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PMC Day 1: Sturbridge to Bourne, by the Numbers

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This was my sixth year riding the PMC, and my fourth year to include the Huckleberries ride (which makes it a three-day event). Those previous three years, I was totally exhausted on Saturday morning from the hard ride on Friday.

This year was different. I woke up easily and on time (4:30), showered, had breakfast, and left at about 5:30 to ride back to the Host, where the ride starts. I was there at about 5:40.

Starting Line

On the way in I saw someone that looked suspiciously like John Kerry riding out with someone else. Last year he had a mechanical on the starting line, so perhaps he decided to leave a few minutes early and avoid the crush. I don't blame him.

Just 20 minutes before the start is a bit late to be arriving to a crowd of 3,000 cyclists. All the good spots in the "fast lane" were already taken. As were all the bad ones. I tried to weasel my way into the crowd a little bit, but quickly realized that wasn't working. The bikes were packed too closely together. So I stayed near the front line!

I took a couple pictures of the crowd just as the National Anthem started. That's a big bunch of riders!

Three Thousand at the Start!

Sturbridge Start 2

Tom Tinory was standing about twenty feet back in the crowd, and yelled for my attention. We took each other's pictures at the same moment: you can see his flash firing as I took my picture. (Tom is one of the Huckleberries, and I rode my first century of the year with him just a couple weeks earlier.)

Click the image for higher resolution.

One Goofed Up Video

I also took a short video of the crowd during the National Anthem, then realized my helmet was still on. Without really thinking about it, I tried to take it off with the camera still in my hand. Makes for a roller coaster ride of a video!

The microphone that the singer was using cut out just as she was finishing the National Anthem. The crowd finished it for her! Unfortunately, I pushed the button to stop recording just as the mic cut off.

The weather was cool and dry, perfect for cycling. We rolled out at 6 (as we always do).

The Ride

Though I'd been standing near the front, at least three hundred people rolled out ahead of me, including Dave Schlageter. I caught him in about 15 miles. My average at that point was about 21.4 mph. We skipped the first water stop and stayed together until the second. He said he had thought about sticking with Mark and Andy, but wasn't sure he could do it. (They're ridiculously fast.)

Paul and Steve Davis arrived about five minutes behind us. We chatted for a minute, then we all rode out together. We hooked up with a really nice paceline and were just flying down the road for a long time. The strong riders did most of the pulls, but the slower ones knew to keep them short so the pace was kept up around 26-27mph. Paul was on the edge of bonking, so he and Steve pulled off to ride in at a slower pace (Dave had pulled off a few minutes earlier). I don't know the exact timing, but I was almost done with my lunch by the time I saw them riding in.

Steve's Mom and Dad were there at lunch (with a cooler full of cold, wet towels! Yay!). Again, we all chatted for a little while, then Dave and I left together. (There are about 40 miles left after lunch.) As we were leaving, a bee stung Dave right through his sock! He said he was "a little allergic." It didn't kill him, but it swelled up like a golf ball almost immediately and obviously hurt quite a bit.

We kept the pace low, and the Davises (Davisses? Davis's? Davu?) caught up with us in another paceline.

Dave vanished off the back at some point. I never saw him go, and didn't see him again until after my massage.

Steve, Paul and I finished together at just before 12:30.

Stats: 112.66 miles (181.3 km) in 5h 34' 28" for an average speed of 20.21 mph (32.53 kph).

Three at the Finish

Paul, Steve and Seth at MMA Finish

Paul Davis, Steve Davis, Seth Dillingham

Like the shark-fin hair? Helmet head at its best.

Click the image for higher resolution.

Hotel and Massage

Massages were available as early as 1:15 (we were pretty early), but I needed to ride over the Bourne Bridge, shower, and return before I could have one. So I took one for 3:00, and headed out again.

Every other year, I've put a bag on the truck in Sturbridge to be picked up in Bourne. This year I realized that was silly, since Corinne would be waiting for me at the hotel I could just leave the bag with her!

We actually pulled into the hotel driveway at the very same second. She went in to register, but came out fuming in a few minutes. Even though we had paid for the room a year in advance and specifically reserved a room on the ground floor and canal-side of the hotel, they had given our room to someone else. "Please deal with this, honey!" So, I went in to see what could be done.

