I Keep Meeting the Nicest People!

July 25th, 2012

Today in the local barber shop I met a woman whose daughter is visiting from Canada with her young son who was NOT happy to be having his hair cut.  Warren was absolutely wonderful as he worked his magic with the squirming, screaming boy who was “all done” probably before it started.  It was a joy to be there and see how all present dealt with the situation with such wonderful patience.  There was no yelling or threatening, simply patience and love — what a treat to see!

My friend Warren Goodnow has a history with the PMC dating back to 1981, the year of the second PMC ride, and earlier in the day he showed me a clipping from an old scrapbook that he found with an article printed in the Daily News — I talked him into letting me take that article and scan it into electronic form so that I could pass it on to others who I knew would be interested in seeing it.  That’s what brought me back into his shop.

After the boy’s haircut, as the now quiet boy playing with toys settled himself in, Warren showed them the article explaining all about his experience, which opened up more conversation about the PMC, my riding this year, and the experiences I’ve had before the ride — including conversations with “the nicest people” I keep meeting.


The Roller Coaster

July 6th, 2012

It’s hard to believe that it was Father’s Day when I last posted to this blog, so much has occurred since that time a mere 2 1/2 weeks ago.  I’m reminded of a roller coaster as I think back since that last post.

To begin with, I’ve only been able to log somewhat over 125 miles on the bike in training — when ideally it should have been double that at least.    A pulled muscle in my back (after picking up the newspaper from the ground!) had me off the bike for a little over a week, after which I was able to get in that 125 miles over 3 good rides.  On each ride I felt stronger, and once again felt confident that my training was getting me to where I need to be in order to complete the ride.

Backs (or at least my back) seem to be fickle regarding injuries — and 3 days ago once again (for no apparent reason) it let me know I needed to rest it again.  So, here I am, perfect training weather outside, and some 4 weeks away from the kickoff dinner — nursing my ailing back.

Good news, bad news — isn’t that the story of life?  Right now I’m just trying to be patient and take care of myself.  Cancer treatments aren’t easy — and neither is the PMC.

Another Milestone Reached

June 17th, 2012

During my ride this morning I reached the milestone of 1000 miles of riding on my PMC wheels!  It was another glorious morning, cool, sunny and quiet.  While out there I learned something new today,  that it was not the best idea to set myself off on another long ride which would be my third day in a row.  I cut short my ride at 20 miles (I’d hoped to do 50 today), and met my wife at the Mendon Diner for a big breakfast!

Another 500 miles of training and the PMC ride will be here!  I’ll be ready!

A Simple Thanks

June 16th, 2012

While on my 80 mile training ride today I stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts around mile 70 for some fresh cold water and a short rest before completing my ride.  I was sitting at one of the picnic tables along with my bike when a young girl maybe 12-14 years old got out of one of the parked cars and came over to me to thank me for doing the Pan-Mass Challenge, and stated that her father rides, but seeing me she just wanted to thank me.

Her doing that reminded me of thanking our veterans for their service, yet this ride is so different — but then on reflection though perhaps it isn’t.  There are so many stories that people share about loved ones who have battled cancers, some who have won the battle, and some that have lost.  Isn’t that also the way for our military?  There are many sacrifices and battles fought, some are won, and some are lost.

It was at least 30 years after my Vietnam era service that I was thanked for the sacrifices made during that 7 1/2 years I spent in the Navy.  I was shocked by the thanks that came my way, just as I was shocked by the thanks I received today from that young girl who went out of her way to give me simple thanks – and I haven’t even ridden my first PMC!


June 13th, 2012

Ten years ago today I was treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston for Prostate Cancer — yesterday I rode my bicycle 76 miles in training for the Pan-Mass Challenge cancer fund-raising event!  Last Saturday I was at Fenway Park, on the field during the singing of our National Anthem!  Today our local paper had my picture and a short storyI seem to be living a charmed life, and I’m celebrating!

Not so for others, however.  Recent family news brought word of an incurable colon cancer which has spread to the liver, in a man MUCH too young to be faced with such a grim diagnosis.  In addition to that, yesterday I was with a friend whose sister seems to be losing her battle with lung cancer.  Today I heard of the diagnosis of another cancer case involving one of the men I know from my morning gym workouts.  Cancer seems to touch everyone, and its effect can be brutal!

