Rochester party celebrates Pan-Mass riders
ROCHESTER — Some may disagree, but according to one member of the Bacchiocchi cheering party, it’s the “number one Pan-Mass Challenge Party in Rochester!”
More than 50 people converged at the Bacchiocchis’ Walnut Plain Road home on Saturday for a cookout and to cheer on riders taking the two-day, 192-mile route of the PMC, an event that raises millions each year for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The group wasn’t just hooting and hollering for the masses cycling past, but also for one of their own.
Debbie Bacchiocchi, a kindergarten teacher at Rochester Memorial School, has participated in the ride for nine years.
“She trains year-long,” said her husband and the host of the party, Billy Bacchiocchi.
He said his wife was inspired to join the PMC after having a few “close scares” with cancer and losing two family members to the disease. She also has a brother currently fighting cancer.
While friends, family and co-workers waited for Debbie to arrive, neighbor Mark Collins helped to keep the crowd lively.
“I seem to be taking the head cheerleader [job],” he said.
Collins, who often thanked the riders as they passed, said the PMC is a “very, very worthwhile cause, one of the best ever.”
The annual party isn’t too bad either.
“For a small town in Rochester, we’ve got a pretty good party,” said Collins.
One rider who paused at the Bacchiocchis’ house said she appreciates all the people who cheer along the route.
“It really helps,” said cyclist Pamela Mantas.
When Debbie arrived, she received a hero’s welcome, getting lots of hugs and taking pictures with the partygoers.
“I’m feeling great. I’m feeling awesome,” she said.
Her home is at the 95.3 mile, just shy of the halfway point between Sturbridge to Provincetown.
Bacchiocchi and the other cyclists finished on Sunday.