Looking back on the 2011 Pan Mass Challenge…

We made it again! You all helped me exceed my fund raising goal, and I did the easy bit and rode 200 miles in 2 days, on a bike. Thank you to everyone reading this. Once again I was able beat my fund raising total from last year’s Pan Mass Challenge. My 2011 total was $5,280, coupled with my 2009 and 2010 totals I’ve raised over $14,500 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the last 3 years. I could not have done it without all your help, no way. Collectively 5,000 PMC riders in 2011 raised over $35 million, 100% of that went directly to life saving cancer research. That’s. Pretty. Cool. (:-)

Once again the Pan Mass Challenge was a totally inspirational weekend. It feels amazing to be surrounded by so many people all of whom are there for the same reason, to do their own part in the war against cancer. It was an emotional 200 mile journey filled with thoughts of those who ran out of time ( nobody “loses” a battle with cancer, they just run out of time waiting for a cure ). It was an inspirational journey filled with thoughts of those who are brave enough, and strong enough to get up everyday and fight. It was also a journey of hope that our children may grow up in a world without cancer.

I was lucky enough to ride with Team Kermit in 2011. Team Kermit is so much more than just a PMC fundraising team, they’re a family in every sense of the word. Collectively Team Kermit raised over $314,000 for Dana-Farber in 2011, that’s pretty amazing. (:-) I was proud to ride with Kermit onboard!

Kermit's ready to come along with me for the ride. Scared, and rightly so, have you seen how I ride? We also brought along the best of British luck with us. (:-)

2011 was also the first year that Lance Armstrong rode in the PMC, it was amazing to have such a great cancer advocate riding alongside us.

Lance Armstrong lined up right in front of us at the start line.

There had been so much buzz about Lance riding in the PMC that I was shocked ( and mildy starstruck ) when I found myself riding alongside him for about 20 miles. We chatted a little bit, although he did most of the talking, I was too winded from trying to keep up. (:-) Lance skipped the first rest stop which was a good opportunity for me to say my goodbyes, peel off, and go throw up in a hedge. (:-) Lesson learned – Tim can’t keep up with Lance Armstrong, and has no business trying, ever. Now as disappointed as I know you’ll be to read this, I’ve decided that I will not, in 2012, be riding…in the Tour De France. (:-D

"On your left Lance!" (:-D

Team Kermit at the first rest stop.

Nothing like seeing your boys along the way to keep you going!

Heading into Bourne at the end of Day 1! Halfway there!

End of day 1, so far so good!

Day 1, DONE!

My home for the night in Bourne...

Around 8pm on Saturday night the weather started to take a turn for the worse. The wind was picking up, rain was slowly starting to fall. I drifted off to the sound of a soft breeze and gentle rainfall, warm and dry in my palatial canvas accommodations ( tent ). Fast forward to 1am…my tent had been quietly converted into a hot-tub, difference being that the water was cold, and there were no fun bubbles. When you ride 112 miles in a day, you’d be amazed at what you can snooze through. Everything was soaked and it was just a matter of waiting it out until 4am when the breakfast tent opened. Nothing like putting on soaked lycra at 4am, in ankle-deep water, in the dark. “Never riding the f’n PMC again. Ever.” Bad, bad, start to the day, it was ugly.  (:-)

The weather for the previous 2 PMC’s had been amazing, but in 2011 my luck ran out. The weather on Day 2 was miserable, wet, cold and windy, a bikers worst nightmare. It certainly put the “Challenge” in Pan Mass Challenge, Day 2 was tough, but this isn’t meant to be easy. (:-) Due to the miserable weather on day 2 I have a grand total of 2 pictures…

Almost there!

Glad to be done after a really rough day in the saddle, plenty of war stories to tell our kids after this day on the bike. ( DPJ, Chip, Me )

There’s a small group of us that ride the PMC together, we have for a couple of years and I can’t possibly write something like this without giving them a mention. These guys make the miles go by faster, we have a lot of fun along the way…

Matt McGinty – the yank that likes to ride too hard, and too fast. He also has a thing for my Canadian bike, but refuses to admit it.

David Parry-Jones – the Welshman that speaks with a British accent ( but moans all the time therefore reminding us that he is, in fact, still Welsh ). Thanks for taking the brunt of the endless British jokes with me David, even though you’re really not.

