The 2002 PMC took place the weekend of August 3rd and 4th.
This was my fourteenth year participating. I know that you're all busy so like I've done in years past, I put down the highlights of the ride as I saw them and for those with some extra time, I included the extended version.
Highlights and some stats (ie. The short version):
Hope you enjoyed the short version of the 2002 trip report.
I would just like to say thank you to all my sponsors. To those of you that have already given me your pledges, thank you. To those that have not, you can pay by check (payable to "PMC-Jimmy Fund"), cash, or online using a credit card (See link below). I can pick them up or you can mail them to me, interoffice or US, mail. Thank you again for letting me ride on your behalf.
- Bill -
US Mail Address:
90 Bald Hill Rd.
Holliston, Ma. 01746
(Long version starts here...)
Another PMC has come and gone. Incredible how fast the year went by. Seems like I was just writing last year's report. 2002 was another phenomenal year for me in the PMC. This was my 14th year participating in the event. It never seems to get old (the event, not me) to me. Each year the PMC staff manages to make the event a little better. Whether it's a new route, change in logistics, whatever, this is amazing considering the size of the event, 3500 riders .
The year started as it has in years past. We met up at Tom's house, loaded the bikes in his truck, and headed out to Sturbridge.
It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day. We've seen this before. We arrived in Sturbridge around 2:00, checked into our hotels, and immediately took care of important business. No, not checking into the ride, it wasn't open yet. It was massage time. We were fortunate to have the services of a masseus provided by friends of ours. What better way to unwind and loosen up those tight muscles before putting them through a serious workout first thing in the morning. Don't I look relaxed?
Well, it wouldn't be Sturbridge if it didn't rain on us at some point. And rain it did. It was sunny and beautiful when we went in for our massages. Within a half hour the sky turned pitch black and before we knew it there was a raging storm outside. I looked out the window and expected to see Dorothy and Toto fly by in the house it was that bad. We got a ride back to the Sturbridge Host across the street to check-in for the PMC. The rain was so heavy that within an hour the parking lot outside the Host was flooded. The water was up to the top of car tired in some parts of the lot. However, this being the PMC, it didn't really faze people. This was evident when we saw a little kid swimming, yes swimming, in the parking lot outside the side door of the hotel. I wish I had a picture of that as it was truly a sight to see.
The afternoon was spent catching up with old friends and spreading goodwill
with the B-Czar B-Stee tattoos. This is always the highlight of Friday afternoon
in Sturbridge. We basically try to get our team tattoos applied to as many
riders as possible so we are well represented out on the road on Saturday.
I'm not sure who enjoys them more, the recipients or those applying them.
We all have a good time regardless. Tattoos are mostly received next to the
team car in the parking lot next to the hotel. It's a very social atmosphere.
The beer is flowing from the taps in Mr. Forbes, the team hearse, for people
old enough to enjoy it. Lots of pictures are taken with our fans. A good time
is had by all.
I got dragged into the pavillion where all the vendors are setup by my friend Joel's daughter Heather. She said she just had to show me something. Well, it turned out that there was a dance company providing some services, I'm assuming entertainment, to the event and she just had to take a picture with me in front of it. Once I saw it I understood what was going on. What a proud moment...
The day wrapped up with the opening ceremonies. This year's featured guest speakers were Larry Luchino, president of the Boston Red Sox and 15 year cancer survivor and Senator John Kerry, a first year rider. Great speeches were delivered by both of them. I especially enjoyed hearing the Yankees referred to as "the evil empire" by Luchino.
Opening ceremonies wrapped by 9 and then it was off to bed as the 4:15am wakeup call would be delivered before we knew it. It was. Up at 4:15, dress and down for a quick breakfast. Roll time is 6:00am as always. We lined up at the front of the pack in the parking lot so we could get out on the road as quick as possible once the starting gun is fired.
(left to rifht: Tom, Bill, David, Kevin - Click for larger image)
Yeah, it's dark out there first thing in the morning. It's also very exciting. This is the moment you train for all season. If you're not ready for it by now it ain't gonna happen.
(That's me in the middle with the blue. yellow, and red shirt, blue helmet, sunglasses)
Starting in a pack like this is a pure adrenalin rush. One wrong move and many cyclists can all go down in one fell swoop. There were about 2500 people starting in Sturbridge. Being at the front of the pack is the best place to be. The pack thins out quickl. It's amazing how fast it is up there. You get about a couple of miles before you start climbing. Then it's uphill for the bulk of the next 40 miles. This is what you train for. It's incredibly gratifying to fly up some of these hills that kick your butt early season. Sometimes you don't even see the hills in the beginning as there are so many riders around you. Before you know it you've conquered another one.
(NOTE: Click on any of the map pictures for a full sized, more readable view)
The first 40 miles go by very fast. Amazing to think that we cover it at a pace of 19-20 miles per hour. We'd never crank the hills that fast training. It's hard to describe but you are really propelled by the pure adrenalin of it all.
The second water stop is around 40 miles into it in Franklin. It was getting pretty hot by the time we arrived there around 8:15. My cheering committee was there waiting for me. This was a very welcome sight to see. Thank you for coming out Nancy, Nicole, and Sammy.
(Bill, Sammy, Nicole in Franklin - Click for larger image)
I really appreciate them coming out to see me. Especially since it takes them longer to get there than we stay at the water stop. If we stay to long we end up stiffening up and when you leave it's like starting the ride over again and that's no fun. This time however we could have spent time since they had to shut down the course due to a car accident. We didn't know before we left Franklin. We ended up being stopped about 10 miles up the road by the Plainville police for about 45 minutes. Ouch. This hurt rolling out of there as we had to loosen up all over again. At least all the major hills were behind us for the day. However it was getting very hot and nobody wanted to be out on the road any longer than they had to.
We covered the remaining portion of the day and arrived at the Mass Maritime Academy by 1:45. There were 6 of us riding together as a group when we started the day and due to mechanical and physical issues there were only two of us together when we rolled into MMA. I give my friend Dave a lot of credit for hanging on my rear wheel all day as I was on a mission to get there as quickly as possible and was not sure he'd be able to do the pace I had in mind all day. He did it and proved me wrong. Awesome job Dave!
(Eric fixing a flat around 80 miles into the day. He got the award for the most mechanical problems in our group for the day. Broken spoke, gear shifter stopped shifting, etc. He still managed to get to MMA not long after we arrived!)
Once into the MMA, we registered for our massage, found our luggage in our dorm room, took a welcome shower, and headed down to the quad for an enjoyable afternoon. The massage was fantastic. The only complaint is that it wasn't longer.
Food and beer were flowing all afternoon. As much as I wanted a beer all my body wanted was water. Needed to rehydrate. Beer would have to wait till we finished on Sunday for me. Dinner reservations were at 6:00 for the B-Czar B-Stees at the Beachmoor restaurant. This is a yearly event for us and always a great time. The staff always treat us like kings. They setup a banquet table for us in our own room next to the bar overlooking the harbor. Special hors' douvres of chicken livers are prepared for us. This is not a menu item. The owner takes it upon herself to get whatever we ask for. She's fantastic and one of our biggest fans.
(Beachmoor owner: Wearing B-Czar B-Stee headgear, carying a tray of chicken livers with the hood ornament from our car that got left behind in the parking lot last year)
Dinner was incredible. The food and wine really hit the spot after a hard day's ride. There would be no problem sleeping, or so we thought. The dorm rooms at the MMA were like a steambath. Sleep came in short waves from about 9pm till wakeup at 4am. Now those of you that know me know that 4am is not exactly the time of day I enjoy waking up. Needless to say it takes me a while to get my body rolling quickly when we got on the road at 5:30. It didn't seem to bother Tom though. He must have had a much better night sleep than I did as he was pedalling very strong and quick from the moment we got over the Bourne bridge (seen below)
Once over the bridge we make our way to the access road that parallels route 6. This road is a blast. It's a series of rolling hills that can intimidate you if you are not ready for them. When you've done them as many times as I have you know what to expect and we just fly over them like they're speed bumps. Warmed up after about 8 miles our group of Tom, Dave, and Eric covered this leg of the ride quickly. Unfortunately Dave was not feeling well and had to drop out for the day at the first water stop in Barnstable at the Cape Cod Community College.
...and then there were three. Tom, Eric, and I left the Barnstable water stop and immediately formed a paceline for the next stretch. This line quickly grew from the three of us to about 60 cycles winding their way towards Nickerson state park. The three of us did all the pulling and the rest enjoyed the ride. We covered the next 20+ miles at a very fast pace as a result. Stopped for water and on our way as quickly as possible. It was getting very hot.
Leaving Nickerson takes us to the most difficult stage of the day. It's quite hilly and the heat made the ride all the tougher. Didn't bother us, much. It takes us through Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet. The scenery is incredible. It was so hot though that it was getting tough to breath. You'd take a deep breath in through your mouth and your lungs would not be pleased. Going along Ocean View in Wellfleet you can usually expect a nice cool ocean breeze. Nothing. It wasn't till we turned off onto Long Pond Rd that we found refuge in the shade with a nice cool breeze coming off a lake. Once through this stretch we hit the final water stop of the day. We're so close to finishing that we just want to get back on the road as fast as possible. Not before sitting on bag of ice though. I walked up to one of the volunteers, filled a bottle with ice, then filled it with water, put the top on, shook vigorously, and proceeded to squeeze it into the top of my helmet. Brain freeze... I emptied the bottle and did it again. Ahhh, that felt good. I was so hot there must have been steam coming off of me.
Back on the road and time to really move. We did the next stretch with just the three of us till we got to the point in Truro where we get onto route 6 for a nice 4 mile climb with a crosswind. There were three cyclists that got to route 6 at the same time as us. They were glad to see us and said, "great, we were hoping for a paceline to pull us into the finish". I hardly called us a paceline at this point but we managed to put it together again for the final push to P-Town. We kept the line together till the end. Along the way we picked up anyone that wanted to hang on our wheels and take advantage of the draft. We had several very grateful people.
(Tom leading our final push into P-Town)
Tom, Eric, and I rolled into the finish together. It was a great day! We had done it and were very happy to be there.
(left to right: Eric, Bill, Tom at the P-Town finish line. Click picture for larger image)
It was time to cleanup, say goodbye to our friends being picked up in P-Town, and settle into a relaxing, very hot, day in Provincetown. Once we were all showered and fed we all felt great. We headed into town to the Governor Bradford for a drink before heading onto the ferry for the party, I mean ride, home.
We couldn't have asked for a nicer day for a boat ride back to Boston. The temperature was perfect. Nice sea breeze kept us cool. The seas were very calm so the ride was quite smooth. The "Twelve Oh One Blues Band" played their hearts out for us as usual. A great time was had by all.
We sailed into Boston about 4 hours after boarding the Provincetown II and as usual we were greeted by the Boston Fire Department with a Fire Boat Salute.
The boat docked, we all said our goodbyes, and that's it for another year.
Why do I do this ride each and every year? Lots of reasons. Here's a few.
I've talked alot about all the fun we have riding and partying all weekend long. This would not be possible if it weren't for the fantastic volunteer staff working the event. They make riding easy and enjoyable. We don't have to worry about anything but pedaling. They make sure we're fed, give us massages, bandage us up when we crash, fix our bikes if there's a problem, get our luggage from place to place, transport our bikes, lug the trash, you name it. They are an amazing crew and I couldn't thank them enough.
Thank you again for letting me ride for you and for sponsoring and supporting me in this event. As always, I had a great time. Until next year...
- Bill Snapper -