Epic. That’s really the one word that best describes everything associated with our 2014 Pan-Mass Challenge experience. It’s been epic in terms of fundraising; we’ve now cleared the $34,000 mark! And the ride? Well, if pedaling 111 miles in a day filled with steady, cold rain isn’t epic, then we don’t know what is.
We kicked off the year in January, as we always have, with a rough outline of what we hoped to accomplish. Generally, our goals are pretty lofty and often unobtainable, but this year we really pushed hard towards every fundraising goal. To recap our laundry list of activities: we sent letters to local businesses, held our annual calendar raffle, sold Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day t-shirts, and sold Bikes Fight Cancer t-shirts. In addition, Ron put on a poker tournament, Johnny set up a reunion show for his old punk band, and Robert Charles Photography threw a huge dinner gala at Capital Street Grille. That’s a pretty impressive list, and looking back, it’s the reason we smashed our goal of raising $26,000!
However, the ride this year was not quite what we had planned for. Going into Saturday, the forecast called for showers which, generally speaking, isn’t that big of a deal. It was announced at the 5:30am start that the rain would be with us for the for first hour and a half. Leaving Sturbridge it started to sprinkle and for a while it was just a light rain. But then the skies opened and the adventure was on — soaking wet and cold for over 8 hours! Usually, we need to be concerned about dehydration in August, not hypothermia!
The most impressive aspect to the weekend were the hundreds of people that continued to line the streets to cheer us on. The pouring rain didn’t dampen their spirits and it only fueled ours. One of the highlights was meeting up with the Pobieglo family at the Lakeville water stop. It was their first PMC experience and the rain couldn’t have been coming down any harder, but the atmosphere couldn’t have been more of a party if it was bright and sunny out. Hats off to Jon and his family for their rookie season… but if it rains again next year, he’s off the team!
– – – – – – – – –
The year has been amazing and successful, but by late August, the reality of why we ride was made pretty clear. Sadly, our friend and long time Bikes Fight Cancer supporter, Kevin Bouvier, passed away after a two year battle with renal cancer. Through the generosity of his friends and family, we collected and delivered an additional $2,610 to Pan-Mass Challenge in memory of Kevin. We miss you buddy.