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PMC Day 2: Moving as One

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOURNE, MA - It was another early morning on Sunday for the Pan-Mass Challenge riders as they prepared to round off the two-day 192-mile journey with an 81-mile ride to the finish at the Provincetown Inn at the tip of the Cape.

And another day for the annual bike-a-thon that raises more money for charity than any other single event in the United States – with 100 percent of riders’ fundraising going directly to cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.

Amongst the bustle of PMC riders grabbing breakfast and checking tire pressure, the Boston Bruins Foundation bike team assembled before sunrise at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne.

“You can already start to feel the humidity in the air,” said Foundation team rider and cancer survivor Brian Hussey on one of the obstacles cyclists encountered, even with a start time before dawn. “So, you know, we power through it, especially with [the team] behind me, as long as we stay together we’re good.”

While Saturday’s race from Sturbridge to Bourne may have resembled the Tour de France with riders whizzing in to claim bragging rights to first and second place, Sunday’s atmosphere added more inspiration to the aerodynamics.

Riders embarked cross-Cape with colorful reminders of their motivation for the bike-a-thon fastened to helmets, jerseys and bikes to distinguish one team from another. Countless riders also donned permanent marker tattoos of cancer battlers, survivors and those who lost their lives.

For the Foundation cyclists, their push to the end came from teaming up and finishing together.

“It was a fun day today,” said former Bruin Frank Simonetti after crossing the finish line. “We had about 18 guys riding together as a team, which is a nice visual heading down the road because Bruins fans were coming out of the woodwork to cheer us along all for a great cause.”

While the temperatures peaked higher than the previous day, the Bruins squad proudly sported the Spoked-B on their chests as they congratulated each other on a job well done.

“We had planned it to ride four men wide across [to] make sure everybody saw that the Bruins team was in solidarity working together,” said Simonetti, who participated in his seventh ride this year. “And we had a really great time today.

“I can’t believe how fast the day went riding as a group having fun and staying together.”

As each member of the team let out a sigh of relief – and then took in a huge gulp of water – it was clear that the team effort kept them to their paces.

“People were taking turns pushing the pace,” said Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards. “We have some guys who are tremendous climbers and some guys who are huge energy guys…Everybody pulls each other along.

“It’s such an amazing event,” he added. “To have 5,000 cyclists all moving as one for a cause, and just to be part of it is a great feeling.”

---Gabrielle Lucivero

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