It's been two days of dedication for thousands of cyclists who participated in the 32nd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), a charity bike-a-thon that raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the nation.
Attleboro residents Dawn Phelps, Flavio Pacheco, Mark Bohnenberger, Lenny Rigione and Susan Traversi were among 5,000 cyclists who participated in the 2011 ride.
Phelps, who is married with four children, participated in the 2009 PMC, had a year hiatus and then decided to ride again in the 32nd annual PMC. She has been blogging about her effort to prepare for the one-day race.
Pacheco's first ride was in 2007 and the reason for his ride is his father. Pacheco's father lost his life to cancer in 2000. Since then, Pacheco has lost many other family and friends to the disease.
Three weeks after Rigione completed the PMC ride last year, his dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"Of course, the news shocked the family," Rigione writes in his profile. "He received radiation therapy and fortunately suffered only minimal side effects."
"This year I’ll be riding in honor of my dad," Rigione said of the 110 mile route from Sturbridge to Bourne. "This year I’ll also be riding the PMC in memory of my Uncle Jack and Jeff Mooney.
The residents from the 'Boro had to choose one of 11 different routes, which ranged from 25 to 190 miles. There were five one-day rides that ranged from 25 to 110 miles and six two-day routes that ranged from 153 to 190 miles. In total, riders had to go through 46 towns across the Bay State.
Crowds of people lined the streets in Wareham, Bourne and other communities one the many different PMC routes. Some rang bells while others cheered on the riders who zoomed passed them.
One family continuously played "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike" on a loud speaker.
Members of the Miles for Mary proudly wore their shirts, while others wore wings and funny little toys on their helmets such as Scooby-Doo.
The goal of the Challenge was to raise $34 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and treatment at Dana-Farber. Each cyclist had to raise between $500 and $4,200 to participate in the Challenge.
As of Sunday afternoon, Bohnenberger had raised $645, Phelps raised $3,052, Pacheco raised $955 and Ridione raised $1,515.
No matter what they wore or how much they raised, all of the riders had one thing in common: dedication.