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 2005. 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.
30 years in 30 weeks
Over the years the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge has fostered an environment that has renewed love interests and sparked many new relationships. Riders and volunteers have found their soul mates and strengthened their bonds through the event. There have been engagements on the PMC route and plenty of PMC love connections. Here are some of our favorite PMC love stories.
Toby and Petra
In 2005, one first-year PMCer carried an engagement ring along with him for 150 miles of cycling.
Toby Provencal, 29, asked his cycling buddy and girlfriend of six years, Petra Dollet, 26, both of Hudson, NH, for her gloved hand in marriage just as they crossed the Wellesley finish line.
Dollet and her sister rode in the 2004 PMC. Provencal volunteered to ride with Dollet this year when her sister said she could not. He carried the ring with him while riding for two days, with the intention of proposing if they finished. Provencal said riding the PMC and fundraising were symbolic of their collective ability to set goals and overcome challenges.
“Finishing the PMC together is an indication that we can get through anything as a team,” Provencal says.
Damon and Jeanne
Damon Vaughn, a cancer survivor, and Jeanne Griffin cycled their way through a long courtship that culminated with an engagement in 2006 and a wedding in 2007. It all began in 2003 when Griffin and Vaughn met at a pre-event PMC fundraising banquet. They met again on the road, during PMC weekend, months later.
“We just ran into each other the entire weekend,” said Griffin. “I definitely had a crush on him.” After the ride, Griffin contacted Vaughn through his PMC webpage to see how he was recovering. They then began training together for the 2004 PMC. A long friendship, centered on their mutual love of cycling, eventually led to more than just a friendship. The autumn after the 2004 PMC – now 18 months after their initial meeting – Vaughn told a friend, who told a friend, that he was starting to feel more for his cycling buddy than just friendship.
“I found out at the PMC 25th Anniversary Gala. It was a black tie dinner. We both went with other people, but he ended up driving me home,” Griffin said. They married after the 2007 PMC and although they were told that it may be difficult to have children, they now have two children.
Barbara and Michael
Barbara was embarking on her second PMC ride in 1990, when she met Michael Epstein. Michael had no clue what the PMC was or why Barbara would bike more than 190 miles. “Nevertheless, I knew very well that if the relationship was going to continue, Michael would have to get his ass on a bike seat sooner than later,” Barbara said.
By 1991, the couple is going strong and Barbara signed Michael up to ride alongside her in the PMC. “It was an incredible experience for Michael and one that he knew he’d have to repeat,” she said.
When 1992 rolled around, Michael was prepared. He tucked a bottle of champagne and an engagement ring into his duffle bag that was being transported from Sturbridge to Bourne and then to Provincetown. He wanted to finish the ride before he popped the question. Exhausted after completing the grueling ride, he got down on one knee and proposed.
Their PMC love story continues, said Barbara, who rides for the 19th year this year. “In some way or fashion the PMC has been and continues to be a big part of our lives after all these years. We have three children who have all grown up knowing all about the PMC weekend and what we do,” she said.
PMC 2005 Facts
$23 million raised