Why do I ride the Pan Mass Challenge? I started doing the PMC in
1991. I'd been living in Massachusetts for 8 years. My close friend
and best-man, Chris Spear, had already been riding the PMC for 2
years. I was considering buying a new bike that year, and Chris
convinced me to buy my first racing bike, a Cannondale R600. Soon
after that, he mentioned the PMC. I was skeptical at first - I didn't
think I could ride that far, and I didn't think I could raise the money.
But, it got me thinking. I found that there were many good reasons
to support this effort - positive reasons, derived from cancer
survivors. I do the ride because of these successes.
- By 1982, both my mother and aunt (her sister) had already struggled with breast cancer, and recovered.
- In 1989, my father was involved in a minor injury car accident. A test at the hospital revealed abnormal blood chemistry. A few days later, he
was diagnosed with colon cancer. Early detection was a key to his quick and complete recovery.
- In 1992, my sister's good friend had battled back from breast cancer, only to find that she also had a brain tumor. Thankfully, her surgery and post-op chemotherapy was a complete success, and she is doing well today.
- Finally, a good friend from college found out in 1992 that his 1 1/2 year old son had a "Wilm's" tumor the size of a baseball. Again, after a pretty rough time, Dietrich is cancer-free today.
So, for me, the primary reason to ride the PMC and raise money for DFCI is that these success stories are due, at least in part, to extensive research and development at places like DFCI.
To date, I have raised about $135,000 for research and treatment at
DFCI. I will continue to ride and/or participate in this event until
cancer is gone, and the ride is no longer necessary.
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- The PMC is the largest single fundraising event for the Jimmy
Fund. We are responsible for half of all funds raised annually by the
- Over 150 companies donate product and services to enable the PMC
to donate at least 90% of funds raised. Since 2008, 100% of funds raised
have flowed through to the Jimmy Fund.
- In 2005, over 3750 riders participated in the event and were
responsible for raising a record $24 million for the Jimmy Fund.
- Since 1980, the PMC's total contribution to the Jimmy Fund
exceeds $280 million.
- More than 80% of riders are close to someone who has battled cancer.
- The average rider age is 43. Participants range in age from 15 to 77.
- PMC riders have participated in the event an average of 4 years.
- The average rider raised over $5000 in 2004.
- Typically, more than 70% of riders were alumni.
- Over 1,700 volunteers devote their time and energy to the PMC.
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The PMC is an organization with a single goal: raise money for the
Jimmy Fund. The Jimmy Fund's are channelled exclusively to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute
of Boston, one of the premier cancer research and treatment
centers in the world for both children and adults.
The PMC, the Jimmy Fund, and Dana Farber are all 501(c)(3) organizations.
The Jimmy Fund
In 1948, the Variety Club of New England, a group of leaders in the
motion picture and theatrical industry, helped Dr. Sidney Farber, the
father of modern chemotherapy, establish a center dedicated solely to the
research and treatment of childhood cancer. The result of their efforts is
now the DFCI. The Jimmy Fund was founded in 1948, named for a 12-year old
leukemia patient. The Variety Club and the old Boston Braves baseball team
participated in a national radio appeal to raise enough money to purchase
a television so that Jimmy could watch the Braves from his hospital bed. The drive was
so successful that the Jimmy Fund was officially launched.
Later, when the Red Sox replaced the Braves, they adopted the Jimmy Fund
as their official charity, and they continue to support it today.
And, today, the Jimmy Fund is widely regarded as one of America's favorite
Founded in 1980, the PMC is the Jimmy Fund's largest fund-raising event. The PMC maintains very low overhead - more than 90% of
total funds raised are channelled to the Jimmy Fund.
To date, the PMC
has raised over $86 Million for the Jimmy Fund.
In 2004, the PMC raised
$20 Million for the Jimmy Fund.
In contrast, the inaugural PMC in
1980 consisted of 36 riders who raised $10,000.
The PMC has come a long way!
The PMC has an entry fee of $140. Each two-day rider
must raise a minimum amount, somewhere around $3000 now.
PMC riders do not receive any "prizes" for finishing first or
raising more money. Each rider receives a shirt or cycling jersey,
and a water bottle,
which are arranged for through corporate donations. Further, "heavy
hitters" (those who raise more than twice the minimum)
receive a second commemorative T-shirt.
The heaviest hitter in 2002 raised over $200,000!
About the Ride (quick summary)
The PMC begins on Friday evening with a big pasta dinner, and opening ceremonies featuring a guest speaker. There are several routes.
The traditional Sturbridge to Provincetown route
begins at 6AM on Saturday. All riders start at the same time - quite a sight. There is a water stop every 20 miles. Riders spend the night at the Mass Maritime Academy in Bourne. Riders are allowed one 15 minute massage after Saturday's ride. There is a large variety of food avaialable throughout the afternoon, followed by a dinner of grilled chicken or lasagna, or similar.
There is no organized start on Sunday. The ride up to Provincetown crosses the Bourne bridge to Cape Cod, then parallels the Cape Cod Canal, winding its way up the cape, arriving in Provincetown. The National Guard usually sets up shower tents at the Provincetown Inn.
Two days, 192 miles.
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The Dana Farber Cancer institute is one of the leading cancer research and treatment
centers in the world. The DFCI is renowned for its unique blending of basic
and clinical research, and for using these discoveries to improve
treatments for adults and children with cancer.
Thousands of individuals from all across the US and the world are
treated at DFCI each year. In 1994, 9400 patients were treated, 14%
of whom were children.
The impact of an individual/corporate contributor may be best shown
through the impact of the PMC on cancer research through the PMC years:
- In 1980, the internationally recognized Breast Evaluation center, a model for breast centers nationwide, opened to advance breast cancer detection and treatment.
