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PMC 2004: Saturday Afternoon, Mass Maritime Academy

August 7, 2004

Shower and Lunch

After check-in, I parked my bike in the lockup, in section A3. There were 150-200 bikes there already, but that's nothing compared to how many would be there by the end of the day! Then, at Steve's prompting, I went straight to the massage tent to sign up. They scheduled me for 3:00 on table 8 (out of 60 something massage tables!), so I had a couple hours to kill.

From there, I found Steve and and Jim again, let them know I was going to take a shower and would meet them back at the food.

As I was staying off campus, my bag was in a big, outdoor basketball court, just to the side of the main gym. (I keep thinking it's Heiges Field House! No no no, that's at Shippensburg.) There were many hundres of bags here, but they had organized them in rows by the rider's last name, so it only took a minute to find it.

The men's showers in the locker room were busy, but not so busy that I'd have to wait. That's one very good thing about finishing quickly!

After my shower I felt a whole lot better, and finally had a camera again (I'd packed it in my bag). I really should get a more portable, little, digital camera like Steve and some others use on these rides. Most of the pictures in this review are from Steve.

Lunch was identical to last year, with one minor exception: the wind was blowing the smoke from the grills into the tent, and really irritating some of the volunteers. The riders were only under the tent for a few minutes, but the poor volunteers were being smoked for hours and hours. I loaded up with Legal Seafoods Chowder, a burger, a BBQ chicken sandwich, some pasta salad, and (of course) more iced canteloupe. Man I was hungry!

The Enterprise I took a few minutes around lunch time to get some photos of the Enterprise, the big ship I mentioned last year. This picture is a composite of two shots because I couldn't fit the whole thing in the picture. That's a big boat! (Yes, I realize that more modern aircraft carriers completely dwarf the Enterprise, but it's still a big boat.)

John Thomas, the Other Big Horse

After eating, I saw the other clydesdale again, and apologized for taking off like that early in the ride. This time, I got his name, and there's no danger of me forgetting it: John Thomas (same name as the founder of the Christadelphians).

We're both a bit lighter than we were last year. John's about eight inches shorter than me, and is 15 pounds lighter than last year, so he's really not heavy at all anymore. Jim and Steve found me talking to John, I introduced them, and explained who John was. They both said the same thing: he doesn't look like a clydesdale! Oh well, I guess that was a one-year-only nickname.

(I told John about this site, and that the easiest way to find it would be to search on Google for "pmc clydesdale". Let me know when you find me, John!)

Chris Arrives, Mike Crashes, and My First Massage

Mike Lucas's Injuries John and I chatted for awhile, and then Chris showed up and I sat down with him while he ate. He told me that Mike Lucas had been in a bad crash just a few miles from the MMA, smashed his helmet and had a lot of road rash. Later that night, Steve got a couple pictures of Mike's back. Ouch.

A few minutes before 3:00, I walked over to the massage tent. Every massage is exactly fifteen minutes long, and they ring a bell to let you know when your time is up. My masseuse asked where she should concentrate, I asked her to work mostly on my quads, my right knee, and the Achille's Tendons.

It was all over in about 10 seconds, or so it seemed. What a dope I was for passing up the massage last year! Won't make that mistake again. My right knee stopped hurting, my legs didn't feel stiff anymore, "it was all good, baby."


I called Corinne. She hadn't been able to get much sleep after I left, so she packed everything up in Sturbridge, ran a couple errands, and then drove (in heavy traffic) to the hotel in Plymouth. Unfortunately, the room wasn't ready yet, so she ended up sitting in the truck for awhile with nothing to do.

When I reached her, she had just finished moving stuff into the new room. She was going to take a nap, and would pick me up at 6:00 PM at the entrance to the MMA.

Nap Time, Photos

Jim had gone to take a nap at the far side of the bandstand, in the grass. A nap sounded like a darn good idea, so I headed over there too. The best part of this area was that we were behind the giant speakers, so the music was quieter (no longer loud enough to do permanent brain damage).

I laid there for an hour or two, sleeping off and on but mostly just relaxing. This was a little weird because every time I woke up there were different people around. Jim was there when I first laid down. Fall asleep, wake up, Chris is there too, fast asleep. Fall asleep, wake up, Chris is still there, but Jim is gone. Fall asleep, wake up, Jim is back, Chris is gone. Then I'm all alone. Then Jim, Chris, Steve and one of Steve's friends are all there. I never saw anybody leave or arrive.

