantastic venue as we had in 2009 and 2010 and this year, I'll most likely be back again in 2012.
The day started off with me arriving late. Crap. Nothing like thinking the ride begins at 8:30 when it really begins at 8. Especially when the course is not the most appealing/scenic one in the world and you just want the check the 'done' box as fast as humanly possible. Thank goodness everyone else started a little after 8 and I got there a little before 8:30. Still, it was a huge motivational balloon that got popped as I pulled up, casually changed my clothes, pumped up my tires and hopped the guardrail to cross the track. People were already riding...?! I was pretty sure only an insane person would ever consider warming up for something like this so when I turned to Phil S and asked if they had already started he simply laughed and said, "Yes!"
Since I was already late I figured one picture wouldn't make me that much later so here is all my shit in the 'before' photo.
Then I pulled out cold and hit the ground running at 25 mph.
After 'chasing' the small bunch that was already out on the track for about five laps I realized I was being stupid. I was not closing the gap so sat up and waited for them to make up the half lap. When I dropped in we settled into a pace that was about 25 mph with each of us taking one lap pulls. At first this seemed a little severe but after my legs had the chance to pull it together from my initial 'sprint' I started to feel better and even good.
A couple of miles later I made the mistake of looking down at my cyclometer, only 98 to go! OMG.
In addition to Tom my friend John M and track lover Ed A were there too as well as some others. I think Tom said seven people total had signed up for this 'adventure'.
Knowing that handups on the track are a dumb idea (even if I had someone helping me out who was willing to try) and since my track bike doesn't exactly have bottle cages on it I started off with some gel in one pocket, a bottle in another and my camera in the third. I must admit it felt strange to hit the track with all this stuff – not to mention food – in my pockets! But it helped. And once I got the hang of grabbing a quick drink on the straights it was sure nice to have all this along.
Another thing that was nice to have along was Phil S on the motor! Holy cow was that a dream to sit behind. I think he came out when we had logged about 10 miles or so and it was like bang! Suddenly it got a lot easier.
It was also fun to snap the occasional picture. Here is Phil on the motor followed by Ed followed by Tom followed by John followed by me.
At one point John's teammates dropped by for a 'compliance' check. Seems some of them doubted that he would actually ride this. :)
People would come and go so sometimes there were up to seven of us in a paceline and sometimes it was just Tom and I.
And of course sometimes it was just Tom! He was obviously having a great day. I even dared shoot a movie behind the motor.
We were fairly rocketing along; all thinks to this guy here.
Behind the motor our speed was never less than 25 and for quite some time it was a solid 27-28 mph. At first I thought no big deal but lap after lap (after lap after lap after lap...) it started to feel just a little quick.
We were making excellent time! I think I stayed on the track for almost 35 miles before taking a break. Thankfully my butt (read: crotch) was feeling really good and I had no numbness or chafing issues – hooray. But I had drained my bottle so needed a refill. I got it all done, including slowing down and doing half a lap of the warm-up track and getting back on, in the time it took the motor to do two laps. Phew.
Phil drove and drove and drove until the scooter ran out of gas! Talk about a downer... There we were, just barely over half way done when suddenly we had to haul our own sorry asses around the track. Suddenly even 25 mph and one lap pulls felt pretty hard!
ASIDE – Phil went out and got more gas! What a life saver that Phil.
At this time I think I started having teensy tiny doubts. Mostly because my back was starting to slowly blow up. I had also started the ride with my shoes nice and tight like I would for any other normal track event... this was not normal. During one of my breaks I loosened up the straps and the buckles. Ah, relief. Unfortunately my back was not getting relieved. The bars on my track bike are a bit lower than on my road bike and there are no hoods to ride on (although I did try the fake hood position for a while) and so with no real opportunities to change up my position much I had to take breaks with increasing frequency as the day wore on.
In the beginning I was only about 2.5 miles behind Tom on account of my late arrival. By the end I was eight miles behind on account of all my breaks for my back. Oh yeah, Tom also lapped us (read: me and Ed) at last once when I decided that the pace with no motor was too much. Tom did not and carried on.
During one of my back breaks I took some more pictures. At this time everyone was pretty much on their own.
On the bright side my frequent breaks were helping and I was going to finish; I just had to get off my bike about every 5-8 miles. The reason I know Tom was eight miles ahead of me at the finish is that Lila S showed up and suddenly Tom is shouting stuff like, "Only 30 laps to go!" Lila looked on incredulously as we hauled ass around the track behind the motor and shouted back, "You're cheating!" Hahahaha... if this is cheating I don't want to play fair. Besides, it was still not quite as easy as stuffing it in the 53x12 and hammering out 100 miles on the rollers. Infinitely more enjoyable though I must say.
As we got closer and closer to the end of our ride more and more people were showing up for a track workout. I saw Annette and Kenny W, several guys from Keller Rohrback like Jim F and several guys from Garage Racing showed up to cheer on Tom. Nice. And actually, it was nice. More people on the track gave us something to do other than just sit on the black line. We had to move up and back down and it made it much less mind-numbing that it could have been. More people in the bleachers was also nice.
Finally Phil held out his hand with five fingers meaning five laps to go. For Tom. With one to go Tom put in the obligatory effort and passed the motor to finish solo. Way to go. He really flew today and probably finished in about 3:45. Once that party was thrown I felt kinda down so turned to Ed and asked him how much he still had left to ride. "About 20 miles..." was the answer and instantly my mood went from bad to better. 20 was much more than eight!
And bless his heart, Phil and the motor were staying out on the track.
I think I lasted those last eight miles with no breaks. I think with the end in sight you sometimes can suck it up and push through. It was not without incident though, as people kept showing up we had a few of them crash our motor pacing party. Like Pekka J. Can't blame him really, there is only one motor and why should we be able to hog it all day long? I had to laugh when Pekka got behind Phil and told him to go faster. Now we're doing about 28 and Pekka says it again. Boom. I was gone. Seconds after I drifted up track so did Ed and it was somehow satisfying to know this pace was not just burning me up.
Lucky for us Pekka's effort only lasted a couple of laps and then we were able to pick up the motor again and I was able to finish this ride. Not wanting to be outdone by Tom I also surged with one lap to go and surprisingly had enough left in the tank to keep it at 27-28 for that last lap and was also able to finish 'solo'.
Thanks to Tom for organizing this again, thanks to the weather for cooperating and HUGE thanks to Phil for showing up and risking permanent disfiguration of his right hand all morning long.
Oh yeah, here is the 'after' photo. Note red line across forehead from helmet, love that. At least I was able to muster a smile.
Here are all my pictures.
|Breakfast||5:30 AM – cereal|
|Workout Food||3 large bottles each w/3 scoops Endurox R4, flask of gel|
|Time of Day||8:30 AM|
|Weather||upper 40s to low 50s, dry, overcast, calm at first, light wind at the end|
Zipp disk, Neuvation C50 front
|Clothing||knee warmers, bib shorts, Craft short sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, OR Gripper gloves, cap|