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August 08, 2007

Pan-Mass Challenge post-ride wrapup

This past weekend's Pan-Mass challenge was an exhilarating ride.  At so many points along the way, I was just grinning from ear to ear.  A few choice examples:

  • 3000+ riders, most in identical jerseys, in a Sturbridge hotel parking lot at 6 am Saturday, listening to a state trooper singing the national anthem, and then riding out to the cheers of hundreds of well-wishers, including the Sturbridge high school cheerleading squad
  • Keeping cool courtesy of folks along the route showering us with garden hoses
  • Having music blasted at us, bubbles blown at us, and people thanking us for riding, all day long for two days
  • Water stops every 25 miles staffed by volunteers pouring gatorade and passing out peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches and DJs spinning tunes (the Mexican-themed water stop featured lemon-lime gatorade in shot glasses)
  • Getting a parking sticker (Row D5) from a volunteer bike valet after parking my bike in a sea of 4000 other bikes on a Mass. Maritime Academy baseball field
  • The massage tent -- 80 volunteer massage therapists giving 15-minute massages to riders; every 15 minutes, someone blows an old-fashioned bicycle horn and one group of riders files out and the next files in
  • Eating breakfast under a tent in the dark (5 am Sunday) with 4000 or so of my closest friends, all dressed in spandex
  • Biking across the Bourne bridge at sunrise
  • Passing "da hedge" in Brewster -- a hedge bordering a girls' camp alongside the route; girls on the other side screaming and waving their support
  • Riding into Wellfleet, under an archway of balloons, to the cheers of local residents
  • The ever-popular ice couch at the last rest stop on day 2 (bags of ice arranged into the shape of an oversized couch, covered with throws, and shaded from the sun) 
  • Cancer survivors riding -- and cheering on riders in every town we passed through

For a further taste of what it's like to be out on the road with the PMC, check out these photos from the Boston Globe  and this article from the Taunton Gazette quoting yours truly, David Harlow, among others.  (The reporter got it mostly right.)

Thanks to all of my sponsors (and future sponsors -- there's still time) for your support, for being part of something bigger than all of us, for helping reach the PMC goal:  "Let's make cancer history."

-- David Harlow


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