Two years ago at the finish line in Bourne, NECN caught up with me to talk about the look on my face. If a picture paints a thousand words, I know my face that year captured a novella. You’ll see one happy man on that video who made a vow to keep riding until we find a cure.

As I crossed the line that day, many things passed through my mind, particularly the horrible cramping I experienced on my first year’s ride in 2003. But it was the thought of all the names on my shirt, and their suffering, that got me through and back on the bike for a second year. I figured the pain I experienced for a few hours that day paled in comparison to what they experienced with cancer. When I crossed the line pain free on my second ride, I was beaming, and I knew the additional training had paid off.

As I get ready for my 5th ride, I think back to how I first got involved with the PMC; I think of Phil telling me he’d be there with us; I think of Herby joining the team this year as living proof that cancer can be beat; I think of Rob’s post-chemo party on July 22 and his talk about the “gifts” of family and friends he has received since his diagnosis; and I think of all the new friends I have made along this journey. We have a ways to go with this disease, but just as we do when climbing hills, we have to just put our heads down and forge ahead.

Being a part of Phil’s Phriends has been a great experience for me. I have seen firsthand how a small group of dedicated people can make a difference in the world.

It was fitting that we ran into Mary during our training ride yesterday; she continues to be inspiring. I feel as strong as I ever have in five years and I know it’s because I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.

I’m looking forward to a great ride with all of you!