One of the things that Elden does is the 100 Miles of Nowhere, which raises money for LiveStrong. Yesterday, he announced that he will be hosting this again, raising money for a camp that is just for children who have a parent suffering from cancer. It's a great idea, which puts it on that Batman level.
The idea behind the 100 Miles of Nowhere is pretty simple: Ride 100 miles on your bike, either on rollers or on a trainer or on a very short course. Ultimately, you go nowhere ... or, even less of anywhere than you do on a typical club century where you roam around until you get back to the high school parking lot and eat soggy spaghetti. The 100 Miles of Nowhere differs from this in that it is a self-supported celebration of masochism, and a testimony to the imagination of simple minds, since the trick is keeping yourself from lapsing into a coma while you pass that big oak tree in Mr. Wilson's yard for the 25th time.
Last year, I wanted to do something for my friend, Peter Lee, who cancer had slowly taken from us the previous fall. Since Peter was a randonneur, 100 miles would not do; thus was born the 200K of Nowhere.
The 200K of Nowhere stuck to the heart of the 100 Miles of Nowhere. It was a 25-mile loop on the best roads in middle Tennessee, mostly in College Grove and Bethesda. It had a few tough little climbs, fun descents, rollers, and everything in between. There was one "control" -- a vehicle full of food and drink in a parking lot -- and all the riders could stop there, sign and enter the time on their brevet card, get what they needed, and roll on.
There were eleven of us that May, and we had a blast riding on beautiful roads in gorgeous weather, remembering our friend Peter. I wish that I could do it again.
Somehow, I had not thought about the 100 Miles of Nowhere until yesterday when Fatty's blog dropped. As I read it, I thought, "Oh, well. I live 800 miles away from College Grove now. Guess I can't do this."
Then I thought, "Why not?"
"Really? You know how difficult it is to put together any kind of loop ride here?"
"What about in Pine Ridge? That's a loop."
"Yeah, but it's only six miles. You want to ride a six-mile loop ... uh ... 15 times?"
"Idiot. That's only 90 miles. Geez, how did you ever get out of high school."
"OK, then, 17 times. You want to do that?"
"No, I'm going to do it 21 times."
"What? Well, maybe you can, but not me. That won't be any fun."
"Hey, it's the 200K of Nowhere -- gotta be 125 miles. And of course it will be fun. You'll be on a bike. Bring an iPod, listen to music, enjoy the planet. You're doing this in honor of Peter Lee. He deserved more time on this planet, and would have given almost anything to have one more chance to ride two kilometers -- much less 200 -- no matter what route it was, what the weather was like, or how boring it would have been."
I didn't have anything to say to that. It's surprising when I win any argument.
Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out the date for the Naples version of the 200K of Nowhere. Hopefully, the Tennessee version will still happen -- I'm pretty sure that there are at least a few folks up there who would like to do another ride in Peter's honor. If you live here, or plan to visit during late April or early May, and would care to join me for this, let me know. If you live up in Tennessee and want to know about the course up there, let me know. If you have this past weekend's winning lottery ticket and don't know how to cash it in, let me know.
To sign up formally, you'll have to watch FatCyclist.com for the next week or two. You have to spend some money, but he usually has good swag and a cool t-shirt. And the money is going to a really good cause.