PMC 2020.1 – Out and back in June

A year ago, we all had a vision of 2020, how things were going to be better. This is the story of my PMC ride for three people who have been touched by cancer.

Quick background: The Pan Mass Challenge is the largest athletic fundraiser in the USA, raising money for the Jimmy Fund which supports the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since 1980, the PMC has raised an incredible $750 million. With over 600,000 people dying of cancer in the USA every year, the need is still there, even with the pandemic. For 2020, the PMC was reimagined. Instead of 5000 riders gathering for one big ride, there would be 5000 different rides, socially distant, and still with the common goal of ending cancer.

I rode this year for my cousin Nancy who fought Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia, helped in part by research done at the Dana Farber’s Bing Center. I rode for my good friend Jim, who has been fighting liposarcoma for a dozen years and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. He is at a very tough stage in his treatment. And I rode for my cousin Jill, who recently was successfully treated for breast cancer recently, giving us a little more hope. Since I am dedicating this to three people, I did three separate rides

The one good thing about the shutdown is that cyclists had lots of time and empty roads to train. My riding partner this spring was Kent, 20 years younger, and very strong. By June we were ready for the LONG route to Provincetown. I dedicate this ride to Jim, who has been fighting cancer for over a dozen years. Over this long haul, he has forged his own path, with a mix of unconventional therapies that has enabled him to survive about a decade longer than expected.

Sunrise on the ride
Sunrise on the Assabet River

We left Stow at 4am, well before sunrise, riding down Rt. 27, stopping at Dunkin Donut shops along the way for water. After 70 miles we reached Plymouth and the Atlantic Ocean, then headed back inland, over the Sagamore Bridge, and onto Cape Cod. I knew there was a Cumberland Farms store in Brewster, at mile 112, which was good timing as we were running low on water. The Cumbys also had an outdoor table and a bathroom – what a luxury! (We wore face masks whenever off the bike, not shown.)

Brewster Cumbys
Safe dining outside in Brewster

Well hydrated, we pushed on to the tip of the Cape. We had a strict 3pm deadline, to catch the fast ferry to Boston. By cutting off the worst hills, we were at the town line by 2pm, and at MacMillan Wharf shortly afterwards, with 146 miles under our belt.

Town line sprint

The 90 minute boat ride to Boston was a good chance to work on my “eye exercises”. Even though I drafted behind Kent about 80% of the time, I was exhausted.

Imagining a cure
No party ferry for 2020

Waiting for us at the Seaport terminal was … no one! We wanted a self-supported ride, and so rode through the Financial District, Comm Ave, Rt. 20, and back to Stow. After 10 hours of pedaling 172 miles, it was time for a well deserved shower.

Jump here to read about my second PMC ride. If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to make a donation to the Pan Mass Challenge. 100% of your donation goes to the Jimmy Fund to fight cancer.