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breast cancer walk report: saturday, may 17 - when you don't know what to do...
do the next thing
tashabear
tashabear
breast cancer walk report: saturday, may 17
Saturday morning was a lot like Friday night, but somewhat lighter. It was still cold and wet at 5am, though. This time we suited up in the complete rainsuit (Friday night we just wore the pants, and my pink jacket was still wet Saturday morning *sad*), made sure our loads were secure, and hit the road -- after a quick stop for gas.

It was another grim determination ride, but our rain suits worked a treat. My gloves were still wet, and the elastic on my sleeves was a little loose, so my hands and wrists were really cold. The rest of me was chilly and felt wet, but I later discovered that I was fine. I had to ride most of the way with my visor cracked, though; I couldn't keep it from fogging, even by breathing slowly and shallowly and trying to direct my exhalations downward.

We made good time till we got to the entrance for UMass. We were stuck in grid lock, till we hooked up with one of the other riders, who led us on our first bit of rules-breaking for the weekend: we filtered between lanes till we could break out of traffic, then went up the wrong side of the street so we could get ahead of everyone and meet the rest of the team. I was second behind the lead rider of our little group of four (we picked up another guy), and was a little too focused on him when he suddenly swerved to the left.

I couldn't see any reason for the swerve... until I realized that there was a big mucking puddle RIGHT THERE. I realized this as I drove through it, soaking my ankles and proving the waterproofiness of my new boots. I did try to pick my feet up out of the water, but either I didn't get them high enough or it was a futile effort. All I could do at that point was laugh... especially since I had dry socks in my bag.

When we got to the rally point, they handed out our vehicle identification numbers, and we taped them to our windshields. In an amusing twist of fate, I got vehicle number M16. We rolled out shortly after that, and waited for a half hour or so at the first Quick Stop (they provide light snacks, water Gatorade, and portapotties for the walkers). Once the walkers started to draw near, we mounted up again and headed out to start manning the route.

Our purpose was to assist walkers in negotiating tricky/busy intersections. They use bikers instead of cagers, because it's easier to maneuver and park a bike in the city. I was positioned at the first intersection along with a guy from RI named Jack. It was pretty fun, actually; I ended up having to walk up the hill and shoo people back onto the sidewalk. I tried to keep it light and funny, because no one likes to be told what to do. Apparently I succeeded, because no one told me where to stick my signal flag.

After the last walker passed us, we moved forward. I ended up at Jamaica Pond. It's a freaking diabolical intersection to try and cross people at, and I know I pissed off a lot of motorists, but none of the walkers got hit. I ended up having to leave that station after about three hours, before all the walkers passed -- I forgot a hat, and I ran out of water. I get crispy in the sun really fast. Someone came along to spell me with darkwolfie and I was able to change my socks (remember the wet ankles? Water has a way of seeping downwards) and then we took off to get water. That was about all I did the rest of the day.

The last walker came through Canton at around 4:30. We had all gathered at a Dunkin Donuts about half a mile from the Wellness Village (the overnight stop for the Walk), and just before the last walker and the caboose (two ladies on bikes that stick with the last walker) passed us, we mounted up and rode out to the Wellness Village. It's a former farm turned event space, and has a three-quarter mile crushed stone track. The Wellness Village was set up on the infield.

We set up a double column of bikes for the last walker to walk through and escorted her in. As she passed us, we all rolled on our throttles and revved the engines as high and loud as we could. The racket was deafening, and it was one of the coolest things I've ever been a part of. It was just so awesome watching her complete that journey -- I'm not sure I could have done it.

The last thing we did before dinner was take a lap around the track. We got stuck on the back side in traffic (!), but were finally able to finish... behind the truck for Dave's Septic. ROFL

We had dinner in the dining tent with the walkers. Food was served in a separate tent, and as a group, we walked into the dining tent... and practically got a standing ovation. The walkers love us. They LOVE us. It was pretty awesome.

darkwolfie and I were going to camp, but that plan was actually in place when we had much smaller bikes. We went home that night, with me in the lead, and I was pretty much sucking wind by the time we got to our exit off 93. It's 43 miles from Lawrence to Canton; that was a pretty hardcore ride (and we got slowed down entering the tunnels again), given how tired we were at the end of the day. But we got showers and another good night's sleep at home, and that made a lot of difference for the next day.

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i feel: happy happy

2 trips or shoot the rapids
Comments
aminahfiddler From: aminahfiddler Date: May 22nd, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) (base camp)

walk questions

Hello.

I read about you doing the moto crew for the breast cancer walk. Now you've inspired me to think about doing the Charlotte one.

I'm a long time rider, but haven't ridden that much in the last couple of years.

I haven't contacted them about working on the crew yet. I may have missed the deadline, but figure if they really need help they won't turn me down. How much ride time were you doing vs helping folks out? Anything I should know about that's not obvious?

Thanks!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: May 22nd, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: walk questions

Well, I probably only rode 80 or 85 miles on Saturday, and 60 of that was getting there and back again, if that helps. Most of my time was directing traffic, or figuring out where I needed to be next. I'm pretty sure that they use motorcycles instead of people in cars because bikes are easier to park. Also, on Sunday, we rode up and down the line, sort of herding people to stay in the breakdown lane. We couldn't have done that in cars.

Other than that, be ready to work in all weathers. Apparently last year it rained and rained hard all weekend, and they were out there, directing traffic. You'll want a baseball hat, or some other hat with a brim, and a couple of water bottles.

I hope you get to go out and play! Charlotte isn't till October 25-26, though, so you have plenty of time.
2 trips or shoot the rapids