I rolled out of bed on Friday and was 280 miles away from Provincetown. The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts was between me and there. I needed to be there by Sunday afternoon. No car. I had my old yellow Bianchi bicycle. It was time to start my Pan-Mass Challenge ride.
My hotel roommate Lance mustered up and we packed our bags, our bikes and our jerseys. Our sag vehicle, generously driven by Handlebar Doug, would take us and Cap’n Dave from Great Barrington over to the New York border. There we would meet up with the five other riders from Team Kinetic Karma: Dave R., C-4, Chris M., Danno, and K-Feel. Our team would merge into Brielle’s Brigade who helped organize the 90 mile Day Zero ride from New York to Sturbridge.
At the rest stop assembly point, the 50 riders gathered, pumped air into our tires and clipped into our pedals. We coasted downhill, past the border to an important sign.
Unfortunately, that meant pedaling back up hill across the state line. There would a lot of pedaling uphill on Day Zero. After all, we were in the Berkshires. We had to get over the top of the Berkshires to make it the 90 miles to Sturbridge.
It was early in the morning and we were riding east into the sun. It made visibility tricky for us looking ahead. I assume it made us harder to see for cars coming up behind us. Hopefully our pack was big enough and the shirts bright enough for cars to see us.
I decided to hold on to the large ice coffee for the start of the ride. I tucked a water bottle in my jersey pocket and put the coffee in the bottle cage. It made for casual riding. No need to ride hard. We had many miles ahead of us for the weekend.
I had barely finished my coffee when we reached the first rest stop was in Monterey.
After getting up over the Berkshires, we rode through Russell and stopped at the city line for Westfield. Ahead was our police escort, who would take us through the city, through Springfield, and into Sturbridge.
That is one of the great aspects of the Day Zero ride with Brielle’s Brigade. They lined up police escorts in each city. As we reached the city line, the cruisers handed us off to the next city’s cruisers.
The police escort was especially strong in West Springfield and Springfield. They led us along a highway, shut down the rotary and took over the Memorial Bridge. These were roads I never would have taken on my bike without the flashing blue lights up front.
Lunch was at LaPlante Construction. It’s the LaPante’s daughter, Brielle, that the group is named for. Unfortunately, Brielle did not win her battle with Leukemia. Hopefully, the money I’ve raised and the PMC has raised will help the next Brielle win her battle.
One of the organizers of the Day Zero ride owns an establishment in Palmer. It has air conditioning and “entertainment.” We were there for the air conditioning.
The champagne room at the Magic Lantern was refreshing. After many hours on skinny saddles, we were more interested in the fresh fruit, gatorade, and air-conditioning, than the entertainment in the main room.
We stopped at the Dunkin’ Donuts a mile out from the Sturbridge Host Hotel. The goal was to re-group and ride into the PMC center as a pack, celebrating Day Zero. Brielle’s Brigade slowly grew larger sitting in the DD parking lot under a shade tree. After the last rider had a chance to catch his breath, the police motorcycle fired up its engine and blue lights. We came into the PMC start in celebratory fashion.
I was staying in the Super8 next door. I pulled off my shoes and the gear from my jersey back pockets and plunged into the pool in my cycling shorts. It felt so good.
Thank you to all of you who sponsored me on the ride. We are winning the fight against cancer and getting “Closer by the Mile.”
Donation are still open through the end of September so there is time to make a donation if you have not done so yet.