It’s a new year and that means it’s time for PMC 2019!
Skip all the rest of this nonsense and show your support
What is the PMC?
The PMC is a very large sports based fundraising event where 100% of the proceeds make it to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. We bike to show our commitment and to enjoy the ride with thousands of like minded people dedicated to our cause.
I bike to preserve the memory of my niece and help others win their battle with cancer.
PMC 2018 was my 10th year riding and one of the greatest. Somehow, I didn’t make time to write a post for the start of PMC 2018 and I didn’t write a “wrap-up” either! Unbelievable.
This post will cover those thing and the kickoff for PMC 2019!
Before we get started, let’s have a walk down memory lane to remember how we got here and what happened along the way.
2009 : I made a blind leap into a new adventure.
2010 : My father came along for the ride.
2011 : I joined an actual team and we rode together.
2012 : Meg died. I miss her. We all do.
2013 : We made some awesome pictures together.
2014 : My wife rode for the first time, a bee stung my face, and it rained the whole weekend.
2015 : I built a road bike to ride, instead of my mountain bike. Absolutely perfect weather.
2016 : Julie crashed dramatically on the way TO the PMC but didn’t break herself or her bike.
2017 : I broke my collar into lots of pieces. Skiing, not biking!
2018 : Lots of rain, rode at the “People’s Pace”.
Most of those memories mean more to me than you, of course. Each ride is starting to blur together and I need something to keep them unique in my mind. Writing up these intros and summaries will be helpful as long as I make time to do it.
So for you and for me, I’m going to walk through 2018 before we jump into 2019. Before I started outlining some notes for this, I thought 2018 was a bit of a boring year. Now that I look back, it’s clear that 2018 was chocked full of stuff both great and not so great.
So let’s begin!
Good news! Very few injuries in 2018. Just the normal little spills and such. However, I did fall OFF the Bridge of Certain Death™ once. I did not fall into the water, which is good because the cargo bike would have come down on top of me. I managed to land on the far ledge and only jammed up my bad shoulder a bit. I decided then and there that I would walk the bike over the bridge from then on. Welcome to old age, I guess.
However, there was one fairly significant injury from 2017, but that was post PMC and I haven’t had a chance to tell you about it until now.
My good friend holds a lovely Halloween party every year. Julie and I rode bikes there, as one does. With the kids. We rode home VERY late night and I decided riding through the woods would be safer than being on the road with all the drunk drivers. Turns out…
There was some mud and it was quite slippery. And there was a rock. A singular rock that was quite sharp. Darkness, it was 11PM. We have lights on the bikes. Very bright lights.
My wheels rode up the side of a rut a bit then both started to slide the other way quite quickly. I said, “Hang on kids! We’re going down!” (The kids were on the back). I thought I did a stellar job of laying the bike down gracefully. I have a rule, when falling, to hang on to the bars and to make sure the bike hits the ground before my hands.
My hands were fine but remember the rock? The rock, all alone on this slippery muddy trail, was waiting for my knee cap. All of the remaining speed that I was expecting to dissipate while sliding through the gross, but hilarious mud, was directed straight into that rock by way of the skin over my knee cap.
The kids were fine if a tad muddy. We got up and got moving and my right leg was giving me a bit of trouble. I tried to write it off as just some discomfort because I couldn’t see a thing in the dark. I told Julie, “Something doesn’t seem quite right”, and press onward with both gigantic kids on the back of my cargo bike. We got home where I could see the damage.
Turns out, I made quite the puncture right over my kneecap. I did go to the doctor because the leg swelled up so fast that it was very difficult to move and I was concerned the cut would get infected without antibiotics. The doctors were split on whether I cracked the kneecap or not, but it was still in one piece, so all was well.
Here’s where the bad news gets worse. You might be able to technically say that I broke my never-driving-to-work streak because of this one stupid rock.
My doctor’s office is in the same office park as my work office. I drove our car there because, well, because it was difficult to move my leg. It was also difficult to operate the pedals, but easier than pedaling a bike at the time.
And then, because I was there and had nothing else pressing to do, I went in to my WORK office. It was right there. I limped over. I do not remember the exact date. It must have been somewhere around 10/31/2017. This was the day that I drove a car to the office. Mark this on your calendars people because I have been working at KAYAK for 5 years, 4 months, and 22 days (according to my HR system at the time of this writing). And in that time I have never driven a car into the office but for that one day my leg wouldn’t move.
I will carry this burden on my soul until the day they put my body into the furnace.
You may ask, well what about your exploded shoulder and all the days AFTER your doctor visit, smart guy? Rode my bike, duh. After shoulder surgery, I rode one handed for a couple weeks, is all. After this, I just did all the pedaling with my left leg.
Oh, almost forgot. Kidney stones! HUGE kidney stones! They came upon me very quickly during a ski trip. If you’ve never had them, it seems that the experience is extraordinarily painful. We went to the hospital visit for a few hours while they figured out what it was. As soon as they did they gave me some weird drug and boom, gone. No problem. So that was awesome.
I highly recommend avoiding kidney stones if you can.
About 10 days before his birthday, the boy (Max) also found himself in the hospital. Not because of daredevil antics but purely nature and luck.. His appendix blew up quick and he ended up in the ER only hours after being sent home from school. That night, a lovely doctor with “therapy cats” inflated his belly with carbon dioxide and snipped out that little not-so-useful organ.
