Proud of John Ladd - 2023 Pan Mass Challenge

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A great big thank you to everyone who supported John in his Pan Mass Challenge fundraiser, he could not have done it without you!   Many of you sent him emails of your personal experiences with cancer which motivated him even more. I have also copied and pasted John’s summary of his ride:

Forgive the length of the below "summary" of my ride, but I would like to share with all my supporters what I experienced on Sunday, August 6th when I conquered the Pan Mass Challenge for the 3rd year in a row.

As this was my 3rd Pan Mass Challenge, I had some basis of what to expect during this 78-mile journey through the various towns of Cape Cod. It was quite a ride both physically and emotionally. After a very hot and humid ride in August of 2022 all the riders were happy to be riding in much more favorable conditions this year. I felt my training prepared me well, and I was hopeful to complete my ride in under 5 hours. This PMC ride is not a race BUT I always have to have a goal, so I raced against the clock!!!

The day started with a 3:15 AM alarm as I needed to get to Bourne (the start) from North Dartmouth, MA (our hotel). My wife, Mary Ellen, "graciously" drove me to Bourne and I was able to start at 5:15 AM. As it was a bright clear morning, we witnessed a beautiful sunrise over the Bourne Bridge and as we cycled onto the Cape Cod Canal bike trail.

Up next there were the notorious rolling hills of Sandwich and Barnstable. As I was focused on pushing myself up the many steep grades, I was thinking of the reason why I was riding the PMC; 1) in memory for those close family members and friends who have passed of cancer and 2) in honor for those family members and friends who are fighting this terrible disease. This is where I started to notice a greater number of people cheering for all the bikers compared to the prior years. Many cancer survivors and their family members had signs showing support for the riders and we would reciprocate by cheering them on as well. As I would witness the individuals cheering for me from the side of the road, it would hit home that more than likely they had personally fought cancer… so I would push even harder.

From miles 15-45 or so I was trying to maintain a good pace but not too hard as I wanted to be able to feel stronger in the last 10-15 miles this year than I did last year. As we approached the second rest stop at Nickerson Park in Brewster, I was feeling confident that I would finish strong. My son Connor had driven from Boston to meet me here, so it was great to see him and have him experience a PMC rest stop. All the "water stops" provide the riders incredible energy from all the volunteers providing us food/water and great music. As I have mentioned in prior years, Nickerson Park holds a very special place in my heart as this is where my family and I would spend at least a week every August camping in this beautiful park. Many happy memories occurred there, and I knew my late parents (Lucille and Richard) who both passed away of cancer, would now push me to the finish!!!

With my wife Mary Ellen and son Joshua (Julia needed to stay home and work but supported me via text) waiting to cheer me on in Eastham, I was focused on keeping a consistent effort and my pace up. It was awesome seeing them which provided me more energy to hit the Wellfleet and Truro hills aggressively. Just like every year I forget how intense some of the hills in Wellfleet are, but I just started to really push as I knew the end was near. The last 20 miles into Provincetown was a grind as there were many rolling hills within the sand dunes and constant headwinds from the open water. I was able to complete my 3rd PMC journey in 4 hours and 50 minutes, so I was able break my 5-hour time goal.

During this year’s PMC ride, I felt we had many more supporters lining the course which inspired all of us to continue riding through our pain. I know there were many cancer survivors and others going through treatment cheering us on (and reading this message) so there was no reason for me and the others not to push beyond our limits. I can only imagine the pain and suffering that occurs while undergoing treatment for cancer.

I'm truly hopeful that the money being raised through the Pan Mass Challenge for the Dana Farber Foundation will ultimately find a cure for the dreadful disease. Thanks again to all my supporters for pushing me through my training and reaching my fundraising goals, all of which allowed me to complete my 3rd PMC Challenge successfully!!

Until next year,