Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Procrastination PMC 2014
I can't even seem to write and post this in a timely fashion :|. Oh well, better late than never.
Friday and before...
Going into this year I randomly joked (repeatedly) that it would be an experiment in how little training I could engage in. Little did I know I was jinxing myself. I'll see if I can remember this tale well enough to do it all justice. The ride this year was fairly bizarre; wicked bizah for the New England contingent. In some ways it started well before the ride.

Some six weeks before the ride, Bruce and I had quite a scare. I'll start with the good news: my primary and a cardiologist say 'it's not your heart.' The so-so news is that we don't know what it is. The bad?: There I was at work when I had a sharp shooting pain in my head. An hour and a half later, the same and about another 1.5 hours, I had an odd pain in/near my left shoulder. I thought about it and thought you know what, there are docs and nurses here onsite… let me walk over. Once I got there, my bp was 160'somthin/111. She hooked up the ECG and was explaining perhaps an ambulance in my future. Then last lead connected and… disconnected. it wasn't long before I was transported to the local hospital (ambulance and all). I was not expecting that, nor was I expecting to be kept overnight for a cardiac stress test the following morning. All I can say is that episode and a few doctors appts after that kept me off the bike and out of the training mix.

I've been kind of 'mentoring' a co-worker (Bob) thru this as best I can. I really didn't want to let him down, or my donors. Then there was the no kidding wakeup call that I could not mess with my health. I should not press my luck. In the midst of appts and figuring out what I could and should do, I did call the PMC to confirm that if I was 'infirm' enough to finish they would get me to the end.
So finally, I was really released to exercise as I wanted/felt comfortable. This was seven days prior to the pan mass. I could not have been iller prepared. My longest ride of the year? 55 miles, with little, if any, back to back riding. I still thought you know what, if I treat it as a lot of little rides and do not push… I can do this.
Poor Bruce, he was supportive, but I think it was more because he was trying to let me sort it out. He really didn't need me to react by stating I was going to ride this thing (as a knee-jerk reaction to his saying I couldn't; oh yea, well watch me ;) I cannot imagine he wanted me out there. Anyway, in the week prior, I tried to ride a little. I also coordinated to give Bob a ride to the start. I had been thinking of making a shirt or sign that said :
I ride because
Some who fight LIVE
Some who fight DIE
Some who fight are only
This would have been in homage to Bob's daughter Hattie. Poor Bob, when he signed up Hattie was supposed to be well out of treatment. IT was supposed to be an affirming mission for him to complete this. While he was training, they found more rhabdomyosarcoma in Hattie which necessitated more surgery and starting whole new rounds of Chemo (http://www2.pmc.org/profile/RS0331). That link contains information from Bob's point of view, and here's his pics: http://photos.schulein.com/Life/2014/08/PMC/
Sigh… so far it had not been the most auspicious of starts to my training regimen. I felt kind of defeated and I hadn't even set out on the 192+ mile trek. Hmmph.

The forecast wasn't looking good, so on Thurs the preceding week, I pulled off my slick tires, put on my "durotours" which do slow me down, and prepared to the worst (I was so glad I did). I did what I always do and packed my rain gear, but didn't pack a spare set of shoes, more on that later ;-). Bob bought a rain jacket in the marketplace. We were thinking between my tires and his jacket, we had warded off the weather (hum, no). I started thinking about dinner Friday night. There is a Thai restaurant across the street from the start, so I decided my carb dinner should be pad thai. May I just say, worst pad thai ever! Well to be fair, worst Thai meal, because it was pan asian fare, not Thai. Wowee, it was horrid. We were so late, we thought we missed the last shuttle so Bruce, ever the gentleman, took Bob to his hotel, me to mine and then headed home.
My room/hotel was sweet ;-)! I hope I am on the A list to stay there again. Huge place, huge room, nice, just nice… No Layler.. but still if Bruce and I could have made use of it… it woulda been a nice hangout.

It's almost a total blur. I got up and hopped on the bus as usual. So no real shockers there. What was somewhat surprising, the fact that it was raining already at so early in the morning. But all I could think was it will burn off, although the hourly weather report said it would be socked in toward the afternoon. I wrote the people Bob was riding for on his arms (I need to work on my tattoo skills.) and we took some pics. After that, we generally messed around inside for 'too' long and and ended up at the back of the mid speed pack. In hindsight, going for the start of the slow pack may have been a faster start, but as you all know it's 20/20 looking back ;-). Our 'plan' such as it was would have meant that we were together for the first 17-24 miles. In reality, I think he 'lost' me near 1.3 miles. It was too wet to have the Garmin out, so I don't really know for certain. He was climbing the hills like a machine; something I am not known to do. As i glanced away, and looked back up the road, someone in the pack, wobbled and fell right in front of me. The good news is that I am slow enough to avoid hitting him, and to see that a cheering person was rushing to his aid. So off i kept going. Unfortunately, that was immediately following my last Bob sighting until the finish. I heard my phone start going crazy at one point, but did not stop to figure out what was going on. I was looking forward to seeing Bruce in Oxford. Unfortunately, we'd miscalculated and missed each other (i was faster than our collective memory of when I should arrive there.) On I went and I felt ok. Tired and somewhat cranky, but generally ok. Because of the weather, people were falling and tires were puncturing at a more rapid rate than normal. Each SAG wagon going by was carrying a couple of bikes and we were only 2 hours in. Oh well, on we went. It never did rain as hard as my prior rainy PMC (the year of a mini-wave machine in my shoes), but it was 'the coldest steadiest rain the PMC's 35 year history. By cold, I mean low 60's. It just didn't make for hospitable chit chat as in prior years.

