Tuesday, September 29, 2015

100 Miles of Nowhere: Some Clarification, and Your Help with Route Selection

Part of the reason I wanted to do our own version of giving within the confines of Fat Cyclist's 100 Miles of Nowhere is that the last few months have caused me to lose some faith in humanity. I've had days during which I have truly believed that there is no one to count on when things get rough. There have also been (at least what seems to me) a larger number of horrific acts taking place across the world and I can't help but feel entirely helpless. This simply seems like an opportunity to do some small bit to help somewhere in some small way.

With that, a couple of items have been pointed out to me by some of you that I wanted to clarify or modify regarding the upcoming 100 Miles of Nowhere, so here we go.

The first bit that has elicited a small amount of confusion is about the ride itself. Even though Fat Cyclist is doing an event that asks those who sign up to ride 100 miles of his/her own, that was not our intended purpose. We simply wanted to have an opportunity to not only aid an organization that is important to Fatty's family (by our household signing up for his ride), but to also give to one of our local organizations while riding this event.

In other words, we will be using Fatty's 100 MoN as an opportunity to give to our community as well. Those who choose to donate are in no way required to do their own 100 mile ride to nowhere.

That said, if you would like to complete your own ride (either on the date we'll be riding or on a day that works for you), please feel free to do so. In fact, we'd be thrilled to know that others are riding along side us in their own cities! If you do ride your own 100 MoN, please let us know. It would be great to hear other stories from those around the country (world?) that are doing a ride of their own as well.

The point of clarification: If you donate, you do not have to ride your own 100 mile ride.

The second point I'd like to adjust is the actual donation recipient. It has been pointed out that some would like to donate, but would in some cases prefer to give to their own local organizations. During this time of year, there are so many requests for funds that it makes it challenging to parcel out to everyone and each request. With that said, I would still love for readers to donate to the OUR Center, but I completely understand those who'd like to help out some other organization instead.

Our thought from the start was simply to have an opportunity to give, and while I really do want to get funds to the OUR Center, I also have the ability to work with local companies and people to help raise funds for this cause. If you would rather donate to an organization you hold dear, that is all perfectly acceptable in my book as well.

If you've already donated to the OUR Center, thank you! Please don't feel as though it was a waste as this organization can definitely use the assistance and I know your donation will be put to good use. We simply wanted to offer an alternative as a few people have made similar comments/requests via email.

Sometimes money itself is too much of a strain on finances this time of year as well, so I wanted to say that I think donation of goods (food, clothing, furniture, etc) or a donation of time helping an organization is just as acceptable - and sometimes needed even more. So, if that is how you are able to give, please do, and I'd still love for you to let me know.

The point of modification: Feel free to donate to any organization of your choosing (be it cash, goods, or service), but please still send an email to let me know as I'd love to keep a tally of what is being donated.

Whether you choose to do your own 100 Miles of Nowhere ride or not, I hope that you will donate. As pointed out prior, any small amount is beneficial, and whether you give to our local selection or your own organization of choice, small amounts do add up.

Okay, now that those issues have been addressed ( and, of course, if you have other thoughts that need clarification, please feel free to let me know), I will move on to the actual date of our ride and ask you for some assistance with route selection.

Our intention is to ride our 100 MoN on Sunday, October 11. It was pretty much the only weekend day we could work out to devote entirely to a 100 mile ride (and believe me, it will be an all day event for us - mostly because of my lack of training) that didn't take us into (potentially) snowy day territory. So, In just about two weeks, we will be riding our route of choice. If for some reason the weather is just too horrible, we'll pick an alternate date, but things thus far are looking fairly good.

Speaking of the route, Sam and I have debated what/where we would like to travel for the ride. Initially, Sam wanted to find a location to simply circle round and round until we reach 100 miles. My objection to this is that we'd have to turn and ride the opposite direction at some point as I think we'd grow weary (and our tires would wear unevenly) if we just circled in the same direction for a very short distance.

