Greetings all:

The 2018 Brain Tumor Ride is in the books.

So much thanks to everyone for all your support. You are amazing. The team raised $34K. FANTASTIC.

Saturday it rained all day and night into the early morning.The rain stopped about 4:00 AM.This is a good thing because the ride started at 8:30 AM.Team Mawn was well represented with 15 riders.

I started my morning off with a bowl of oatmeal. Yummy goodness for a ride.I got to the ride start about an hour and a half early.I like to spend time wandering around the start looking for old friends and making new ones.I dropped off the last of the donations I had collected.I am always struck by the new faces I see year to year, and by the ones I donít see.

There was some delicious coffee being serve, and various snacks were available for all. Northern Bank was handing out a fancy water bottle to everyone who wanted one.They also had a caricature artist and face painter on hand.No I did not get my face painted. Folks were in great spirits and excited about the ride ahead.

This year I decided to do the 40-mile ride.Many of my teammates did the 25-mile ride.Every ride I do throughout the year leads up to this day.I ride month in and month out. Cold, wet, hot and when I donít feel like it.

The roads were wet--not damp--but it was not raining.Iíll take that as a win any day.A lot of caution was needed not to carry too much speed into turns and hills. Mental notes taken.The day was actually a bit warm, high sixties going into the high seventies with almost 90% humidity.

My adrenaline starts pumping on this morning like no other all year. Iíve taken my electrolytes, munched an energy bar, Iím ready.When the ride starts I try to hold myself backÖ..I canít do it.

Sister Catherine and brother-in-law Alan at the ride start.

 

I started out the first quarter mile navigating my way through the crowd of teammates and other cyclists.At the stop light on Winter Street I could contain myself no longer, I shouted to my teammates, ďLet do this!Ē and put the mettle to the pedal. Off the front I went.I kept telling myself to keep it smooth, not too fast, turn over those pedals, temper the enthusiasm. I kept my cadence high and attacked this now familiar course, applying my knowledge of the twists, turns, and hills as best I could.I felt good, really good. Four miles in I felt a twinge in my left calf.†† I think to myself, ďnot a cramp this soonÖughĒ.I dial back my cadence, twinge diminishes, but I know at this point Iíll be fighting this battle for the whole ride.

I ride past Walden Pond. My left calf is still on the verge of going into an all-out cramp.The road is wet, a little slippery where the oak pollen has fallen and is now wet and flattened on the road.

At least it is no longer on the trees and flowing through the air.I approach Route 2 on the way to the first water stop at the Concord Courthouse; unbelievably I have only to wait a few seconds before the light changes.Itís downhill to the courthouse where my mother and sisters Mary Beth, Martha and niece Hannah are leading the cheering section.

Mom, Beth, Russ

 

Liam, Wally, Ryan, Jimmy Jr., Jimmy, Mom, Beth, Rita, Martha, Hannah, Warren

I arrive at the courthouse ahead of the crowd, jump off my bike and pose for a picture with family.Quickly back on the bike and hit the road going full steam again.And again that twinge, only this time I pull out my electrolytes and down three capsules of these magic bullets.Cramps abated for the moment, but I can feel the battle going on in my left leg.

Overall Iím feeling good. My energy level is strong and Iím moving at a pretty good clip.Fourteen miles into the ride and bang--the left calf starts to cramp.I straighten my leg and get out of the saddle in an effort to convince my calf to calm down.I chug some water and slow my cadence again.

The weather is actually great for riding, cloud cover is keeping the temperatures from rising too fast.At mile 20 I come to the next water stop.This stop is supported by two friends of mine, Brett Johnson and David McSweeney

David and Brett

Brett is a brain tumor survivor and an active advocate of brain tumor research.Brett and David have joined me for several years in DC for ďHead 2 the HillĒ, the National Brain Tumor Societyís annual lobbying day.

At the Great Brook water stop I am treated to sustenance and pickles!! Yes, pickles. Pickles are HIGH in electrolytes and a tasty way to get them.I down three dills and thank my friends and hop back on my bike.

These suburbs are beautiful.Everything is in bloom. The recent rains have greened everything up.I ride on.

So far Iíve done pretty well. No wrong turns yet. No other 40-mile riders anywhere around me.The ride this year is turning into a solo effort.As the day goes on other local riders are starting to appear on the road. Several ask me what the number on my back represents. I tell them about the Brain Tumor Ride.I still cannot find anyone to draft or ride with.I pass local riders and keep my pace going at a high but steady rate.

At mile 32, I cramp hard.My left leg this time is not cooperating.I canít turn the pedals. I have to coast for a bit.The left leg is telling me it is really unhappy.I down more electrolytes. I stand in my saddle trying to work through this cramp without stopping. I try pedaling againÖstill cannot get my leg to do a full revolution.More water and an energy bar.Iím in serious distress at this point, but Iím not going to stop.I feel the muscle relax and I slowly turn the pedals again.I ease up on the gears for less resistance on each stroke.Legs moving again I pick up speed.Just a few more miles to go.

At the last turn onto West Street, the ride organizers have posted signs in memory/in honor of loved ones.I pass by the sign for my dad and uncle, a wave of emotion overtakes me, and I start to push and push hard.At this point I am coming in hot, as the saying goes.

My niece Calliope graduated summa cum laude from Babson with her MBA the day before the ride.

Iím doing twenty-three miles per hour and approaching the finish.I hear the crowds cheering on the riders, and their energy infuses me and pushes me on.Iím done.All told it was a great ride.No wrong turns, good energy, and the cramps never defeated me.

For the lovers of statistics my time was 2:20:05 at an average speed of 16.9 miles per hour.

 

Again, thank you to everyone who rode, cheered, and supported our efforts to raise money for brain tumor research.