Cyclists finish first day of Pan-Mass Challenge smoothly despite heat

Taunton resident Doug Ross hosed down cyclists Saturday.
Taunton resident Doug Ross hosed down cyclists Saturday.
wendy maeda/globe staff

The 33rd Annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, a 192-mile bike-a-thon for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, got off to a warm but smooth start Saturday morning when 5,450 riders registered for the two-day trek.

Despite 90-plus degree temperatures, no major injuries or safety concerns were reported along the 111-mile route, which started in Wellesley and Sturbridge, and ended in Bourne.

“Everything has gone smoothly,” said Jackie Herskovitz, a spokeswoman for the PMC, late Saturday afternoon. “It was a great first day.”

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A misting tent set up at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School cooled off scores of riders who made the official lunch stop. Water stops were positioned along the route, and some residents sprayed garden hoses on riders as they pedaled over the course that covers hilly terrain, rural roads, and coastal views.

The Democratic-Republican tandem of US Senators John F. Kerry and Scott Brown led riders from Sturbridge, one of two starting points, just after 5:30 a.m. Kerry arrived in Bourne at 11:30 a.m. and Brown at 12:30 p.m.

Neither senator will be riding in Sunday’s second leg of the ride, Herskovitz said.

Most of the 5,450 registered riders were thought to have arrived in Bourne by late Saturday. An exact count was not available because scanning equipment had malfunctioned, Herskovitz said.

Sunday’s ride will be 80 miles, from Bourne to Provincetown.

The PMC hopes to raise $36 million this year to aid cancer research at Dana Farber.