Chip Greer – the comedian on 2 wheels, he makes the miles fly by, but maybe they’d fly by quicker if he didn’t draft us for 200 miles.

Thanks guys. (:-)

So it’s a hard ride, mentally and physically. No doubt about it. But it doesn’t come close to the pain that cancer inflicts on people, on families, every single day, not even close.

The people below are the people that I ride the PMC for. These people are the reason I started riding the PMC, and the reason I continue to ride each year. They have inspired me to be better, supported me, helped me fundraise when I thought I couldn’t possibly raise one more dollar.

Jim and Brenda Blake, Christina Mason, Jamie Riehle, Mark Kelley. It’s an honour to ride for you all, thank you for your inspiration, for giving me a reason to ride, for your support. Thank you for making me better.

Each year I wonder if it will be my last PMC. The fundraising is a struggle, 8 months of begging people for money can wear you down, and all the friends that you ask, over and over again. (:-) Regardless, I already know I’ll be back again in 2012. This cause is too important, it means too much to me. I need to do something in the war against cancer, PMC is my “something”. Sure it’s small, but it’s something. If everybody had a “something” we would be in a much better place.

So, see you in 2012, and apologies in advance – if you’re reading this, chances are I’ll be asking you for money. (:-)

PS: For anyone that wants to get me off to an early fundraising start, please feel free and click here!

We’re halfway there!

Actually, more than halfway! 55% of the way there!

This is amazing news, the fund raising aspect of the Pan Mass Challenge is just as hard, if not harder than the 200 mile ride itself. I’m very lucky to have such a great support network of family, friends, friends of friends, who all support me year after year in my own little piece of the battle against cancer.

When you sign up for the PMC you make a commitment to raise at least $4200, at sign up you provide all your credit card info, if you don’t make it, they just charge your credit card for the short fall. How’s that for motivation to make your fund raising goal?! (:-)

This same time last year I wasn’t even at a quarter of my goal so this is an amazing start. The ride this year is August 6th & 7th, who knows how much I’ll have raised by then…I’m hoping for great things! (:-)

If you’re planning to donate please save my blood pressure, and stress levels in general, and don’t leave it until the last minute. Donations can be made in less than 1 minute ( if you’re quick ), and anything is great, nothing too small.

Remember 100% of donations go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

With a couple of 60 degree days this week I hope to start seeing more of you out on the road. Spring has sprung! (:-)

Thanks!

-Tim

Happy Birthday Brenda!

My mother-in-law would have been 68 years old today, we lost her too soon to lung cancer, she is one of the people I ride the Pan Mass Challenge in memory of.

In honor of her birthday, my wife and I are going to match anyone that makes a tax deductible donation to my 2011 Pan Mass Challenge ride today, up to a total of $300. That means your $5 is worth $10 today to help cure cancer so that others will have more birthdays to celebrate with their families.

My wife and her Mom at Yosemite, happy days! (:-)

If you were thinking of donating, today is a great day, it counts double after our match…remember 100% of donations go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and are tax deductible.

You can donate now by clicking the orange button below:

Thanks so much, and Happy Birthday Brenda. <3

Saying goodbye to my “Vasectomy Tourettes”…

3 weeks later I made it back on the bike, and was ( thank god ) totally fine. There were many times I thought I’d never be sitting on this, ever, again…


But here I am 3 weeks later, back in my happy place…


Actually, at about the 2 week mark I would have been fine, but some work-related travel kept me off the bike for another week.

So for those wondering about the sequence of events here…

  • Days 1-2: Bedridden man-agony, any kind of movement is real bad news.
  • Days 3-5: Walking around a bit in the house but with a serious case of what I termed “Vasectomy Tourettes“. One false move could send me into a tirade that would make a sailor, or a truck driver, or a sailor that drives trucks on his days off, blush. This could be brought on by something as simple as picking up a cup of tea wrong. “Ooo that cup of tea looks delicious…$#%^&*!@#%!!!!!
  • Days 6-8: Can walk around outside, but only for about 10 minutes at a time, and even then I look like John Wayne.
  • Days 8-12: Almost back to normal at this point, running is a little iffy ( actually a lot iffy ), but everything else is fine. Could have gotten back on the bike at this point.

