As you can imagine, with the arrival of PMC week, my thoughts have been generally about the ride, the fundraising, my team, and the cause. I thought that in honor of my 8th chemo treatment, I would put together a list of the Top 8 Things that I will miss this weekend.
Top 8 Things I will Miss During PMC 2011 Because I am on the Sidelines
- The Pie Stop: thanks to Kathi Nelson, wife of PMC rider Brian Nelson, we have made a tradition of the Forza-G Pie Stop just before the Wareham waterstop, the final stop of Saturday at the 100 mile mark. There is nothing better than a slice of cherry or apple pie when you have just ridden 100 miles. Many thanks to Kathi for making this magical stop happen for the 3rd year.
- The Signs: Until you do this and see it for yourself, you cannot understand the power of seeing signs help up by folks on the side of the road ALL THE WAY from Sturbridge to Bourne that say things like “Thank You for Riding”, “I am Living Proof”, “Thank You for Riding for my grandma”, and “I am 12 because of you”. I cry just thinking about these signs and the people and the lives that they represent.
- The Opening Ceremony in Sturbridge: Every year, I am moved to tears multiple times by this PMC event. And this year, you can watch it live (in the Boston area) on Friday, August 5th from 7 to 8 PM on WCVB Channel 5. I am not sure if it will be available online, but I will post a link if I find it. It is worth an hour of your life to watch and learn for your self where the race to cure cancer is today and how your donations are making a huge difference. Check out part of last year’s ceremonies.
- Riding into Provincetown: Back in 2007, as I neared the end of my first PMC, I got someone who is holding a PMC sign on the side of Route 6 entering Provincetown to take a picture of me at the “Welcome to Provincetown” sign. When I have seen that sign each year since I am overcome with emotions, pride, sadness, and joy all sweep over my body. Some years, I have been cruising along in a Team Forza-G paceline. Other years, I have been pushing myself to finish. Either way, that sign tells me that the dunes are ahead and that the end of the ride is near. I am also reminded that the goal is not close. The fight to end cancer continues after I ride those last few miles and that I cannot stop, the PMC cannot stop, and that we cannot stop until everyone who gets diagnosed with cancer becomes Living Proof.
- Random Conversations in the Saddle: I always seem to strike up a conversation with another rider or two each year while we are riding so I can learn the stories of other riders and why they ride. With over 5,000 other cyclists on the road, a good chat is never far away. I enjoy meeting and learning more about my teammates who I don’t see very often and share my story as well. Since I have usually done my training on my own, riding with others and having cycling be so social is a great change. I will miss this part very much. One year, I found Jared Fijalkowski, who I had met the day before via a mutual friend, and we rode for about 2 hours together. Each year, I am moved by these stories and each is worth every ounce of sweat and training that comes to make the PMC ride a comfortable, casual one.
- Harpoon. Harpoon. Harpoon: I am a proud employee of Harpoon Brewery. I am never more proud than on PMC weekend, where I share the ride with my colleague, teammate, and cycling inspiration Jaime Schier and Harpoon co-founder Dan Kenary. Their stories and shared belief in the PMC inspire and motivate me. At the start of the event (as everyone checks-in) and at the end of each riding day, riders enjoy plenty of Harpoon IPA and UFO Hefeweizen. All free. For years and years. I know the effort that it takes to make and keg all that beer and the cost to the company. It is thousands of dollars. I am indebted and proud to be part of a place that doesn’t blink at doing good and being involved as community leader. I raise my glass to all of my colleagues on this day in admiration and thanks. I can’t wait til the day that I am done chemo and can enjoy my next pint of Harpoon.
- Riding: Whenever I drive to chemo, acupuncture, or my cancer support group, I always see a cyclist. And, I think about the PMC. I look forward to starting my training and (slow) re-building of my strength and endurance with the ultimate goal of riding the 2012 PMC. This year, I will be with my wife, daughter, and my in-laws on Cape Cod during the ride, so I will see my teammates and PMC friends and all the riders go by on the road. I had thought at one point I would have the energy and desire to ride 20 miles on Sunday. That won’t be happening, I am not even bringing my bike, but the desire to be involved and on the road is definitely there now and I will be back for next year.
- Thomas Graham’s calves: Tom Graham is one of my teammates on Forza-G. Last two years, I have spent many hours of riding during the PMC, right behind Tom, letting him pull me up the hills. I have shared many laughs with Tom about my inability to ride in front of him and have him follow me for a while. I will miss that time with Tom and most of my Forza-G teammates on the road, but I hope to see them all on Sunday morning. I also hope to see Jared, Dan, and my dear PMC friend and fellow Living Proof Diane.
- my mom, aunt, and grandmother, who have all battled breast cancer
- my grandfather who has survived prostate cancer for years and years
- my family who have supported me and Michele to no end this year
- my teammate Magnus and his mom and their family during their trying days
- my beloved Harpoon colleague and friend Kathy, who has also battled cancer this year and just had her last chemo (HOORAY!)
- the courageous people that I see every week at the Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore and at Hopewell Cancer Support
- my many friends and their family’s cancer stories who drive my passion for the PMC and the cause
- my amazing teammates on Forza-G (and our $250,000 fundraising goal for this year)
- all those who have taken the time to donate to my PMC ride.