Pan Mass Challenge
August 4th and 5th, 2001
First, a great deal of thanks to everyone who supported me on my first PMC ride. It was a long run of training, and I needed all the help that I received, especially the people who came out in the rain to cheer me on (more about this later).
Second - WOO HOO! This was a kick!
Third - Overall, the ride raised $13,000,000 for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The PMC is the largest single contributor the to Jimmy Fund, and this was the largest gift ever. If you wish you could have donated, DON'T WORRY! You can still support the fight against cancer at the Dana Farber. Click Here To Make A Donation Online. It's quick, easy, and a lot more painless than bouncing on that seat for 11 hours! You'll feel great, and it is a tremendously important cause.
OK, back to the ride report. Some of the more interesting stats: Total distance traveled = 163 miles (I took the suggestion on the PMC web site and started in Wellsley as a first time rider). This also let's your family be right there with you at the start.
The goal I set in the spring when I began training was to try to get done at a 15 mph average speed, therefore a target time of 10 hrs 52 minutes. Time I took : 10 hrs, 49 minutes, 38 seconds. Beat my goal by 2 minutes 22 seconds (1/2% below the target - too close for comfort!). At my weight and that speed / time, I burned about 7500 - 8500 calories over the two days and drank about 350 ounces of water.
Saturday started out cloudy and cool - nice riding weather. 17 miles to the first water stop, and all was wonderful. Started raining as I pulled out of the lot. Rained the entire 25 miles to the next stop. Came across the first accident in Sharon, complete with police, fire, and ambulances. Going down Moose Hill in the rain, a rider had gone off one of the hairpin turns (we got an update from the PMC after the race - all injured people were back home and doing well). As I came through Mansfield, the skies opened - thunder, lightning, the whole shooting match. I came down Newcomb Street to find my own (soggy) cheering section - Sheila, Brianna and Kasey Medeiros; John, Heidi, and Russ Rougeau, Rose Singleton; Jim Malone; and Alex and Diane. I stopped to thank them (and it REALLY meant a lot to me for them to be there) and got a hug from Diane. She described me as "squishy". Alex just said I was soaked. Here's a picture of some of them (quiz: there's 5 Black Belt butts in that picture - can you pick them out?).
From Norton, we moved on to Taunton. Second accident on Hill Street where the pavement was torn up. Because of the rain, you couldn't see where the pavement ended and became rutted mud (the water was filling up the ruts), and one rider went straight over the handlebars. That slowed all of us down a bit.
We stopped in Taunton for lunch (ham sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, 2 nectarines, 2 bananas, 2 cookies, watermelon, water). We've got a piece of video from NECN where I walk through the background while they were interviewing someone (I called home to say where I was and Alex was watching the live report - she talked me into the shot, so you see me on the cell phone waving). The rain stopped as I left the lot.
Mostly just damp for the rest of the way down to Bourne. One more pileup (a rider went down in a puddle, and 10 other people fell over him), but a reasonably smooth ride the rest of the way. Once the rain stopped, the people along the route were great. Coming out and waving really gives the riders a boost. If you can do it some year, it really helps. One of the water stops was fun. They had it decked out as a luau, grass skirts, leis and all.
Pulled into Bourne just before 3PM. Signed up for a massage and went to my room. That's when I found out it really IS a race. There are 4 people in a room, but only 2 beds. First two people get the beds, last two get army cots. Next time, I'd go faster. The big casualty for the day was my cell phone. It got wet and shorted out, ending up beyond repair.
Had a light dinner (1 hamburger, 3 hot dogs, 1 banana, 4 nectarines, watermelon, two ice creams, 1 brownie, 4 oatmeal raisin cookies, 2 bottles of water, 1 soda, 2 cans of Boost), got my massage, and went to bed at 8pm.
Up and dressing at 4am. We had breakfast (4 individual boxes of cereal, 2 bananas, 2 nectarines, milk, Boost), got our stuff packed up, and were ready to go between 5:30 and 6:00. Had a more interesting time on the road. I took the Wellsley return route (5 miles shorter, but the last 15 miles are hills, mostly UP) so that Diane and Alex could meet me at the finish line. I waited until the posted "unofficial" group start time of 6am. Big mistake. Of the 180 people going that route, 150 had left at 5:30. There were only 30 of us at 6am, and we were WAY behind the main line. As a result, we missed a turn and ended up adding about 4 - 5 miles to the run.
Sunday's weather was OK. We started out in fog and mist, so we were pretty wet by the time it burned off (full sun and high humidity by the end of the ride - tons of fun). By the time the fog was gone, I had warmed up and was sweating pretty well, so I was never dry over the whole ride. Push came to shove about 38 miles out of Bourne. I was tired, wet, and my back and neck were really sore from sleeping on the cot. One of the support vans pulled along side, said "hi", and rode next to me for a few hundred yards or so. They asked if I needed anything, and my answer, surprisingly, was "just a bit more will". As I said it, I remembered some of the hard sections of the training cycle, and realized what I needed to do was bear down and keep moving. After I dug down a bit more, I started to pick up the pace.
Stopped for the second water break at Oliver Ames High in Easton (the second day breaks were far and few between), and started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the 55 mile mark, rolling up Franklin Street in Mansfield, Sheila and Kasey Medeiros came down the other way! I had called Diane from the stop to tell her what time I expected to end the ride, and Sheila had asked Diane to call her when I was on the route in the area. Stopping to talk for a minute was tremendous kick start as I was running down.
Last 18 miles were a killer. The hills started in Sharon and didn't stop until the end. If anyone wants an example, take a ride to the Bubbling Brook ice cream stand in Westwood. Turn up the hill towards Walpole. Now imagine doing that hill after 60 miles of bike riding. I found myself in the lowest gear on my bike in full grind mode. Once again, someone along the route was helping out. There were a string of small paper signs stuck in the grass every few hundred yards. The first ones were along the lines of "Go Riders!". Then, they started talking about an "unofficial water stop". The best set were on a long uphill: "Pedal"....."Pedal"...."Almost There"...."All Downhill From Here"... and, as we kept uphill for a few hundred more yards, "Maybe". When we passed the person's house, he was out front in a PMC shirt with a whistle waving a banner. You couldn't help but stop to talk for a minute.
As the ride wrapped up, there were more and more people out and waving. I had ridden in groups all day Saturday, but I rode about 50 miles alone on Sunday, including the last 40 or so. In the last mile, another rider who was lost asked if I knew the way. I pointed out the correct route and he started up the road behind me. Oddly enough, while I wanted to finish in a group on Saturday, after riding so much of Sunday alone I wanted to finish alone. I started to pick up my pace. When I looked down, I was doing 23 mph on a fairly steep uphill. This is faster than I had ever gone on a level surface without a running downhill start, so I was honestly amazed at where I was digging down to. It appears that all the training paid off: riding, the PBK training cycle, and Te-Geri. I was feeling pretty good the next day - my quads were a little stiff, but my knees were fine. Only problem was numbness and weakness in my hands from wrist compression, but it cleared up.
I came across the line at 11:55am. Diane and Alex were there, and it was great to have them waiting for me. This was an experience I wouldn't give up for the world. In addition to the fund raising for the Jimmy Fund, the ride was an experience in and of itself. The feeling is incredible! Thanks to everyone who supported me with fund raising (remember, it's still open for my next ride).
Again, thanks to everyone who supported me along the ride and during my training. I couldn't have done this without help.
Remember, you still can Make A Donation Online to help support my next ride! You can help to make the next check for the Jimmy Fund bigger than the one below.