Tomorrow morning is my attempt at The 4th annual Fat Cyclist 100 Miles of Nowhere, or as the French call it, “Quoi?”  Since this is my first century, my goal is 6.5 hours, we’ll see how I do.  Some of you just said, “No Josh, this is the twenty-first century, not the first century.”  Allow me to explain:  A century is riding 100 miles on a bike, the cycling equivalent of running a marathon.  When I say the word “century”, you can just replace it with “marathon on a bicycle.”  Now that we’ve taken care of that, have I mentioned The Harbour?

For this race I’m taking advantage of the “Paris Respire” program, which closes a fair amount of the streets of Paris on Sundays for recreation, including a popular 2.25km (1.4 mile) loop around the Longchamps Horse racetrack on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. I’ve been going the last few weekends to train on the course, and it’s been quite entertaining.

For one, it attracted a wide range of cyclists, people on bikes, and other recreationalists.  Time-trialists, rollerbladers, longboarders, Dutch garden bikes, power meters, Velibs, aero helmets, race tandems, and of course, even smokers.  Last weekend I saw an elderly woman doing laps on her Rascal.  There’s also the occasional streetwalker who wanders in from the depths of the Bois.  (I’m sorry to make assumptions about someone, but if you’re 6’4″ and wearing a cowboy hat and a catholic school girl skirt on a Sunday afternoon in the BdB, you’re probably not out for just the sunshine.)

On the uni-watch side of things, I’ve noticed that the French penchant for layering carries over to excercise clothes.  Even in 80F weather, many people are out in long pants or long cycling bibs.  In the last thirty years the French professional cyclists have shied away from doping (that’s why they don’t win much), but French amateur cyclists flock to doping jerseys.  A huge number of Festina jersey, lots of Phonak jerseys, and I’ve lost count of the number of Astana…  even a Phonak Swiss Road Champion jersey (Greg Rast fan?  Martin Elminger?)  In terms of embarrassment, this equivalently sits somewhere between wearing a Pete Rose or Jose Canseco jersey, and a Maurice Clarett Broncos jersey.  (Do people wear Canseco gear again?  Is it just ironic now?)

My race number is attached to my bike, everything is all bic-ed, and now it’s time for me to get some sleep!  I’ll post tomorrow with how it goes, hopefully I’ll come in first place!