2009 Pan Mass Challenge
Day 1 Sturbridge Ma. to Bourne 111 Miles.
2009 was my second year riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. Last year I attended my sister's wedding in Jamaica the week before the ride. We were due to arrive home Friday afternoon and the ride started Saturday morning. After 2 delayed flights and almost 24 hours of travel we finally arrived at the hotel in Sturbridge at midnight. I ended up riding my first PMC on 3 hours of sleep an a day's worth of airport food for fuel. This year there wouldn't be any of that. I went into my 2009 ride well rested and with proper nutrition.
In 2009 my wife and my son came to Sturbridge with me Friday afternoon to attend the opening ceremonies. We checked into our hotel and then made our way over to the host hotel and conference center. The place was alive with energy with thousands of participants, volunteers and their families.
The day prior to the ride I did nothing but eat and rest. As the star spangled banner came to an end and the ride began I was ready to ride. It was a perfect morning for riding. Cool and dry with a little bit of leftover fog.
I rode in big packs of riders for the first 10 miles or so. After that it started to break up a bit and I could ride more comfortably. I ended up riding alongside Joe Andruzzi from the New England Patriots and also with Billy Starr who is the founder of the PMC. The PMC fans/supporters were out in full force along the sides of the road. Once again I was blown away by the number of people that come out to cheer us on.
The Apponoquet High School water stop is where the teams get to meet with their pedal partners and also a group of kids from Dana Farber. This was a very emotional stop for me last year and this year was no different. As a rider you suddenly come face to face with the reason that you're riding. Meeting some of the young cancer patients (most of them bald from chemotherapy) from Dana Farber always leaves me with mixed emotions. Obviously it is sad that they are battling cancer however if you take a good look at the group of them you'll notice that they are all smiling, every single one of them. Most of them are wearing their team's jersey and they seem both happy and proud to be there, almost like it is "their day". I have a tremendous amount of respect for these kids and their families. I see them as being incredibly tough and courageous.
Just like last year I left the water stop choking back tears. I think I always will.
The remainder of the ride was a breeze. My friend's Everett and Jane live on the PMC route about halfway between the Apponoquet stop and the Mass Maritime Academy. They were waiting for me at the end of their driveway with some neighbors. I stopped long enough to talk to them, pose for a couple pictures and drink the ice cold water that they had waiting for me. It was really nice to stop and visit with them.
I arrived at the Maritime Academy shortly after noon. I averaged just over 18mph for the first day of the ride. A little better than last year.
My wife and my son were waiting for me at the finish line. I love coming around the corner and seeing them. My wife taking pictures and my son with an ear-to-ear smile. Once I crossed the finish line I shoveled down a bunch of good food and we left and went home for the night. I got home and hit the couch. I ate 2 more times and was sleeping by 9pm.
Day 2 Bourne to Provincetown 80 Miles
I woke up around 4am on Sunday morning, got in my truck and drove back to the Mass Maritime Academy. On the drive down 495 I felt really good. I was very rested and had been eating nothing but the best food. The weather was perfect once again and I was ready to ride.
As I started over the Bourne bridge I saw the same woman that was standing at the top of the bridge last year. She was holding the same sign also. The riders aren't the only ones that are committed to this event. The volunteers/supporters deserve credit also.
Just like last year there was a bunch of guys fishing the canal. I even saw a few stripers break as I rode along the canal access road. Watching the sunrise over Cape Cod bay was pretty cool. I couldn't help but think of all the tuna that were in the bay and what they might be feeding on at the given moment ;o)
I have found the ride on day 2 to be a breeze. The road surfaces on the Cape are really smooth, there are very few hills, the hardest part of the ride (day 1) is behind you and you can just enjoy a leisurely ride on great roads lined with hundreds of supporters. It's really a great way to spend a day. Every water stop on the ride is catered with sandwiches, dunkin donuts food and coffee, every type of fresh fruit you can name, every type of energy good on the market and coolers upon coolers of ice cold sports drinks and water. It sure beats the melted snickers bars that I dig out of my saddle bag on training rides! Once again the show up support on the roads was incredible. Here are some Pictures from the ride.
This kid is at the Brewster water stop every year holding this sign. It was great to see him again in 2009.
The people from Wellfleet made some improvements on their welcome sign also.
I arrived in Ptown shortly after 10am. My wife, my son and also my parents were all at the finish line waiting for me. Having support like this as a rider means the world to me. We took some pictures, ate some food and then Kyle and I went to play in the playground area that they had setup for the kids at the family finish. My son had a blast in the bounce house, playing ball and even flying kites.
With my second PMC finished I'm already looking forward to next year. I've also made up my mind that this is going to be an annual event for me, my company and my family. Next year my wife will be a volunteer and I have a few friends that may be getting involved as well. I'm also willing to bet that my son will ride in the kids PMC as soon as he is old enough to do so. I can't ever imagine not being involved in this event. The PMC grabs onto you and becomes part of you. It's like getting to be a superhero for the weekend.
Till next year!
A spoke on the wheel of the PMC
For more info about BatGuys and the PMC and to learn how you can contribute to this awesome event visit the BatGuys PMC Page
I hate Road Bikes!
It has taken me 3 years to decide that I don't enjoy riding on the road. Not even a little. If it wasn't for the PMC I wouldn't own a road bike. I have always been a mountain biker and on fat tires is where I belong. I love riding in the woods, climbing hills, descending steep/technical hills and everything else that goes along with cross-country mountain biking. I only did 4 training rides on my road bike this year in preparation for the PMC. In 2010 I'm hoping to do even less! Why would I want to dedicate so much time and energy to an activity that I don't enjoy? It's the event. The PMC is such a great event that even if they changed it to a 200 mile roller skating event I'll be there!