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Over a week has passed since PMC weekend! In short, it was an amazing experience.

I stood at the start line in Sturbridge on Saturday with a woman named Lynn. Lynn must have been about my age when she started riding in the PMC and this year was her 30th year riding! We started off together and quickly parted ways. I didn’t see her again until we were 1 mile from the finish line. She and I finished strong on the 31st riding of the Pan Mass Challenge.

It seems that the training hours I put in over the past few months paid off. Saturday’s route, while billed “difficult and hilly” did not seem as bad as I imagined it would. Riding with other people was far easier than riding alone. I definitely found inspiration in the rotation of other wheels on the road. And it was difficult not to find inspiration in the many messages, ribbons and notes found pinned to the backs of other riders.

Speaking of inspiration, you wouldn’t have believed the number of supporters that were lining the roads! There were families with signs to encourage us riders to keep going, there were folks with cowbells ringing us along and there were cancer survivors with heart wrenching signs of thanks. Of particular note was one woman holding a sign that said “This year I turned 31 and survived chemo therapy”. As I turned 31 this year as well it was incredibly moving.

I finished the weekend having only two minor issues- a little fall just before Saturday’s finish in Bourne and a flat tire at the halfway mark on Sunday. Neither slowed me up for too long, they were just minor inconveniences.

I am finding it difficult to find the words to adequately describe the experience. Feel free to ask questions and keep a dialogue going. I’ll try to post more as I feel moved. In the mean time you can check out some photos I took during the weekend.


Inspiration Wanted

As you probably know, the Pan Mass Challenge raises money for cancer treatment and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, here in Boston. Many, if not most, of the riders participate with someone specific in mind. They may have a close family member or friend that has suffered with cancer, maybe their team has a pedal partner that they ride in support for or maybe they are cancer survivors themselves. There is certainly no shortage of stories from which to gain inspiration from out there.

My personal experience with cancer has been, thankfully, limited. My Grandma Lowe passed away after a short, but intense, battle with Pancreatic Cancer in 2000. I have known others who have fought cancer, but never so intimately to really understand what they go through.

In addition to the generous donations that have been given to help me reach my goal, I am hoping that I might collect stories of inspiration from you- stories of survival, stories of hope, stories of sadness, stories of lives lost and, most importantly, stories of lives lived.

As I pedal my way from Sturbridge to Provencetown this weekend I would be honored to lift you and your loved ones (and mine) up in prayer and celebration. To remember their struggles as I face my own and to be inspired by the battles they fought, and are still fighting.

Feel free to leave your stories in the comments here, or if you prefer something more private, please email me at rebeccarides (at) gmail dot com.

One Week to Go!

One week from today I will be tucking myself into bed after the first day of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge! It is hard to believe that it is only a week away. I’m not feeling quite as prepared as I had hoped I would, but I am definitely not super nervous either. I think I have healthy doses of optimism as well as caution.

Due to a few different issues (y’know, life) I haven’t ridden as much as I’d like to the past week or so. I was glad to spend the last couple of days with my parents. They watched the girls so I could get a couple good rides in and it was much appreciated! I rode the same route on both Thursday and Friday, but on Friday I rode the loop around the airport twice before heading back home. (map is approximate, Google doesn’t recognize the bike paths yet!)

Thank you, Hobson’s Homemade!

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

The Hobson’s Homemade: Baked Goods for a Good Cause event was a success!  We had a wonderful time hanging out at Casa Hobson on Saturday and an even better time sampling the wares 🙂 ! I met some new folks and spent time with not one, but two childhood friends.  Many, many thanks go out to Laura and Johnny for their hospitality, patience, and generosity. The sale raised almost two hundred dollars and I am touched by their act of kindness as are the patients at Dana-Farber.

{a few more photos can be found here}

Bake Sale!

A very good friend of mine is a great baker. She married another great baker and together they have started Hobson’s Homade, a two person, cooking baking, bread kneading, home based business.

