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cycling

100 MoN (ToN) Weird, Strange Neighbor Division

You know how every neighborhood has that one person that the whole neighborhood talks about? That person would be me.

I know this for a fact because I am friends with Pam who lives on the other side of the neighborhood and she told me they ask her why I never wear shoes. It’s just as much of a mystery to Pam as it is to them. My neighbors don’t read my blog, obviously.

So, really, you can hardly come up with a better situation for a 100 Miles of Nowhere. Someone crazy, doing something crazy in a place that gossips about crazy. Just one tiny, insignificant detail, I said I would never do the 100 Miles of Nowhere again.

Fortunately, Fatty is such a nice guy that he lets the rest of us get away with slacking off while he’s off biking 100 (101) Miles Of Nowhere.

What’s a girl to do?

In the spirit of The Fat Cyclist, I must take full advantage of the rules.

THE RULES

Ride your race. On June 1 or thenabouts (lots of people including me sometimes have to do it on a different day, due to conflicting schedules), do what you said you’d do. Be tough about it. But have fun, too. Remember, this is to traditional bike racing as the sillywalk is to running a marathon.

I’m not a cyclist so, this year, I am doing exactly what I said, “I will never attempt the 100 Miles Of Nowhere again”

Welcome to the 100 Things of Nowhere!! I performed 100 different things going nowhere.

Task #1 -Walking- I traversed a section of sidewalk 100 times at 5:00 am so I only received a handful of “What the heck is she doing now?” looks from neighbors misfortunate enough to be going to work at that time.

20130619-223735.jpgThe sidewalk in its entirety.

Task #2 -100 Squats in the bathroom – No toilets were harmed in the making of #2.

Tasks #3 -5 – high knee marches, toy soldiers and back kicks in my office – Now, my co-workers get to think I am weird too.

Tasks #6 – 10 – standing side leg lifts, burpees, dribbling basketball, set volleyball, and soccer tic-tock in the front yard – During this set, I appear less weird and more sporty-like.

Tasks #11- 20 – side to side butt kicks, wall push-ups, step ups, balance beam, trampoline jumps, jumping jacks, sleep (a real favorite), bounces on an exercise
ball, hops, and twists on a mini trampoline….

…There was a popular kids series of books called 39 Clues. A separate book was written about each clue solving the mystery. However, someone must have figured out the books weren’t maintaining enough popularity because during the 12th or 10th book they “revealed” the remaining 27 clues and jumped to the final scene. This is relevent to the 100 ToN because I am going to pull a 39 Clues on you and jump to the final scene….

Task #100 – 100 passes through the neighborhood on my all original 1969 Huffy Granny Cruiser.

20130620-140539.jpgShe’s a beauty

It was barely 80 degrees when I set out to ride past the neighbors’ front windows 100 times and figured that I couldn’t have picked a better day for 100 Passes to Nowhere.

It was a Wednesday. In addition to being a pleasant summer day, Wednesday is the day you put your garbage out by the curb here.

Task #101 was breathing in my neighbors’ rancid garbage 100 times.

Granny and I received a few smiles, waves and hellos during the first 15 or so passes. After the 40th pass, they just stared at me as we cranked and squeaked past them. By the 60th pass, they dismissed me all together as the crazy neighbor and went back to grilling or fixing this or that allowing Granny and I to finish spectator-less. Even the noisy dachshunds down the street where disenchanted by the 75th pass.

At the end of the 100th pass, I was barely able to climb down from the seat. It is, after all, the original 1969 seat with no padding and super stiff shocks that squeak with every bounce.

I declared myself WINNER of the 100 MoN – Weird, Strange Neighbor doing 100 (weird) Things of Nowhere Division

The GPS of the 100 passes through the neighborhood. 2 blocks, 14 miles

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Filed under Barefoot, cycling, exercise, personality flaws

It Would Have Been Positive

I took the cub scouts on a bike hike on a Midewin prairie trail that was a little overgrown. Four days prior when I confirmed the suitability of the trail for bikers as young as 7 years old, I figured the excessive weeds lining the limestone trail would just enhance the rugged ambiance. I underestimated the weeds or the weather or both.

