Our 2020 PMC Journey

By: Holly Petersen, Director of Operational Excellence & Compliance

As I logged on to the PMC Captain’s call on May 1st, I was unsure what PMC 2020 would look like. When Billy Starr, the founder of PMC, delivered the message that PMC weekend would not be held in its traditional form, a wave of disappointment crashed over me. It was Bay State Physical Therapy’s third year as the Official Physical Therapy sponsor and we had plans to increase our presence at the water stops to more efficiently meet the needs of the riders, grow our riding team, and join the Pedal Partner Program. We had done a lot of work during the last six months in preparation for PMC weekend and my initial response was, “now what?” As the call concluded, Billy had a call to action reminding all of us that the PMC is not just about the ride on the first week in August, rather it is about the fundraising for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His call to action caused a shift in my perspective from disappointment to opportunity and I was left with the following questions – how could we still uphold our fundraising commitment, create a memorable ride for everyone on our team (especially the six first time PMC riders), and make sure our Pedal Partner felt she was supported during her journey of active cancer treatment in a year that has been full of many twists and turns?


At our next training ride, there was no hesitation among any of the eight team members that a century ride (100 miles) was what we wanted to plan and train for, and from there, our PMC Reimagined began! We began riding as a team every other Saturday in preparation for the ride while also brainstorming about how we would support our Pedal Partner, and pivoting to meet our fundraising goal since our planned primary source of team fundraising, a concert, was no longer an option.


Before I knew it, it was the eve of our PMC Reimagined and as I tried to sleep, the emotions I experienced felt very much like the emotions I felt before 2019’s PMC – a knot in my stomach about completing the ride and a flutter in my heart about the excitement of the day. And dare I say that PMC Reimagined did not disappoint! Our team had three additional riders – a sibling of a rider, a family friend riding in his first  PMC, and a husband of a managing partner with years of experience as a cyclist and bike mechanic – arrived at our starting line and we hit the road exactly on time. As we began our first climb, less than 500 feet from our starting line, I was having a hard time finding my legs. My body was struggling to make the transition from excitement to execution. As I brought up the tail of the riders, I was able to look forward and observe what we had built this year – a team that was determined to make the best of our 2020 PMC journey.


As I began to find my legs, I had the opportunity to talk to some of our team members while navigating the quieter roads of our route and it was great to hear the perspective of one of our first time riders, who was riding in memory of her sister. We spoke about how the training helped to build our rapport as a team while keeping us physically in shape and mentally engaged to maintain perspective about the good in the world.


As we approached mile 90, the team’s excitement grew as we pulled into South Weymouth. We had planned a parade for our Pedal Partner, Carly, and we were greeted by first responders from the local communities and over 25 well decorated cars! It was overwhelming to see the outpouring of support. As the team was escorted to her home by a Weymouth police cruiser with lights and sirens, much to our surprise, there was a large group of people with signs for the riding team standing outside her home. We were able to pull over and observe the remainder of the parade and watch in amazement the teamwork that was demonstrated by our community. Before we hopped back in the saddle, we were able to snap a picture with our Pedal Partner, Carly, and become official members of Carly’s Crew!


As we completed the last 10 miles, including the final ascent into Blue Hills, we felt reinvigorated about our mission as a team for PMC 2020. We surpassed our fundraising goal, we coordinated a community-wide parade for our Pedal Partner, and we planned and rode our own century ride.


Many of us feel this year has been a rollercoaster, but I can gladly say that Saturday, 8/1/2020, was the highest high of my year thus far. It would not have been possible without the support – physical, financial, and emotional – of our friends, families, colleagues, and strangers. We do not know what 2021 holds, but we have already drafted plans for how we will execute a second year of PMC Reimagined if need be!