PMC update Week 7: When Maps Lie

It’s been a while since I updated you on our PMC training.  Susan and I have been logging some serious miles lately to make sure we are ready for the big event.  Last I spoke to you we had just finished our first long ride of 30  miles which at the time seemed difficult.  Now 6 weeks later we are right on schedule and finished our back to back rides of 50 miles and 80 miles.  These longs rides take us from Reading through North Reading, Wakefield, Lynnfield, Boxford, Tewksbury, Georgetown, Andover, North Andover, Billerica, Carlisle and Concord.  On our 50 miler we made it to Walden pond which is a destination I was hoping to get to last year and during the 80 mile ride we even pedaled into Plaistow, New Hampshire for a short time.

Susan at beautiful Walden Pond

We seem to be training correctly and slowly building on our previous lengths because neither Susan or I seem particularly sore after these long rides. Mostly I am hungry.  After the 70 miler I came home and ate anything I could get my hands on–for about 5 hours straight.

Where are we?

What seems to be harder than the actual riding, is the planning and plotting of our routes.  Susan (who I now call ‘my Sherpa’) spends hours and hours on Google maps and with a paper map trying to figure out roads we can safely ride on, writing out directions on a tiny piece of paper she tucks into the leg of her shorts. Sometimes though, even with her meticulous cartography, we get lost. Usually it’s because the road that exists on the map, does not exist in real life.  This happened twice last week, the first was in Middleton and was unfortunate because we were being chased by a ‘hound-dog’ who thought we were lunch.

“Faster Susan”, I screamed back to her as  my fight or flight reflex pumped my legs into overdrive, leaving my partner to her own resources.  I’m sorry, but when it comes to biting, snarling, vicious dogs, it’s every biker to themselves.  I blew past Susan, the hound hot on my heels, and right when I thought I was losing him, that he might be slowing down, the road ended in a path of rocks and gravel.


Our hound friend stopped too, looked up at me with a grin and licked my leg. Then he ran off after a chipmunk, which was lucky because we then had to turn around and ride back down the road we just came and I didn’t want him following us all the way home.

We encountered a non-existant road again on our 80 mile trek at the top of a huge hill in Tewksbury. Or maybe it was Haverhill. Susan pulled her directions from her shorts and stared at the folded paper with disbelief, “But the map said that this road turns to Lilly Pond Rd!” Susan gets very upset at these mapping malfunctions because she stays up all hours of the night to ensure we have a pain-free ride.  She takes it very personally.  I stared at the gated path across the street and thought that if that’s Lilly Pond Road then we are certainly not going to be going down it.

Last year during our training we would sometimes get lost and were often filled with great anxiety.  But the difference between last year and this is that we don’t panic anymore.  I guess we have been out there long enough now to get a better sense of where we are.  The last mishap put us into Georgetown where we weren’t supposed to go that day but where we had been on another ride so we knew how to get back on track.  We are confident in our ability to find our way home.  I guess you’d say we have become “seasoned” riders and at the same time we are discovering glorious farms and forests close to our home that we never would be able to encounter in a car.

Susan is away this week so we will have to make up 60 by this weekend when she gets back.  I am kind of enjoying the break and I hope she is too, but if I know my partner, she’ll have me back in the saddle before she has even unpacked her bags.  Thankfully I picked a bike partner/sherpa who is far more dedicated and disciplined than I.

If you would like to donate to our PMC ride and have 100% of your donations go to cancer research, you can find us at:

Fran & Susan’s 2010 PMC Training Guide – Long Ride Goals

Week Beginning Dist
1 May 10, 2010 30
2 May 17, 2010 40
3 May 24, 2010 50
4 May 31, 2010 60
5 June 7, 2010 50/40
6 June 14, 2010 70
7 June 21, 2010 80/50
8 June 28, 2010 60
9 July 5, 2010 90/60
10 July 12, 2010 80
11 July 19, 2010 50
12 July 26, 2010 70
PMC 84/81

About francesbarrie

Cancer survivor,mom,triathlete,writer,jewelry maker, baker. Staying happy and healthy,living life and enjoying it one moment at a time.
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2 Responses to PMC update Week 7: When Maps Lie

  1. Karen says:

    You are an inspiration. Not only are you a great writer, rider, mother, friend, music groupee, you make the rest of us really want to do more and more without making us feel like we are losers -you are really encouraging.

    Now, if I could only find the stamina and energy to walk to your house and return your bowl and red dish that has been sitting on my kitchen counter since early May . . . that would be an award winning feat at this point!

  2. Fran,

    I hesitate to tell you that “” is a great mapping site for creating routes because then we wouldn’t get to laugh our asses off at your great posts.

    Seems like my training is on about a par w/yours. This weekend I’m planning an 80-miler out to Mt. Wachusett and back that takes me on as many hills as we can find!

    Hope to see you, finally, on the PMC path in August.



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