Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Announcing the 200K of Nowhere

As anybody who’s ever had any kind of trouble in a relationship (in other words, everybody who’s ever had any kind of relationship … which I hope could be further shortened to just “everybody”) knows, men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Now, sure, this is a gross simplification, not to mention a physical impossibility. Venus is covered with clouds of sulphuric acid, which is very bad for a woman’s complexion. Men could be from Mars, however, since scientists have recently detected trace amounts of methane there, and we are notorious for our ability to produce this (preferably at night, in bed, and then pulling the covers up over our wives’ head … take that, you weak Venusian!).

My point, however, is that John Gray was (grossly) generalizing when he wrote that “Martian” men and “Venusian” women react differently to certain events. The classic example is tragedies: Women will just go ahead and be sad for a bit, while men run around trying to “fix things.” While I know a lot of women who are “Martian” at these times, and a lot of men who are “Venusian,” I must admit that I am a classic Martian when bad stuff happens.

The best example of this is when my friend and fellow randonneur, Peter Lee, was dying from cancer in November. We all focused on “doing things.” We helped his family as best we could and cheered him on when he was working to beat the cancer. When the end was near, we all jumped into planning and organizing mode – tying up business issues, updating his Will, planning the funeral.

(Of course, two of the best organizers throughout this were RandoGirl and Fredia Barry. In particular, Fredia was more Martian and Venusian than just about anybody, juggling business issues with compassion and sensitivity throughout. John Gray would probably say that Fredia is from Jupiter. He’d have to give her a whole new book.)

Since business is not one of my skills, my role in most of this was court jester. When Peter was in pain, I told him jokes. Since my jokes are very bad, the pain of hearing them distracted Peter from the cancer. Fortunately, he did enjoy hearing from all of us about long rides that we had just done, or rides from years past, or rides that we were planning. As regular readers can attest, I like to yammer on endlessly about these kinds of things, so it was easy for me to help in this way.

Near the end, I told Peter about a ride that I was planning for this spring. I wanted to do something that would honor Peter, but since I am a Martian it also needed to fix things. It needed to be an easy way for cyclists to try their hand at randonneuring, and maybe also raise money to fight the disease that was killing Peter.

I told him about the 100 Miles of Nowhere.

If you’ve ever looked over on the right side of my blog’s home page, you may have noticed links to a couple of blogs that I read regularly. One is Bike Snob NYC, who now writes a regular column for Bicycling Magazine. The other blog that I regularly read is Fat Cyclist.

Fat Cyclist is Elden Nelson, a blogger in Utah. If you’ve never read his blog, you should. He may even be funnier than I am. (Okay, just kidding! We all know that’s not possible.) Anyway, Fatty’s wife, Susan, battled cancer for a number of years, and he blogged about that. Many of these blog posts are heart-wrenching. Most have flashes of humor wrapped in pain. All of them are inspiring.

Since Fatty is also Martian, he dealt with Susan's illness by trying to fix cancer. Even though she passed away over a year ago, he continues to fight by raising money for such folks as the Lance Armstrong Foundation (a logical tie-in for someone who blogs about cycling and cancer). He has four "Team Fatty’s" in different cities that have regularly been the top fundraisers for Livestrong. He is what they call, in charity circles, a cancer-fighting money-raising machine.

Fatty can do this because
  1. He’s likeable. You really should read his blog. If you only have time to read my blog, then move some things on your schedule so you can read his, too. Emphasis on the “too.”
  2. He’s passionate. I can’t imagine fighting cancer for five years with RandoGirl. I won’t imagine it, actually. It makes me really sad, and that’s Venusian.
  3. He knows how to get companies to donate swag. Big companies, with really good swag.
So, if I didn’t have your attention with talk of Peter and helping to fight cancer, I hope that I now have you hooked with the mention of swag. Because, after all of this la-de-daa and folderol, I am announcing …

The 200K of Nowhere!!!

Yes, this is your chance to ride a real brevet (sort of) just like your randonneuring heroes, without all of the hassles of nasty weather (I hope) and getting lost (probably) and … well, okay, all of the other hassles are still there. Of course, you still have to ride a bicycle 125 miles, but it’s really just the same 25 miles done five times. That’s why it’s a “200K of Nowhere” ... Peter just didn't think that a mere 100 miles would do.

