(Reproduced below is the email I sent out to folks after I completed the Pan Mass Challenge ride in August. Yes, this is way overdue. And why am I posting this now? Just for the record, I guess. And maybe to pick up a last-minute donation to the Jimmy Fund.)
First of all, thank you again to all of you who have donated to the Jimmy Fund this year. I do appreciate your support.
And yes, the ride is done, all 192 miles. It was a good weekend for riding, and even the rain showers Saturday evening in Bourne were not too disruptive (except for one of the wood beam supports holding up the Big Top tent getting knocked over by a wind gust). I took a short refreshing swim in Buzzards Bay to celebrate the first 111 miles. Salt water, gooood. Mostly everyone made it, 5,390 riders. 2,700 volunteers to help us on our way. A few folks ended up in emergency rooms but I'm told there were no serious injuries. Thankfully.
Once again I was with a group that stopped Sunday morning to have mimosas in Barnstable (an homage to the winner of the Tour de France, who on the last day of the race drinks—sips?—some champagne as the peloton makes its way to Paris for that last torrid bit of racing around the Champs d'Elysee) and we stopped again in Wellfleet to cool off in the pond there. (Clearly we are not interested in an early finish at Provincetown.)
Lots of scenic countryside. Lots of people lining the roads, clapping, and thanking us. And the young boys and girls with their arms outstretched, waiting for the bicyclists to veer towards them to slap hands. You start thinking everyone in the state of Massachusetts is out there rooting for you. Well, maybe not the fishermen we see beside the Cape Cod Canal at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, their lines casting out into the mist over the water. They had business of their own.
But I have to tell you one story. Last Wednesday I was out on a training ride and stopped at a red light in Newton. A car pulled up beside me and the woman behind the wheel rolled down her window and asked me if I was riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. "I am," I said, thinking it was interesting that this time of year everyone in Massachusetts assumes anyone on a bicycle is training for the PMC ride. And that's kinda cool. Then she said, "My daughter died of cancer two months ago." That was like a kick to the gut. She said it matter-of-factly, but you could see her struggling not to cry. This was a woman in her late 40s, so her daughter was what?, 20-something? "I'm terribly sorry to hear that," I said, and then she related how her daughter had worked at Monster, the job search company, and how her colleagues had raised all sorts of money for the Jimmy Fund. That was such a sad encounter. Your first reaction is to think you've failed this woman and her family. Daughter. Dead. That's so tragic. On the other hand, I think someone on a bike represents hope for this woman and I guess that's another reason why we all continue to do this ride.
So far, $21,000,000 has been raised. The goal is $34,000,000. If you'd still care to donate, you've got until October 1st.
I hope you're all having wonderful summers.
(I didn't bring my camera so I don't have any pictures this year.)
To make a donation online: https://www.pmc.org/egifts/default.asp?Add=EH0050