We received 3.9 inches of rain the night before the hike. I assume the weeds succumbed to the rain because they were bent over the trail. While this may not mean much to you, I’ve neglected to mention that these weeds are actually giant ragweed. I’m not even using ‘giant’ as an exaggeration. That is their actual name. Giant ragweed grows to be 8 + feet tall.

20120905-100311.jpgPhoto from University of Illinois Extension/Lyle Paul show casing 11 feet tall Giant Ragweed

So when I say that weeds were bent over the trail, it was so bad that we really should have used machetes to get through. I went first, forcing myself and my bike to break through the overlapping stalks. I tried to push back the weeds as much as I could.

Fortunately, about 100 yards into the trail the weeds receded allowing the kids to actually ride a couple of miles. Then the giant ragweed was pleasant to have around because it provided endless shade on a treeless trail on a hot August evening. The challenging trail became fun. The kids were excited to ride farther and farther.

20120905-094003.jpgCheck out the shade!

Too soon, I had to turn us back because I had developed massive hives from armpit to wrist, was sneezing endlessly, and was told my face was all blotchy. Luckily, I was still breathing at the end of the ride, and I was the only one in a pack of 14 that reacted so quickly to the giant ragweed.

Every year growing up, my mom would try to convince me to have an allergy scratch test so that we could resolve my itchy eyes and endless sneezes but I stubbornly refused believing that an allergy test would only elevate my sensitivity to 100 million things in my environment? (I started my hypochondriac career at an early age). I’m pretty sure it would have been positive for ragweed.

20120905-094404.jpg Henslow Trail at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Objects are bigger than they appear.

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Filed under cycling, exercise, Lessons learned

Meet Granny

Spring of 1992, I was just finishing my first clueless year at Western Michigan University. My sister and I moved back home after living a fantastical year in our Grandma Ruthie’s cottage.

We had moved into Grandma Ruthie’s cottage just before I graduated from high school. That year, my first year out of high school was just like Kid Rock’s song All Summer Long. I was young and naive but thought I knew everything.

So, that spring of 1992, when we moved home and Grandma Ruthie’s cottage was sold, my dad rescued her vintage bicycle. Still being a teenager, I did what teenagers do. I ostracized that bike declaring I’d never ride anything as dorky as an old fashioned bike.

You know, it would take me decades to learn to never say never. I’m not sure if it was marriage or children that taught me that lesson. Maybe it was a bike…

Meet Granny.

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My dad had the wisdom to know that this bike should not be tossed away. He hung it on a hook in the garage for the day when I would embrace the vintage look. It was a brilliant move. My husband spent a short amount of time fixing the Bandex brake, polishing the chrome, washing the frame, and disguising the stains on the seat. It is just about the best looking 1969 Huffy Ladies bike in original paint you can find on the Internet.

Granny rides like a 1960’s Cadillac. She pedals and coasts easy, but don’t count on stopping quickly, and after an hour in the seat, you realize that the springs just aren’t what they used to be.

Still, I’m ready to go for some ice cream. Anyone want to join Granny and me?

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Filed under cycling, Lessons learned

100 Miles of Nowhere V. 5.0

Did I learn nothing from the first time I competed in the 100 Miles of Nowhere? Sure, I won my division last time but, once again, not even a full mile into the 100 MoN the chain falls off because I’m trying to down shift from one of the two remaining gears on my twenty-one speed mountain bike. It was just like last time. Now, I’ll be stuck peddling in one gear for the remaining 99 miles.

I think 100 Miles of Nowhere is a little like giving birth. The first time you do it you struggle through the pain and anguish. At the height of the “shear vehemence of suckage” (An appropriate depiction by Noodle) you declare that you will never, ever do this again. A year goes by, you read other reports on 100 Miles of Nowhere but you grab the previous year’s T-shirt, hug and kiss it and thank the stars that you didn’t ride Nowhere again. Then somehow, the following year, you find yourself on the Twin Six website ordering your 100 MoN kit V 5.0.