After I woke up for the last time, I decided to take some photos of what I could see. You can't really tell from this thumbnail, but if you look at the full-size photo (just click on the thumbnail) you'll see that it's a quickly-constructed composite of five photos. Didn't come out too bad, considering I did it very quickly.

panoramic of MMA

Moving across the photo from left to right, you see: the back end of the massage tent, a crowd of people eating and/or relaxing on the grass in front of the band stand, the huge food tent in the background with the glass of the gymnasium sticking up over it, a pile of very loud speakers to make sure all the riders and volunteers get serious headaches, and finally the live band on the bandstand a the far right side of the photo. The Enterprise was directly behind me when facing the bandstand, or off to my left when facing the massage tent.

panoramic of MMA After napping, we headed over to the canal's edge for some group photos. There were a bunch of groups, but the most notable for me were the Huckleberries and the Crack of Dawn riders.

The Huckleberries The Huckleberries are those that ride from the New York / Mass state line to Sturbridge on Friday, the day before the PMC. Steve and Jim are both in this group. (Jim's easy to spot. ;-) Steve Harper and Jason Cicero would be in there too, except they *only* rode on Friday and didn't want to drive 150 miles to the MMA just to be in a picture.

Crack of Dawn riders The Crack of Dawn group is a bunch of folks that all live in the same area, and meet every morning (all year long) at 5:45 AM for a 25-30 mile ride. Not everybody goes every day, but still... that's impressive. Wish we had a group that was even half that dedicated around my house, I'd love to have some folks to ride with every day! The motto on their professionally-designed jerseys is, "Be there on time, or ride alone."

Where Goes the Time?

Thousands of Bikes in the Racks It was almost 6:00 by the time they were done taking pictures. On my way back to the entrance where she would pick me up, I took this picture of the now-very-full bike racks, and picked up my bag which I'd left in the basketball court after my shower.

6:00 came and went. A few riders came in, but most everyone had already arrived. At 6:30 I walked over to the rider check-in point, and asked if the last rider had come in yet. All day Friday and Saturday I'd been hoping for a chance to meet Chris (who has posted to [tw] a number of times). Since he was the officially designated last rider, I figured he must be getting close, but they hadn't seen him yet, nor whatever rider he was trailing. I helped the volunteers move the check-in tent off the road, and asked a couple of them to please let Chris know I'd been there looking for him.

Then I went back to the pick-up point, and waited some more. At around 7:00, Steve, Jim, and Chris found me napping again in the grass at the side of the road. A bicycle-cop had told me that traffic on the Canal Road, and most of the rest of the area, was almost entirely stopped, because thousands of people were driving in for the Falmouth Road Race. Once again, Corinne was just sitting in traffic.

I used Steve's phone to call her again. She was indeed stuck in traffic, but this time with almost no gas. She wasn't very happy (who could blame her?), but didn't know how much longer it would be.

Steve and Jim wanted to walk into town and get a coffee. Since they were walking along the route Corinne would be driving on, I went with them to the first major intersection. Not knowing which way she'd be coming from, I let them go on without me. They never did find the Dunkin' Donuts they were looking for, but at least they got some ice cream! (We'd all been craving ice cream for hours.)

She showed up a little bit later, tired and a bit frazzled but happy to be out of the driver's seat! I drove back to the hotel in Plymouth, we ate some dinner, and finally got some real sleep for the first time in two days.

Last Rider In: A Very, Very Long Day

Last Rider In I'd really wanted to meet Chris, but it just wasn't to be. I figured he would be trailing the last rider through the gate just moments after I left, but I was way, way off. They didn't arrive until 8:30!!! The girl he followed in started late, but that's still over twelve hours on the bike in one day. She did some extra miles, too, as some of the very-poorly-marked sections of the route threw her off and she ended up going many miles out of the way.

Chris, the Other Last Rider Jim and Steve (and possibly Chris Rawsen?) were there waiting when they arrived, and got this picture. I'm told that they got a bigger welcome from a bigger crowd than did anyone else, which is exactly what they both deserved. Steve told me the next morning that they introduced themselves to Chris as my friends, and he was very happy to meet them.

(Incidentally, Chris sent me a copy of his weekend's review on Monday. Things didn't go as well for him as he hoped, a knee injury prevented him from finishing on Sunday. I can imagine how frustrating that must be, but I have to say that what he did this weekend was absolutely amazing. He was both a volunteer AND a fund-raising rider, suffered through having to ride last, and shepherded a number of lost and exhausted riders back to safety and finally to "home" at the MMA. You've got a lot to be proud of Chris, in spite of the problems on Sunday, and I wish I'd had a chance to shake your hand.)

Page last updated: 8/12/2004

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