239 years ago yesterday was the Fourth of July, the birthday of our fair nation in the year 1776.
From that original 4th of July in 1776, 238 years and 363 days later the calendar read July 2, 2015. This is also an important date in American history as this marked the second running of Tim and Ted’s 200 On 100.
The “200 On 100” lives in New England cycling lore. It’s a bike ride — or motorcycle ride if bikes aren’t your thing — covering the 200-some-odd mile distance as it spans the entire length of Vermont, sauntering from the northern Canadian border down to the southern Massachusetts state line, 99% of which is on Vermont’s Route 100. My cycling friend Tim Johnson, with whom we have very mismatched racing, training, and traveling schedules, and I certainly don’t stake claim to having invented the ride. Rather, we just pretend to have made it more awesome. Sometime in 2011 in that rare blue moon in which the two of our schedules overlapped, we plotted to tackle it together. On a last minute whim (and entirely as a joke), we invited our friend Ryan Kelly along for the ride, because just two days prior Ryan rode 2x the recommended distance of a charity ride in which he partook. Instead of the standard 100 mile charity route, he pedaled 200 miles. That is, 200 pancake flat miles around New Hampshire’s seacoast — certainly not over hill and dale traversing the Green Mountain State.
Ryan cracked, the world watched, and the 200 On 100 grew in notoriety.
The next year we plotted another ride, only we decided to pick two towns which meant a lot to us, so we spanned Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, arriving to a rousing reception complete with beers and a BBQ at our dear friend’s Scratch Baking Co. We opened it up via social media to friends, family, and fans encouraging everyone and anyone to join and the 200 Not On 100 was born. Two more rides sprouted up in 2013 and 2014, which were each a greater and greater hit, complete with the antics and inevitable hilarity that comes with twelve hours spent out on ones bike.
The logistics involved in covering a 200 mile point to point ride are intricate, which is why people will often join for a few minutes or miles. (Very cool Strava feature, check the FlyBys to see who joined where and when. Pretty good turnout for a mid-week, mid-day ride!) You don’t just wing it and show up at the start line; you need to be well calculated. We don’t stop when anyone has to pee or change a flat. This is more like a 200 mile team time trial. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever spent on a bike and each year I look forward to it, despite the pre-ride details through which to sort.
I’ve received a lot of condolences lamenting the fact that this is my first July in three years in which I’m not racing the Tour de France. I am extremely grateful for the support and well wishes, so once again I thank you. This being my final season of racing it would be a nice icing on the cake of my career to tackle another Tour. With a team of nearly 30 riders, however, the nine starting spots are always heavily sought after and it was not to be. You know what? Just as the original signers of the Declaration of Independence surely noted, life goes on.
Typically a fall event, when it came to scheduling a 2015 edition of the 200 Not On 100, Tim and I found ourselves with some time on our hands here in early July. When kicking around ideas for the route, as soon as the original 200 On 100 idea was hatched, it was indelibly written. For a full throwback rendition, Ryan was on board, plus lots of others who had been part of some of the previous rides — friends Chandler, Jenn, Todd, and Andrew. Also on board are Meg, my brother Robbie, Chris, Chaz, and an adventuresome crew of people riding or cheering us along roadside.
And now a photo montage. I’d like to thank myself for the crappy pictures and Meg McMahon for the good ones.
The day before, setting up for the ride:
And let the ride commenceth:
Oh wow, only 175 miles to go!
We found some friends.
And voila, we did it.
So how do you wrap up a 216 mile ride that caps off the first half of one’s season? By going to the recuperative Atlantic Ocean where I look forward to the very bright future. And to Tours of Utah, Colorado, and Alberta.