The World Series Championship Trophy!
I am still shaking my head in amazement at the sight of the World Series Championship trophy sitting in the blazing sun in the middle of a dusty schoolyard at the lunch stop. Right out there, for all to see, on a wooden folding table. (The table was covered with a disposable plastic tablecloth! -- No satin or velvet?) The presentation was so low key it was surreal. THE most coveted prize in all of baseball, if not all of Boston, presented in such an ordinary way. I loved it. No big burly security guards, no roped off area. It was just THERE. Very cool. Unfortunately, it was whisked off to Bourne shortly after the Cyclopaths arrival, so we didn't get a team photo with it. (Perhaps next time. Go Sox!)
Last year I joked that I gained weight riding the PMC. Each waterstop is stocked with food -- PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, etc. I ate a few PB&J's this year, a couple of mini Clif bars, and some fruit -- but stuck with vanilla Gu and Powerade as my main fuel. I tried all of the colors of Gatorade/Powerade. The blue was the best. (And it was the coldest at the Oliver Ames waterstop. They proclaimed it to be "ice cold" -- and it was!)
The volunteers during the PMC were amazing! I don't know whether or not they realize how much the riders appreciate the hard work they do to support the ride. From cutting up fruit, making thousands of PB&J sandwiches, and refilling water bottles at the waters stops -- to entertaining the kids and delivering the luggage to the dorms -- I don't think they can be thanked enough for everything they do.
Donna, Dori and Mike all said they had a good time -- they were totally exhausted when I saw them in Bourne. Mike actually enjoyed volunteering for luggage detail this year, and worked alongside a very muscular, well-conditioned work crew. Donna and Dori volunteered in Guest Services and provided entertainment for the kids. All three have vowed to volunteer again next year. Thanks Mike, Dori and Donna!
Loved the bagpipe player at the top of the steep hill shortly before the lunch stop. I remembered that bagpipe player -- and that hill. For some reason, the hill seemed steeper last year. (Or perhaps the congestion I had last year (from a week-long cold) just made it seem that way. It's not the biggest hill of the weekend, or the toughest, but hearing the bagpipes, as you climb the hill, is kind of momentous.
Soon after climbing that hill, just before the lunch stop, we were greeted by larger-than-life sized photos of smiling children -- all patients at Dana Farber. Many (perhaps all) had Pedal Partners riding in this year's PMC. I passed a photo of a young boy named Jake, and noticed that his pedal partners were The Jakesters. I recalled Danvers Dave mentioning that my old neighbor, Steve Wells, was riding for that pedal partner team. I hope Jake is doing better -- and Steve had a good PMC.
Despite the celebration, camaraderie, and the fun of riding the PMC, there are many, many somber moments that underscore the importance of the event. Seeing the photos of the children, smiling despite their illness, is one of those moments. It's tough to ride past them without getting a lump in your throat.
Many people commented on the yellow ribbons I wore on my jersey. (Note: The photo I posted earlier in the blog was taken after the ride, with the ribbons on my bike seat.) I wore the ribbons on my back, and at one point, as I was losing momentum on one of the hills, a rider passed me on the left and commented, "I like your ribbons!" I smiled at her and said "Thanks", and then picked up the pace. It was a nice reminder of why I was there, sweating up that hill, and my energy was renewed. It's for Nick and Jessica, Loretta and Bert, Henry and Eddie, Ragnhild and Runner, Luise and Kamil, Carol and Nancy, Sharon and Kathie and Ed and Robert -- And for Sue, Manny, Grandpa Bill and Bob, with the hope that they get better soon -- that I got up the hill, rode to Bourne, and back to Wellesley again. 165 miles.
Don't forget to check out my pictures! I've also been helping other Cyclopaths get their photos online as well. Visit the Cyclopaths Blog by using the link on the right.
Original post date: 8/18/05