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You’ve developed selective memory or you hit your head on a rock during your last trail ride. Whatever the cause or lack of sanity, when you click on that pay button, you are down-right giddy with anticipation for 100 MoN to start. When your kit arrives, you tear it open to revel in this year’s 100 MoN design. Putting on the shirt makes you begin to fantasize about how the two of you will ride a hundred of miles together. Oh, the places you won’t go!

Then that fateful day arrives, Race Day. This is the day, when you are on lap 15 of 256, riding in 16 mph sustained winds that batter you from all sides of the 0.39 mile circle loop you chose for your race course, when you begin to recall the suckage of 100 Miles of Nowhere and wonder what in the world were you thinking when you signed up.

You want to throw in the towel. You want to tuck your tail between your legs but you took one of the only five hundred slots for 100 MoN. The race sold out in two hours. People were disappointed. People that wanted to ride 100 miles in place, up hills, or in circles. You took their spot, their T-shirt. You owe it to them to finish, at least, 10 miles.

100 Miles of Nowhere is a day when you wish you could get Nowhere fast. However, you are just a recreational bicyclist, the saddle sores develop faster than the miles. Like a pregnant woman in her ninth month, you think that this will never end. Counting the laps helps until you remember that you have to peddle 205 more laps through this neighborhood.

Once it a while your mind manages to drift away as you toil on the cranks. Maybe you were distracted by a bunny hopping by. Or a robin startled you with a sudden swoop mere inches in front of your tire. You wonder where will it wonder off to? Will he get that worm? You enjoy a few minutes of bliss at being mentally in another place. But, there is payback . When your mind wakes back up in back in the 100 Miles of Nowhere race, you look at your fingers in horror. You don’t remember anything. How long were you gone? 1 lap? 2 laps? How many fingers did you even have up? Or, are you really just so miserable that you only THINK you completed more than one lap during your mental vacation. What if you’re wrong and it causes you to only bike 99.45 miles instead of 100 miles!

So now you are asking me why I would do something so hideously stupid as to ride my bike 100 Miles to go Nowhere? Because nothing makes a better story than anguish, conflict, and final triumph. Truthfully, all this pain is kind of fun. It’s the one and only time that I will included in the circle of Fatty’s closest 500 friends. Lastly, Fatty has this gift for asking people for things. You just can’t say No to Fatty.

This year Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere raised money for Camp Kesem for children whose parents have or had cancer. Because no child deserves the experience of losing their parent to cancer.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, to help kids cope with their parent’s cancer, please click here.

All in all, 100 Miles of Nowhere is very fun in a sick and twisted way. In the end, I’m going to finish my miles by commuting to work by bike. I probably won’t ride it next year but I bet I’ll forget and come back in two years or so. By the way, I won my division this year too! It was the Recreational Bicyclist Who Prefers To Pedal Only When There Is Ice Cream Involved Division!

Proof I’m not the only one:

http://www.theday.com/article/20120601/SPORT01/306019939

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Grizzly Adam 100 MoN report

Noodle’s original 100 MoN

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Filed under cycling, Lessons learned

Let’s Go Fly A Kite

We’ve been under siege from blustery winds for the last several days. Fortunately, we didn’t fall under tornado like other unfortunate towns. I am thankful for that.

Saturday, I planned to take the Cub Scouts (and willing family members) for a 7 mile bike hike along the Wauponsee Glacial Trail where we would end at the Kankakee River to be picked up by non-riding family members. I once ran a half marathon on this trail. I was very excited about taking the scouts on the trail, but I fretted over the weather for 10 days. When 1 PM rolled around, the winds picked up and the gusts started to blow the boys around. The problem was that these blustery winds were coming from the exact direction we were headed into.

Scratch that plan. The scouts wouldn’t have made it a half mile against that wind let alone 7 miles. We shortened the trip to 5 miles, put the wind at our backs, and headed north on the trail instead. Those kids pedal led their little hearts out. What a great time but all were happy to see the finish line.