Laura and Johnny have felt led to hold a bake sale to support my fund raising efforts for the PMC.  I am so touched by their generosity and creative thinking! And I’m looking forward to spending some time with them tomorrow!

Here are the details:

Hobson’s Homemade: Baked Goods for a Good Cause

Saturday, July 24th 10am-10pm

At the Hobson’s Apartment in Natick, MA (leave a comment or email me for the directions!)

There will be lots of goodies: banana bread, pumpkin cranberry bread, chocolate zucchini bread, banana chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, sugar and spice cookies… just to name a few!  There will also be homemade pizza being served during the day!

Please check out the Facebook links above or email me for more info!  I’ll be there in the afternoon and would love to see you!

Road Rash

I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before now. Given the road conditions and the quality of drivers in this area it would have been expected that I’d crash at least once during my training.  But what happened tonight wasn’t so much a crash as it was a tip.

About a month ago I bought a pair of cycling shoes off of Craigslist- $10 for $90 shoes. (score!)  Corey did the necessary mechanical work to change the pedals for me and gave me some tips for riding with clipless pedals.  During my first lesson, in the backyard, I fell once.  Ever since I’ve had good luck clipping in and out at red lights, intersections and whatnot.

Tonight, though, something was off.  I really didn’t feel like going for a ride, but I was dragging myself through the motions.  I got my gear on, I struggled to put my bike together (it had been taken apart a bit while traveling), I put a band aid on a cut I didn’t know I had until I was putting my shoes on and I forced myself out on the road.  I should have followed my intuition and stayed home!

Not even half a mile from our house is a traffic light. As I coasted to a stop I struggled to kick my right foot out of my pedal.  The next moments were in extreme slow motion as I accepted the fact that I was falling, I tried to go over gracefully and I prayed that once I was down my foot would come loose.  The foot did come off the pedal and I, not so gracefully, stood back up.  A car had been coming up along side me as I tipped and must have seen the whole thing.  The guy in the passenger seat was gracious enough to hold off on laughing until after he asked if I was okay.

I rode on a little further trying to evaluate the extent of my injury. I have had much worse road rash in the past, but I decided to turn and head home anyway.  I came home and cleaned up and will probably have a better attitude about riding tomorrow! I will continue training, undaunted!

Support update: Your donations now amount to $2,719.56!  We’re at 60%+ !  Thank you for your continued support 🙂

PeterRides: a Guestblog

I don’t have a bicycle of my own, so I don’t normally get to Ride with Rebecca. However, since we’re out visiting my parents’ house in Ohio, we do have access to some more bikes. So yesterday, while my parents watched our girls, I headed out on a morning bike ride with Rebecca. I rode my sister’s bicycle, which had recently been tuned up. It is a women’s frame Trek mountain bike, with big knobby tires and wide handle bars. I had to raise the seat up quite a bit to get it to the right height, to the point that I could barely reach the water bottle! Riding a bike like this on the road is definitely not as smooth as riding a road bike like Rebecca’s!

We started out and headed to the Kokosing Gap Trail. The trail itself was flat, but there are some hills between the house and the start of the trail. I hadn’t been on a bicycle for about seven years, and I’m pretty out of shape, so it was definitely a challenge for me! I did my best to keep up with Rebecca, and she was gracious enough to slow her pace down for me – we averaged about 11.5 miles per hour instead of her usual 15. We enjoyed the rare chance to ride together, and it was good to be back on the trail – I used to ride it all the time when I lived in Mount Vernon. It is a beautiful trail, running through deep forest, and particularly lovely in the early morning with fog still rolling around and streams of sunshine breaking through.

Our total ride was 11.5 miles in one hour – not much for Rebecca, but a huge ride for me! I ended the ride feeling good overall, but with definite soreness in my seat, wrists, and quads. My muscles were definitely yelling at me for the rude awakening! Overall, though, I had a great time!

I’m very happy to watch Rebecca’s progress in training for the PMC, and I’m even more happy to see her fundraising progress. You can help too! Read her support letter and head to the PMC site to donate to her cause today!