The procedure is really interesting but not everyone would enjoy the details. We were very thankful for this doctor and the fantastic work that she did for our boy. The kids got to meet the therapy cats on his follow up visit. I am skeptical that the cats knew their purpose, but I am certain the kids enjoyed petting them anyway.
Before this set back, Max was playing Spring soccer and baseball. Molly was as well and I can tell you, as a parent, two kids playing two sports each is a terrible idea. Especially when you’re also coaching some of the teams.
We’ve also had some terrific skiing adventures. Max is getting so good that we can ski any trail any time. Every so often we get some of these killer days with huge piles of powder.
In addition to the appendix thing, the boy has also been struggling with what we think is Sever’s Disease. It basically makes his heels hurt all the time. Especially when running and doing sportsy stuff which kinds of puts a damper on his activities. He’s getting better or growing out of it. One of those. I expect 2019 will be a much more sportsy year for Max.
So far we have been playing indoor soccer and skiing. Max has decided to not play baseball in the spring and I’m OK with that. We will play soccer again and try to add in some mountain biking.
Max is setting a not-driving record of his own. I think he has walked (or biked) to school every day since early in the school year 2017. He and two of his friends have been steadfast while others join them periodically but don’t always stick around. They pickup one more closer to the school and arrive as a group of four.
I love that they can have this independence and the boys love the time they have together.
Molly CRUSHED 2018. Moving from kindergarten to first grade, she is following very closely behind her fifth grade brother. She is doing well in her Spanish immersion class (¿Yo creo que?) and pretty interested in a lot of things. She loves biking and REALLY wants to go to a sleep over mountain biking camp. The camp won’t let her until 5th grade and she’s not very happy about that, but we’ll figure something out between now and then.
I’m fairly certain she just wants some of that sweet sweet independence.
Molly took “track days” seriously. Hammering the runs and throwing in some pushups for good measure just to show up her tired brother with his sore heels and sore appendix-less belly.
He form needs a little work.
And finally, in a bid to really squeak out the win for 50.1% of her father’s love, Molly decided she wanted to be the first offspring to take up snowboarding. Both kids have been skiing, but she insisted we spend some quality time together in some snuggly learning positions.
Oh… and then look… daddy/daughter dance!
The Wife (Julie)
Julie continues to be her awesome self. It’s easier for me to list the ways in which she is awesome that to type it all out and I’m sure I’m leaving something out:
- Countless hours building recycled wooden creations for PMC fundraising.
- Basically all of the household duties.
- Dealing with the kids while I’m at work.
- Working various jobs because she wants to help.
- Built and entire retaining wall with like 50,000,000 tons of dirt and concrete.
- And probably a bunch of house projects I didn’t even notice.
She did have an injury which she may not want me posting pictures of. She fell while biking (slippery paint) and separated her shoulder. These are crappy injuries because they basically never stop hurting and are always getting in the way of everything.
Well, we went over my injuries already. Pain is the highlight of my life.
Something that is certainly relevant to me and biking updates: I took a work trip to Amsterdam! Essentially all of the Netherlands is a paradise. I can feel you rolling you eyes, but it would be a paradise for you as well, you just don’t know it yet. It’s proven that they raise the happiest children on the planet. When you are there, you can see it happening, but it’s hard to place why.
Certainly I believe that the vastly diminished presence of motor vehicles plays a huge role. Combined with their population density, attention to social services and public spaces, it’s just a wonderful place to be. It’s certainly a different lifestyle than what I have now, but I think I could adapt preeeeeeeeeeetty quickly.
You’ll be surprised to know that I didn’t even ride a bike while I was there. I walked and scootered a lot. I don’t like to ride in unfamiliar (and busy) places. It’s hard to take everything in. Scootering around makes it easy for me to stop and walk and wander off into a park.
Biking Training and Other Family Events
Do we ride bikes? You bet we do. It’s the best way to get around as long as you’re not going too far. What’s too far? Well, that depends on you.
Molly really enjoyed this group mountain bike ride and wants to make it a thing. For a while it was all she would talk about. “I hate everything and only want to mountain bike!”, etc.
Julie and I rode to the top of Wachusett. As you do. Every year we torture ourselves with this ridiculous effort. It’s like 70-80-100 miles or something and a stupid amount of going up.
I ran into so many turtle friends on the trails. Turtles are good people.
Cargo bikes are great for carrying things. Including chainsaws for removing trees that fall on the trail.
The swimming pool that we go to is only about 5 miles away.
My cousin Ian and Anne were married this summer! We have an enjoyable trip on an airplane, swim in lake Michigan, and sweat our ASSES off at that outdoor reception.
Look at all this family!
Let’s Finish Up With A List
I need to get this sent out. Reviewing pictures is fun, but I’m running out of time!
- We have Gerbils now
- We biked 12 miles each way to see fireworks
- A helicopter tried to kill me in Switzerland
- I have coached a lot of soccer
- Kidney stones are the worst, think I mentioned that
- Daddy/daughter dance
- Molly ran to school for a few weeks over the summer
- I am sorry for the lack of Thank You Notes in 2018
- We bikes to Lake Boone a lot to swim
- Had my 25th HS reunion
- My friend Mike had a baby!
- Daddy daughter dance
- Pedal fell off, again
- We biked in the Maynard Christmas Parade, again
- I rode a scooter a lot more
- Too a trip to Switzerland
- Ate soap at Christmas
I can’t do any of this without your support. Every year it is a pleasure to participate in the PMC and I hope that I can continue to do so for as long as I am physically able.
See you at the finish line!