- In 1982, the Solid Tumor Autologous Marrow Program (STAMP) was inaugurated to provide high-does checmotherapy to patients with relapsed melanoma and breast, lung, and other solid-tumor cancer that no longer responded to conventional chemotherapy. The patient's healthy marrow is removed and preserved. After high-dose chemotherapy,, the preserved marrow is returned to the patient, having been spared the toxic effects of chemotherapy, re-establishing the patiet's immune system.
- In 1983, institute scientists identified T-Cell receptors. Learning how T-cells recognize foreign invadors has helped researchers understand how defects in the immune system cause severe illness.
- In 1985, a study by a Dana-Farber physician, in conjunction with the University of Colorado Medical Center, developed a new method for treating advanced prostate cancer.
- In 1987, Dana Farber researchers alont with scientists at MIT pinpointed a gene that prevents formation of a human eye cancer called retinoblastoma.
- By 1988, two out of three children who enter the Jimmy Fund clinic are cured.
- In 1989, the Brain Tumor Clinic is established to accelerate progress against brain tumors in children and adults.
- Also in 1989, DFCI established the nation's first Division of Human Retrovirology in response to the Aids epidemic. This made DFCI the only comprehensive cancer center to also be designated a center for AIDS research by the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases.
- In 1991, DFCI formed alliances with the University of Padua, Italy,
and the University of Montreal, Canada, to collaborate on research
on the AIDS virus.
- In 1992, DFCI researches combined new and existing technology to
detect and eliminate tumor cells in the bone marrow during bone
marrow transplantation for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
This new technique, which can detect 1 cancer cell per million normal
cells, may dramatically reduce the incidence of relapse after
- In 1993, scientists discovered a group of genes related to a common
inherited form of colon cancer. The finding raises hopes for saving
thousands of lives by early screening of high-risk individuals.
- Also in 1993, Dana Farber researchers found a molecule (cyclin E)
that occurs naturally in the body may be involved in the
development of breast cancer, and may be used as a diagnostic marker
for the disease in its early stages.
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The PMC has gone high-tech, and you can sponsor me
by using "eGifts", a secure online method!
Just click on the link below to use eGifts:
Or, you can sponsor me the tradional way -
by sending me email (see the main page).
The PMC is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donation is tax deductible!
Checks are sent on to the PMC as soon as they are received.
- send me a check, made payable to PMC/Jimmy Fund, or
- use your credit card online, as shown above, or
- give me cash in person (I'd rather you didn't, but if you do, I'll write a check to the PMC for that amount.)
Please don't send cash through the mail!
Should you pledge per-mile or a flat sum?
Basically, this is up to you. I typically suggest just picking a round
It's easier to do per-distance-unit for a "10K walk". But, if you like wierd
math, pledge per-mile.
- 192 is a big number of miles
- 192 is not an even number of miles, so the math gets weird.
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Team Millenium is a group of PMC riders who picked a 4 year
fundraising goal for 1997 - 2000. My goal was $20,000. Each year, I
try to raise about $1000 for each year that I've done the ride. For
example, in 1997, my goal was $7000 and I raised $6400. With these
numbers, it seemed like having a 4 year goal was a good thing. I managed
$32,750 in that time.
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Ridership fills up fast, as about 70% of the previous year's riders
come back again. If there is space, you'd need to:
That's about all. Send me email if you want more information.
- be in Massachusetts the first weekend in August
- ante up the entry fee
- raise the minimum
- be able to ride about 100 miles a day for 2 days.
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The PMC is a HUGE volunteer event. There have been as many as 2000
The list goes on. If you
are interested in volunteering, you can contact me
for more information, or contact the PMC directly. You need to sign up early, as volunteer slots "sell out" almost as fast as rider slots.
- prepare, distribute, and serve food
- fix bicycles
- load luggage
- run "sag" wagons and support vehicles up and down the route
- sign people in at various checkpoints...
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People often ask what kind of training I do. Living in northern
many options (usually), especially in a year like 1997, when we had about 4
rain days from the end of January through the end of October. Not as much
in 2011, when we had more rain than ever before, usually on weekends.
At a minimum, you
need to build some sort of base by riding often, and building up the
length of the average ride. Time in the saddle is as important as
miles in the saddle - if you think the first day of the PMC might take
8 hours, then do a few 8 hour rides before the PMC - it's not necessary
that they are 112 miles. You don't even have to have done a 112 mile ride before
getting to the PMC. If you've done 1 or two 75-80 mile rides before the PMC,
the excitement of the event will probably carry you the remaining 30 miles!
Also, you can probably get better advice from any of the dozens of cycling
magazines out there - how many articles like "Prepare for a Century in 8 weeks"
have you seen. But anyway...
My basic plan is to start out slow and build a base through
January and into February and March.
By March, there are regular long rides which include a
single ridge climb of 3 - 7 miles of consistent 5% - 7% grade.
In April, rides with multiple
ridge climbs are introduced, and the century season starts.
My "home turf" loop is 45 miles and 4200',
and goes through Big Basin State Park. Other rides to the
pacific coast, then climbing back, are at least 65 miles and 5500'.
May and June ideally bring more centuries, more weekly miles, and increased pace.
A favorite century is
the Grizzly Peak Century
in the Berkeley hills (107 miles, 8800'). Then, there's the occasional
killer climb, like Redwood Gulch.
By the time mid-July comes around, I start to phase out the monster
climbs and concentrate on rolling hills and speed.
In the fall, I
usually ride sporadically, do some moutain biking and hiking, and play some golf.
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My 2019 ride is complete! We rode on July 15th. The ride story, Early Bird Special, can be found by following that link. As you can see, we hit our goal. Thanks to my great sponsors!