By Chris Villani

Sports Reporter/Columnist

Longtime readers of the Town Crier know that this time of year is when training for the Pan-Mass Challenge begins in earnest and 2022 was no different.

It’s my 12th year participating in the two-day bike-a-thon to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and I had everything I needed for success, including an excellent fitness base (thanks Peloton), a fantastic group of donors, and the determination of a proud son as I once again saddle up for my late mother, who passed away after a bout with cancer two days before Christmas in 2019.

The one thing I lacked? My bike.

My trusty Cannondale has served me well for more than a decade in a predictable, pardon the pun, cycle.

I don’t ride all spring while getting my golf game in shape.

I realize that, if I don’t get some miles in, the PMC will be an uncomfortable experience.

I ride a bunch and take part in the PMC with a whimsical plan to enjoy some fall cycling on Cape Cod or west of Boston, which never comes to fruition as I use those weekends to squeeze in a few more rounds of golf.

Tune-up, rinse, repeat.

But this year training was delayed by the fact that I locked my bike in my shed down the Cape. We needed a new lock for the shed, and last year I had the bright idea to buy a lock that opens up by using a fingerprint. It seemed brilliant, like my bike was in the Bellagio vault in Ocean’s 11. It turns out these locks do not work so well outdoors and become impossible to charge, trapping my Cannondale and delaying its yearly tune-up by a few weeks.

It was a small bump in the road and nothing compared to the actual training and riding, or the challenges faced by those who are the PMC’s beneficiaries. As I type this, the PMC has raised $11 million with a stated goal of $66 million aimed at combating all forms of cancer. Every mile ridden and every dollar raised brings us closer to a world without cancer, which estimates say will kill more than 600,000 people this year in the United States alone.

Life, like the PMC, will hand us many challenges. And during the PMC, we respond to them with our combined strength, willpower, spirit, and, in my case, a really big pair of bolt cutters.

To donate to Chris’ ride, please visit PMC.org/CV0042. Riders will be accepting donations through September.

Once again, Sports Writer/Columnist Chris Villani is taking part in the Pan-Mass Challenge. Pictured is his ride from last year.