Corinne plays bad cop pretty well when she's frustrated. ;-) (It didn't help that she'd just spent a lot of time sitting in traffic, and had read a whole slew of negative reviews of the hotel that morning.)

I let the manager fumble about for a minute while he gave his version of the story and why there was a problem: we reserved the room as we were checking out last year, everyone else did it as they were checking in, so they were a day earlier and got first dibs. I pointed out that, in that case, we shouldn't have been told that we could have the room we asked for when we reserved it last year. He didn't really have a response, so I simply asked him, "Is there anything you can do?" He sighed and said, "let me check," then started typing at the computer. Hey, surprise, here was something he could do! One of the people assigned to a ground floor, canal-side room had not actually requested it, and *nobody* else had yet shown up that day, so he simply moved them to another room. Problem solved. (And, I reserved next year's room at the same time so the problem won't be repeated.)

We moved all the stuff into the room, and I took my much needed shower, ate a little, then drove back over the bridge toward the MMA. Stopped at the first PMC parking lot I saw, memorized the location so we wouldn't have a repeat of last year (when a bunch of us wandered all over Bourne trying to find the car), and took the shuttle back to the MMA.

After a little snack, I headed to my 3:00 massage. I don't remember the massage therapist's name, but I remember that I was assigned to table 8 and that he was good. Much better than any previous year. Said he's been doing this for the PMC since they started offering complimentary massages in the early 90's and has done it every year except two. Most of the MT's are fresh out of school and still have a lot to learn, but he's been doing it professionally for a long time and the difference was amazing! He quickly found my trouble spots and focused on those: a spot between my shoulder blades was bad, but a rock-tight muscle in my left thigh was much worse.

Fifteen minutes wasn't enough time to work out all the kinks, of course, but I felt lighter than air when my time was up. He outdid himself by telling me I'm in fantastic shape. Three people told me that over the course of the weekend, and the only way I kept my head from inflating like a dirigible was to remind myself that Steve is still 50 pounds lighter than me. ;-)

Storm Tries to Topple Tent, and Stuck in Traffic

Back in the food tent I had some more to eat and sat with Steve, Paul, and Chris Rawson. Maybe my memory is playing tricks on me, but I seem to remember Chris's wife Donna being there also, though I'm not sure how she got in. Maybe she volunteered? Eventually the Davises and I moved over to the dugout with Dave Schlageter, Mark and Andy.

A Couple Dozen in the Dugout

MMA Dugout

At first there were just the six of us in one of the MMA dugouts. Then the rain started and it got very crowded.

Click the image for higher resolution.

A thunderstorm moved in, and everybody lounging on the grass in the baseball field moved into the tents... or the dugouts. It was crowded. The wind picked up, and actually knocked over one of the support beams in the (very, very big) food tent! That was a little scary. The PMC admins panicked a little and tried to get everyone out, but I think the majority of the riders ignored them. The worst of the storm passed and the tent didn't fall down. That's good: the poles that hold the tent up are bigger than telephone poles. That could have been ugly, especially with over 1,000 people under the tent at any given moment.

Dave, Mark and Andy were waiting to have their pictures taken as part of the John Hancock cycling team at the PMC. The rain screwed everything up, and somehow they missed the photo.

The five of them were all going to dinner at a local lobster restaurant, and I (for the third or fourth year in a row) was going to drop them off. We took the shuttle back to my car, which quickly got stuck in traffic but at least we weren't walking in the rain! They asked me (at least twice) why I wasn't going to dinner with them (they ask every year): because it's my anniversary!

Six on the Shuttle

Dave, Mark, Andy and Paul Looking Tired Very Sleepy Paul, and Steve Seth On the Shuttle in Bourne

Dave, Mark, Andy and Paul in the first picture. Paul and Steve in the second. Me in the third (shot by Steve).

Click an image for higher resolution.

Eventually we were dropped off near the car, which I didn't lose at all!, and I drove them to the restaurant. Steve and I agreed to leave at 5:30 Sunday morning, and he put my cell number in his cell phone in case of problems.

I don't remember much after that, other than being really tired. I set my cell phone's alarm for 4:30 and at some point I went to sleep...

Page last updated: 8/13/2008

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