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the PMC kids ride experience

lots of bikes in the parking lot after the ride

where'd we park again?

Harvey and Zion rode in their first charity ride on Saturday, to support the fund-raising efforts of the Pan Mass Challenge and Dana-Farber. We were late sign-ups, but once they were registered (on Thursday afternoon) the boys were pretty excited about it all, and we spent a few long conversations on what they might expect and what cancer is. Three other families on our small street also had kids riding, and the energy level was high at 8:00 Friday night as they ran practice races with each other.

Then Saturday Harvey woke up feeling sick, and before long had thrown up, oh, five or six times (when he's sick he goes all in!). Luckily he was up at 5:00, so he had plenty of time to work around to feeling better by the time we had to leave at 8:30. Of course, he hadn't eaten anything, but that didn't stop him from mounting up for the ride to the assembly spot, about a mile away. Of course we biked up; I was particularly proud of how I set Leah up to carry Zion's bike.

Leah riding the blue bike carrying Lijah and Zion; Zion's bike strapped on the back

bikes carrying bikes

We got there good and early to make sure we'd have time to pick up the boys' numbers and shirts, which meant we had plenty of time to wait around for the start. Zion, signed up to ride the tricycle obstacle course, was raring to go.

zion waiting on his bike

ready and waiting

So was Lijah; Harvey, for his part, was happy for a little down time to get some more rest in.

Harvey, wearing his helmet, lying on the ground by Leah and Lijah

saving his energy

There was lots going on as hundreds of young riders assembled, but mostly we just sat around in our parking space corral with the rest of Team 14; we had a cracker each to give us energy for the ride (Harvey had a bite of a cracker). Finally, the preliminaries drew to a close and the team headed to the starting line for our final instructions—with Harvey, Lijah, and I bringing up the rear.

Harvey and the rest of team 14 waiting in front of the balloon arch starting line

ready, set...

Then we were off. We were in the "steady" ability group—the middle of three levels for the 5-mile ride—but the leaders headed out quick while the Archibalds took a minute to warm up. A sidewalk portion let us regain contact (a little too much contact when folks in front of us had trouble negotiating a turn!).

the group riding along the sidewalk

on the sidewalk

We were delighted to see, passing the Martins' house, a cheering section with personalized signs for Harvey; I only wish I had my camera ready either of the two times we went by. The half-way point aid station also sadly went unphotographed: I was too busy watching Harvey and Lijah enjoy their snack of goldfish (well-earned in one case, at least) to remember to get out the camera. Pictures were easier when we were all rolling smoothly along.

the group riding on the street

a little more room

The course was fairly hilly, but Harvey took it like a champ. One of the few kids on a single-speed, he had to dismount for a couple of the steepest climbs, but both times he ran his bike up very smartly. He started to suffer a little towards the end—I told him he could stop any time if he needed to throw up, after he warned me it was a possibility—but he pushed on strong to the end. Lijah, on the other hand, was totally worn out by the effort.

Lijah sleeping in the Copilot seat

the end of a long, hard ride

The scene back at the start-finish line was even crazier than before the ride. All the kids abandoned their bikes (as pictured above) to enjoy free hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, ice cream, and cotton candy; plus a bounce house, glitter tattoos, a water slide, and of course the obstacle course, where Zion had confidently completed three laps (Leah has those pictures). After half a hot dog and half an ice cream, Harvey started to recover his energy—much faster after Megan joined us and she and Zion dragged him off to the bouncy house. He even managed to get back on his bike for his turn at the obstacle course.

Harvey riding over a wooden ramp on the tennis court

smallest hill of the day

I felt a little bad for our littlest boy, the only Archibald who couldn't manage to participate on his own bike; but then he found a bucket of sand that occupied him for half an hour, so I didn't worry as much.

Lijah digging in a five-gallon bucket of sand

tiny sandbox

It was a grand day all around, and even before we got home Harvey was talking about next year and starting to lay his plans. Then we went inside and all three boys slept for two hours.

Thanks so much to all of you who saw Leah's Facebook post and supported Harvey and Zion with donations. If you missed your chance no worries; we made our goal, and you'll have another chance next year, when we might even put up a fundraising page a full week in advance of the ride!

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