June 10, 2011
It's appropriate that my number ended in 57 because I was Heinz 57 slow.
Yesterday was my 100 Miles of Nowhere ride, which is exactly what it sounds like. I rode 100 miles without really going anywhere. Specifically I rode a 3 mile section of the river trail out and back and out and back and out and back and out and back some more until my odometer showed 100 miles.
A teensy snack to tide me over.
The night before the ride I packed a small snack for the ride. 1 full-sized Clif bar, 4 mini Clif bars, 2 PB&J half sandwiches, 1 baggie of almonds, 1 pack of Shot Bloks, 1 banana and 1 baggie of Mike & Ike’s and Sour Patch Kids. Along the ride I ate everything except the full-sized Clif bar and the almonds. Although I didn’t eat the candy until I was finished, sort of like my little trophy for
completing surviving the ride.
At the river trail, I met up with That Laura and our other friend, Mike. Laura and Mike weren’t registered for the 100 MoN, they just came out to ride with me because they’re cool like that. Mike gets extra cool points because he brought a chest full of ice for our water bottles and later his mom showed up with cold watermelon.
Most of my conversations with Laura prior to the ride went something like this:
Me: “This may just be the worst idea we’ve ever had.”
Laura: “Yep. So do you want to start at 6 or 6:30?”
Me: “Seriously, this might just be the dumbest thing we’ve ever done.”
Laura: “Probably. I’ll meet you at the trail at 6.”
Me: “To the pain.”
To the pain!
Laura and I rolled out about 6:05 with Mike following shortly thereafter. The trail was beautiful and mostly empty in the cool of the morning. We rode the first few laps together and then separated as we settled into our own rhythms. On one of the early out and backs, Laura and I saw two bucks bounce across the trail. Later on I also saw 2 king snakes stretched out across the trail, soaking up the sun. I was less excited about the snakes and each time I rode by one I looked them in the eye and in a voice that wasn’t wavering at all, I’m sure, I pleaded “Don’t bite me, don’t bite me, don’t bite me.”
I’d wisely purchased a book to listen to and a handful of laps in I started Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees. Don’t tell me how it ends because I’m not finished yet. So there I was happily pedaling along, listening to my book and stopping for snacks every now and then. Before I knew it, I’d already ridden 50 miles.
At around mile 55 the wind started to pick up and didn’t quit until mile 80. This meant that heading out was into the wind, but heading back was followed by a blessed tailwind.
I should take a minute to say that at one end of the trail, there’s a spacious parking lot in which to turn around. At the other end, I had to make a tight turn around on the trail itself. I’m laughably bad at turns and so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to practice, since I’d be encountering that turn 17 times. And this is how at mile 61 I wound up sprawled out on the trail. I entered the turn and started to topple over, only getting my inside foot unclipped after it was too late. I landed hard and bruised my…bruised my, well, let’s just say I bruised my ego pretty badly. I scrambled up and looked around. Much to my delight nobody else was around to see my display of gracefulness.
At mile 80, my friend Abby showed up to ride a handful of miles. Mike and Laura had peeled off to ride other portions of the trail and I was getting tired of my book, so I was really glad to see Abby. We rode out and back, chatting and just having a good time. Abby’s timing was impeccable because when she hopped off her bike to run the trail a little bit, I only had 14 miles to go. 14 miles is nothing! My legs were tired, but I could feel the finish coming. I started up my book again and pedaled the last few miles.
At the end I was pretty tired, but pretty happy to have completed 100 miles. I even finished about an hour sooner than I’d anticipated. That never happens.
Laura and Abby cheered me on at the finish line. As we sat in the back of her car, eating candy and waiting for Mike to finish, I couldn’t help but think it had been a great day to ride for a great cause.
So I’m celebrating two things today, the first being that I’m able to walk today with only a slight pain from making an asphalt angel yesterday. Secondly, I’m celebrating my amazing friends who do some really nutty things with me. This graffiti I saw on the river trail best sums up my feelings about my friends: