The 2003 PMC took place the weekend of August 2nd and 3rd.
This was my fifteenth 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):
Some 2003 PMC Statistics
|3,582 (3 less than 2002 due to 486 cancellations, yow!)
|136 (up from 100 in 2002)
Cancer Survivors Riding
Riders over 50
Riders over 70
|14 (all released, no overnight stays)
Hope you enjoyed the short version of the 2003 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...)
NOTE: Click on any picture to view a larger version of the image. It will show up in a separate browser window. Each image you click will show in the same browser window, one at a time of course.
Another PMC has come and gone. Incredible how fast the year went by. Seems like I was just writing last year's report. 2003 was another phenomenal year for me in the PMC. This was my 15th 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, almost 4000 riders.
This year began a little different for me than years past. My friend Tom chose not to ride this year so we needed to find alternate transportation to Sturbridge. My wife Nancy gratiously volunteered to shuttle Mark, David and me out on Friday afternoon. Once again it was raining on the way to Sturbridge, sigh. We sort of get used to the rain on Friday and were hoping it would be nice and sunny for the weekend. Oh well, it's ok to dream but that didn't happen.
We arrived in Sturbridge around 1:00, 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 the same masseus, Paula, we had last year. She drove down from Killington Vt and we were very grateful. Paula is used to working on world class athletes like Lance Armstrong and the other members of the US Postal Service racing team so it must have been disappointing working on me. Didn't matter to me, I enjoyed it.
All massaged and rested I went to check in to the ride. This year's theme was the Red Sox as they were the main sponsor. Needlesss to say all the gear had the Red Sox logo and this made for some great cycling and volunteer shirts.
2003 Volunteer T-Shirt
2003 Rider Jersey
I was fortunate to have access to a friend of Larry Lucchino, the president of the Red Sox and got clearance to use the Red Sox logo for our own team shirts. This was very cool. We even got Larry and his wife Stacy to wear our team shirts to dinner on Saturday night thanks to my friend Lee. More on this later.
The afternoon wouldn't be the same if Mr. Forbes, our team car, didn't show up with at least one story. This year it caught fire on the way to Sturbridge but the guys put it out with water from their water bottles, no kidding. Well it arrived safely in Sturbridge and was the center of our afternoon activities as usual. Beer was flowing from the tap on the side and tattoos were being applied to all that wanted them. We have people back every year that really look forward to this. It never ceases to amaze us but as long as people enjoy it we'll keep bring the car, although it might be time to buy a new one...
The opening ceremonies on Friday night were great. The keynote speakers included Senator and presidential cancidate John Kerry, Dana Farber President Ed Benz, and extreme skier Asia Magriby. Click Here to watch her story from NECN.
Opening ceremonies ended at 9 and it was off to bed. There was a 4am wakeup call coming before long. Well, sleep did not come easy. In fact, I lay there tossing and turning until about 1am when I finally fell off. ring... wakeup time. Ugh... I felt exhausted and was wondering how I was going to cover 112+ miles on barely 3 hours sleep. Then came the sound of the pouring rain. Wonderful, here we go. So much for that nice clean bike.
Down to breakfast, put down some food, coffee, and out to the starting line to get my place at the front of the pack. It was real depressing to put my bike out there in the pouring rain. However, after a few minutes standing there you sort of forget about that and it was actually quite pleasant...(yeah, right)
|Sat Morning in Sturbridge
|Eric, Wayne, David, Joel, and Me
Day 1, Stutbridge to first water stop
The start was at 6am and we were off. It's always such a rush to get out there with the lead pack with about 2000 cyclists behind you. The first stage is very hilly. I guess it's better to get this out of the way early rather than after 80 miles or so. Wayne, Eric and I stayed together through the hills. We lost David and Joel early on in the pack. It's easy to do. We were climbing a hill about 15 miles into the ride and there was a lone rider cranking away. We rode up to him and discovered it was Senator Kerry. He was out there riding alone with no entourage, secret service, or photo crews out there to exploit the situation. I really respected that. I rode up next to him and told him I liked his speech the night before. He patted me on the shoulder and said, "thanks bud, I appreciate that. How's your ride going?" We rode with him for a while talking about biking and the ride. No politics. He was just another rider out there doing his thing. We'd ride by crowds of people and cameras and he just waved and said thank you as any other rider would. I bet most of the people never knew who he was and I think he liked having that anonymity, probably something he doesn't get very often. We separated at the first water stop and went our own ways. I think he has a new supporter.