So they tell you to wait 2 weeks before resuming normal exercise activity, that was about right for me. In talking to people, recoveries seem to range from “I rode home from the surgery on my bike, then mowed the lawn real quick before heading to the gym” all the way to “It’s been 6 months and I’m still in agony, oh and suing my Doctor“.

In summary, glad it’s all over, hope it worked. If it didn’t, I won’t be going back for another. :)

Great news! I’m still accepting donations to “The Tim Brandall Post-Big-Snip Feel Better Fund“, also know as my 2011 Pan Mass Challenge ride…remember 100% of donations go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I’m currently at $590 which is an amazing start, still a long way to go to hit my goal of $4200, I’ll get there though. :)

Oh, and I have a bag of gently used frozen peas for sale if anyone is interested…

Anyone?

No?

Deez Nutz are killin’ me…

A couple of years ago I wrote a post called Is this thing a bike? Or a vasectomy simulator?

Now I sit here, 3 days after having the “big snip”, I can tell you that a road bike ( no matter how uncomfortable ) IS NOT A VASECTOMY SIMULATOR. If riding road bikes for the first few times was anywhere close to having the “big snip” you wouldn’t see people riding road bikes – period.

Usually I jump at the chance to go sit on this for hours at a time…

But for the last few days, all I wanted to sit on was these – we’ve become great friends…mmmmm…sweet peas…

So yeah, it hurts, I won’t be riding for a couple of weeks, and will probably never eat frozen peas ever again.

I am currently accepting donations to “The Tim Brandall Post-Big-Snip Feel Better Fund“, also know as my 2011 Pan Mass Challenge ride…remember 100% of donations go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Ease my pain by clicking the orange button below. :)

I’ll be back on the bike soon!

Today’s ride, the road to nowhere…

You can’t beat those perfect riding days, when the skies are blue, the sun is warm, and the miles fly by while you share some laughs with friends. Today wasn’t one of those days, here’s the view out the window ( yes, those are cars down there )…

This meant it was time for me to do one of the things I hate the most – ride in the basement, on rollers…

It has to be really bad out for me to resort to this, but today was one of those days…

Rollers – I dislike you, a lot…I hope winter is getting ready to pack it’s bags, the less time I spend in the basement torture chamber, the better…

If you want to help make my time spent training like this a little easier to swallow, I really like donations to my 2011 Pan Mass Challenge ride…100% of donations go directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. :) You can read more about what I’m doing to fight cancer by clicking the orange button below…

If you can’t donate at least do me a favour, and don’t “Think Snow”.

Oooops! I did it again!

I’ve just signed up for the 2011 Pan Mass Challenge. This will be my third year riding, the last 2 years I’ve been able to raise over $9000 in the fight against cancer with all your help.

It gets easier to sign up every year, it’s still 200 miles to ride, it’s still a minimum of $4200 to raise for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to make it to the start line, but none of that matters – the cause is so important to me, signing up is a no-brainer.

Who am I riding for?

Jim & Brenda Blake – As always I’ll be riding in memory of my wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law, both of whom we lost too soon to cancer. They were my inspiration for starting my PMC journey 3 years ago and will continue to be with me each PMC I ride.

Jim & Brenda Blake on their wedding day

Christina Mason – this time last year Christina was undergoing treatment. Her strength was an inspiration, a reminder of what the human spirit is capable of during times of great adversity. Christina continues to fight and has recently been given the “all clear”. It’s awesome to hear positive news for a change!

I RIDE FOR…

Team Kermit – I’m doing things a little differently this year, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to ride with Team Kermit. I’ve ridden certain sections of my previous PMC rides with various members of Team Kermit ( DPJ, Chip, Matt ), they’re a great group of people who are all totally dedicated to helping find a cure – I’m proud to be riding alongside them this year. You can read more about Team Kermit at my PMC profile page – it’s an amazing story…

A few of the more than 30 Kermits…

Signing up is the easy part. Now come the hard parts, training, and fundraising…both are a lot of work, but I can accomplish both with your help. If anyone would like to get the fundraising going early you can donate here, anything I can get in early will help reduce my fundraising stress levels as PMC weekend approaches in August. As for the training, I’m already out there. (:-)

Here we go again!!!

