It has been a little over a week since I arrived in Sturbridge for this year’s Pan Mass Challenge. I have had plenty of time to rest and recover from the riding and sit back and reflect on the emotions and experience. Over the next week, I plan to write a few blog posts to share the stories that impacted me the most. But I thought I would give everyone a quick review:
My plan heading into the weekend was to leave Sturbridge and ride the first 63 or so miles to my team captain’s sisters house in Rehoboth, MA for the Team Forza-G lunch. While I accomplished that goal, it was not without the loss of two spokes off my rear wheel and a lot of downtime. I had the privilege of waiting along the side of the road at Mile 9 near the Charlton Middle School for a while with a first time rider, Jessica T. from South Boston, whose derailer just snapped and fell off her bike. It was only 6:30 in the morning, plenty of miles where ahead of us, and by the time we got picked up, so were ALL of the riders we had left Sturbridge with. We had a nice time, she was worried about falling so far behind her team. I tried to tell her that it would be okay and got her to laugh some. We got a ride from the SAG wagon to the first waterstop to get our bikes fixed.
Thankfully, my bike was fixed quickly and some of my teammates had waited for me. With them, I road on and made a stop at the famous Cherry Street where we chatted with some residents & survivors. It was a very emotional visit.
Then it was onto lunch. At that point, it was really getting warm and I needed a break. Lunch was amazing – thank you to the entire Dillis family! I skipped ahead to the final rest stop in a car and waited for my team to arrive at the now World Famous Forza-G Pie Stop, brought to you by the amazing Kathi Nelson! A couple of pieces of pie and a inspiring chat with a teammate’s mom who has been battling breast cancer head on this year filled me with the energy to cycle the final 8 miles from Wareham to Bourne.
The feeling of crossing that finish line in Bourne was incredible. It has been 2 long years since I last completed this journey, but so much has happened since then. A rush of thoughts and emotions flew through my mind as I pedaled down that last street with a small group of my teammates. It was a glorious day, I rode 56 miles in total, had executed the game plan despite my mechanical issue, and crossed the finish line, just like I have been dreaming about since late March 2011, when I learned that my cancer had returned. So many times, my dreams have been filled with visions of PMC weekend, resulting in my finishing in either Bourne at Mass Maritime Academy or in Provincetown after a glorious ride through the Dunes. This year, Provincetown was not to be in the cards, so I will happily settle for crossing the line in Bourne.
I will end this entry here. There are many more memories that were created after the ride that day in Bourne. I will share those later this week. Till then – here are some photos of me and my team from Friday in Sturbridge and Saturday on the road to Bourne.