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Sunday, June 3, 2012

2012 FatCyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere – Late Because Cancer Sucks Edition

The story of this year’s 100 Miles of Nowhere really started with the second edition of this event, when Fatty posted an opportunity to join him. Being a little out my gourd, I thought it would be a great way to raise money for LIVESTRONG by not just riding 100 miles, but “selling” miles for $5.00 a mile. I ended up riding 176 miles around a 0.15-mile loop at the top of my street. The following year, I upped the cost per mile to $10.00 a mile, thinking maybe I could get to $1000. Well, I did that and more, spinning 271.5 miles on a trainer in the park. Last year, I “only” rode 133 miles, with the intent of riding on rollers, as they seemed like the next great nowhere challenge. The rollers won. I cramped within 30 miles and had to move to the trainer. I was defeated.

For 2012, I decided the rollers and I had an appointment with destiny. I began aggressively training in February with the goal of completing the 100 Miles of Nowhere in under 5.5 hours. Instead of “selling” miles, I sold songs on my playlist during the ride. I got some pretty good songs to add to my ride playlist, too. Things were progressing nicely: I was raising money, gathering songs, and putting the hurt on my legs as they got leaner and stronger.

Then the bomb dropped. Mid-trainer session on May 15th, I got a phone call from my dad. My aunt, Lisa, who endured nearly five years of continuous chemo treatment to treat metastatic ovarian cancer passed away. My sweet, wonderful aunt, with the magnetic smile, wonderful wit, and huge heart was gone. Her memorial service was Friday, June 1st, at 2:00 in the afternoon. Over 500 people packed the church to say goodbye, a testament to how she touched lives.

Logistically, there was no possible way I could ride the 100 Miles of Nowhere on the 2nd with the travel for the service. Of course, this was only a minor inconvenience as the race can be completed alone and the race was very low on the priority list considering what had transpired. When we got home, late on the 2nd, I cooked up some rice cakes, set up the rollers and fans, built a box to aid my reach for bottles and food, and did final preparations on the playlist. So there it was, the FatCyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere – Late Because Cancer Sucks Edition. 

The emotional and physical exhaustion of saying goodbye to my aunt led me to revise my plan and just start whenever I got up on the 3rd. Really, I wasn’t going to take longer than 5.5 hours total time anyway, right?

I got started at about 10:45 a.m. PST and immediately knew I had the legs to reach my goal. I felt like I was flying, like there was no chain. It was almost as if I had wings like Aunt Lisa’s cranes blowing in the breeze from the fans next to me.
Getting rolling
The cheering committee    
Two hours and change later, I was 50 miles in and sweat-soaked, ready for my planned wardrobe change. (I know, gross, right?) The break was longer than I wanted, but was so needed. I ate and filled bottles before getting back on and cranking away. The reality of possibly going sub-5:00 was at the front of my brain.

Then it started to hurt. The doldrums set in between about miles 60 and 80 for me on most centuries. Mentally, I was cracking. Physically, I started to see big fluctuations in my 5-mile split times ,and I knew my legs were still good. Not great, but still good.

As I rolled past mile 70, I was on pace to be not just sub-5:00, but really, really close to sub-4:30. That’s total time, mind you, including the break and change of clothes.  It was time to dig in and finish.
My girls checking on my progress
The miles ticked off and 4:30 seemed tantalizingly close, but still out of reach. Mile 90 came and went as I found myself powering through each pedal stroke, unable to maintain my starting cadence. Teeth clenched, I grunted my way past 95 and tried to increase my pace. In the end, I was about to explode as my 100-mile split popped up on the Garmin at 4:28. I nearly fell off the bike, sobbing with exhaustion, pain, and relief.

Grinding to the finish
The bright yellow crane Aunt Lisa’s students made as a part of the 1000+ they made in her honor I carried made it safely through the ride and will make the trip to Davis with me. Sadness weighs heavy in my heart, but my aunt won. Her legacy lives on and lifted me up during the ride. Whatever pain I felt pales in comparison to those who spend months or years enduring surgeries and chemo- pales in comparison to what their families and children go through. Maybe, just maybe, what I do with Team Fatty can help ease that pain through LIVESTRONG and Camp Kesem.
Exhausted, but done with Aunt Lisa's crane
It's all over for another year

Sunday, April 1, 2012

CYCLO90 Day Challenge

CYCLO90 Day Challenge

I'm starting to prepare for this year's LIVESTRONG Challenge by participating in the Cyclo90 Day Challenge.  I am getting stronger and hope to be even better prepared this year.  Maybe I'll even be able to keep up with Fatty.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

FatCyclist.com 271.5 Miles of Nowhere

I had this brilliant idea last year of selling miles at $5 apiece and letting donors pick my poison: stationary bike at the gym. road bike on my trainer in the garage, or a .15-mile loop at the top of the hill. I almost reached my goal of raising $1000, the .15-mile loop won and I rode 176 miles around and around and around for 11 hours.

