Well party people it has been a while now hasn't it? I have for all intents and purposes tuned out from the blogosphere and interwebs, IG is my last vestige of social media. A nice break from the stress bomb that is SM to be honest.
But this past weekend and participating in the Pan-Mass UnPaved has inspired me to log back on to share my thoughts and who are we kidding to share the above amazing photo! This may be the best photo of me of all time! HUGE thanks to Kristin and Steve of Steve the Bike Guy for welcoming me on the PMC UnPaved and riding gravel with me! I have always wanted to do an PMC ride. When I heard they were offering a gravel version of the PMC I was so stoked. Granted I was nervous. I have done a ton of gravel rides but I have never done any fundraising or been a part of a big event like the PMC.
PMC UnPaved offered me an opportunity to get involved and give back in a way that felt very comfortable to me. Gravel is my sweet spot to say the least. It is where I am most comfortable on the bike. Like I said earlier due to COVID and a myriad of other reasons, top of that list the passing of my mother-in-law Mary who passed away from cancer a year ago and my mom's declining health, I hadn't been on an organized ride in over two years. So the thought of being back at a mass start event and all that entails had me pretty nervous.
|Great to see Kevin and Thea at the rest stop!|
But my friends were so great. When I first signed up a good friend and teammate took me out on a 55 mile gravel ride to shake out the cobwebs. I went for the ride consistently model over the "training" model. I wasn't sure what to expect from the route or ride. What I will say is for a first year event PMC did an amazing job at communicating with the riders and offering tips and course intel leading up to the ride.
Arriving in Lenox and parking in a field with 200 other riders made me so happy. I love the whole scene at these rides. This had a lot of familiar faces but also its own vibe. Honestly, that was another thing I was looking for. I have raced cyclocross for longer that I can remember. And have been doing gravel long before it was called gravel. I love the term gravel by the way. It is amazing how gravel has taken off. I love how it is transforming cycling and bringing new riders to the sport.
I was blown away by the level of organization and the support. At registration the volunteers cheered for me and rang cowbells and thanked me for doing the ride. Wow. It felt so nice honestly. People of all types were at the ride. It reminded me a bit of D2R2 in a way. People were so chill.
|Steve (the Bike Guy!) and Kristin|
I found Steve and Kristin and we caught up. We rolled out in a bit of rain but by the first rest stop the sun was starting to pop out. The route was phenomenal. A perfect route in my mind. We got back to Lenox and had a great lunch and sat by the fire and enjoyed a non-alcoholic beer. I will say I really have been enjoying the fake beers from Athletic. And really appreciate and respect promoters who have been both offering N/A options and encouraging sober celebration. I do think it is nice and inclusive.
I left feeling so recharged. I can't even wait until next year. I am hoping to bring a whole HUP crew to ride with me next year! HUGE thanks to PMC and all their amazing volunteers. HUGE high fives to Steve and Kristin for welcoming me into the PMC family! And HUGE thanks to everyone who supported my fundraising! Thank you!!!