Archive for the ‘Pan Mass Challenge’ Tag

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 myย fund raising total from last year’s Pan Mass Challenge. My 2011 total was $5,280, coupled with my 2009 and 2010 totals Iโ€™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.ย  (:-)

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!


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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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



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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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”.

Pan Mass Challenge winter training blues…

Training for the Pan Mass Challenge here in Massachusetts is pretty rough. You don’t just go jump on a bike without training, ride 200 miles and expect to do it without assistance from an ambulance, that’s what makes the Pan Mass Challenge a challenge. ๐Ÿ™‚

The reason it’s tough here is that from mid December to about mid-March, the roads are in bad shape thanks to old man winter, I can handle riding in the cold, but not many riders want to do battle with snowy and icy roads. As such, my basement becomes my training ground for most of those 4 months. Riding indoors is, how can I say it, brutally, soul-crushingly, BORING – it’s awful. You can watch TV, listen to music, whatever, the only thing I think about is how long until I’m done. I even train on rollers, which are supposed to be more interesting and simulate riding on a road, I don’t think it matters much, it’s still booooooring. ๐Ÿ™‚

The good news is that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, we’re at the start of March and the temperature is peeking above freezing now and then. Soon enough I’ll be able to say farewell to the rollers until next winter.

The fund raising is going really well, and that’s what keeps me going through the winter of indoor training. We’re currently at $325, about 7% of my fund raising goal of $5000, I still have a long way to go, but the ride is not until the start of August – I know I’ll be able to make it.

We recently got a Flip video recorder so now I can post videos along the way. So many people are asking about training, and what rollers are, I decided to post a quick video it’s nothing special, Steven Spielberg is safe for now…

Thanks again to everyone who has donated so far, and to everyone who has joined the Facebook group, we have over 3100 members now. I get so many messages, it’s truly sad, that almost everyone has a cancer story of some description, some are even undergoing treatment right now ( and doing an AWESOME job of it “CM” ). It amazes me that people going through so much, are still interested in helping others out.

As always, I vow to be back here posting more often, I’m a pretty miserable blogger with my monthly appearances. ๐Ÿ™‚

At the risk of sounding like a ( very ) broken record, to those who already donated, THANK YOU. To those who didnโ€™t yet, but would like to, please click here, no donation is too small ( or too big! ), it doesnโ€™t mind which currency you donate in, they are all very much appreciated.