At one point, I was bopping along with a woman from the Slow Spokes team. She said she finished way behind her team last year, but she'd hoped this year she wouldn't be left so far behind. I was happy that we stayed together (mostly) until a teammate waited for her. I think it cheered her that someone was looking for her. I finally internalized that while my pace was neither my slowest nor fastest, it was also to my detriment (and bruce's). The bad news for him is that I ride so slowly, he can beat me between stops with time to spare. For me? It means that I was wet and cold longer than other riders (Bob beat me in by a coupla hours). There are prior years when I find my speed charming. I get to chat with people, see the scenery and so on. I marvel that I can enjoy such an arduous event. This year. even after telling people sitting on their front lawns to take a warm shower for me. I vicariously should have been recharged by something like 5 showers.

When I saw Bruce and co-workers who volunteer as mechanics (http://www.pmc.org/sites/pmc.org/files/styles/medium/public/pmcphotos/2014/PMC%20Weekend/Saturday/DightonRehoboth/DIGHTON-REHOBOTH%2000335-3-116.JPG?itok=e93cGET1) at lunch, I was much cheered. That was until it began to really rain. It had been annoyingly spitty and intermittently rainy, but not consistent. When it began to rain, it was that way thru to the end. This meant 4 hours of rain and cold. It wasn't far beyond my cheering station that I lost hope. SO many broken down bikes, I didn't feel tremendous and wah-wah-wah. I then remembered why I was riding, Bob, and Hattie and of course my legs kept churning. I was so tired and put off by the whole thing that I didn't even sing cadence as I have before. Very very near the end of day 1, Charlie (http://www2.pmc.org/profile/CL0194) and I began riding together. It was swell. He was prior Army, stationed at Devens in the past, and stationed at many of the same places that Bruce had been. He was quite chivalrous and stuck behind me as we wound our way down to the end of day 1. It was nice to explain the route to him as best I could and provide some year 1 guidance. In the pics, Bruce has a video of the next to last water stop. As you can see no one is in the parking lot, and the bike is creating a wake in the puddle. When I got near the end, I saw Bruce for the last time until seeing him at the end of Day 2 in Boston when I got off the ferry. It was hard, I broke tradition and told him i was too cold and wet to go off campus to eat. I didn't feel too badly; poor Layla agreed. She was sitting next to him shivering and wet. Poor both of them.
I was able to get an earlier massage than usual and Bob and I chatted and hung out. At the last water stop, I overheard that 12 people packed their bikes on a bus to be taken to the finish. While in the food/band tent, Bob and I heard, due to the overabundance of hypothermia, if people didn't feel they could ride the second day, a bus would leave MMA at 6:45am to take people to the finish. I had never heard of such and knew that meant lots of badness. After the fact, I heard/read somewhere between 60-80 cases were treated. BRRRRR. I went and did the familial phone calls huddled very near the wheel well of a running F350 or Ram something or other. Once completed, I went inside out of the mist and prepared for day 2. I was very thankful for AC to help dry out the gear, but my shoes wanted no part of being dry. Even putting empty TP rolls in them did nothing to stem the tide.

Then there is the last day. We woke up, slid on our somewhat dry gear, not at all dry shoes and set off in another misty day. Bob and I breakfasted and set off. The good news is that today, it was due to become better. Charlie found and stuck with me very early on. As long as he was behind me, my voice carried clearly and we were able to chat. Day 2 wasn't as bad, and yet, it wasn't good either. There wasn't too much joy in mudville. We just wanted completion. As he pointed out, at least we had someone to chat with and that was true. However in my heart of hearts, I wanted to be off that bike. Well, not really, it was more a matter of being dry. I so wanted to be dry. Until the first water stop (where Charlie found me), I was not interested. I didn't think my muscles were up to the task. The bright spot was that after 2 hours, they woke up and got with the program.
The second day is such a blur to me. There was rain, showers in tents, a party ferry that had a band but not an open bar ;-), there was Bruce meeting me on the dock, dinner plans at Legal Seafoods (when I really should have just gone home) and well seeing the red tailed dragon again. We promised to seek each other out again, and I know we shall… I know we shall.

I wish it had been drier so that I could have had my Garmin out, or my phone and done voice posts like i planned, but mother nature had other thoughts. The support and love I received has gone on and on. it really does mean the world to me.
Here's what the founder and someone else had to say to sum up:
http://www.pmc.org/blog/2014/8/5/road-crew-volunteers-keep-showing-rain-or-shine-pmc-road-crew-has-riders-backs (Ken Brack is the one who wrote of Kara, Mom and I in his book.)
And besides my pics, there are these drone shots of Day1 and Day2 starts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M47XSyizDLs ( i am at the far rear of the shot, I could see the drone, but you can't see me. 5k people… not shocked.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18GROpkkK1E (this is where we go over the Bourne bridge. you can see the long line of us on the bridge and under and around it on the rail trail)