By Kristina Rex

PROVINCETOWN (CBS) – It was the biggest year yet for the Pan-Mass Challenge. A total of 6,800 bicyclists from all over the country and the world participated in the fundraising ride.

The sun shone brightly through the blue sky as thousands of riders crossed the finish line in Provincetown on Sunday morning.

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“All of these people have a story and they are all turning it into progress,“ said PMC founder Billy Starr after he crossed the finish line for his 40th ride.

Starr said the sheer size of the crowd this year is what makes it so special. Every person who rode has a story to tell about how cancer has touched their lives.

Dan Smith rode in his 8th year for his dad, who he described as a “proud guy” who didn’t want anyone to do anything for him. So instead of Dan and his college roommate began riding for Dana-Farber, where his father received his treatment.

His father was able to see him ride in his first PMC, but died shortly after.

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“It’s inspiring,” he said. so much support.”

WBZ-TV’s own Lisa Hughes crossed the finish line in Provincetown for her ninth year in a row. She said something about this year just felt special.

“It was awesome,” Hughes said. “It was so good – emotional. And it was joyous.”

The target goal is an unprecedented $60 million. The PMC has not reached that goal yet, but has until the fall to do so. If they do reach $60 million, the CEO of Overstock.com has pledged an additional $1 million donation, bringing the total to $61 million.

Mike Jeans participates in the event every year with his family, something he said will never change.

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“It’s in our blood. Every year we go away from this weekend so inspired. There’s no doubt we’ll be back next year,” Jeans said.

Kristina Rex