Pan Mass Challenge 2002
August 3rd and 4th, 2002
Same as last year, tremendous thanks to everyone who supported me on this year's PMC ride. I trained differently this year, which helped a lot, but it's the people who support you that makes the real difference!
Next - WOO HOO TWO! This ride is as much fun the second time!
Now, a short commerical. This year's ride is trying to raise $15,000,000 for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The PMC reamains the largest single contributor the to Jimmy Fund, and this will be 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 10 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 = 155 miles (I did the Wellesley to Wellesley ride again this year, but the first day was 5 miles shorter on a change in the route and I didn't get lost the second day this time). First day speed = 16.7 mph (my personal best single day speed), total weekend speed = 16.0 mph (again, my best ever weekend speed). I picked Wellesley again for two reasons. I was planning to go from Sturbridge (and trained as though I were), but began having problems with numbness and weaknss in my hands whenever my training rides got over 70 miles or so, and I didn't want to push the issue with the extra distance. Just as important, Wellesley lets your family be right there with you at the start and finish.
Saturday started out sunny and warm, and the weekend stayed that way with one exception - warm became HOT. I missed the clouds, but I don't think I missed last year's thunderstorms. We cruised on about 20 miles to the first water stop at the Wrentham Developmental Center (where one of the model airplane clubs I belong to flys - I could hear a plane in the distance). There was a nice crowd there, and I grabbed a PBJ sandwich plus some fruit (2 nectarines and a banana) while I filled up my water bottles. From there, it was onto Route 140 in Wrentham and Foxboro, along one of my normal training ride routes. At this point, I realized that I was running much faster than I thought I would have, and called Diane to make sure she and Alex would be out onb the route where we were planning to meet.
Along the way, I caught up to Wendy and David Welch, a young couple on a tandem bike who I met on one of my training rides. On the training ride, we had ridden together through Foxboro, and that's where I caught them. They had stormed through the first 20 miles of mostly downhills (tandems SCREAM downhill), and I rode with them for a while. This is a (poor) shot of them in front of me.
I took this shot while riding with a disposable camera I had stuck in my jersey pocket. It's not the greatest, but it gives a bit of an idea what the ride is like.
As we turned onto Gilbert Street in Mansfield, I kept an eye out for Diane an Alex and found them at the end of York Road. Alex was getting some nice shots of the ride as it went past, and got one of me before I saw them.
I had to loop back to say "hi", and it was nice to get a minute off. I want to apologize to Rose Singleton and her kids - they got there just after I left, and I was sorry to miss them.
Moving on down Gilbert, I got to the lunch stop at the Solomonese School in Norton.
The lines were not as bad as I remembered. It was really hot in the sun, and shade was at a premium. "Tribal Dance", a perennial favorite at Personal Best Karate, was playing on the sound system. Dave and Wendy had passed me as I talked to Diane and Alex, but I caught up with them on the way to lunch.
I don't think I ate as much this year as last year (only 1 sandwich, some fruit, some cookies, and 3 lemon squares), but I was pouring liquids in. I didn't want to spend too much time at the stop, so I got back on the road and headed out. 2 minutes after I left, Diane called on my cell phone and said she and Alex had just got to the school. I'd had a brain fade, otherwise I'd have called her and set up a place to meet her before I left. I was a bit ticked at myself, but I was rolling and didn't want to backtrack at that point.
I turned down Dean Street, and met Brianna and Sheila Medeiros. They had jumped out of the softball cookcout being held at their house to some out and wave, and I really appreciated it. The change in the route meant that instead of just walking down the three houses to the end of their street, they had to drive a way to get there.
The people along the route remain one of the reasons to ride. Here's two ladies I saw around Middleboro.
Even without the costumes, coming out and waving really gives the riders a boost. If you can do it some year, it really helps. The Lakeville water stop continues to have a theme. Last year it was a luau, this year it was done up with an old west look. "Cotton Eyed Joe" (another PBK favorite) was playing as I pulled in, and a line of girls was doing the dance.
Pulled into Bourne at about 2:05 (about 50 minutes earlier than last year, but 20 minutes of that was due to the course change for this year). I signed up for a massage,
grabbed some food (OK, grabbed LOTS of food), got my backpack, and biked over to my hotel for a shower before going back for dinner and the massage.
It was really warm at the end of the day, and space in the shade was at a premium.
Had my ususal light PMC dinner (1 hamburger, 2 hot dogs, 3 bananas, 2 nectarines, watermelon, yogurt (they didn't have ice cream this year!!!), a brownie, 3 bags of fruit snacks, 2 cookies, 3 bottles of water, 2 cans of fruit punch), got my massage, and drifted around the campus for a while. I got a picture of the bike corral as I was leaving for the evening.
It's always impressive just how many people are staying over for the second day of the ride. Finally, it was getting late, so I walked to my hotel (about a mile and a half - it kept me loose so that I never tightened up on Sunday), and ended up in bed at about 8pm.
