In 1981 our son, David was getting radiation treatment in Boston for a malignant tumor. That July I read about this wacky bike ride in the Boston Globe that 30 or so people had done the year before, and there was going to be another one in September. One feels helpless when family members have cancer, but this was a tangible way to actually do something.
I met Billy (Starr) at the fourth water stop that year and introduced myself. (He rode a lot slower back then!). The first thing he said was,"How much money have you raised?" When I said $6000, he jumped out of his chaise and offered it to me, since the first year's PMC raised around $10,000. We obviously became good friends after that.
For all but one of the next 15 or 20 PMC's, I was the largest fundraiser, proving it is much easier to raise money for the PMC when you don't live in Boston. The one year I lost, the biggest fundraiser was Fred Klinghoffer, a friend from New Jersey that I brought into the PMC the year before. In my 37 PMC's I've raised over $3 million, even though I became "Charlie who?" to some of my largest supporters soon after I retired.
In 1988 our 16-year-old daughter, Laura, joined me and at the time she may have been the youngest rider. In the next few years, she was been joined by Erica, our youngest, and David, who was our reason for riding in the first place. All three kids have now ridden for 10 or more years even though the girls took a few years off to have kids of there own. Despite his father's advice, or because of it, David still rides the event on a 25-year-old mountain bike and I'm pleased to say, only has to wait for me occasionally.
Last year was going to be my ride as my hope was realized to have three generations of Larsen's riding in the event from Sturbridge. What a thrill it was to draft behind Claire, my oldest granddaughter, on the windy part of the approach into P-town! Now I have to ride again this year because I have the chance to ride with two daughters and two granddaughters!