Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pan Mass Challenge 2013

I participated in the Pan Mass Challenge with a team from work, and was asked to write a blog entry for the internal company blog, and am totally recycling that entire entry here. [at least I admit it!]

Congratulations to the 2013 Dunkin’ Dozen Pan-Mass Challenge bike team for completing the 50 mile Wellesley ride! (Check out the course here) Also, a huge thank you to the CSR team for their support and donation, and to the DD Smart team for the organization of the team, as well as the fabulous jerseys!

If you live in Massachusetts, or have been to a local Dunkin’ Donuts in the past month, you have probably seen the Pan-Mass Challenge logo sometime in your life. Chances are you’ve even seen the coverage on the local station, WCVB. But just in case you need more background, here are the basics:  [source:]
  • The Pan-Mass Challenge was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, and raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
  • 100% of every rider-raised dollar is donated directly to cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.
  • The event consists of 5,500 cyclists from 36 states and eight countries.
  • Over the past 33 years, PMC cyclists have ridden to raise and contribute $375 million to cancer research.

This was my second year on the Dunkin’ Dozen team, already cannot wait to do it again. Preparation starts months in advance with commitment to the ride, and (attempting) training rides. While schedules don’t always align for all of us, I know a few team members were able to meet up and ride a few times together before the PMC.

Me & Jessie Ready to Ride! 

The day of the ride, teams start off at Babson College where the registration tent is buzzing with riders, families, volunteers, as well as bike mechanics and shopping area for all the PMC and biking swag you can imagine. After gathering at the start, a brief introduction is made, the National Anthem is sung and it’s go time. The start is mildly chaotic with so many bikes in one spot but the crowds even out and you find your own pace. While I was not with the team the whole time, I never felt like I was riding alone. Every biker that comes up behind you, or rides in front of you can be an instant friend or cheerleader. I was constantly inspired and motivated to keep going, and ride harder from pictures of loved ones on the backs of bikes or jerseys, or encouraging words from fellow bikers. 

There are definitely highs and lows of the ride. Luckily, the lows are things like – unpaved sections of the road, long and tiring hills, and bike chains falling off! Highs include – someone you don’t know stopping on the side of the road to put your chain back on for you, coasting down the back half of a hill, and the wonderful volunteers along the course and at the rest stops.
Of course, there are a few personal highlights as well: 
  •        A girl about 13 years old was struggling up a hill on her bike, when her older brother rode up alongside her, and helped push her up the hill. Visibly upset, she thanked him and he said “No problem sis, where you go, I go – so let’s go!”  
  •        About 5 – 7 miles out from the finish line, there was a long hill. It was tough, and I was tired. Just before the top, there was a guy in a lawn chair cheering on riders with a huge sign next to him. The sign was a memorial of his wife, and a thank you to the riders. There is no way you can’t push it just a little harder to get up the hill after that!
  •      Turning the corner and seeing the WELCOME PMC RIDERS sign welcoming us to the final stretch, and passing the images of the Pedal Partners as we crossed the finish line.

Everyone has a reason why they ride – personal connection, support for the cause, or support of the team they are on. I am grateful to have been able to be a part of the PMC, ride every mile for someone close to me who is battling cancer and support everyone else who was doing the same.
We Finished! 

Starting line: 

Halfway there at Gillette Stadium 

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