Having participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge for more than a decade, I figured people might have some questions about why I chose to stop riding. So here’s my attempt to answer the top questions you might ask about my PMC retirement.
Wait… What do you mean 2014 is your “last PMC”?
I don’t plan on riding in the PMC anymore after 2014.
Why are you stopping?
There are several reasons:
First, I’d like to go back to having a normal summer. Each year I put a lot of time into PMC fundraising and writeups, and I’d like to free up some of my summer so that I can do things like visit the beach and go to cookouts and stuff like that. And I just can’t seem to allow myself to do the PMC fundraising “halfway” rather than “all out”.
It’s probably also time to give my sponsors a break, too! I’ve asked a lot of them, and most of them have supported me for years.
And having reached the plateau of raising $100,000 for the Jimmy Fund, that has given me a sense of closure. I think that’s a fine accomplishment to go out on.
And really, I’ve done the ride so many times that it has become kind of repetitive, formulaic, almost boring. I think I’d like to look into something new, rather than continue doing the same thing year after year. Fourteen years is a long time to devote to any one event; I think that’s enough!
But you passed your $100,000 goal in 2013. If you’ve already achieved your goal, why ride again in 2014?
When I first announced my $100,000 goal in 2012, I thought it would take two years to raise the remaining $16,000, so I announced that 2014 would be my last ride. How was I to know my sponsors would donate 40% more than ever before, causing me to surpass my goal a year early?
Sure, I don’t need to ride again in 2014, but I’m going to stick to my plan. Even if I have already reached my lifetime goal, it’ll still be a nice “victory parade” for me.
Would you go back? Is this one of those “temporary retirements” like Lance Armstrong’s?
I can definitely say I won’t be riding in 2015. After that, I suppose it’s possible I might reconsider, but right now I have no intention of it. My outlook might change if I contracted cancer myself between now and then, but I’d rather that not happen.
So are you planning anything special for your final PMC ride?
The main thing I’ll be doing to make my last PMC special is repeating what I did in 2010 for my tenth anniversary: taking some close friends and riding the third day and the extra 95 miles from the New York state border to Sturbridge, which will make it a true “pan-Massachusetts” ride.
Other than that, the only other thing I’ll be doing is simply taking some extra time to enjoy the ride and the friends I’ve made along the way.
When you’re done with the PMC, will you do any other charity rides?
Probably not. As I said above, the whole point is to free up my time from fundraising, and I’ve never had any success doing a halfway job at that. I suppose I might do one if the route was particularly interesting and the fundraising was minimal, but I don’t expect to ask people for money.
Will you keep cycling?
Absolutely! There are plenty of non-charity events that I enjoy, including the Outriders ride, the Mt. Washington Century, the ECV Tour d’Essex on Boston’s north shore, the Maine Lighthouse Ride, and many others. The big difference is that my riding will be less centered on a training regimen and more focused on pure enjoyment.
Can you tell me the names of other riders I will be able to support when you stop doing the PMC?
Of course! Here are a few of my friends who would love your support. Just check to be sure they’re actually riding before you make your donation, because several of them might have retired from the event.
Does this mean you’re done caring about the PMC? Cancer? Philanthropy in general?
Not at all. I’ve sponsored several friends in charity events for years, and will continue to do so. For myself, I might start donating blood or volunteering or some other way of helping others.
And as far as the PMC goes, I might try my hand at helping out in a way that I’ve always dreamed about: being an official PMC event photographer! That would be a really fun way to stay involved, without the overhead of fundraising and training.
Thanks for your interest in and support of my PMC ride!