PS: If you’re on Facebook, please check out my PMC group “I support a guy cycling 200 miles in 2 days in the fight against cancer“, we currently have almost 3200 members. Please join and invite your friends!

Looking back on the 2010 Pan Mass Challenge

We made it! You all helped me hit my fund raising goal, and I rode 200 miles in 2 days. Thank you to everyone reading this, you helped me beat my 2009 Pan Mass Challenge fund raising total by over $800. My 2010 total was $5050, coupled with my 2009 total I’ve raised over $9000 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the last 2 years! I couldn’t have done it without all your help. Collectively PMC riders in 2010 raised over $33 million, 100% of that went directly to life saving cancer research.

The ride went really well, there were moments of elation ( seeing my family at the finish line! ), misery ( hills, hills, and more hills! ), reflection for those we’ve lost, and hope for those currently fighting. I was lucky enough to meet up and share some miles with old friends from the 2009 PMC ( DPJ, Chip G, Johnny M ), as well as meeting new friends ( thanks for the pull home Matt M – it was much needed! ).

5 minutes until day 1 start, 112 miles coming up!

Getting cheered along the way...

Noticed the sign right before I was about to plant my aching backside in it...

Almost done with Day 1. 12. More. Miles.

Day 2 about 120 miles in, heading for Provincetown, MA. Jim and Brenda helping me along.

Day 2 about 120 miles in, heading for Provincetown, MA. Jim and Brenda helping me along.

This is what riding too far on a bike looks like...not happy.

But you forget how much it hurts when you cross the finish line!

I know I’ll be riding again in the 2011 PMC, this cause is too important to me and my family. As long as I can raise the money I’ll keep riding in hopes that a cure is just around the next corner. I’ll probably come knocking again for money next year, go easy on me, I hate asking people for money. (:-) If you wonder why I ride, these people along the way sum it up…

Thank you again for your support, it means the world to me, and a whole lot of other people who are touched by this terrible disease.

My 2010 ride was for Jim and Brenda Blake, who we lost too soon, and for Christina Mason who will continue to LIVESTRONG and beat this.

2011 sign ups are next week! I’m going to be doing things a little differently this year…more on that next week! (:-)

I was in The Billerica Green this month!

THANK YOU to The Billerica Green!!! (:-)

Please click here to donate, there are only 3 weeks left and I still have $1713 left to raise, we’ve already made it to $3287!

My first 100 mile training week…

…was thwarted by the soaking wet weather. I came close though and if nothing else it was nice to get outside a few times and off those blasted rollers. I rode about 80 miles last week, including a dawn training ride with a fellow PMC rider, Marty Griffin, great guy and hopefully we can get out for some more miles before PMC weekend. I think last year, by the time PMC weekend came around I had about 2000 miles of training invested, that’s over 100 hours of time spent on the road ( indoor training not included ). There is never a doubt in my mind that the cause is worth all the training.

The fund raising is going amazingly! We’re ahead of where we were this time last year, currently at…drum roll please…$979!! That’s almost 20% of the goal!!

We're getting there!

We’ve already had some unreal support this year, a huge “Thank You” goes out to Christina who has been amazing in supporting what I’m doing. What makes Christina’s support even more special is that she is fighting her own battle with cancer, right now. She’s going to kick its ass, it won’t know what hit it. :)

It’s been an awesome start to the fund raising, and I can only hope that more sponsors come out of the woodwork as the days countdown to PMC weekend. 145 days and counting…still a lot of miles to cover, and dollars to raise. :)

**Warning, shameless begging alert**

For those who haven’t donated yet, I know it seems a loooooong way off, but the earlier I get this going, the more money I can raise for the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – 100% of everything you donate goes to that charity. Last year I left the fund raising until later on and almost had a heart attack as I scraped together anything I could in order to reach my goal and make it to the start line. Please, show my stress levels some love and don’t leave donations until the last week. :)

Donations can be made online at the Pan Mass Challenge’s secure website, and if you’re quick, it takes less than 2 minutes. :) The URL is: http://www.pmc.org/profile/TB0164

Thank you again for all the support, great weather is here and soon those 100 mile training weeks will be the norm! :)

Stay safe out there!

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