Up and dressing at 3:30 since I had to get back to the campus. My cab showed up on time, and I was back at the campus by 4:20am. People were already starting out!! I dropped my pack off at the luggage drop, grabbed some breakfast (2 individual boxes of cereal, a banana, a bagel, and 2 cartons of milk), and headed off to my bike. I was out the gate at 5:15 (unlike last year, I didn't wait for the 'unofficial Wellesley start' that resulted in my being the only person on the road for 50 miles).
Sunday was again the more interesting of the two days on the road. I took the Wellsley return route again (5 miles shorter than to Provincetown, but the last 15 miles are hills, mostly UP) so that Diane and Alex could again meet me at the finish line. As I left the campus, a girl rode up and asked which way to turn for Wellesley. We rode together for about 10 miles until I started dropping off her pace and let her pull away from me (I should have tried to keep up - when she got to the finish line, New England Cable News filmed her coming up the road and interviewed her).
My biggest challenge of the weeekend was at the 12 mile mark. I had filled my water bottles the night before with water instead of Gatorade as I usually do (I couldn't find any at the time). I also left with just a cookie and a Nutrigrain bar in my pocket. I started feeling a bit lightheaded at 10 miles, so I figured I was running low on blood sugar. I stopped and took out my Nutrigrain bar. I was tired and a bit foggy, and I dropped it. Right into a pile of sand. A big pile of sand. It sank in about 1/4" and was inedible. The look on my face must have been the same that you would see on the face of a little kid who just lost the scoop of ice cream out of the cone. At this point, there wasn't much to do but keep moving. I was REALLY looking forward to the fruit at the waterstop. It took another 12 miles to get there, and I was really in need of something to eat when I got there.
BIG PROBLEM at the water stop - the truck with the supplies hadn't shown up. They had water and ice, but nothing else. No Gatorade, no fruit, no carbohydrates. They had gone begging at the local fire department for first aid supplies. This was a real problem, especially for the off-campus people who took the PMC's advise and planned on breakfast at the first stop (there was one woman at the stop when I was there and she was beside herself at the thought of no breakfast). This meant that in addition to the 24 miles to the first stop, there wouldn't be any food until after another 20 miles to the next stop. The ride was using real off-the-track roads, and finding a convenience store would have required going hunting well off the route. All during training, I had been eating about 300 calories every 10 miles, and had gotten used to that level of intake. I refilled my water bottles and was eating the cookie I had in my pocket (wondering how I was going to do 45 miles on just a cookie) when a minor miracle happened. Two of the volunteers from the stop had driven down to the local Cumberland Farms and had bought them out of Nutrigrain bars and Gatorade. Everyone jumped on the boxes, and I think I ate 3 bars while putting another 4 in my pocket for the ride to the next rest stop. The volunteers really made it happen at that stop.
Stopped for the second water break at Oliver Ames High in Easton (there's only 2 breaks on the 70 mile ride on Sunday).
I was really winding up at this point. The problems from the first stop were gone, and I was feeling good. Last year, I was struggling. This year, I was doing much better, because of all the hill training I did (see below).
Last 18 miles were uphill, but fine. The hills start in Sharon and don'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. Same as last year, I was in total low gear on the bike at this point, but unlike last year, this was the only time I needed the tiny chainring on the bike (I confess, I've got a triple). A few miles before Bubbling Brook, my cousin Laura was out on the side of teh road with my godson, Bobby, and his little brother, Joey. They had brought a bagel (which I was moving to fast to eat) and some ice water (which was REALLY nice). We talked for a few minutes, then I was back on the road.
As the ride wrapped up, there were more and more people out and waving. It was nice to finish up that way. As I turned onto the campus, I picked up speed again, sliding up to the same 23 - 24 mph speed uphill I reached last year.
I came across the line at 10:35am.
The picture Alex took reminded me that I didn't lose much weight in training, so I have that goal now. My finish time was a full hour and 20 minutes earlier than last year (but I did leave 45 minutes earlier and I didn't add 20 minutes being lost, so I only cut about 15 minutes off my time). Diane and Alex were there, and it was great to have them waiting for me.
This experience remains a thrill (in the picture above, I was a little too hot to smile, but I was pumped). 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, fund raising is still open).
Again, thanks to everyone who supported me along the ride and during my training. I couldn't have done this without help.
Ride and Training Notes
2001 PMC distance / time: 163.0 miles / 10hrs 50min
2002 PMC distance / time: 155.8 miles / 9hrs 44min
2001 training miles: 1056 miles / 70.4 hours
2002 training miles: 1119 miles / 75.0 hours
2001 hill training: 30 miles (approx)
2002 hill training: 250 miles
2001 longest ride: 100.8 miles / 6hrs 58min
2002 longest ride: 103.1 miles / 6hrs 44min
2001 fastest day: 20.8 miles @ 16.4 mph
2002 fastest day: 85.4 miles @ 16.7 mph (PMC day 1)
2001 average training speed: 15.0 mph (almost no hills)
2002 average training speed: 14.9 mph (lots of hills)
2001 PMC speeds (Sat/Sun/Tot): 15.4 mph / 14.7 mph / 15.1 mph
2002 PMC speeds (Sat/Sun/Tot): 16.7 mph / 15.2 mph / 16.0 mph
Read my 2001 Pan Mass Challenge ride report
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