MS Cycling Fundraiser - Cape Cod Getaway
On June 27th and 28th of this year I will be riding again in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society fundraising event for cyclists, the Cape Cod Getaway. Cyclists from all over the United States and beyond will gather in Quincy, Massachusetts, early on the morning of June 27th and bike 75 or 100 miles through beautiful south shore communities such as Scituate and Dennis down to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy at Bourne on the Cape Cod Canal.
Rest stops are provided every 10 or 20 miles along the way so cyclists can visit the handy house or grab a banana or a Cliff bar and fill up their water bottles. Local bike shops provide tech crews to make emergency repairs and a first aid station is also available. It's great to ride a century with this kind of support.
There we are fed and for the past two years have enjoyed FREE BEER donated by the Wachusett Brewing Company. I hope their truck is there this year, too. They brew a great beer.
At the Academy riders have the option of pitching a tent or sleeping in the dorm. I always opt for the dorm. The dorms are airless and could be hot if the weather is, but my luck has been good so far and I would hate to be in a tent in the rain after biking a hundred miles if the weather goes wet. In good weather, though, tenting looks great. A lot of the campers take a dip in the canal - looks very refreshing after a long days' ride.
The next day they rouse us at 430am or so and we eat a good breakfast before cycling over the Bourne Bridge. The state police insist that all riders cross by 6am, so there is no laying about. Gotta get right to it.
The second day takes us 75 miles from Bourne to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod, through quaint towns and past scenic shoreline. Although you might think the Cape is flat, it's gently rolling terrain catches up with you after the previous days' ride. Provincetown is actually a seven mile climb from the last rest stop at Truro. As the land gets sandier, the further out on the Cape you go, it seems to get hotter, too.
At the finish line in Provincetown they collect the bicycles, wrap them in paper and load them onto trucks. Shower trucks are provided, which give you a chance to get to know some of your fellow riders a little better than you'd really care to, maybe, but at least you wash the sweat off and feel fresh. Then there is a food tent to replenish your carbs in. After a shower and bite the riders who are taking the ferry boat home (like me) head down the hill into downtown Provincetown.
Both times I've been there, there have been Portuguese festival type activities going on. Last year there was a parade. Provincetown is just nice anyway if you want to just rest your tired legs and enjoy the sea breeze and the relaxed atmosphere.
After a while it's time to board the ferry. I like the ferry boat. The alternative is a bus, and on the boat, below-decks, you can stretch out your legs and relax. Above decks, just aft of the wheel house, a DJ plays music and riles up the crowd. I usually poke my head in and have a look, but the last thing I want to do after 175 miles on the bike is dance. Some people obviously enjoy it, though. Also on the ferry boat you can buy a beer or a burger - another thing you can't do on the bus. I usually spend about half the time inside the cabin and the other half enjoying the breeze on deck.
I ride because a couple of my friends live with multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society does so much not only to further research toward a cure for this disease, but also to help people living with the disease with their daily challenges. Out of the 1700 or so riders in the event, several live with this disease. I hope to persuade my friend who has MS to ride with me this year. In addition to being an excellent cause, it is one hell of a lot of fun if you like cycling.