October 20, 2022 2 min read
Your name:Dan Brown
Hometown: New England
Companions:The entire Pan Mass Challenge community of riders and volunteers.
Destinations: The ride began and ended in Lenox, Massachusetts, specifically Camp Mah-Kee-Nac, but it wound its way through the hills of Western Mass. and New York for 50 miles.
Purpose of the trip: The purpose of the trip was to take part in the Pan Mass Challenge’s Unpaved gravel ride. Some may already be familiar with the PMC and its 2-day charity ride that takes place in August from Stockbridge MA to Cape Cod, which has the distinct honor of raising more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the country. 100% of all the money raised by cyclists goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and its corresponding cancer research. The Unpaved, in its inaugural year, is a one-day gravel ride with two routes to choose from. I road the 50 miles with an estimated 5500’ in elevation gain.
Timeframe (e.g. 2 week trip, 3 day trip): Two Nights
Weather conditions? Typical Fall in New England: some sun, some rain, some fog. Low 40's at night.
High point? There was a particular spot, I think it was around mile 40, where I turned a corner and was greeted by posters of smiling faces of PMC’s Pedal Partners, who are pediatric cancer patients who are paired with teams of PMC riders and benefit from the research the donation helps fund. That was particularly poignant. It also must have been extra windy or dusty because I had a few tears in my eyes too :)
Low point? I don’t think I experienced any lows over the course of the weekend. The whole event was a blast. I did, however, a few weeks prior, suffer a knee injury that I thought would threaten my ability to ride but thankfully I was able to recover enough before the event.
How’d you sleep? Great! I had a fair amount of nerves leading up to the event. Was I prepared enough? Would I have the stamina to complete the ride? Thankfully, I didn’t need to add “did I get enough sleep” to the list.
Tastiest thing you ate: It’s probably a tie — between the Peanut Butter and Fluff sandwiches at the water stops or the post ride S’Mores!
Coolest thing you saw: Aside from the Pedal Partner posters mentioned above, probably just the general scenery. One of the nicest things about being on a bike, whether mountain, road or gravel, is the ability to slow down the view outside. It’s not whizzing by in a car window.
Anything you’d do differently if you did the trip over again? I traveled solo to the event and had a great time, but I think next year I’ll plan on bringing the whole family!
What’s the next on the adventure calendar? Nothing planned so I’ll just take the adventures as they come. That said, I’ll probably plan on participating in or volunteering at the next Pan Mass event, which is their Winter Cycle event in Fenway Park in February.