Susan and I just arrived home from dropping our bikes in Wellesley and getting our goody bags replete with promotional items and our PMC 2010 shirt, which I must say, is a lot nicer than last years’ garment. I am nervous but not the same as “race-nervous”. I get a different flutter when I am going to be racing–this is just a ride, not a race per se. Susan gets very anxious about the crowds and riding with so many bikes–I am more nervous about being able to complete the 84 miles tomorrow. Realistically I know we can–god knows we have trained enough–but things do happen, like injuries or stomach-aches that can impede even the fittest rider.
I will be happy once we get on the road and I hear Susan yell “CAR BACK” which she does when a car is approaching. Others do that too, it’s a bikers courtesy call to those ahead who may be riding two abreast, but last year Susan took it upon herself , mainly out of a nervous reaction, to yell it louder and more often than the other 5,000 riders. It became quite funny after 5 hours or so. There was also the cry “CAR UP” and “ON YOUR LEFT” that she took on and used as a sort of personal rocket fuel to propel her through the ride.
While Susan is yelling at her fellow riders, I will be busy looking for people this year. There are many I must find along the route. I will be looking for John Marchiony, a fellow biker, blogger and friend of my niece who I have never met but spoken to through cyberspace. I will be looking for Team DON–a team that rides for our friend Jim’s brother Don who died this year and had ridden the PMC for 9 years. I need to make sure I see my sister Moe who will sit with balloons and water at the “Robert Walsh Memorial Water Plant” in Mansfield that is named for her beloved husband who died 13 years ago of Kidney cancer. There are customers of mine who will be at a campground in Truro that said they would be waving to me as I ride by. At Nickerson I will be looking for my great friend Linda who took the time to send out my donation plea and because of her I received many donations from people I have never even met. I will also be looking for my husband, Mark, who is riding in a PMC van, volunteering his time to fix broken bicycles and help riders in distress.
In between listening to Susan and looking for friends, I will be doing a lot of thinking. I will be thinking about all the wonderful friends,family,and neighbors who contributed to my ride and helped me once again reach my goal. I will be thinking about all those who we have lost to this horrible disease as well as those that we have saved by riding and raising the money we do. I will be praying for my mother-in-law who is struggling to come back from a stroke. And I will be once again, feeling so very greatful for having the strength to pedal 163 miles and lucky enough to be given another year to enjoy this life and all of you.