What a great weekend!


So it has taken me some time to get my thoughts together and to be able to sit down and write about the 2010 Pan Mass Challenge ride.

First, let me say thank you to all the PMC Volunteers. Over 3,000 people donated their time to make the weekend happen. Again, their remarkable spirit and generosity was contagious.

I have a number of favorite moments to share from the weekend.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Allie Schier, PMC rookie and birthday girl

The first one that pops to mind is about Team Forza-G’s first-ever tandem team, Jaime and Allie Schier. Jaime, I have mentioned many times, is my colleague at Harpoon Brewery, my PMC mentor, and one of the most outstanding people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Allie is now Jaime’s 15-year old daughter. I have know Allie, remarkably since she was 10.

On Friday, August 5th, she turned 15, and now old enough to ride her 1st PMC. She and her dad rode their tandem on Saturday to Bourne. It was great to see both of them at the water stops (and THE PIE STOP, more later). Not to be outdone, Mary Schier, Jaime’s wife, was again our team MVP, playing a major role in the Day 0 ride for the guys from the NY State border to Sturbridge, providing many teammates rides on Friday evening and early Saturday morning, and as always, volunteering on Sunday morning in Barnstable.

A NEW ADDITION TO THE TEAM

My PMC team, Forza-G, rode in honor of Pedal Partner Mason Giove (aka Mason “G”) and his family for the second straight year. Mason is being treated for cancer at the Jimmy Fund clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. On Friday evening, during the NECN opening ceremony, one of the guys on the team received a text from Mason’s dad, announcing the arrival of a new member of the Giove family, a baby girl. We were very surprised to see Mason and his dad at our lunch stop on Saturday. Congrats to the Giove family on their new addition.

some of Team Forza-G at our Saturday lunch stop with Pedal Partner and new big brother Mason "G" (front row, right)
Me and Diane
With Diane on 2009 PMC Night at Fenway

OLD FRIENDS TOGETHER AGAIN

One of the great things about the PMC is the friends that you make. My Best PMC Friend is Diane, a 4-year breast cancer survivor, who met over dinner in Sturbridge on the Friday night prior to the 2007 PMC (our first PMC). Each year at the PMC, we just happen to cross paths, sometimes in Sturbridge during check-in, other times on the road, and most excitingly, getting ready to ride our bikes onto the field at PMC Night at Fenway in 2009. Diane is one of the many great and inspiring spirits that I have been fortunate enough to meet in my years involved in the PMC.

With Diane in Bourne (2010 PMC)

Well, of course, as the 2010 PMC started, I had a sense that I would run into Diane. About 20 minutes after I checked in, I ran into Diane and a pal of hers. We made quick plans to meet up in Bourne on Saturday to get a picture. I thought I might run into her on Saturday morning, as I parked my bike on the racks right next to hers. But I guess I arrived a little early (about 4:30 AM for the 5:30 AM start) and did not see her as I grabbed my bike. Maybe, I would see her on the road. Nope. Bourne – sure thing! And then again on the ferry on Sunday back to Boston.

A REMINDER OF WHY I DO THIS

It would not be a Pan Mass Challenge for me without a lot of tears. I saw and chatted with a Living Proof Dad and Living Proof Daughter. I also heard many stories about family members and friends who have battled cancer. I have heard from my friends and family about new cancer battlers, including 3 people who have donated to my ride in the past. And then, two days after my ride, I received a note from another friend of Michele and mine to tell me that her mom has been diagnosed with lymphoma and has started to go through all the tests that need to be done to figure out what the cancer is, and where it is. She’s had a bone marrow biopsy, 3 blood cultures, 2 CT scans, a spleen biopsy, PET scan and more blood drawn than she thought possible. They are starting to learn what type of lymphoma it is and treatment will start soon. My thoughts and prayers are with their family, and my conviction to continue fundraising for the PMC and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute is more resolute than ever before.

SUNDAY WAS SPECIAL

As I mentioned in my blog post during PMC weekend, Sunday was a special day for me. I had the great thrill and honor of riding wearing the new Team Forza-G pink jersey. Originally, the idea came up for our team to create a pink jersey in support of the sister of Magnus Backstedt, aka “Big Swede”. Magnus, a melanoma survivor himself, returned for a 2nd PMC and has been an active member of our team in creating new fundraising opportunities. A retired professional cyclist, Magnus now operates his own cycling team , Team Sprocket ProCycling, his own bike shop, Big Maggy’s, and has his own coffee brand, Magnus Maximus.

So the idea for the new jersey originated around Magnus’ sister. But for me, wearing a pink jersey was a way for me to honor the memory of my aunt and grandmother and share the inspiration that my mom has been to me. It was a fine day on the road, riding with my teammates, all wearing the same pink jersey. It was a very moving day.

Of course, at the end of the ride, it was great to get together with the Harpoon riders. Well, Joe, is a former Harpooner. Jaime is a long-time Harpoon employee. And riding his 2nd PMC, and 1st two-day PMC, was Harpoon co-founder Dan Kenary. As always the best thing to do after riding 2 days and 190 miles is to enjoy a Harpoon beer.

Time for a Harpoon (from left, Jaime, Dan, Andy, Joe)

Now the plug – you still have time to donate to the 2010 Pan Mass Challenge. This year’s goal is $31 million. You can help fight cancer NOW. If you have already donated, thank you! I know that the people who are undergoing treatment right now are grateful to you. If you have not donated, here is your link – 100% of all the funds that PMC riders generate go directly to research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

And now – 2010 Living Proof. Why is this picture important? All of these PMC riders and volunteers are cancer survivors. Our job now is to see to it that more battlers become survivors.

2010 PMC Living Proof (courtesy of MetroDesign)

Thanks for reading.

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