On my ride yesterday I found myself even more intense than usual — I found myself thinking about my “Why I ride!” statement, and it’s time to update it.  There has been much progress made in the field of cancer diagnosis, treatment and detection — but we still have work to be done.  That work requires funds, and one way I can support the effort is by intensifying my fund-raising efforts.

If you can possibly do so, please support my PMC ride .

PMC Day at Fenway Park

June 10th, 2012

Yesterday was an experience I’ll never forget! I was one of 30 PMC riders out on the field during the singing of the National Anthem before the start of the Red Sox game. The weather was beautiful, the stands were filled, the excitement electric!  One just had to be in my shoes to experience the impact — my words just don’t do it justice  :-).  A suitable description of my experience would certainly start with “AWESOME!”, but I really don’t know where to go from there.

On the field

Group Riding

May 26th, 2012

Today was my first experience with a group ride.  There were about 8 of us that left for our ride at 7 this morning with the intention of completing a 40 mile “training” ride.  During this ride I was exposed for the first time to the art of “drafting”, given pointers as I went, and feeling the difference that drafting can make.

The ride went well.  A flat tire for one rider, quickly fixed and we were on our way again.  For me, the pace was higher than I would have ridden had I been alone.  Although I was able to keep up along much of the way, the hills really slowed me down.  Bottom line – the pace, perhaps the heat, perhaps improper nutrition prior to the ride, or whatever — this 40 mile ride kicked my butt.

Another Milestone Reached

May 21st, 2012

On April 30th I wrote of just completing 250 miles on my bike, and set the next milestone at 500 miles. Well, as I write this today my odometer reads 501 miles! My short 14 mile ride yesterday capped off a week in which I logged some 75 miles of riding, multiple rides which included one of the 3 more difficult climbs of my chosen Pan-Mass route. If all goes at least somewhat according to plan I should be crossing the 1000 mile mark by this time next month.

The recommended training includes periodic “rest” days, and my body is telling me that it is time to refuel and let the muscles recover.  I’m traveling this week, so will be mapping out some rides from the hotel I’m staying at — I have no idea how much riding I’ll get in during my trip, but look forward to a 40 mile organized PMC training ride on Saturday which will give me my first taste of riding as part of a group.  This week should be a 100 mile week.

The Miles Add Up

May 18th, 2012

Wow!  It’s been 120 bike miles since I last posted!  I happily remain ahead of the training schedule for 2-day riders, and am really feeling good about it.  Last Saturday I posted a 58 mile ride which included 3 good climbs.  That ride puts me almost 3 weeks ahead.  With each ride my confidence builds, and I see with more and more clarity the value of training according to a planned pace.

By nature I am not a planner, however I find myself continually mapping out routes I might ride — a mix of routes, some more challenging than others.  My average speed on my rides has continued to rise, another good sign that the training is producing the desired results.  The weather has been absolutely ideal for biking the last few days, and I have taken advantage of it.  Also, I’ve found that my riding is a great stress reliever.  When the going gets tough, the tough go biking!  My mind is always much clearer after one of my short “stress relief” rides.

Mist, Drizzle, Fog, Cold and Wet Bike Riding

May 5th, 2012

As I set out to ride this morning the weather forecast for the day was to warm up and at least “get brighter”.  I had mapped out a ride of around 30 miles which I had identified as a challenging ride for me knowing the hills that I would face.  My original plan had been to leave the house by 7AM, however, given the foggy start of the day, I decided to play it safe and wait a bit.  By 9AM I was done waiting, however the visibility hadn’t really improved significantly, so I donned my brightest yellow shirt and headed off for my ride.  After all, it was supposed to “clear up”!

I’m glad I didn’t wait for it to “clear up”, as the brightest part of the day came with sunshine peeking through for the first time at 7 PM!  The final mileage for my ride (More Info Here) — 34.17 miles :-), a new record for me.  I had to stop a couple of times during the ride to clear the “mist” from my glasses, and about 6 miles into the ride, the “mist” became more of a light rain.

The short story of it?  It was a great ride!  It served as in introduction for me of what riding in less than delightful weather is like.