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Ironically, a month ago, a scout leader planned to fly kites on our regular meeting night this week. Now, we were worried the winds would carry the boys off with the kites. All day the winds were 24 mph with gusts as high as 36 mph. The wind advisory was scheduled to end a half hour before the meeting.

More ironically, as soon as the advisory was over, the wind was so dead it could barely be considered a breeze. We had to run the whole length of the field to get the kites to fly at all.

“Hey, are you supposed to be running in that boot?” I was asked.
“No, but the doc didn’t say anything about flying kites,” I called back.

We sprinted up and down that field for an hour having a complete blast. Two hours earlier, I had to scream at the soccer team just to get them to jog. Now, I was looking at a field full of boys begging for me to untangle their lines so they could run some more. The kites soaring higher and, really, not high at all.

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Need a little variety in your runs? Need to do speed intervals. Try flying kites on a zero breeze day. Put play into your run because it’s a super smiley way to run.

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Filed under cycling, injury, running

Open Letter to The Fat Cyclist

Dear Fatty,

As any good fan would do, I must start out by telling you that I love your blog and I have been reading it for years. Today’s post, is, of course, brilliant, and the format is strangely familiar. I am sure as a beloved celebrity ultra-megastar hall-of-fame, social media, and lifetime-achievement, award-winning, cycling comedy, blogging sensation all while being incredibly handsome (Stanley Tucci has nothing on you), you tire of being hounded by the press and in the endless spot light but you’re always generous to your fans and never tire of their adoration or fan mail, right? I agree that you believe you may be the best cyclist in the world. I have learned that not only are you all these things that I (you) said, you are also wise, nay, a genius, or better a wise genius which is significantly better than being a wise guy, such as Stanley Tucci has been.

The point is that I am a Cub Scout leader. I have a responsibilty to teach my cub scouts the proper way to do things so that they can move on to Boy Scouts where they will put in practice their motto “Be Prepared.” Thank you, by the way, for teaching me the true secret motto which explains why my oldest son, who will graduate to a Boy Scout at the end of the month, went to school today sporting singed eyebrows. At first, I thought it was a new fashion trend and then I remembered your post, realizing it must be the result of the secret test to join the Boy Scout troop.

Back to my point, in a couple of weeks, I will be taking my Cub Scouts on a bike hike. But, before we go, I need teach them a few things about preparing for the trip, such as, bicycle maintenance and packing provisions. Although I competed in your 2010 100 Miles of Nowhere and won the Category for Recreational cyclist with 7 year old tag along on a 2 blocks course, I am, unfortunately, a novice cyclist with nary a clue what to do with a bicycle besides pedal.

Would you, please, help me?

I was so delighted to easily recall your post discussing the most important provisions for a bike hike. I understand the need for several of the items such as duct tape (sometimes it is hard to control those boys) and aersol cheese (yum) but why would I need to take a bike tube? My bike already has a tube, in the wheel, all blown up already. What would I do with an extra bike tube with no air on the trail?

Another great lesson for my Cub Scouts stems from the follow up post on proper cycling etiquette. I’m not sure what you mean by letting them catch up. Isn’t it better to get back to the car with enough time to eat that roasted chicken and have a nap?

With all the information you have provided already, it seems ungrateful to ask for more, but, I just couldn’t locate a good post on bicycle maintenance. You do do maintenance, don’t you?

I look forward to learning from you. Again.

Thank you,
Stephanie

edit: if you like this post you really need to read The Fat Cyclist. Fatty perfected the form.

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Fight Like Susan

Today I won’t be writing a post for you. I have a demand for you.

I want you to go to the Fat Cyclist and read the his post. Right now.

Wait. I’d appreciate it if you’d skim through the rest of my post first.

Then go here:
Diagnosis. This is the start of the story of Susan’s Fight with Breast Cancer. She was 37.

But, don’t stop there. Read Fatty’s blog from start to finish. This is by far the best blog ever written.
The Fat Cyclist Start: I Am So Cliche

Be warned, it might make you want to ride a bike, eat Oreos, ride with Lance Armstrong, wear Clydesdale covered clothing, but mostly, it will make you want to Fight Like Susan.

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