The Beach Times

The 2018 Pan-Mass Challenge
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, July 5, 2018

Although it isn't an event exclusive to Cape Cod, the Pan-Mass Challenge, or PMC, is well-known in the area and is something you might want to involve yourself in if you're here in early August. The 2018 edition of this bike-a-thon, marking its 39th consecutive year, will take place on August 4 and 5 and will attract over 6,200 cyclists from all over the world to Massachusetts.

The ride has 12 different routes, three starting lines, and five finish lines, so you can select a course that works best for you while staying on Cape Cod, or just get out and watch the riders as they make the journey between the two spots.

The Pan-Mass Challenge is a charity event that holds a special place for not only Cape Cod locals, but the people who attend it year after year. If you’ve ever wanted to do your part to raise money in support of cancer research, this ride provides an excellent opportunity to do so while experiencing some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the country.


A Charity Event

As was mentioned before, the PMC is a charity event with money going to The Jimmy Fund, which raises money for cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The goal is to provide researchers at Dana-Farber’s with the funds needed to continue in their discovery of cures for the various types of cancer.

The money raised by the event is significant, as in 2017 alone, the Pan-Mass Challenge brought in $51 million. This money was then used to install state-of-the-art research labs, improve the training and knowledge base of the existing physicians and scientists working at Dana-Farber’s, and to fund various research goals at the institute. Over the last 38 years, nearly $600 million has been raised for The Jimmy Fund by participants in the Pan-Mass Challenge.

Since 2007, every single dollar raised by riders has gone to this charity, making perhaps the most productive cancer-research event in the country. If you get out there and raise some money for your ride, you can be confident that every cent is going toward the right cause.


The Various Routes

There are various rides from which to choose at the Pan-Mass Challenge, depending on your skill and endurance levels and how much free time you have to spend riding. For simplicity's sake, we'll focus on the rides that involve stops on Cape Cod, but keep in mind that there are other routes in other parts of Massachusetts. Some courses are one day, while others require an overnight stop in a community along the way.

The Bourne to Babson College route is a one-day ride that is 80 miles in length and involves a climb of about 1,200 feet. You'll start this ride first thing in the morning in Bourne, and it will take you between 3 and 8.5 hours to reach Babson College, which is just outside of Boston, with most riders finishing in under 6 hours. There is a fundraising minimum of $2,000 to participate in this ride.

One of the more scenic rides in the Pan-Mass Challenge is the Bourne to Provincetown route. This ride is about 80 miles in length and is one of the single-day events. The journey starts as soon as the sun rises on the Sunday morning and most riders finish by noon. Depending on rest times, the ride takes between 3.5 and 9 hours for most participants. The fundraising minimum for this route is $4,900 for early registrants and $8,000 for those who register after March 1.

Wellesley to Bourne is one of the most difficult one-day rides you'll find, as it is 84 miles long and involves ascents of 2,500 feet. The trip gets started in Wellesley at 7 AM and riders finish between 12:30 and 4:30, so you can expect to spend a substantial portion of your day riding. The fundraising minimum is $4,000.

The longest and most difficult of the one-day routes is Sturbridge to Bourne, which is 111 miles long and has ascents totaling 2,500 feet. The tour starts with 50 miles of long hills and finishes with rolling hills, so you'll have your work cut out for you. You'll get started at 5:30 AM, and it takes between 4 and 14 hours to complete the ride. The fundraising minimum is $4,000.

The Sturbridge to Provincetown route is a continuation of the Sturbridge to Bourne ride. If you sign up for this two-day route, you'll continue from Bourne to Provincetown one the second day. This addition adds 81 miles onto the previous day's itinerary, but the ride along the Cape is less hilly and, therefore, more leisurely.

Wellesley to Provincetown is another option, as it is a continuation of the Wellesley to Bourne route. This route is a two-day ride, and you’ll spend the night in Bourne before carrying on.


How to Get Involved

As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to ride in the PMC, but it doesn’t end there, as you can still volunteer or fund-raise, even if you don’t have the endurance or time to participate in one of these rides.

You’ve probably noticed that there are fundraising minimums to participate in these rides, as well, which might not be attainable if you’re heading to Cape Cod for a family vacation, but by going somewhere along the route and showing your support for the riders, you are doing your part.

If you’re spending time in a vacation rental on Cape Cod on the August 4th weekend, make sure you head out and support the riders at the starting line in Bourne, the water stops in Barnstable, Brewster, and Wellfleet, the finish line in Provincetown, or anywhere else along the route.

There’s something special about seeing hundreds of riders working toward a common goal, and this is precisely what you’ll witness this summer on Cape Cod if you check out the Pan-Mass Challenge.

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