A Week & A Day: Pan Mass Challenge Begins on Saturday, August 2

PMC riders gathered last week for a final pre-event training ride. (L-R) Jean Hammond, Dan Hurwitz, _, __, Bruce Murphy and Amy Mason - Image (c) JMcCT
Several Bedford PMC riders gathered last week for a final pre-event training ride. Pictured are (L-R) Jean Hammond, Dan Hurwitz, Jim Paton, Anita Paton, Bruce Murphy and Amy Mason – Image (c) JMcCT

By Julie McCay Turner

Five of Bedford’s 17 registered Pan Mass Challenge riders gathered for last week’s final pre-event practice ride. These cyclists, however, represent a cumulative 44 years of PMC participation, and have raised in excess of $275,000 to benefit cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Four of them will take part in PMC’s two-day ride: They’ll leave from either Wellesley or Sturbridge and arrive in Bourne on Saturday, before cycling to Provincetown on Sunday. When asked why they do the two-day ride, several mentioned the reward of sailing back from Provincetown on the “party ferry” as it’s called by cognoscenti. The trip is devoted entirely to PMC participants (plus their gear) and is often welcomed into Boston Harbor by fireboats, horns and hoopla.

Bedford Assessor Bruce Murphy has been riding in the PMC since 2002. In all that time, he reports, it’s been almost impossible to thank the volunteers helping the riders passing out water, hauling luggage, serving dinner. No matter what the task, the volunteer invariably responds, “No, thank YOU for riding.”

Dan Hurwitz rides because of the multiple members of his family who have battled cancer. In PMC parlance he’s a “Heavy Hitter” both in his fundraising accomplishments, and in his commitment to the two-day rides since 2006. In his PMC biography he notes, “Two years ago [in 2012] I rode a solo Virtual PMC from my home in Bedford to Harrisburg, PA.  That was really great, but I really enjoy riding with the whole group.”

Although Amy Mason ‘retired’ as chairperson of the PMC Bedford Kids Ride in June, her allegiance to PMC continues: She’s riding for the 10th year to honor family and friends who have fought or succumbed to the disease.

Supporting the 2014 Pan Mass Challenge

PMC logoCommunity, commitment and character seem to permeate PMC riders’ connection to the ride. Training for the PMC begins in the winter, and riders often clock 2,000 to 3,000 miles on indoor bikes before getting outside to ride when the weather improves. In addition, fundraising is part of the preparation. According to the PMC website, riders commit first to the ride’s fundraising mission and then to the bike ride. Each rider is asked to raise funds on a sliding minimum scale ranging from $500 for the youngest riders (ages 13-17) through Heavy Hitter riders whose minimum is $6,700.

Bedford is sending at least 17 riders to the 2014 Pan Mass Challenge – the list below was created a few days before registration closed. To learn more about why they ride, cheer them on, or help to sponsor their ride click the following links:

Click to learn more about the Pan Mass Challenge.



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