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PMC 2005: Friday Night, Opening Ceremonies, Sleep

Friday, August 5, 2005 @ 4:30 PM

Shuttle

After a quick shower, I planned to catch the shuttle back to the Host for registration, dinner, and the opening ceremonies. The rain was madness... a brutally hot, sunny, humid day had been eaten alive by this monster of a storm. Only once a year, at most, do you see it rain this hard, and it's much less often that it's joined by "flash and boom" in such frequency.

I saw the bus coming up the hill, gave Corinne a kiss goodbye and said I'd see her again that evening (she didn't want to attend the opening ceremonies or dinner because she doesn't like huge crowds). But, as I started out the door, I remembered that I needed a photo ID to sign in this year, and it took her 30 seconds to find my wallet in her purse. (I didn't carry it with me on the bike.)

The bus barely slowed down. With nobody standing outside (in the pouring rain!), it just drove through the parking lot and prepared to head back down the hill again! I had to sprint all the way across the parking lot and bang on the windows to get it to stop. If not for a little traffic which prevented it from driving away immediately, I'd have been looking for some other way back to the host. (Trying to park the truck there was NOT a good idea.)

The rain ended about an hour after it started. The drain in one section of the Host's parking lot was clogged, and the water was over sixteen inches deep! A couple of volunteers were slogging through it barefoot, and a number of small cars were flooded, their engines and the floors of their passenger compartments partially submerged.

Dinner

Dinner was served out back by the lake, as always. Most of the food at the PMC is fantastic, but I have to say that dinner on Friday night has never really been worth writing about. This year was no exception, so I'll skip it! (Maybe I'm just spoiled?)

I sat at the same table that we all sat at last year, but none of the guys showed up before I finished eating. Instead, a large group of first year riders, all friends, descended on the table and started chatting with me about the ride. When they "found out" that some of us had ridden in from the NY line that day, I went from "PMC veteran" (in their minds, I think I'm more like a journeyman) to some kind of hero. I'm not exaggerating this, either: there were three men and five women, and they were "all aflustered." They even offered to go get me some more food.

Looking back, I know they were just excited about their weekend, and it was showing in odd ways. Still, it was too much for me, so I excused myself and went back to the front. Figured Steve would call me eventually, when they were ready to eat.

He did. A little later, as I watched a whirlpool appear and disappear over the drain grate in the parking lot, Steve called to tell me where they were sitting. Most of the gang was there.

Dave and Jim had made it back safe and sound. Dave was hungry. That is to say, he was conscious and therefore he was eating. That's Dave. :-)

Katie Boyko, Jim's wife, asked why Corinne never sits with us. Not liking crowds and being a little shy aren't things that just go away...

Opening Ceremonies

The opening ceremonies were definitely not as good as last year's. I can think of at least six reasons:

  • Last year was the 25th! They pulled out all the stops.
  • last year there were "survivor profile" films that were very moving, this year there were none at all
  • Mike Andrews and Ed Benz weren't there
  • nothing at all from Lance Armstrong. No appearance, no recorded message, no phone call, not even an email to read
  • somebody stood up and read off the longest list of numbers you'd never want to hear. I think he was just killing time. Stuff like the average number of hours we all trained, the average we spent on our bikes, and the average number of times we fell asleep during his talk
  • the fire alarm kept going off! They got it under control before the live, televised event at 8:00, but it was pretty annoying. Billy smiled like a crocodile, I think he was ready to kill someone.

I'm not saying it was bad, just that it wasn't as good as last year. Two sections stick out as the best of the evening.

First, the profile of the fifteen year old who's riding with his Dad. Very cool. (I hope Steve's eldest starts doing the same in a year or two. It'll change the character of the weekend a bit, but probably for the better.)

Second, the profile of the brother and sister who founded and organize the "PMC for Kids" event. They raised over $100,000 this year. At the end of the (pre-recorded) profile, the boy said something like, "Billy (Starr) won't be around forever, and someone has to be ready to take his place."

That line got a ton of laughter and a round of applause from the whole audience, and the emcee said Billy had better watch out because the kid was sitting right behind him. :-)

John Kerry was there, and gave a little speech. He wasn't very popular. He started off by saying that he was glad to be there, but "wished he could have been doing something else." (Like, running the country.)

Finishing Up...

After taking the shuttle back to the hotel, Corinne wanted dinner so we drove over to Uno to pick up a pizza and I refilled the (massive) gas tank.

I called the front desk to ask for a 4:00 wake up call. (That just... evil.) Then, I went to sleep.

Page last updated: 8/9/2005




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