In honor of the 30th anniversary Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the PMC blog will take you on a ride through history. Today we continue 30 years in 30 weeks with a look back at the PMC in 1997. We’ll coast through the event’s history, featuring a new year each week, as we lead up to the 30th annual ride on Aug. 1 and 2.
Check out past 30 Years in 30 weeks posts here.
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30 years in 30 weeks
By 1997, the Pan-Massachusetts was more than a weekend event. But in addition to the celebrations, check presentation ceremony and fundraising events, for some, 200 miles a summer just wasn’t enough.
Groups of riders started to branch out and add more miles to their PMC. In 1997, a dedicated group of cyclists formed “The Huckleberries,” adding one more day and about 87 miles to the traditional PMC route.
The Huckleberries started their ride in West Stockbridge, along the New York border. They’d arrive in Sturbridge for the PMC start and continue on to Provincetown for a 287-mile trek.
Here’s the story behind the name Huckleberries according to the PMC yearbook:
“The first year, the group rode until they got to Huntington, Mass., a small town with a great muffin shop called Huckleberries,” said Steven Siegel, a veteran PMCer and Huckleberries rider. “The muffins were so exquisite; we decided to name the group after the shop.” Every year since, the team pulls up to the shop for their first water stop of their three-day ride. A picture of the group hangs on the muffin shop wall.
Since then, riders have started their Pan-Massachusetts Challenge ride in Vermont, New York, Ohio and even California for a cross-country challenge!
Not everyone is equipped (or willing) to bike across state lines. To expand the PMC and make the event more accessible to Greater Boston, routes from Boston were created. In 1994, the PMC launched a Boston start at the Windsor School with a one-day 80 mile ride to Bourne. Riders could then join the Sturbridge group on the way to Provincetown on day 2, for a total of 162 miles.
By 1997, the PMC had grown into a six-route event, as riders had the new option of heading back to Boston from Bourne to complete their two-day ride.
In 2000, the start and finish moved to Babson College in Wellesley, where it has thrived ever since. That helped open the PMC up to riders of varying athletic levels and offered biking novices more ways to be involved.
Here’s the 1997 Heavy Hitter T-Shirt, which was a reminder of the brutal weather through the cranberry bogs of Middleboro and Carver.
PMC 1997 facts
190 total miles
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