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PMC Day 1: This Is Why We Ride

by Renee Anderson / Boston Bruins

BOURNE, MA – While most people were sound asleep on Saturday, the Boston Bruins Foundation Bike Team congregated in the parking lot of the Sturbridge Host Hotel at the crack of dawn to embark on the first portion of the 33rd annual Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon.

The early morning start didn’t discourage any of the 28 cyclists from arriving with smiles and energy excited to take on the 111-mile trek from Sturbridge to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne.

“You just plunge into the sunrise, and those people are already getting out of bed and holding up their signs,” said rider Jack Edwards. “You have a real sense of purpose right now – this is why we raise the money, this is why we ride.”

From there the team continued on to Mass Maritime where they were greeted with cheers and crowds of encouraging spectators.

By 11 a.m., just as the fog rolled out, the first riders began to roll into the finish line after the first leg of the two-day trip.

After the tough and heated ride, the riders wound down by the Cape Cod Canal with a festival atmosphere of yoga, music and a barbeque. Massages and a medical staff were also available to riders, getting them set to ride the last segment of the journey on Sunday.

For some, it’s their first time riding for the team, but for others like former Bruin Frank Simonetti, they have peddled the PMC year after year.

“Bob Sweeney asked me to get involved about six years ago,” said Simonetti. “I ride because I want to give back, I ride because it’s important.

“I grew up locally, playing for the Bruins was important to me, and giving back as much as I can and in whatever way I can is important to me as well.”

Even with the spiking temperatures, the riders pushed through with the universal motivation to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic.

Of course, a little friendly competition wasn’t hard to find amongst the team, either – especially for Foundation riders - and brothers - Akira and Yasuna Murakami.

“Well there’s no competition – I win,” said Akira with a laugh.

“Well some of us have a life so it affects training,” brother Yasuna joked. “Anyways, he kicked my rear this year by a couple miles an hour, but it’s all good.”

There were smiles all around for the B's team, which will be sure to carry into Sunday's scenic ride into Provincetown.

And if any fans are on the ground in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, the Boston Bruins Foundation riders can be spotted crossing the finish line sporting the familiar spoked-B - with a smile.

--- Gabrielle Lucivero contributed to this report

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