Day 1, Sutton, First water stop to Franklin, Second water stop
Quick refill of the water bottles and we were on our way towards water stop number 2 in Franklin. The miles from the first to the second stop are very hilly. You hit a wall only a couple miles from the stop. This is the climb up to Purgatory Chasm. As its name implies, it's hell but again, at least it's still in the first 40 miles as opposed to the last 40. We covered the second leg in a very short time and were in Franklin before we knew it. This was my favorite stop as I got to see Nancy, Eric, and Nicole all working as official PMC volunteers. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves in spite of the weateher. This was the first time in the 15 years that I've been riding the PMC that it was a complete family event. This meant a lot to me. Dana Farber has been very good to us this year and I think this helped the rest of the family make the connection to the PMC.
|Day 1, Franklin to Berkley
As much as I wanted to stick around Franklin I had to get out of there almost as soon as I arrived. Quick stops are key to keeping the legs from stiffening up. We were back on the road and moving faster with each leg of the ride thanks to our lead pace man Wayne. He set the pace and we all drafted along for the ride. We did take our turn in front but it was really Wayne that did most of the work for the team and we were all grateful.
|Day 1, Berkley to Rochester, the final water stop.
Well, the day was going very well until the dreaded leg cramps hit me around 90 miles. This had to be caused by me not drinkning nearly enough. It's tough when it's cool out and I end up drinking less than my body needs. Regardless of the cause, this was going to make the last 20 plus miles of the day tough. There was one final water stop around the 100 mile mark that I had intended on blowing off. I stopped, got some sports heat rub on my legs, took 2 ibuprofin, and within minutes I felt great and was back on the road with my friend Mark. I sent Wayne and Eric on their way as there was no reason we should all still be out on the road more time than we need to. They both had been great and it was truly a team effort that got me to this point. Mark stayed with me till I got to the MMA. I am very grateful to all these guys.
|Day 1, Rochester to the Mass Maritime Academy in Bourne...
We rolled into the MMA around 1:10pm on Saturday. Not bad considering the leg cramps. I missed my goal of a 1:00pm finish by a few minutes but I can't complain. We were actually on track for a 12:30 finish which is probably a major factor in me running out of gas earlier than I should have. Oh well, so much for running on adrenaline. It was a great day.
The sun was shining in Bourne and a great afternoon was in store for us. Talk about being lucky. It rained and was overcast most of the ride and somehow we ended up with perfect weather for the time at the MMA. You gotta love that. I immediately made my appointment for a massage, took a shower, grabbed a burger from cousin Nancy, another family volunteer, and a beer and proceeded to the quad to enjoy the day. The second band playing that day was Mid Life Crisis, Nancy's cousin Kenny Appel's band.
Mid-Life Crisis at Mas Maritime Academy
The afternoon was spent enjoying good company, food, music and what turned out to be a fantastic day. You would never know that the ride was in some very nasty weather just hours earlier. However, there were little reminders all over the place. Clothes and shoes hung up all over the place sort of gave you a sense of what people went through to get to the MMA.
|Shoes drying in the afternoon sun
Dinner reservations were at 6:00 at the Beechmoor for the team dinner as usual. The PMC feeds us at MMA but nothing like the food we treat ourselves to at the Beechmoor. We assembled and headed over as a group taking the walk through the marsh between the MMA and the restaurant.
|Off to dinner...
Rita, the owner of the Beechmoor, had the private room all setup and ready for our arrival as usual. She always rolls out the red carpet for the B-Czar B-Stees. Rita was excited to see us as usual but this year she couldn't wait to give us a present she had made special for us. It was a headband that mixed the B-Stee name with the name of her restaurant. The result, "Beastimoor"...
