The 2008 PMC is now in the books!
For now, my healing starts. This one really hurt. Last year I thought it was tiring, but relatively easy. Not so this year.
First day, I did the Sturbridge to Bourne route. We started out at 6 am (I actually started pedalling at about 6:15, due to the very large start). I was really going good, at least for me, to the first waterstop. Just cooking along. Weather was in the high 60's, low 70's for the first half of the day. By the time I got to the second waterstop, I was starting to feel it. I think I was pushing a little too hard. My unofficial "Team Grumpy", my wife, daughter, brother and his wife, and my sister in law,met me at the first stop and were joined by my other daughter and her boyfried, and my son and his wife at the second waterstop. I was tired, but still feeling okay.
By the time I got to the third waterstop, in Dighton-Rehoboth, I was wasted. And only 70 miles into it. I was beginning to think I might not pull it off this year. At the Dighton waterstop, after resting about 10 minutes, I stood up to get ready to pull out. And almost passed out. That kind of scared me. I recovered quickly, trying to avoid anyone becoming aware of what happened. On my way back to my bike, I was stopped by another BF'er, Demon, who turns wrenches as a volunteer for the PMC. Even after he told me who he was, it really didn't click. Then he explained who he was again, and we had a nice short conversation.
At this point, I figured the hard part was over, as it is the first 50 miles or so that is the hardest, due to the hills. I kinda put it in a slow cruise control to the next waterstop, in Lakeville, MA, where we were met by my "Pedal Partner", Brett Hobson, and his family. Brett is a real example of why we ride this event. Diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at six months of age, Brett received a successful bone marrow transplant from his sister, and after almost a year in isolation, he is doing great. Had this happened ten years ago, we would have been riding in his memory. But now, thanks to the advances in cancer treatment, Brett has the promise of a long and healthy life!
After Lakeville, it became really tough. The miles just dragged by. I stopped at the final waterstop in Wareham, just to refill my water bottles and grab some fruit, and headed to Bourne. This was pretty easy riding, but the fatigue had really settled in. Some 3 1/2 miles from the first day finish, it started to rain. Harder. Then harder. It was almost biblical. I caught up with another rider, a young woman who was having a lot of difficulty, and she was starting to freak out a little due to the conditions. I rode with her to the finish line, where there were still a couple hundred people, cheering us on in all that rain. And thunder. And a bit of lightning. It was a bit unnerving.
After a shower, and meeting up with some Team Perinni teamater (my official team), we headed to Yarmouth for a well desered dinner, then off to bed.
Sunday morning started out dark. I made it to the start time with only minutes to go to the official start of 5 am. I felt a bit more confident this year, because I got a headlight and a rear "blinkie" so at least I knew I could be seen. The climb over the Bourne bridge went pretty well. Actually, the trip to the first waterstop went better than I had anticipated. The first really bad hill, leading to Service Road, was as bad as I remember from last year. Oh, I forgot to mention that on Saturday, my computer decided to start acting up, and was recording some really wierd readings. I know that the total mileage shown on the computer was low, so none of my readings really meant much. Except on Service Road, with a series of really good rollers, I recorded 36.8 mph, and with the way the computer was working, I figure I was really close to 40! For me, that is really steaming along.
Second waterstop, at Nickerson State Park, was a highlight. There is a young cancer survivor who goes there every year, and each year he changes his sign just a bit. This year, it said "I'm 12 years old, because of you!" We had a nice talk with him, and he told us of his plans for his own PMC ride when he reaches 15. Got some pictures, and took a bit of a rest. Up until we met him, I was having doubts about being able to finish. With his inspiration, it was off to pedalling again!
Somewhere just before that waterstop, I got a real stab in the back. I thought I had pinched the nerve in my neck again. After a bit of a massage from my daughter, the pain started to subside.
The ride to the next waterstop in Wellfleet was difficult. There are a lot of long, long hills in that portion, and about half way through, I started getting some pain in my left knee. I really got worried, but after awhile, I kind of got used to it and just pushed on. The last hill in Wellfleet was a real problem though. But nothing like what was coming.
Left Wellfleet, with only 20 miles to go. Still wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I kind of lost my bearings, and when we made the turn to go into Truro, I thought we were much closer than we were. I didn't remember this part from last year. There are some killer hills in the Truro area, much more difficult than I anticipated. Add to this that while the pain in my knee had subsided, now I was having a problem with my left achilles tendon. It made going up those hills a real chore. There was a spot just before Provincetown where someone had put up some signs, one saying "who do you ride for?" There was a guy there who was trying to write down the name of his late wife, but he just broke down, sobbing. There was a lot of that kind of thing.
But make it I did. And I didn't walk a single foot. And passed a lot of people, much younger than myself, who were walking up some of those hills, especially in Truro. I have to admit that I did one "cheat." There is a turn into an area called "Provincelands", through the dunes. It was something I really enjoyed last year. This year, there was an alternate finish, that cut off about 4 miles off the route, avoiding the hills in the Provincelands. Sad to say, I took the shortcut. I just didn't think I would be able to make the hills, due to the achilles problem, and I was probably right.
Rounding the turn into the finish line was unbelievable. Hundreds of people screaming and cheering us all on. Despite all the doubts I had during the two days, I had made it. This year, I really feel like I earned that PMC rider jersey. Now I feel like a PMC rider.
Day one - official distance, 112 miles (computer registered only 89)
Day two - official distance, 80 miles (computer registered only 59)
According to the computer, there were four or five times that I was going backward. I was afraid that it was accurate on those times!!
The ferry ride to Boston was just as good as last year. We went through a thunderstorm, saw a great rainbow, saw a whale. The band on the upper deck was great, as usual. And the welcome in Boston brought tears to a lot of eyes. The harbor master boat, with PMC banner waving, escorted us in, with siren blaring. A Boston Fire boat met us just before docking, fire guns blazing and horn blasting.
So now I sit here, trying to heal. And making plans for next year.
And the best part is that kid in Wellfleet...he'll be 13 next year, and he'll be there with his sign.
We got a ton of pictures, and once we get them downloaded, I'll post a link.
Right now, my fundraising stands at about $3500, and I need to get to $4000 by Oct 1. One way or another, I will get there. And I've already got some ideas for next year!