STURBRIDGE — Pan-Mass Challenge cyclists took off from starting points in Sturbridge and Wellesley Saturday morning. Over the weekend, roads between Sturbridge and Provincetown will be packed with 6,400 riders taking on 16 different routes.
The shortest route is 25 miles, the longest is 211.
There are 1,000 more riders than there was last year. Five hundred riders will do a reimagined ride, riding whenever and whenever, and as far as they would like. Three hundred will take part in the virtual ride.
So far, the PMC has raised $831 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. This year’s goal is $66 million, which would be a new record.
The Opening Ceremonies were held Friday night at the Sturbridge Host Hotel.
Billy Starr founded the ride in 1980. Back then it was just 36 riders who raised $10,000. Now Starr says they have found what he calls the secret sauce. It’s keeping people coming back, while new riders are eager to join.
“Back in the saddle, Courtney, I feel great,” Starr said to WBZ-TV’s Courtney Cole at the Sturbridge start line early Saturday. “Could use cooler temps and lower humidity but you get what you get and you don’t get upset, that’s what I was taught.”
Riders come from 43 states and 8 countries.
Gene Roundtree is a Boston educator riding in his fourth PMC. “It’s very exciting to be out here. A lot of positive energy and it’s also kind of humid so I’m getting an early start on getting the sweat going. But we’re very excited, it’s going to be a great two days of riding,” he said.