This past weekend I rode in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a two-day charity cycling event through Massachusetts with donations supporting the riders and benefiting the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I covered the ride and the cause in an earlier post, so I won’t bore you with the details here. What I will add, though, is that the weekend was a huge success. 5,100 riders, 2,500 volunteers, donations of food and services from dozens of companies and countless supporters along the routes of the ride. The projected total contribution to Dana-Farber’s cancer research and therapy is $27M dollars. This is no small event.
To me, one of the most important aspects of the PMC is the recognition by all involved of just how many people’s lives are touched by cancer. I don’t know what the percentages are in the general population, but it seems that virtually everyone is within a degree or two of separation from someone whose life has been changed radically by the disease. The many forms of cancer have a truly astounding impact on society as a whole, which is sometimes difficult to see in day-to-day life.
This is my third time doing the ride and by far my best effort – both as a fundraiser and as a rider. I had a very good ride, beating my personal best previous efforts at the first day’s distance (86 miles) by a long shot. While the event is certainly not a race, many riders keep statistics on how they do during the ride. I had the additional advantage, in this light, of having my wife, at the finish line volunteering at the event and counting where I stood in relation to other riders. Apparently, I came in within the first 200 of the 5,100 riders to arrive in Bourne on the first day. I did the first leg at an average of 18.3mph. While many did MUCH better than I did, I held my own and beat my goals. On the second day, I was slower at 17.3mph. Riding from Bourne to Provincetown (the length of Cape Cod), we had a stiff headwind for about 30 miles of the ride. I also planned my effort poorly and expended too much energy early in the ride. Nonetheless, I still came in among the early riders to finish and I’m very happy with my effort and results.
My body now feels like I’ve been in a street brawl, but it’s a minor sacrifice for a great cause. Getting old sucks, but it’s a whole lot better than fighting cancer.
Thanks to all those who supported me in my ride by contributing to the Jimmy Fund. I really appreciate your support of a very worthy cause and of yours truly.