This past Friday–Sunday (August 5–7) I rode in my tenth Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike ride fundraiser for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund. 5,000 riders rode distances of 84 to 192 miles over 1 or 2 days. I rode 192 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown, MA over 2 days. I did an extra 82 miles with other 11 teammates on Friday to the start line. Yes, I’m a bit crazy to take on these extra miles, especially on a challenging, hilly course 1 day before the main event.
Here is a video of the PMC Opening Ceremonies. See how the PMC bike riding community fights cancer.
If you can’t hang in there for 49+ minutes, here are a couple of must-sees:
Jump to 15mins 15 secs to see a question-and-answer with Lance Armstrong, a first-time PMC rider you may have heard of.
Jump to 31mins 35 secs to see an emotional and inspiring speech by Tym Rourke, father of 6-year-old Declan Rourke. Declan is our Pedal Partner and some of the funds our PMC Team Kermit raised has gone to Declan’s treatments. If you watch Tym’s presentation and finish it with a dry eye, check your pulse.
2011 marked my 10th tear riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike ride fundraising event for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Since 2006 I’ve been riding with Team Kermit, a team I founded with seven other riders in memory of my friend Jared Branfman who died from brain cancer at age 23 after a 2.5 year battle with cancer.
The photo on the left is of Team Kermit 2011. We are women and men, young and old, amazing bike riders and slow pedal pushers, friends, and family. Over the past six years Team Kermit has raised over $1.4M for cancer patient treatment and education at The Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber. I’m so proud for all we have accomplished.
The second photo is of me finishing in Provincetown MA after two days and 196 miles.
This photo of my 21-year-old son Dan and me was taken at the 2011 Newton-Needham-Brookline PMC Kids Ride. Dan did his first 196-mile Pan-Mass Challenge(PMC) as a 15-year-old and two more until age 17. We ride with Team Kermit, co-founded with my dear friends Steven, Ellen, and Adam Branfman, and a few others. We ride in memory of my loving friend & artist Jared Branfman who died from brain cancer at 23.
Dan and I haven’t done the PMC together since 2007. But we always make it for the Kids PMC; the ride has special meaning for both of us. In previous years, we’ve led young teens, the next generation of PMCers, on a 17-mile ride. This year the PMC organizers initiated a shorter 8-mile, on-road ride for younger kids, mostly 8- to 10-year-olds. When we were asked which group we wanted to chaperone Dan immediately said, “Hey Dad, let’s take the little kids on the road.” “Works for me,” I said. “Let’s have some fun.”
And fun we had. We took off with eight excited kids with their orange rider T-shirts, helmets, bikes, and name tags on their backs, and another adult chaperone. I led the group and was asked constant questions like: “How fast are we going?”, “How far have we gone?”, “Where are we going?”, “When will we get there?”, and the classic “Are we there yet?”
We had a blast with the kids, especially when we stopped the second time and they decided that we needed a team name (Orange Crush) and a cheer (sorry, I don’t remember that). We knew we’d done well when they all asked at the end: “Can we do it again?” “Sure,” we said, “next year.”