The Back Roads Century from a Different Perspective

Friday, October 4, 2019
by Anne C.M. Hyman
As I was wiping sweat from my brow as the sun dropped below the Shepherdstown horizon, one of my incredible volunteers said to me, “It’s such a bummer that you didn’t get to do the Century today”.
I explained to him how I was very much at peace with both feet on the ground for the day. First, I had a 112 mile ride planned for the next weekend- sandwiched between a 2.4 mile swim and a 26.2 mile run, and that’s more than enough excitement for me for one season. But second, and more importantly, I did feel like I was out with everyone.
I felt like I rode in everyone’s wake as they left campus, after I had waved goodbye to them and instructed them on the corner of West Campus Drive.
I had spent months planning, coordinating with the steering committee and local planners to ensure that everyone on the roads had the chance for a successful day in the saddle.
I had trained my rest stop captains and the Shepherd University students to safely take care of everyone out there, and had seen their smiles that they greeted everyone with firsthand before anyone else had that experience.
After the cyclists rolled out into the foggy morning, I spent hours listening in on the SAG radios and communicating with my team, learning about the rider experiences out on the six courses as everyone rode along.
I visited the rest stops to drop off extra ice and supplies and sampled their wares. I have to say, the potatoes and tomato sandwiches this year tasted extra delicious.
I cheered on the cyclists as they rolled back into campus, and I was able to take in a moment of the fine bluegrass music under the refuge of a shady tree at the Popodicon as cyclists perused the food and vendor offerings.
So to say that I wasn’t out “doing the century” isn’t exactly an accurate assessment. I had “done” the century almost once a week, in every planning meeting, since March with the steering committee. We envisioned the day from every angle before anyone’s wheels rolled out of campus. I knew how successful we could be on that Sunday, because I had seen how hard everyone had worked for it. Without the dedication and care of our volunteers, the hospitality of Shepherd University, and the diligence of our local team, this event would never shine as it does, and I’m so proud of everyone who gave up some of their annual mileage to help fulfill other cyclists’ goals for our event.
This feeling of success, seeing all of you enjoy our events safely and happily, is what motivates me to do my best for the Century and PPTC. It may mean planning sessions starting before the roads are thawed from Winter and late night phone calls and troubleshooting well into Autumn, but to see everyone enjoy why we’re all a part of this community make it all worthwhile. Maybe next year I’ll actually join you all on the roads, but more than likely I’ll find myself doing my own version of the century again.
Anne C.M. Hyman
Acting President, PPTC
VP, Special Events, PPTC
Rest Stop Coordinator, BRC

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