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PMC 2004: Friday Night: PMC Opening Ceremonies, No Sleep

August 6, 2004 @ 7:30 PM

The Pre-Live Show

After Corinne dropped me off, I found Jim, Steve, and Chris and his wife already seated in the hall for the opening ceremony, with a seat saved for me.

They started with speeches by Billy Starr (founder of the PMC), the head of the Jimmy Fund (Mike Andrews, former Red Sox second baseman), and the president of Dana-Farber (Ed Benz).

Billy went through the numbers, and I was disappointed to learn that CT had one less rider than NH. Last year, we were second behind MA (of course, by about 3,000 riders) but had a large margin over the third state.

Mike Andrews, director of the Jimmy Fund, was next. He wore a Red Sox cap with a backwards "B", and said it was to "reverse the curse." He had a plaque he'd been given sometime in the 90's (or maybe the 80's?) with a spatula on it and the saying, "Thousands and thousands served," because he grills burgers every year as a volunteer. To everyone's surprise and amusement, the spatula had come unglued from the plaque, and he waved it around and told Billy that it was about time he got a new plaque, "after all these years." Last year this guy was really stuffy, this year he was the funniest and most entertaining.

Ed Benz, president of Dana-Farber, was the last "official" to go on stage before the live coverage started on NECN at 8:00. I don't think he thanked the riders a single time this year, but I'm guessing it's because Billy put his foot down. Last year, he promised he wouldn't thank the riders too much, and then said it about a dozen times.

Just before 8:00, the NECN duo went on stage. They told us what to expect, and reminded us to clap and cheer "for the viewers at home" whenever the director gave us the signal. "That reminds us of one last thing to mention, too, which is... the cult of Dave!" The whole room started chanting "Dave! Dave! Dave! Dave!" at the top of their lungs, and then clapped and cheered like crazy people. ;-) "Dave" is the off-camera director of the show, and was actually riding in the PMC again this year (last year was his first time). I rode next to him for a little while last year on the second day (though I forgot to mention it). He's a regular guy with a cool job, which is why everybody has such fun with him.

The Live Show

The live show started at 8:00, and NECN totally outdid themselves with an incredibly moving presentation. They had interviews with survivors, one of whom rode for seven years before being diagnosed and is now riding as a survivor. They had photo montages/slide-shows of people lost to cancer. There was a stunning combination of photography/poetry/music based on those recently diagnosed with cancer and the people who treat them.

Lance Armstrong wasn't there in person. They had a one minute segment that had been taped in advance. He apologized for missing the PMC again, but said he had just finished another ride called the "Tour de France." (You know, in case anybody hadn't heard about it.) He "appreciates the work" we're all doing, said something about the PMC being the model for all other sports fundraisers, and asked us to "keep having the race, so that someday I can go." (I pictured Billy rushing the stage and grabbing the microphone, "It's not a race! It's not a race!")

For a bit more feel-good effect, they put all of the 20+ year riders on stage at one time. Without the PMC, most of these folks probably wouldn't know each other, but after 20 years of riding together in the PMC they're old friends.

Those who came to the PMC this year high with excitement about a great bike ride left the opening ceremony still excited but firmly grounded by the reminder that this event only exists because of the loss of friends and family to cancer. We can -- and are expected to -- enjoy the ride, but shouldn't lose focus on the goal: not Provincetown in two days, but new and better ways to prevent and/or stop the suffering and death from cancer.

To Bed!

Finally, it was time for some sleep.

Hah! I wish. Corinne hadn't had dinner yet, so we ordered some pizza and wings at 9:30. They didn't show up until 10:15! By the time we were done eating (yes, I ate a little more), it was 11:00.

The front desk called to confirm a wake-up all of 4:30, even though we hadn't requested one. I said that was fine, though, since there was no alarm in the room and we hadn't brought one.

Ewwww! 4:30 AM!?

To make matters worse, I couldn't sleep! At most, I may have slept for an hour. Other than that, I laid awake wishing the room wasn't so hot, or wishing I could be asleep and not know the room was so hot. One really should try to get a good night of sleep immediately prior to an exhausting 112 mile bike ride, but it was not to be.

Tick, tick, tick... if there had been a clock in the room, I'm sure I'd have heard it ticking the night away until the phone rang at 4:30 Saturday morning.

Page last updated: 8/12/2004




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