AUBURN - As a young girl growing up on Cape Cod, Sarah Muncey would set up a lemonade stand and would wonder why once, every summer, there were an inordinate amount of bicyclists passing by.
Now, Muncey returns to the Cape every year, but she brings her bike and a mission to help.
The Auburn resident teaches fifth grade at South Range School in Derry and is preparing for her fourth Pan-Mass Challenge. Muncey participates in the two-day ride from Sturbridge, Mass., to Provincetown, Mass.
Though she had always enjoyed contributing to the charitable aspect of the challenge, last year Muncey had a more personal reason to ride.
One of her students was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer and has since become her ‘pedal partner,’ traveling to the Cape to cheer Muncey on.
“Usually teams of several people will have a pedal partner and will ride for that kid,” Muncey said. “It brings a face to why you ride.”
Now that a nearly 200-mile bike ride is an annual event for Muncey, she is still fairly new to the sport.
Four years ago Muncey said a friend of hers mentioned she rides in the Pan-Mass Challenge and invited her along.
At the time, she didn’t even own a road bike.
Muncey said that after that first ride, she became hooked on the Pan-Mass Challenge.
“Now, not only am I a cyclist, but I really consider it to be a key part of my life,” she said. “I was always interested in doing things for other people, but there is something about the PMC that is bigger.”
During the training sessions for her first Pan-Mass Challenge, Muncey said consistently adding mileage to each ride helped prepare her for the big day.
Though she said she was ready to ride when the day came, it was the support that came from other riders that helped calm her nerves at the starting line.
“I was nervous and scared, but the thing that was so striking about doing it was that people will yell out encouragement,” Muncey said. “The people who live along the route will spend the day in their front yard cheering.”
But now as a veteran of the Pan-Mass Challenge, Muncey said she is in a position in which she can use her experiences to teach.
As both a teacher and a mother, Muncey said having her students and children see her giving back to a good cause, could inspire a future generation to join a similar cause.
“They realize I do this because I love it and it makes me feel good, but it’s all to help other people,” Muncey said.