Pat came up with the idea of us doing the 100 Miles of Nowhere at this bike flea market being held at the velodrom. There would be tons of people, great bargains, and awesome irony of riding bikes all day in a velodrome but actually going nowhere.
Friday night I arrived in PA to meet Pat outside “the velodrom”, the fantastic facility with an annoying actual name, so I’m just going to call it the velodrom from here on out, apparently that’s what everyone else knows it as.
Immediately upon arrival at the velodrom, I encountered a woman who works there- I asked her where people were camping and was told that there was “an email” telling everyone they were not allowed to camp this year and that the cops would come and tell us to move. She looked around to an upper parking lot and spotted some tents in the dark, pointed that way, and seemed to soften to the idea of us camping when I told her we weren’t going to be drinking or partying.
Pat’s tent, which when the flaps are open looks remarkably like something that rhymes with magina, was already set up. I made quick work of getting mine set up (I was going to say erected, but after writing magina it just didn’t seem right) which Pat looked for a screw he dropped into some rotting fungus as the base of a tree.
We caught up a little bit and then took a trip to a magical, wonderful place I’ve never known. Wawa.
What a delight! Here I am being confused that you input your order into a computer and it will magically appear without you ever having to actually speak to the person making it. I got mac and cheese and it was a perfect little dinner to have while chatting tentside when we returned.
I love camping. I super duper love it. And car camping is the equivalent of being at the Ritz. We both brought way more crap than we’d ever need (um, hello, I had 2 camping stoves with me. I don’t know why), got to sleep at around 10:30 though all the hollerin’ loud-talkers around us went to bed probably around dawn. There were barking dogs, late arrivals, and lots of yelling, but I still slept like a baby.
We were able to start setting up our booth at 7:00- this involved schlepping in trainers, tables, chairs, Livestrong materials, way too much water and food, changes of clothes, fruit, a fan and extension cord, books, cameras and hula hoops. As we set up, the clouds darkened, the wind picked up.
Just before the storm:
We both took a quick stroll around the venue to see if there was anything we wanted to buy and then just as we were going to start, the sky opened up. A National Weather Service announcement blared across the PA, and we hunkered down just as the crowds were let in.
Thankfully the rain lasted only a few minutes and we were able to emerge and start riding.
Pat set up my bike on the trainer and immediately I was uncomfortable. You see, he had one of these
and I did not. So, with the rear of my bike elevated on the trainer, I was immediately super uncomfortable. So, we improvised.
And it actually worked. For a while. (this is foreshadowing)
As soon as I started to ride, I noticed of course that I was not gaining any mileage. I then realized my folly- I had never transferred the necessary sensors from my old bike onto my new bike, so balls, no mileage. Being a purist, I decided to screw it and go buy a cheap computer that would do miles. I paid $40 for a $100 computer, Pat installed it, and for the next 3 hours me, Pat, and a woman who was uber chatty and friendly tried to get it to work. To no avail. We were just riding only measuring by time now since neither of us had mileage capacity. (I would later during a break take the computer back to the vendor and he was able to show me what I was doing wrong in like 2 seconds, but it was far too late in the day to worry about now).
We came prepared with playlists, books, my laptop and movies, and plenty to entertain ourselves. But we realized we got many more donations when we were hollering at people. It went a little something like this:
“We’re riding 100 miles today on these trainers- c’mon, it sucks, isn’t it worth a dollar?”
“I’ve gotta sit next to this guy all day, he never stops talking. If you give me $2.00, he promises to be quiet for 5 minutes”.
[to anyone who remotely looked like a cyclist] “Buddy, you know how much this sucks, please give us a dollar”
We found that if we weren’t actively harassing, er, soliciting people, the donations didn’t come in. So, so much for playlists, movies, books and other distractions. This was an all-work event.
Time started to move along- we met lots of nice people, we saw lots of cool bike stuff
I heard way too much about Pat’s discomfort.
And so it went. Some really amazing people gave us donations, bought a JenniHoop™, and then surprised us with bringing us fruit cups and drinks. Wow, they blew me away with their awesomeness.
My makeshift front box thingy was start starting to fail, Pat dismounted and while I was still riding, he lifted my front wheel up and over onto the other side. Ah better. For a while.
Until, an hour and a half or so later, I crashed.
Well, it was more like a slow-motion severe lean into an actual fall.
At some point, my bike just started to fall left. I was able to grab a hold of the top of the tent and arrest my fall substantially, though I eventually ended up on my left side, still clipped in, while scores of people came to my rescue. I emerged unscathed though this indicated the end to my 100 Miles of Nowhere.
I don’t know how many miles we actually did, but I’m going to go ahead and give myself a DNF for this event, though we rode for about 5 hours, maybe a little more.
After a quick run to the diner with Philly Jen
we counted our earnings-
$237! Nice!! I wish it was more, but our time was limited. The flea market closed well before we would have finished the actual 100 miles anyway, so regardless of my crash, we would have fallen short. But it was still worth every single second.
As I was driving home, I decided to detour and go for an actual ride. I wanted to grab some more Nowhere miles, so I found a beautiful stretch of road, and set out to get to Nowhere. Quite by accident, I actually found it.
I rode a bunch of miles in .15 circles riding around this parking lot, just to join in the madness of what other people were surely doing. (The route to the righthand side of the picture is where the road to Nowhere went.)
So I felt the fatigue. And sweat. And soreness. And wobbly legs. And I know that riding a trainer sucks. Like it really sucks. But knowing why I was doing it made it completely worth while.
-Spending all day with a great friend
-Got some pink and white bar tape for $7
-Feeling the Sweetpea LOVE LOVE LOVE. My favorite was a bike guy leaning in close to study her and saying, “Man, Independent makes some beautiful bikes”. To which we said, “Yes they do, but this is a Sweetpea”. /facepalm Many people had heard about Sweetpea but never seen one in person, so they were at times giddy. I believe I’m now riding the Yeti of bicycles.
-11 year old Jacob who was our entertainment and help- he hooped for us, he gave us a donation, he found the announcer and got us some traffic by announcing where we were and what we were doing
– Seeing a bunch of current and future Team Fatty members, gearing up and pretending to finish a mountain stage as they clapped and woo-hoo’d! (Thanks guys!!)
-Realizing that we were situated close enough to the grandstand that I could sneak my 100′ extension cord under the catwalk and gain electricity to power the fan. This was an amazing thing!! No one else had electricity! I brought that cord on a hope and a prayer and holy cow, what a good thing.
-Hearing stories of the survivors and getting goosebumps. Being able to tell them, “I’m doing this for you”.
-Being able to pedal without my hands on the handlebars, drink my Vitamin water from a wine glass, and not worry about weight on my bike. Also, there were no near misses with cars, and no one broke any vehicle traffic laws. Oh, and not wearing a helmet was pretty cool too.
-My ill preparation with the mileage stuff. I should’ve known better.
-What happened to my beautiful sign 1 minute before the crowds came
-That the organizers actually made Pat pay $40 to have this booth
-Trying to buy a Bontrager track jacket and the salesman being a total tool about it. Pat and I later had this conversation:
“Excuse me, do you sell tools here? Do you employ them?”. Yes, you did. And I left without the jacket. (:o(
-I forgot to use the dznuts from the 100 MoN package. And the Carbo Rocket.
I will absolutely be signing up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere again next year. But next year, I will be in my living room. I will be watching TV, I will be shielded from the elements, and I will compete in and win the “Age 35-40 custom buddha bike” division.
Please link to your write ups! I wanna read them!