The real problem with this is that any place we'd choose has stop signs or signals involved which would mean that we couldn't ever get to a point of picking up speed and we'd be contending with motorized traffic at every turn.

I myself am trying to avoid any real climbing because I am already aware that riding 100 miles in my current state is going to be a challenge all its own without adding in the extra demands of climbing.

Ultimately, we've narrowed our choices down to two possibilities and we were hoping for some input from you. What would you do, why would you choose one over the other, etc?

The first option:
*Image from Google Maps
Our multi-use path has been torn up for a couple of years now since local flooding took place. The city has worked to rebuild, but it's still in a state of disrepair and has many disconnected spots. This seemed like a good option to choose because we could simply travel back and forth on the trail until we reach 100 miles. Unfortunately, the longest segment we can create continuously is about 4 miles long. Which means we'll be traveling back and forth a number of times in order to reach 100 miles (which, by definition, is sort of the point of 100 miles of nowhere, I suppose).

What we like about this option is that there are many resources along the way if we get thirsty, hungry, tired, need facilities, etc. The route has some very small rolling hill sections, but is fairly flat. In addition, we'd have almost no contact with motorized traffic, and we're guessing, due to the time of year, there won't be many people on the trail at all, making it up to us how fast we travel. We know it still won't be fast (again, because of me), but at least it provides an opportunity to stretch out a bit before turning around.

There isn't a whole lot of down side to this option, except that one direction is pretty much a very, very slight descent while the other direction will be a very, very slight climb. Another potential downfall is that much of this route is open to the elements, and it often gets windy through the straightest portions of this route, so we could very well end up dealing with some unwanted challenges.

The second option:
*Image from Google maps w/modification
For our second choice, we thought about how ridiculous a route we could really make if we set our minds to it. Our neighborhood is set up in such a way that there are two blocks we can travel without meeting a stop sign (and a bunch of motorized traffic) with 10 separate streets set up with this same two block section (the street that isn't blued out has some pretty heavy traffic, so we'd avoid this one).

Initially, we considered simply riding up and down the same block until we reached 100 miles, but then decided that we'd likely prefer a little bit of a change. With this option, we would travel an up and back route on each of these two block sections that run approximately 0.2 miles. If we rode each of the 10 blocks 10 miles, we'd end up at our 100 mile goal. Of course, that ten miles is going to add up to somewhere around 50 trips up and down each block.

What we like about this option is that it's pretty well out our front door and it's about as flat as any route could possibly be. It also makes it super easy to get home if we need a break, food, hydration, and so on. We like that it seems entirely ridiculous and if our neighbors don't already think we're insane, they will after this. I, personally, also like the fact that it would be really easy to switch out bikes if I become too uncomfortable and need a position change with a different bike. Knowing that I'm not trained for it, this seems like a good option.

One down side of this route is monotony. If we thought the 4 mile route would get dull, this will be the epitome of boring and routine.  Another potential challenge is dealing with local traffic. While these are side streets, some of them have a decent amount of traffic to contend with and traveling back and forth looking for cars and kids playing outside may not be ideal.  But, on the alternate side of things, these very short segments seem ideal for a 100 Miles of Nowhere challenge.

Which route would you choose for a 100 Miles of Nowhere ride?

A) Option 1: Short multi-use trail path
B) Option 2: Short, repetitive segments
Poll Maker

If you were choosing between these two option, which one would you select? Why? Feel free to leave additional comments or if you're short on time, make your selection in the poll. We'll let you know the decision soon, or we may just go with popular opinion. And, of course, please don't forget to donate to the OUR Center, or to your organization of choice, and then let me know about it.


  1. I voted for option one, but you could combine them. Do the short blocks near your home for 25 miles, head over the the MUP for another 40 or so, then come back home to eat, swap out bikes, and finish up however much is left.

    I might even wait until the morning of the ride and see which one feels right that day.

    1. I actually considered that as an option, but somehow it felt like it would be cheating? I guess it really isn't, but I also think it could be a good idea to wait until the morning of to see how we're feeling and sounds least daunting. Thanks for your feedback, Kendra!


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