This year we added ex Boston Bruin Terry O'reilly to our group. We were also graced with some special guests thanks to Dr. Lee Nadler of the Dana Farber. Lee and I had spoken before the event. He was instrumental in getting Larry Lucchino, president of the Boston Red Sox, to approve use of their logo in our team logo. Lee's only request was that he get a B-Stee shirt. We got him his shirt and also provided some for Larry and Stacy Lucchino. Our surprise was when they all showed up at dinner in B-Czar B-Stee t-shirts. This was a proud moment for our team. They were really good sports and took some time to pose for some pictures with the group. I'm still waiting for copies of these pictures and will post them as soon as I get them.
|Dinner at the Beechmoor
Dinner was fantastic. Rita made us her special spicy fried chicken livers as usual. We had some great wine, fantastic meal, and said our goodbyes by 8:30 as we all had to get up and ride another 85 miles early in the morning. We posed for a few pictures before leaving and said so long till next year.
|Goodnight till 2004...
|The full group with some patrons that just wanted to be in the picture
Back to the dorm and asleep by 9. Amazing how easy it is to fall asleep after a day of riding, a great meal, some wine and a martini :-) 4:00am rolled around before we knew it and we were up, dressed and down to breakfast for the final day's ride. It was overcast but it was not raining so we were very happy. Our crew started out together riding over the Bourne bridge and then along the Cape Cod Canal for about 5 miles before getting to the access road that parallels route 6. Once on the access road our group went down to 3 riders, me, Wayne and Eric. We covered the first 20 plus miles in about an hour. This took us to the Cape Cod Community College water stop, the first of three for the day. We hit the water, some food, porta potties, and off to water stop 2 at Nickerson state park. This is the fastest 20 plus miles of the day. We covered this in under an hour riding in pacelines the entire way.
We were greeted by Dave's fiance' Claire at Nickerson. Wayne and I took some pictures with Claire and told her Dave would be along shortly. He opted to take it a little easier than the pace we were going and I wonder who was smarter, him or me. Either way I was having a great ride and we had covered half our distance for the day so we got out of there and back on the road as fast as we could.
Day 2, The final waterstop in Wellfleet
The third stage of the day took us into Wellfleet. Contrary to popular belief, the Cape is not flat. We made the third stage fine, albeit a bit slower than the other two due to the terrain and the fact that I was getting tired so the group slowed the pace a bit for me. We hit the third water stop, filled up as usual and it was off to Provincetown. We had 19 miles left to go to reach our destination. Good thing we saved enough energy for this. I don't know if the last 19 are tougher than the rest but they sure seem it after covering nearly 170 miles in two days. The route took us through Truro on back roads that are, in my opinion, what define Cape Cod. The scenery is just incredible. We end up on route 6 for about 5 miles before entering Provincetown. That "Welcome to Provincetown" sign is always a welcome sight. At this point I'm usually so tired I can barely talk as it takes every ounce of energy to turn the cranks. Thanks to our lead man Wayne he pulled the paceline the entire final 19 miles. This truly helped. At one point I looked behind me and there was another rider we didn't know. She had jumped onto our paceline when we got to route 6 and was just hanging on and riding. She was too tired to talk much either but rode well enough to keep up with the group.
Day 2, the Provincetown Finish!
We turn off of route 6 and into Race Point for the final 5 miles to the finish line. Thank heaven we had enough reserve energy to power through the hills of P-Town. You're basically going on pure adrenaline at this point. The final miles passed quickly. Before we knew it we were at the finish line and extremely glad to be there. Another PMC ride was completed.
We finished at 10:40 after leaving MMA at 5:30. Showers were in the near future and they couldn't come a minute to soon. I dropped my bike behing the P-Town Inn, found our room, showered and felt great. Now it was time for a beer and some food and a massage, in that order.
We spent the afternoon hanging out with friends and talking about the weekend. Everyone had a story to tell and it was a beautiful day in P-Town. Once again we were lucky. The weather went from overcast and comfortable to sunny and very hot. I was glad I didn't have to ride in the heat.
We headed into town to our usual watering hole, The Govenor Bradford, for a drink before getting on the ferry to take us to Boston. Of course we had to stop for some pizza on the pier as well. Hey, we just worked off thousands of calories and we ate and drank as if we had worked off millions :-)
On the boat by 3:00 and it was fantastic. The cool ocean breeze, bright sun, and festive atmosphere made for a great party all the way home.
|Some people slept...
|...and some people partied!
The boat pulled into the Boston harbor around 7:00pm, we all said our goodbyes, and that's it for another year.
We boarded a bus to Babson College in Wellesley where our friend Jim picked us up and drove us home. This was a tough weekend for Jim as he wanted to be out there riding in the worst way. He'll be out there next year when he's all healed for sure.
|The Boston Fireboat Greeting
|Boston Harbor Welcome Home!
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. This year Nancy and the kids were part of that staff. It meant more than I can express to see them out there working and participating in the PMC. The volunteers 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 -