PROVINCETOWN, MA – Sunday was a day of tremendous accomplishment for the Boston Bruins Foundation Bike Team. The 30 riders sporting the spoked-B completed the two-day, 192-mile journey from Sturbridge to Provincetown on Cape Cod in Massachusetts as part of the 34th annual Pan-Mass Challenge.
The PMC raises money for cancer research at the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is consistently the largest contributor to the institute.
For many members of the Bruins' bike team, including former Bruins defenseman Frank Simonetti, the cause keeps pulling them back year after year.
“This is my seventh year. I love the camaraderie. It brings me back to that team mentally with twenty guys all pulling in the same direction,” said Simonetti.
“We had 30 people this year of all different backgrounds and rider types, but all driving for one cause. It’s just great.”
The Bruins Foundation riders uphold that team mentality until the very last moment when they cross the finish line.
“We came in actually in formation today so that was pretty special. We were three abreast and about five deep. When we came together like that everyone recognizes us and that was really special,” said three-time PMC rider and member of the team, Tim Wern.
While the Bruins' group focuses on the importance of the team mentality, their main goal is to emphasize the importance of giving back to a community that always supports them.
“The Bruins organization has been raising money all over Massachusetts over the past few years. It’s heartwarming to hear all the people along the ride cheering for the cause but also recognizing the Bruins,” said Simonetti.
“If we can do anything that helps charity, it's a wonderful thing.”
Often times the support from the community and the fans is what keeps the riders going, according to Shawn Mullen, who was the top fundraiser for the PMC this year.
“Having the 'B' on for Day Two is great because as you drive by people are chanting ‘Let's go Bruins!’ and it really brings a different level of cheerleading from the sidelines for us which is awesome."
“When you’re on a big hill and you hear that, it’s really great. It keeps you motivated.”
And after completing this years’ Pan-Mass Challenge, Shawn, Tim, Frank and the rest of the crew all say they can’t wait to participate again next year.
Because for the B's team, one ride is never enough in the fight against cancer. And it's that endless drive that keeps them riding on, year after year.
---Written by Kayleigh Hodgdon for BostonBruins.com