SPECIAL FROM BetterAfter50
I have a secret and I need to share it.
After riding the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) bike event for 27 years, it's time to come clean.
Since 1980, this 190 mile bike-a-thon has contributed $338 million to cancer research. By 1984, the PMC had established itself as the largest grossing fundraising event for the Jimmy Fund. By 1990, the PMC had become the most successful cycling fundraiser in the world.
The truth is, this event is exhausting -- the two-day ride starts in Sturbridge, MA and ends in Provincetown, MA. There is no question, the commitment to ride this event over these 27 years has disrupted my family's schedule, my health and altered the way I live my life. But hey, it's a fundraiser, so it's not supposed to be about me -- except I'm the one pedaling.
I started riding the PMC because I'd been dating the founder and my sisters and I all jumped in. I wanted to support his efforts, it sounded like a good cause. I didn't know anyone who had died of cancer except his mom, who I had never personally met. But I had been a road biker since I was 16 years old and the event sounded fun.
After my first 190 mile, two-day ride my butt was sore, my hands numb and I was exhausted. But -- I was hooked.
I had a serotonin high that zinged through my veins for days. It wasn't just from the biking. Hundreds of people cheered us from the sidelines holding signs saying "survivor" and thanked us for saving their lives! Oh yes -- sign me on for the next ride!
So what's the big secret that keeps me coming back for more?:
This year I am dedicating my ride to a PMC friend who works the event. She recently got a diagnosis of a rare form of cancer. Figuring out what kind of treatment is available to her is her journey at the moment. The money we raise makes her journey possible.
So this year, despite lack of training, I will ride again to do my part. I am relying on muscle memory to get me to the finish. The event is one month away I haven't even logged more than 50 miles in a week and I probably won't. This year's ride will be tough but I am hoping for a tail wind and will fuel myself on the fumes of cheering survivors to push my pedals.
To learn more, please visit http://www.pmc.org/donation.asp?topic=/online
Together we make a difference.
Follow Felice Shapiro on Twitter: www.twitter.com/betterafter50