Archive for August, 2012

My Next Pan-Mass Challenge

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Will there be a next Pan-Mass challenge for me?  That seems to be a question from many I’ve talked with, certainly I’ve been encouraged to begin planning for next years ride.  There are months to go before I must make a decision, and at this time it has not been made.  I’m still short of my fund-raising goal (It’s NOT too late to donate!Click Here to donate on-line.  To donate by check send a check payable to DFCI, PMC or Jimmy Fund to my PO Box 398, Mendon, MA 01756 and I will forward the check to the PMC and my ride will be credited. )

For me, the ride choice which means the Pan-Mass Challenge is the longest, most difficult Sturbridge to Provincetown ride.  It carries with it also, however, the largest find-raising minimum.  For me to ride next year I need to know that I’ll be able to make that minimum – perhaps joining a team will help me meet that goal – time will tell.  Training with other riders is, I believe, an important step that I must take before riding again.  I will need to attack my riding so that I can maintain my focus, perhaps joining with a team can provide that.

Physically it certainly is a challenge, but one I’m still convinced that I’m able to make.  FYI — below is a map showing where the ride was, along with the terrain ups and downs.  I’m thrilled that I completed the first day – an accomplishment for sure.

My Ride in Retrospect

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Things I’ve Learned through the experience:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Ride the event as you’ve ridden the training rides
  • Fuel your body
  • Stay Focused

How I believe I let myself get so worn down:

  • By all charts my body would have burned a minimum of 5000 calories during the actual 8.5 hours of saddle time — I’m sure I didn’t take in any more than 2000 calories, if that.
  • My excitement at doing the ride was electric, coming through the first towns of cheering on-lookers in Charlton, Oxford, Sutton, Manchaug and Whitinsville I was as enthusiastically greeting the cheering crowd as they were cheering on us riders — that took energy better saved by focusing on my riding
  • I’m clear that I did not make good use of my stops.  Instead of stopping and paying attention to refueling with the Power Bars I had used during my training rides I found myself “checking out” what was available at the stop – by the first stop I had lost my focus :-(
  • Along with the inefficiency of my stops, I stopped for too long — another sign of having lost my focus


Joe’s PMC Day 2

Monday, August 6th, 2012

It was 4 AM when I awoke in my tent.  I’d slept well, woke up once in the middle of night and pounded down one of my bottles of water, and after returning to my tent, was beginning to prepare for the day 2 ride to Provincetown.  The temperature was 70 plus, with oppressive humidity that reminded me of the few really hot days I’ve experienced when visiting in Texas.

I was tired, yet my muscles felt strong and ready to move on.  I knew at the end of my ride on Saturday that the heat and humidity of the afternoon had really gotten to me, I was exhausted.  By the time I had my gear packed up and my tent down I began to feel absolutely drained, and already I was running way behind schedule :-( .  I still had to get my gear to the transportation truck, eat some breakfast, and then join the starters.

Naturally, arriving at MMC as late as I did, the tent I found was as far from anything as possible, so walking across campus with my 20 lb bag of gear took real effort.  At that point I was actually beginning to feel ill, hadn’t eaten, and I began to question the wisdom of my continuing to ride, and I knew that IF I turned in my gear bag — no matter what, I would have to get to Provincetown.  I decided to not turn in my bag until after I had something to eat, and I could base my decision to continue on how I was feeling afterward.  I had a couple of yogurts with fruit and a bottle and a half of water, I felt no better :-(.

My legs felt strong — a positive for sure, but my body felt weak and undernourished.  The oppressive humidity was affecting me in a manner which I didn’t like.  I decided that rather than take a chance of needing medical attention along the route, the wisdom of my experiences and promises to my family that I “…wouldn’t take chances…”, I checked out of the Bourne to Provincetown ride, called my wife to pick me up in Bourne and headed home.


PMC Day 1 – Joe’s Ride Statistics

Monday, August 6th, 2012

After reviewing the schedule I had prepared before the ride I feel much more pleased with the result than at first –

Here’s what I logged — I estimated 8.3 hours saddle time, actually made it in 8.5 hours — adding in an extra 5 mile, so I was pretty much at my estimate (…although I had hoped for shorter time).

PMC Day 1 – Thanks To …

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Friends to greet me when I stopped at home   PMCHomeStop

Funniest cheering sign:   We support no underwear!”  NOTE to any other riders — did I REALLY read that correctly?

The patches of cheerleaders of ALL ages, out to encourage us up the hills — “You’re almost to the top — that’s it in sight!  You can do it! Almost there!”.

Those who stayed cheering for those who were near the end of the riders — and a special thanks to those with the hoses spraying us to cool us down!

All who have supported my ride in any manner,  their prayers, financial resources, riding tips, training helps, encouragement — My thanks to all — your support is very much appreciated.

The police at intersections who kept us riders moving safely through, stopping traffic well in advance of our arrival so that at whatever speed we were going, we could just keep our pedals turning!  :-)

The ride volunteers who worked countless man-hours to setup and serve us, then add more hours to close down and cleanup.

The road crews who provide a sense of security and help if needed to the riders.


And Away We Go! PMC Day 1 2012

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2012 3:30AM — My alarm rang and it was time for me to head to Sturbridge for my first Pan-Mass Challenge. My hotel was 1/2 hour away from the start, and since I had no experience with the logistics I needed to leave plenty of time. I arrived at the start just before 5, turned in my bag for transport to Bourne, ate a quick bite, and was rolling out of the start shortly after 5:30 AM.

I had wondered about the start of the ride since the first 6 miles of riding is along a busy road. It was easy — the road was closed for the time — so on this normally busy route 20 the 2300+ Sturbridge starters had all three lanes to ourselves. The start is an undulating series of uphills and downhills, leading to the longest of the “climbs” along the route — a steady climb slightly over 1 mile long. The downhill from there is where I hit my maximum speed of 36.1 mph!

The ride goes right past our Mendon home at about mile 30, just after the last of the bigger climbs on the route.  Naturally I had to stop!  It was a welcome  loaded with support of friends, neighbors and family.

I would be remiss to not mention those gathered along the route to cheer riders on — from bands, a bugler, bagpipes and just ordinary people supporting riders doing what they love to do while raising millions of dollars for the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

During the afternoon, as the heat and humidity got worse, there were those standing at the side of the road with their garden hoses who would sprinkle the hot riders going by if they so desired!  What a blessing!  As well as those along the route who made sure that if anybody needed some cold water they were there with cold bottles of water in their coolers.   The signs along the way were motivational — reminding us of why we were riding — pictures of loved ones, memories of lost friends and families, as well as thanks for their own cancer survivals.  It was a very moving experience.