If you read the recap of my 2011 PMC ride, you know that last year’s ride was tough for me–and I wasn’t convinced I was ready to do it again. If you read my year-end reflections, you know that I did, indeed, decide to give it a go once more. If you’re new to my blog, you’re likely confused.
For the benefit of the latter group, I’ll explain.
PMC stands for Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. It’s an annual event, a two-day, 190-mile bicycle trek that winds its way through half of Massachusetts, from Sturbridge (about mid-state) to Provincetown (the tip of the curlicue). As if the thrill of the physical challenge weren’t enough, this 5000-rider event serves as a cancer fundraiser, donating 100% of all rider-raised proceeds to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It’s a big deal. Last year alone, the PMC presented a check for $35 million to DFCI. Yes, those are MILLIONS.
It’s tough. In fact, it’s grueling. Physically, I don’t think I’ve ever undertaken anything more challenging for that sustained period of time. I almost gave up last year.
It’s also rewarding. Everyone who rides, everyone who lines the route to cheer and encourage has been touched in some way by this daunting illness. Some are survivors. Some are fighting now. Some have lost loved ones. Some are supporting people close to them in their fight. Everyone has a story.
In my most tired, run-down moments during the ride, I only have to turn my head for inspiration. The man riding a tandem bicycle alone, his wife’s photo affixed to her empty seat. The people on the roadside shouting thank you. The couple with both their tiny daughters’ photos pinned to their backs, memorialized for this ride. The kids being treated at DFCI who wait to meet their pedal partners at one of the rest stops. The man with one leg, spinning his wheels faster than I can with two. The signs along the route that say Thanks for giving my mom a second chance.
I also think about the people who’ve sponsored me, who are counting on me to hold up my end of the deal and make it to the end. Many, many of those people have lost someone dear or have survived their own fight. Riding a bike for two days is nothing. Nothing at all.
So here I go again.
This year’s PMC will be my last hurrah, but I am going to do it again; I’ve already signed up. It’s for Frank, Howard, Betty, Roy, Rachael, Rebecca, Linda, Bernice, Jason, John, Sherri, Chanda, Bill, Nonda, Ebony, Carly, and so, so many others. Really, it’s for everyone.
If you want to know more about the PMC, visit www.pmc.org. If you would consider sponsoring me financially, click here to donate. If you want to share a personal story, please do. I would be honored and humbled to ride in honor or memory of someone special to you. I also need lots of encouragement, both during my training phase and the ride itself. Drop me a note, an email, or a text message if you can.
Yes, this post is a bit of a departure from my communicating and connecting theme, but it’s my way of staying accountable to my promise. I think that’s a key component to both of those topics.