Monday, May 30, 2011

100 Miles of Nowhere – 77008 Petit Fondo

This past Saturday, we competed in the 100 Miles of Nowhere national cycling “event” put on by the Fat Cyclist ( By "event", I mean a handful of people as stupid as us. What is this “event”? It’s a Century Ride (i.e. a 100 mile bike ride).

Around an impossibly small loop.

Our loop? We rode around Section 5 of Timbergrove. How small of a loop? 0.91 miles. That equates to 110 laps of pure boredom, pain, and poorly paved streets.

The participants in this ridiculous day?

  • The “38 Year Old Male – Skeletal Issue” division only had one participant in the group David Tessin.
  • Likewise, the "Jim Adler Texas Hammer" division only had one partipant as well, the chronically short of sleep Jeff Smith.
  • Finally, the "37 Year Old Male 220 LB Plus" division unfortunately only had 1 participant as well, myself.
Here is a picture of the Petit Fondo starting line. The air was crackling with electricity and energy. Or not. But we did have a great chalk start-finish line and great mile markers.

While we were short of participants, the good news was that we all would each win our respective division handedly...IF we could finish. Why wouldn’t we finish? Two reasons, well three actually:

1) Heat. It was friggin’ HOT and HUMID in Houston. We were riding from 7am – 3pm, you know, the cool part of the day.

2) Boredom: we weren’t the most verbose cyclists, and that’s an understatement. After debating the merits of the New Soldier Field, how dirty Jeff’s bike was and whether it was slowing him down, and how much beer we would drink post-race….the conversation went very silent.

3) Fitness. Lets see here…I’ve ridden maybe 3 times this year after my knee surgery, with the longest ride being, oh, 30 miles, and the longest ride ever in my life at around 65 miles last year in triathlon training. Dave – I think he’s ridden 4 times, ditto on the longest ride ever. Jeff – he’s ridden more, but not by much, and has done many Century Rides in his past, more fit life.

We had a massive aid station set up (i.e. it had a bunch of kids shooting us with water guns), we had a grill (mile 80 = burgers and hot dogs), we had a bunch of proud spouses and friends supporting us while simultaneously laughing at us, we had random neighbors wondering what the hell was going on, and we had a cooler full of beer waiting on Mile 100.

Yes, we did finish.

We all struggled at different times, and speaking for myself, it was harder than I thought it would be. For whatever reason, God chose to make the 77008 Petit Fondo race route have a headwind in all 4 directions. I know it sounds impossible, but I have two other numb nuts who can vouch for this weather conundrum. I would say it was uphill in all directions too, but this is Houston. Its dead-ass flat.

My struggles came early around 45 miles, and it was probably nutrition related since I wasn’t taking this ride very seriously. Jeff’s barrier probably came around mile 90 when he finally realized he was riding with idiots, and he pushed through admirably thanks to the Chef’s delicious offering of grease, cheese, and pig parts. Dave – he’s like the Stig and doesn’t offer up weakness. All in all, we rode the 100 miles over 8 hours, and broke it into 4 sessions with 10-30 minute breaks. We rode 30 miles, then 25 miles, then 25 miles, then ate a lot of food, then rode the final 20 miles. Oh, and we soaked our feet in the kiddie pool at the breaks, and we sincerely hope the kids never got into the pool afterwards because there were new forms of life being formed in there after our soaks.

We had 3 celebrity guest riders….Jeff Farmer on his mountain bike, Landon Croker rode 3 laps with us, and Connor Smith rode 1 lap. I believe all three celebrity guest riders were disgusted with us, our smell, and Jeff’s dirty bicycle. One scheduled guest rider never showed up. Go figure.

The final lap was marked with kids strung across the finish line, all with water guns pointed our direction. Which presented a problem for us…how do we cross the finish line without taking out someone’s kid? The answer? We walked the bike across the finish line…a fitting end to this hard-to-understand-harder-to-summarize event.

Odometer proof below:

Stay tuned for more stupid escapades. More stupid pictures below.

The fantastic Twin Six race shirt:

Caroline getting the Start-Finish line ready.

Landon getting ready to join us for a lap.

The party, which looked more and more like a failed trailer park development.

Three idiots, riding off into the hot sunset (into the wind).

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