For the 3rd annual FatCyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere, I upped the ante. This year, I asked for $10 a mile, hoping again to hit $1000. Thinking 100 miles was a reasonable expectation and more would be awesome, I started promoting and begging. Going into Wednesday of the final week of donation for mileage, I was worried I wouldn't hit 100.

Thursday morning, while eating breakfast, a big donation dropped in my email box. Then another one. Suddenly, I was staring down 250 miles. Then a couple more donations came in and the final total was an eye-popping $2715, or 271.5 miles.

A deal is a deal and I said I would go 200 on Saturday for sure and finish on Sunday. The plan was to drop the resistance to nearly nothing and just go crazy. It worked for a couple of folks last year and my confidence in completing all those miles otherwise was a little low.

I packed up the Jeep Friday night with a lighter version of the outreach booth I had at the Iris Festival last year. I loaded up brochures, wristbands, and the vertical Team Fatty sign I had made for the events last year. I tossed in a table and the trainer. As an afterthought, I threw in a piece of plywood. Turns out that was amazing foresight because the ground at the park was so soft.

Once the Jeep was packed, I prepped bottles for water, sports drink and protein drink, filled a bag with all the food items and extra drink powder, and drug out the cooler. I grabbed layers, shoes and extra gear and stuffed it all in a duffle bag for the transition times in the morning and evening, figuring I'd be there for a LONG time.

The morning started slowly as I filled bottles while Grandma and Grandpa came over to watch the girls so I could spin and my wife could go work. I loaded the cooler and the bike into the Jeep and rolled out a little after 8:00 a.m., a later start than I intended but such is life with little ones and leaving home for this insanity.

I stopped for a breakfast smoothie and oatmeal from Jamba Juice before getting to Riverfront Park to set up. I planted myself near the playground so the girls could have some fun when they came to visit. Setting up the table, the awning and the bike took some time so I got started at 9:16 a.m.

The first few miles involved troubleshooting the Garmin which suddenly was giving 100+ mph speed. Turns out it was automatically setting the wheel size at nearly 10 meters in circumference. This was what it looked like:

Once I got it set back to 2.1 meters, I restarted the recording. Things went smoothly until I decided to wind it up at about mile 18. The magnet on the spoke flipped outward and smacked the arm of the speed/cadence sensor for the Garmin, so I was without any way to measure distance. I pulled the bike off the trainer and pedaled over a block to my favorite local bike shop, Scott's Cycle. I knew they had a sensor in stock if we couldn't get the other one working. After a few minutes of fiddling and troubleshooting, no luck so we cracked open the new one, set it up and tightened it down (a little more firmly than before to prevent a repeat performance).

I rolled back over to the park and set up on the trainer to resume spinning and forgot to restart the timer for a couple of minutes. Fortunately, that was the end of major problems for the day. It also meant the first 30 miles were the slowest of the day.

I'm not entirely sure the reason for this particular look, but I was over one-tenth of the way to the end. (And it's the first picture I have of myself where I wasn't moving the camera which made a slight funhouse mirror effect.)

The day was gorgeous. I watched the arthritis walkers go by in the morning as the dew evaporated from the grass. The slight breeze made the ride bearable. I caught a pretty good groove about mile 50 or so and it lasted through mile 100.

The cheering committee arrived with lunch a little before I hit the century mark.

I also had a couple of friends come down with their dogs to enjoy the sunshine, chat and play and a colleague from school drop by with his son with snacks. I appreciated the company very much.

Don't they look comfy? I decided to push hard to 100 miles, a decision I would regret shortly after.

The numbers on the Garmin don't lie. The rear wheel travelled 100 miles.

Sure, I was a little tired but feeling strong.

The girls left for nap time and my iPhone was running low on batteries so I couldn't use Facebook to distract me. I had another couple of friends stop by to see how I was doing. She lost her dad to cancer earlier this year and they have always been very supportive. They had another batch of snacks from Great Harvest (yum) but didn't stay long.

I hit the doldrums at about mile 110 - the hind end was hurting and I was slowing down. Fortunately, the teacher in the classroom next door and her husband dropped in with a bag full of orange slices and an hour's worth of chit chat. I was distracted enough to power through to the halfway mark, looking cool (or something).

At this point, my iPhone was almost completely dead, so I stopped updating online. I also missed the words of encouragement from Facebook-land as I posted updates. It died right after mile 175 so I was stuck, alone, and not knowing when dinner and the support crew were going to arrive. It's hard to be 7+ hours into something like this and to be surrounded by people but totally alone. I found myself trying anything to avoid thinking about the pain coming from the seat.

As I crossed into thinking about the reasons why I was out there, I got caught by a wave of emotion. I shouldn't be doing this. I shouldn't have to do this. This is stupid (in so many ways). We have to beat this thing, cancer. No one should have to live with the uncertainty cancer brings. We should be able to fix it and leave patients and their families as whole as possible.

