WELLESLEY (CBS) — The second day of the Pan-Mass Challenge kicked off in the pre-dawn hours Sunday, as thousands of riders lined up in Wellesley or Bourne to start their rides or to finish the second leg of journeys they started Saturday.
More than 6,000 people rode their bikes across the state as part of the PMC to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
“It’s a great experience, been doing it for a long time,” one rider told WBZ-TV’s Nick Giovanni. “Just about everything’s right in the world, lots of love out there, volunteers are awesome, people are awesome.”
In Brewster, volunteers were ready with water, cold towels, and even an “ice couch” for riders to rest and cool off on.
“This moment’s perfect, gotta ice the legs,” said a rider named Tony from Team Hope sitting on the ice couch. “The whole support is fantastic, the fans on the side of the road are just perfect, they kind of egg you on, get you over those hills.”
The PMC offers 12 different routes, ranging from 25 to 192 miles in distance. By the end of the race Sunday, cyclists will have pedaled through 46 Massachusetts towns and will have ridden over 1 million miles altogether.
Many of the riders are what the PMC community calls “living proof”–riders who are cancer survivors themselves.
In Wellesley, Kevin and Debbie Robins of Milford were right up front in the crowd, crossing the starting line on their custom-made tandem bike on their route to Foxboro.
Kevin told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope why they ride.
“Mother and father both lost their battle with cancer,” he said. “My sister’s a forty-year breast cancer survivor.”
It was their 24th time riding the PMC.
“We love it, we’ve been doing it now for, oh my, 30 years at least, on our first tandem,” said Debbie.
WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton talked to Team Gene Therapy, who were riding for Gene Aaron, an OB/GYN battling cancer.
“We’re riding hoping we can raise money for research, maybe a cure, and maybe prevention,” said one of the riders.
The team of 26 riders has raised $130,000. WBZ-TV’s David Wade is a part of the team.
The first riders took off from Sturbridge around 5:30 a.m. Saturday, and rode through the rain.
Each rider in the PMC commits to raise between $500 and $7,800.
Last year, riders raised a record $47 million for patient care and cancer research–so this year, they’re aiming for $48 million.
$10 million is dedicated to research labs, $8 million to hiring world-renowned physicians and researchers, and $6 million specifically designated to pediatric oncology.
WBZ is proud to be your PMC station.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports