PMC 2020.3 Fast Jeff in August

This is the story of my third PMC for 2020. Jump here to start at the first ride, and an explanation behind the madness.

In the Before-Times, the Pan Mass Challenge was always held during the first weekend in August. Originally, I was going miss the 2020 PMC as I was planning on camping with my son and the Stow Boy Scouts in Colorado. Of course this is not a typical year. Back in January, everything was open and there were no travel restrictions, so I flew to Galveston for a long weekend with my cousin Jill. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was going to start treatment soon. We visited the local aquarium (see the picture) and went out for a great dinner at a surf & turf joint. Ah, those pre-COVID times. She was successfully treated in March and is now cancer free! Of course I brought my bike to Texas. I pedaled 40 miles in Houston with a Space Shuttle Commander.

Once everything shutdown, I wanted to pick a special ride for Jill that mirrored her quick recovery, and so I chose a shorter adventure. On Saturday August 1st, I rode 30 miles around Myles Standish State Park in Wareham and Plymouth. In the parking lot, I ran into Susan and Evan, who were riding by, and Chrissy in the parking lot. We were all riding our own PMC Reimagined. And just to show what a small world it is, the guy who took this photo rode the first four PMC rides, starting back in 1980!

Susan, Evan, Chris, and Chrissy

For my second day, I picked “Fast Jeff” from Team Lick Cancer. While I was noodling around Plymouth, Jeff rode 120 miles solo from his home down to Bourne – wow! On Sunday, August 2, we met in Bourne at the Dunkin Donuts at 6am. All he had for breakfast was a cup of coffee. After his long ride, I expected him to take it easy going up to Provincetown. Even though he is 3 years older than me, he trains very hard, and never let up. Wouldn’t even walk over the Bourne Bridge as it would hurt his average speed on his bike computer.

Fast Jeff under the Bourne Bridge, about to fly down the Canal Path

Unlike my previous rides, Jeff and I rode over every hill including the Rt. 6 service road, and Truro’s infamous Corn Hill. Don’t let anyone tell you Cape Cod is flat. Even with all the extra climbing, we easily topped 18mph and made it into Provincetown by 11am.

As you might expect, after 5 hours on the bike, I was a little ripe. My lovely wife, Laura, drove out to meet me and was looking forward to a nice lunch. I needed a shower, a rare commodity in a pandemic unless I wanted to book a room. However, the Race Point beach did have an outdoor shower, except it had no walls. Laura watched from the parking lot, laughing, as I scrubbed up while still trying to keep my bike shorts covering certain bits. Not that anyone gets arrested in Provincetown for public nudity! While not totally clean, at least I was less funky.

Thank you for reading through all this, and an even bigger thank you for supporting the Pan Mass Challenge / Jimmy Fund. Let’s find a cure, plus keep Chris off the roads, and away from outdoor showers. 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.

PMC 2020.2 – The classic route in July

My second PMC ride in 2020 was the classic Wellesley to Provincetown, Done over one weekend, July 18-19. This attempt was for my cousin Nancy who successfully fought Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia a few years ago. She doesn’t live in Massachusetts, and so was not treated at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but the DFCI does a lot of research on this particular cancer, so I imagine the funds raised by PMC may have helped her indirectly.

Jon, Moe, and I started on a Saturday morning, just a day after receiving our 2020 jerseys. Moe (orange helmet) is a “Living Proof” rider who was successfully treated for cancer five years ago, and still puts in big miles on the bike. Jon was my office-mate a few decades ago, and has remained a close friend, and constant cycling companion.

At the starting line
Our unofficial starting line in Needham

We wandered down to the South Shore, sometimes following the official route (shown here) and then diverting down Rt. 28.

We are not getting lost this year!

Normally we end up in Bourne at the end of the first day, however the Mass Maritime Academy, along with most everything else, was closed, so we stay at my weekend house in Wareham, giving our feet a much needed break. My wife Laura made about 15 different dishes, and we made it through at least 13. Just gotta ask, who matches their sox, mask, and helmet?

Three guys who need showers

The Sunday forecast look hot, so we started early that morning. The hardest part was the Bourne Bridge as you are required to walk over it. With a 2 foot drop to the highway on the left, and a 200 foot drop to the canal on the right, walking seemed a good idea.

We followed Rt. 6A along the northern coast of Cape Cod, stopping for water at … Cumby’s in Brewster! We had tickets for the 3pm ferry, and skipped the worst hills. However, we couldn’t resist taking our picture, proving that we were the first riders in 2020 to make it to Provincetown. The streak continues.

It’s not a race, unless you are in first

Watch at least the first two minutes of the PMC Reimagined video. We are in there multiple times.

PMC Reimagined Virtual Start (replay) from Pan-Mass Challenge on Vimeo.

It was a long hot ride, so we cooled off on the front lawn of the Town Hall before our ferry back to Boston. Yes, Jon is not wearing a mask, but in his defense, neither is the dog.

While Jon and Moe made new friends, I took a quick spin to the Provincetown Inn, the traditional finish line for the Sunday ride, then out to Race Point Beach. Little did I know I was going to be in a very embarrassing situation here in just two weeks.

Read the final edition of my PMC 2020 ride from August. Go back to my first pass in June.

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.