It’s on some very pretty, very smoothly paved roads down in very quiet College Grove. Some of those roads are even moderately flat … if you like that kind of thing. And there will be a rest stop with snacks and cold liquids ... the same rest stop, you will just hit it five times. And, when you come in, there will be somebody there to also mark your brevet card … just like what your randonneuring heroes do on a real brevet.

(I’m having just too much fun with that phrase: Randonneuring heroes. Who’d of thunk?)

This event will be “part of” Fatty’s 100 Miles of Nowhere. The quotes are because I’m not sure that Fatty knows that I’m doing this, although ultimately he doesn’t need to. (I’ve sent him a couple of e-mails warning him, and so long as less than 100 Nashville cyclists swoop in and grab all of the open spots, he probably won't care.)

Anyway, to sign up for the 200K of Nowhere you just sign up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere here. You must do this on April 11 – and do it first thing that day, if you can. Registration will be open until April 18, but Fatty usually only allows 150 people, and once it’s full … it’s full.

(By the way, if you clicked the above link to sign up early, you saw last year's page. I'm assuming that they'll use the same page this year. If you don't sign up in time, the page that you'll see on April 12, 2011 will probably look like the above-linked page. Wow, was that confusing!)

Anyway, if you sign up for the 100 Miles of Nowhere, you should then post a comment on this blog letting me know that you're coming for the 200K of Nowhere. Make sure you do this, so I can get enough snacks and drinks for the rest stop. Then, come to the parking lot of the College Grove Community Center and start riding about 7 am on May 21. The “control” will be open until 7:30 pm, so you have 13-and-a-half hours ... just like a "real" brevet. If you can’t ride 125 miles, that’s okay, too. Do as many 25-mile loops as you can.
It will cost you $85, but you get
  • Event t-shirt designed by Twin Six
  • Banjo Brothers seat bag
  • Winchester Bar
  • PRO Bar
  • DZ Nuts chamois cream sampler
  • Some other stuff

Not enough for your $85? Well, Fatty usually also has some door prizes that are pretty good, so you could win one of those. And, to put some skin in the game, everybody that signs up is in the raffle for the following goodies:

Light and Motion Vis 360

Due to my stupidity and impatience, I ended up with two of these for Christmas. I've been using one all winter and absolutely love it! My ride in is bright, thanks to the headlight, and I am very visible, thanks to the flashing taillight. It mounts on my helmet, but weighs next to nothing. I charge it off my laptop at work, so it doesn't run out of juice.

I've only got one of these. Whoever gets this is going to start regularly commuting on their bike, and their yearly mileage will quadruple. Maybe.

Pearl Izumi Convertible Glove/Mitten

I bought three pairs of these last month, and the extra-large ones are too big for me. They're really comfortable, lightweight gloves with this nifty pocket on the back of the palm. The pocket holds a windproof reflective mitten-thing. You pull the mitten-thing out and over your fingers, and suddenly your gloves are now mittens. For me, they're good down to the low 40's by themselves. You put liners on under them, and you'd be cozy at about every temperature range that you get in Tennessee.

Again, I've only got one pair, and they're XL.

Assorted Arm-, Knee-, Leg-, and Head-Warmers

Vida Greer from Gran Fondo (a.k.a., the Greatest Bike Shop in the Solar System, Run by the Greatest People in the Galaxy) gave me 10 pairs of assorted warmers from "eleven 81" for this event. They're all still in the package, so I haven't tried any of them, but they look great. And you can never have too many pairs of knee warmers.

Finally, everyone gets one of these:

No, not a manly forearm (eat your heart out, Popeye). Everyone gets a commemorative band. One side says, "Peter W. K. Lee" and the other says "RUSA 4001." That was Peter's Randonneurs USA number ... kind of like a social security number, only we put it on brevet cards rather than paper we give to identity thieves.

Still not enough for your $85? Did I mention that the money goes to fight cancer? And that this is for Peter Lee? Well, if that isn’t enough, then you aren’t from Mars or Venus. You crawled out of Uranus.

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