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PMC 2004: Sunday Afternoon, Family Finish, The Long Trip Home

August 8, 2004

The real end of the road After having our bracelets scanned on arrival, Jim and I walked our bikes up to the walkway where the Scariest Sight Ever was found last year. This year there were no such horrors. In fact, we were so early that we both got decent spots for our bikes on the walkway itself. Jim counted forty bikes against the rail ahead of us, and there were still plenty of open spaces.

Jim's thirsty after the ride Jim went for his shower, and asked me why I wasn't doing the same. My bag was two miles away at the family finish, where I'd ride to when Corinne was closer. For now, I had just one thing on my mind: FOOD!

We were obviously very early, as the food tent was almost completely deserted. Lucky for me, Tony "Two Tones" Bretti was there. He'd actually arrived a full thirty minutes before Jim and I by leaving fifteen minutes earlier and riding the second half of the day in a very strong paceline. I got some food and sat down at one of the picnic tables under the tent, and Tony and I kept chatting.

Steve was in the shower when Jim and I arrived, but sat down with Tony and I after he got some food. Then a bunch of other riders (I think they were mostly from the paceline Steve rode in) sat with us, too.

Fat Albert He Ain't

Jim, Steve, and Tony 'Two Tones' Bretti At one point during "lunch" we were discussing the need for all of us to have nicknames, and Steve pointed out that Tony didn't have one. For a risky few minutes, they were kicking around calling him, "Fat Albert."

"Yeah," I said, "because he's obviously a fat black man. It fits." (That's Tony on the right of this picture, which was taken on Saturday at the MMA.)

They settled on Two Tones. I have no idea where that idea came from, I didn't hear about it until later, but anything is better than Fat Albert.

Time to Go

Jim talked to his wife Katie, who said she would be waiting for him at the closest point cars can come to (about 1/4 mile from the Ptown Inn) in about ten minutes. Since he had to head out, this seemed like a good time for me to go, too, as Corinne would be arriving at the Family Finish any minute.

We all walked down to their car and chatted while Jim loaded up his bike. I said goodbye to Jim and Steve, and then started riding the two miles to the other finish. A big white box truck (literally, one of those big boxes on wheels) passed me, but couldn't get up any real speed because of the bike traffic, so I drafted it (a good twenty feet back, at least) for a ways. When it reached some more open road I lost it. Jim and Katie had been right behind me, and as they went by I yelled out, "Finally, somebody I could draft behind!"

I was referring to the truck, but they thought I meant them in their minivan, so Jim slowed down and let me follow him at about 28 mph for a half-mile or so. That was a very cool way to repay my efforts earlier in the day! :-)

Family Finish

It only took a few more minutes to get there. I was scanned in (again), and then set off trying to find Corinne. That was easy, she was on the sidelines waiting for me.

She took my bike, my gloves, and my helmet back to the car, and I walked up the hill to find my bag, take a shower, and, uh... get some more food and drink.

In my rush to leave the hotel Sunday morning, I'd forgotten to pack my towel. You can probably guess that that meant... eww! No shower for me! Gross. (Not that I missed much: showers were in a tent, using hoses suspended from the roof.) I wouldn't be able to get a shower until I'd been sitting in those sweaty bike clothes for a couple more hours.

So, last thing before I left was to grab a little more food and a drink or two.

I was irritated, annoyed, and befuddled to find that, even as early as I was, they had already run out of all beverages (just here at the family finish) except for water from a hose.

I decided that I'd just get a burger or a hot dog, and stop somewhere on the way home to get a drink... but, no. There were only a couple of grills running (as fast as they could!), and the burger line was at least 100 people long.

Last year, a lot of people who went to the family finish (myself included) complained in our Rider Surveys about the lack of supplies and attention to detail at the family finish. Billy Starr himself wrote to us last year after they had looked over the survey results, and one point he made was that the Family Finish would be a lot better this year.

Frankly, I didn't see it, and this really frustrates me. I understand why they can't let family into the Provincetown Inn finish (no space), but "family" is the reason lots of the riders participate in this event. I'm really going to push them this year to fix all the problems at the family finish. (You can't make riders go thirsty at the end of a long day on the bike!)

I walked back down to the truck and my patiently waiting wife, loaded up the bike, changed out of my jersey into a t-shirt, and we headed home.

Homeward Bound

Here's another good thing about being an early finisher: we were on the road by 1:00, so we were ahead of the worst of the Cape Code traffic (late Sunday afternoons are a bad time to try to leave the cape).

We stopped at a little roadside seafood restaurant, but only so Corinne could make a pitstop. While she was in there, Steve called on the cell phone and told me to get a large cone for him! We didn't know it, but he had been right behind us when we turned in to the parking lot, and assumed I was finally going to get the ice cream I'd been craving all weekend. (I would, soon enough, as the ice cream place I remember was another ten miles up the road on the left side.)

Shock and Awe

A little later I mentioned to Corinne that we were going to hit traffic on Route 95 when we were closer to home. Well, about three hours after the ice cream stop, right at exit 91 in CT (our exit is 89), everybody's brake lights went on ahead of us.

We were almost paralell with the exit. I casually pointed at it, meaning only, "there goes our chance to get home soon." Taking that exit would have added a few minutes compared to the open highway, but is a lot faster than sitting on Parking Lot 95.

Corinne didn't hesitate. The instant I pointed, she swerved to the exit, still going 65 miles per hour. Every molecule of adrenalin in my body dumped into my bloodstream at once, all of my muscles tensed up to the point of snapping, and I screamed. I didn't just scream from surprise or fright, but also from the pain this inflicted on my tired, sore body.

A minute later, when I realized we were still alive and I could actually see and breathe again (and were still driving), I realized she was laughing -- still laughing -- at me. She said something about having nothing to worry about, because she's a "good driver."

To which I made some comment about "past tense" and got down to the serious business of waiting for my heart rate to drop below 150.

Still, I can't complain too much. Corinne really put up with a lot this weekend, shuttling me all over New England and taking very good care of me. We got along almost perfectly, which is impressive since whenever we saw each other one or both of us was completely exhausted. Thanks honey, I love you!

Tired, But Not Exhausted

I was tired after this long weekend, of course, but nothing like last year. Last year I went straight to bed as soon as we got home, and only woke up when Steve called (which is a funny story: if you go to that page, scroll down to "Stupid Alarm Phone").

I finally went to bed at about 8:30, and slept a very deep, satisfied sleep after a great weekend.

Page last updated: 8/13/2004

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