|All seven members of the Pilgrim Church's Pan-Mass Challenge team. Photo courtesy of Pastor John Hudson.|
SHERBORN, Mass. - - This past weekend, seven parishioners from the Pilgrim Church in Sherborn rode the 163 miles from Wellesley to Provincetown in the 32nd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, raising money for loved ones afflicted by cancer.
Riding on the team helmed by Pilgrim Church Pastor John Hudson were parishioners Carol Austin, Jeff Moore, David Boyles, Don Spongberg, Steve Solomon and Brooks Zug.
“For me, riding in the PMC was all about converting my faith into action. I was using muscle and bone to make love real, and raising funds for a very important cause,” said Hudson.
“I’d have to say in many ways, it was a ride of a lifetime. Given my age and so forth, the ride was something I had always wanted to do. I wasn’t sure whether I could make it, but I did it. I just had a terrific time,” said Steve Solomon.
Hudson, who had been training with his church’s team since April, was riding for three women from his congregation affected by cancer. He attached a laminated picture of them and glued it on his bike, using it as inspiration to get through the tougher stretches of the race.
Solomon was riding for former Pilgrim Church Pastor Ken Powell, who succumbed to cancer in 2007, as well as two family members who had been affected by the disease.
The Wellesley-to-Provincetown route is designed to take two days, and the Pilgrim Church team rode for 7 1/2 hours on Saturday and seven hours on Sunday.
“By the end of the day, your legs and backside are sore. But you can’t get off the bike, you just have to keep going,” said Hudson. “It’s about endurance. I’m far from a world-class athlete, but I can push through the pain.”
On Sunday morning, the Pilgrim Church team hit a low point. Exhausted from the previous day’s ride, they were forced to rise at 3:30 a.m. to get into place at Sunday’s starting point, the Mass. Maritime Academy. As they left the house where they were staying, it was raining heavily.
“We were just dreading being on the bikes for seven to eight hours in the pouring rain,” said Hudson. “All of the sudden, the rain just stopped. There was this big, dark cloud looming the entire seven hours, but it didn’t rain one drop. Literally as soon as we finished, the skies opened up.”
“As John would say in his ministerial way, that was our PMC miracle,” said Solomon. “We’re looking forward to doing it again next year.”
This year, the Pan-Mass Challenge featured roughly 5,100 riders and had a fundraising target of $34 million, all of which will be donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Also riding in the PMC were seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and U.S. senators John Kerry, (D-Mass.), and Scott Brown, (R-Mass.)
The following list is a compilation of all Dover and Sherborn participants in the Pan-Mass Challenge:
Dover Riders: Kit Beaudouin, Mark Beaudouin, Susie Caspar, Joan Davenport, Thomas Davenport, Benjamin Dawson, Klarina Donoghue, Andrew Epstein, Elizabeth Freeman, Michael Hanley, Robin Hauck, Steve Hauck, Carol Hollingsworth, Val Hollingsworth, David Kasparian, Lisa Kasparian, Bob Kelly, Holly Kelsey, P.J. Kelsey, Adam Liebhoff, Alan Lisbon, Robert Litle, Gilbert Menna, Michael Menna, David Mittelman, Michele Mittelman, Douglas Novitch, David Perini, Michael Picard, Stephen Pratt, Ted Saraceno, John Shue, Matthew Stover, Payson Swaffield, Tom Swaffield and Marko Zatylny.
Sherborn Riders: Carol Austin, Matthew Bergstresser, Chris Decker, Anthony Downs, Robert Eckert, Jonas Geiger, Sandra Geiger, Margot Hahn, Daniel Holland, John Hudson, Naomi Kooker, Dave Morris, Patrick Olski, Robert Rosenthal, Steven Solomon, Dan Sunderland, Danny Sunderland, Bill Thornton.