One of the best moments was crossing the 200 mile mark. I was hurting, for sure, but it was a moment where I knew I could keep the wheel turning and finish in one day.

At 200 miles, this face isn't screaming, "No more!"

Finally, the girls got back to the park with another big Jamba Juice. I had pretty sour stomach at that point and Jamba is the one thing I know I can put down no matter how lousy I'm feeling. (Almost sounds like an endorsement and they did give me some BOGO coupons that morning, but I paid for both of the ones I had.)

And here it is...
It's the face that says, "Ow!", in so many ways. This was around mile 236. I was figuring if I really cranked on it, I could finish in about and hour.

As I got closer to the finish, I distracted myself with Facebook updates, since my wife also brought my fully-charged backup battery. Friends of ours, who brought their kids, were there, so the girls went to the playground and carousel with them.

As I counted down on Facebook, I spun the wheel about as fast as I could go. I finished just a little before everyone came out of the carousel, with an extra mile for good measure. We took the obligatory finished photographs and, in a moment of irony, I didn't want to get off the bike.
My wife, knowing there was the real potential for me to be completely useless on Mother's Day, supported the effort and was excited that I was able to raise so much money and ride so far.

After 9 and a half hours, we packed up all the gear and handouts and headed to Applebee's (girls' choice) for a post-ride meal. I ran into a couple of students, one of whom remembered what I was doing and asked how it went. I think it can be summarized simply - it hurt, but it was good.

(And the students, well, they took second in the state choir competition, so good for them.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm all famous and stuff

My 100 Miles of Nowhere is in the local paper. They even published a picture above the fold on the front page. Sweet! Here's to hoping I can translate it into some more fundraising.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Time's fun when you're having flies

Quite a bit has happened since August. My professional obligations have increased (in a good way, I think) so my time is increasingly occupied with things other than riding bikes and fighting cancer. I had surgery to repair the mess I made in my nose by playing rugby in college so the summer can be a little more bearable for me. It turns out, the ability to breathe freely helps with riding a bike, too. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Yeah, I slipped that last one in there. It was an anxious few weeks as we learned the extent of the cancer. Fortunately, it has not spread widely at this point so they can treat it with relatively non-invasive options. Men are nearly guaranteed to have some form of prostate cancer if they reach a certain age so this wasn't a huge surprise intellectually. Emotionally, it was a real shock. IT motivated me to change the way I teach cell cycle control in my biology classes and led to amazing work by my students we were able to share with the student body during cancer awareness week.

I wil be back to revise the logos and widgets this week since it is spring break for me. In the meantime, my site for this year is http://seattle2010.livestrong.org/jeveritt and every $10 I collect between now and May 7, 2010 is a mile I ride in the FatCyclist.com 100 Miles of Nowhere event. Last year, I rode 176 miles and if you donate I'll ride them all.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to Fight Like Susan

Be focused
Be creative
Have outrageous endurance
Be kind

Monday, August 24, 2009

Finding hope

I had a great ride today. Twenty-two miles with the fast boys on Monday night. I felt great, rode fast, and plowed home solo into a brutal headwind. I'm enjoying the time on the bike (but need to solve some minor saddle issues yesterday) and looking forward to the next ride. I am happy about that. Riding is a great refuge for me. I can ride and think or I can ride really hard, go deep into the pain cave and think about nothing.

Mom's friend Debbie's funeral was Thursday. Mom had to miss the weekend in Spokane with the family to attend. Mom was pretty shook up when she passed away, even though everyone knew it was coming. Debbie planned her own funeral in the middle of aggressive treatment. She fought cancer so many times...

Losing four people to cancer in such rapid succession has left me feeling a little apprehensive about my aunt's recurrence. It's frustrating to everyone how everything can be clean then three months later, tumors are large and in charge all over the place. I tried to explain from the scientific side how cancer can be so aggressive to my dad on the drive home today while my girls slept in the back of the van. I'm not sure how effective I was but the bottom line is cancer will find a way to feed itself. Left to their own devices cancer cells will divide exponentially, eventually stealing all the nutrients from the surrounding tissue, killing the tissue it has invaded. Looked at microscopically, it's brutal.

The most powerful weapon against cancer is hope. Dad and I talked a bit about that as we talked about my cousin's expected child arriving in a few short months. Everyone fighting must find their own reason to believe they can survive. For my aunt, I pray that new grandchild brings enough hope and resolve to steel her against her second fight for her life.

I spent my evening reading up on the exploits of Team Fatty: Philly. I have to tip my hat to them. I think they very much outdid Seattle. Read more:
Lowest Gear - Preride
Lowest Gear - Ride Report
More Than a Ride - Ride Report
Ride a Bike - Ride Report
RocBike - Preride
RocBike - Ride Report

The team is being reformed for 2010. You don't have to be a hardcore cyclist to join. You don't even need to join to get the gear and feel the love. Just go visit TwinSix.com. Proceeds go to Fatty and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.