Puckdrop for the Pan-Mass
BostonBruins.com – The Boston Bruins Foundation’s Bike Team was all smiles today as it departed the sunny TD Garden front lot, eager to begin what is sure to be another memorable weekend at the Pan-Mass Challenge.
Some of the veteran riders shared what’s in store for the team over these next two days.
“Lots of fun, little sweat, little tears,” rider Andrew Brandt said. “But you know what they’re tears of joy because to see the people on the side of the road cheering you on saying ‘I’m alive because of you, I’m around cause of you, my son’s six cause of you,’ just pushes you the whole way through.”
The 192 mile journey draws a feeling of euphoria and NESN's Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards explained why the event is so rewarding.
“I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about it,” Edwards said. “There are people who line up on the road in Sturbridge and Bourne at 4:30 in the morning…As you get closer and closer to Provincetown, you just get this amazing feeling - this amazing feeling of maybe we are actually making a difference.”
Money donated to a Pan-Mass rider goes directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, something that fuels the riders to finish the race.
“The Dana-Farber can take the outrageously nonsensical financial chances that it takes to try to save people’s lives, stuff that doesn’t make business sense but makes total humanitarian sense – that’s what this is for,” said Edwards.
One of the riders, Brian Hussey, has a unique relationship to the event’s cause.
“I’m actually a living proof rider,” Hussey said. “I was actually diagnosed six years ago and started when I was actually undergoing treatment in my first year.”
Returning rider Shawn Mullen was already wearing a Pan-Mass shirt in the TD Garden lot and was excited to get on with the event.
“It never gets old. Every year it’s a great opportunity to do something special and it’s a great group we have,” Mullen said.
“It’s just so good to see all the familiar faces. People on the team we’ve ridden with for years, spend a great weekend with a bunch of people, and doing a great thing all at once. It’s just amazing.”
Aside from the sense of satisfaction, the riders mentioned how much fun they have as well.
“It’s unbelievable,” Edwards said. “Every town line sign there’s a little race.
"It’s not competing against your teammates, it’s competing with your teammates - that’s what makes it so much fun.”
Riders will maintain a steady pace towards their goal when the gun goes off for the Pan-Mass at 5:30 tomorrow morning.
“Manage my effort, not get too excited,” Edwards said of his approach to tomorrow’s festivities.
“I do get excited every once in a while.”