As I start writing thank-you notes to my sponsors for the PMC, I can’t help but think of all of the other people that deserve my thanks for helping me complete the ride. A ride like this definitely takes a village, and, in addition to my wonderful and generous sponsors, I want to take a moment to thank some of my fellow villagers….
1. The PMC Organizers, for putting together such an amazing and well-organized event. I remain in awe at how they are able to put together such a large-scale event so seamlessly. The Sturbridge-Provincetown route alone requires 3 separate athletes’ villages, 9 different water stops and ongoing road assistance along the entire 190 mile route. All of it was well-run and organized. The logistics crew at Sochi should have given them a buzz prior to the 2014 Olympics. Seriously.
2. The PMC Volunteers, for helping to make everything run so smoothly, for anticipating our every need and fulfilling ones we didn’t even realize we had. There was even a gentleman at one water stop who was wiping off rain-spattered glasses for people. Each of these unpaid volunteers spent hours in a freezing rain, providing services with the dedication of a 5-star hotel manager and the smile of an angel.
3. The PMC Road Crew that Fixed my Flat Tire at Mile 8. And the rider behind me who pointed it out to me as soon as it happened, so I could pull over carefully and safely. Yes, Day 1 got off to a rough start for me in ways that didn’t involve the bad weather. Fortunately, I wasn’t going that fast when my tire blew, and it was a relatively easy fix.
4. The Police Officer at Mile 8 who Rode His Motorcycle to Flag Down the PMC Road Crew that Fixed My Flat Tire at Mile 8. PMC Road Crews patrol the entire route, but depending on where you are, it can be a wait before one arrives. I am so grateful to the police officer who saw me by the side of the road and rode back up the route to find a road crew to come help me. I had already been waiting a little bit and was getting colder and wetter and colder by the minute…
5. The PMC Road Crew that Fixed my Broken Brake at Mile 9. Ugh…I went less than a mile after having my tire fixed before the cable on my rear brake popped out. On a big, scary, wet downhill (Holee Crap! I hope my blood pressure returns to normal sometime this calendar year). Fortunately, a PMC Road Crew was just around the corner and had me back on the road in no time.
6. Chrissy. Angel Chrissy, who waited in the rain at the first water stop for an extra 40 minutes after the rest of my group left to make sure I got there ok. My two mishaps had set me waaaaay back from the pack, and I didn’t think anyone would be left at the water stop when I got there. I teared up when I saw Chrissy waiting and waving at the entrance. The second I dismounted, she ran over and gave me a huge hug, which is exactly what I needed at that moment. Chrissy is the person who got everyone in our group involved in the PMC and she remains a ballast for all of us during the event. It doesn’t matter if she is pregnant, busy with babies, busy with toddlers, working, studying – no matter what is going on in her life, if she can’t ride in the PMC, she is there to meet us and cheer us on at the opening event and at the first water stop. She’s a wonderful person and such an incredible, steady source of support.
7. Dawn. I knew that Dawn, Colby’s high school friend, was coming to the lunch stop, and could not wait to meet her. I was afraid that my setbacks in the morning might mean that I would miss her, though, so I broke some land-speed records (ok, at least my own land speed records, which are not that impressive, but still) pedaling my heart out to get there in time. Thank you, Dawn, for giving me a short-term goal to keep me moving and for letting me see what I can do on the bike when I’m properly motivated. And it was so great to meet you!!!
8. The Spectators. It continues to amaze me how many people come out to cheer us on. It makes such a difference to have the cheers along the route, and I am so grateful to each of you for taking time out of your summer weekend to support us.
9. My Brother, Michael, for beating the crap out of me on an almost-daily basis when I was a kid. It was great mental and physical preparation for riding 110 miles in a cold rain. Don’t think I could have done it without you. Thank you also for growing up to be one of the nicest, gentlest adults I know.
10. My Kids, for insisting that we buy a super-warm sleeping bag even though “camping” for us is staying in a hotel with no room service (I don’t do The Great Outdoors. Colby is our resident trail runner. I’d rather run an ultra through rush hour traffic in NYC. Dodging cars, muggers and exhaust? Not a problem. Just keep me away from bugs, critters and rash-causing plants. ). I packed the super-warm sleeping bag for the overnight between Day 1 and Day 2 and wrapped up in it for a long while after finishing the Day 1 ride. It helped bring circulation back to my freezing extremities, color to my face, and probably kept me from developing hypothermia (only a slight exaggeration).
11. Colby, who, after seeing my blue lips and white hands and feet INSISTED that I hop in the shower first to warm up, even though she was soaked and freezing as well. Now, THAT’S a true friend.
12. Mother Nature, for getting her act together for Day 2 and giving us cool and cloudy, with only a slight drizzle here and there. Because seriously, I don’t think we could take another soaking, freezing day like Day 1. Well, of course we would have done a repeat of Day 1 if we had to. But I’m sure glad we didn’t have to.
13. The People Whose Names I Wore on My Shirt. Because when the going got tough, I thought of each and every one of you, and the battles you have faced with such courage, and I felt a burst of awe, love, pride, inspiration, perspective and much-needed adrenaline. And knew I could finish, no matter what came my way. I knew the rain would eventually go away. Just as, I hope, someday cancer will.