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The Yankee Express

Brian Pidgeon Feels Obligated To Ride PMC By Christopher Tremblay

Staff Sports Writer

Originally from Pennsylvania, Brian Pidgeon had heard all the stories of the Pan Mass Challenge prior to moving to Uxbridge for his job in 2018. Pidgeon had heard of the PMC, the largest fundraising event in the country that involved riders and volunteers from 43 states and 12 countries all striving for the same goal – to rid cancer from our lives. 
 Upon relocating to Massachusetts Pidgeon met Joe Baker, who worked for Durand GMC in Leominster. Baker talked up the PMC and before he knew it Pidgeon agreed to ride in the August event.
  “We had been talking and I told him about my bike riding, and he suggested I join him riding the PMC,” the now Uxbridge resident said. “Joe said that it was called a challenge for a reason but gave me ideas on how to train for the event as well as raising the money for the 186-mile ride. I took his word for it and in 2019 I did my first ride (Sturbridge to Provincetown).”
 Prior to his first PMC ride the most that Pidgeon had ever ridden in one shot was about 25miles, so he sought out and used every possible PMC resource tool that he could to prepare himself for his inaugural ride. Soon after he found himself committing to longer rides on the weekends preparing for the miles he would log over two days the first weekend of August.
  “I found myself just riding around Uxbridge at first, but eventually was going through Whitinsville, Millville and into Rhode Island,” he said. “I would head down to the Cape and do even longer rides in the 90-degree weather to prepare myself. Once I competed that first ride, it showed me that I could do this with whatever was thrown at me during the ride.”
 One of the reasons that Pidgeon seemed to jump at the chance of riding the PMC was he himself was a cancer survivor. In 2015 Pidgeon was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. With all the care and treatment that he had received he felt a tremendous obligation to join the fight by helping to raise money for Dana Farber. 
  “Not only was I really inspired by the individuals who rode the 186-mile journey to Provincetown, I felt extremely lucky to have gotten through my cancer,” Pidgeon said. “And now as a Living Proof Rider, I felt that it was something that I could do to give back.”
 According to Pidgeon, during a routine blood test his doctor decided to do an ultra sound where the technician found a golf ball sized tumor in one of his kidneys. Pidgeon had no symptoms or issues at the time and the finding of the tumor was clearly by accident. 
 “That is one of the biggest reasons that I ride, to be able to do something for others as so many people suffer,” he said. “I had a four hour surgery with no chemotherapy or radiation and have been cancer-free since. I have a sense of obligation to ride in the PMC.”
 Riding in his first PMC five years ago Pidgeon came away with an unbelievable feeling on the experience. He was immediately hooked on the orientation that they had for the first-time riders and when Billy Starr described the ride with all the people lining the streets thanking the riders, Pidgeon was blow away.
  “Seeing so many riders all there for the same cause was unbelievable,” Pidgeon said. “Everyone was great and once I realized that O could raise the money and do the ride I was looking forward to doing it again, I really had a lot of fun.”
 Pidgeon went on to say that the energy of all the other riders around him was inspiring, but the water stops were a giant party with the people cheering them on. He noted that when he completed the first day in which he did about 110 miles, although he was tired and hungry his body handled things nicely and it didn’t feel like he had been riding such a long distance.
 The original thought of raising the required minimum amount of money for his two-day trek was definitely nerve wracking, but Pidgeon hit his goal with about one week before the event. Nowadays, he finds it much easier to get those donations.
  “I was nervous that first year, but I’ve built a following and if I haven’t reached out by a certain date, they’re contacting me about making a donation,” he said.
 Now riding in his fifth PMC, Pidgeon feels that every passing year he hears of someone that he knows who happens to be going through some type of cancer issue, so he firmly believes that he needs to get on his bike every August to help raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to help people, like they had helped him.
  “I definitely know that as long as my knees hold up then I’ll continue to ride the PMC each and every year,” Pidgeon said. “I have no plans on stopping anytime soon.”
 Over the past years Pidgeon adorns himself with his official PMC shirt on day one of the event but likes to put a spin on things during day two and have some fun with his riding outfit. This year on his ride from Bourne to Provincetown he dressed as Big Bird.