Bergamot executive chef Keith Pooler is trading in his chef whites for bike shorts this month to tackle the Pan-Mass Challenge, which benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Pooler will ride nearly 100 miles on Aug. 1 with his brother-in-law Ron Farren, a real-estate agent.

Preparing for a long-distance ride takes time and training. “The bike ride usually starts at 6 in the morning, an ungodly hour, I know. I bike on the North Shore. It takes me about half an hour to get there,” Pooler tells us. “I speed a little bit.”

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Pooler has some advice for anyone looking to take on a similar challenge, “Start early and pace yourself. We started back in March-April with the theory that if it is over 40 degrees, we are biking. The other thing is to take breaks, let yourself recover.”

The chef has lost about 30 pounds over the past year and a half. “I’ve always been active and doing lots of exercise, but I started going to a trainer and that was a game-changer. It’s made me actually work out smart. Instead of just doing what I liked.” Changing his eating habits helped. “The diet was a big one too. I’ve had to watch what I eat.”

“Learn to like oatmeal,” says Pooler. “One of my biggest things was breakfast. I love cereal. And it turns out the granola-style cereals, even the expensive stuff at Whole Foods, actually aren’t that good for you. It just makes you want to eat more.”

But it’s not all strict diet and exercise. To raise money for the event, Pooler is putting on a pop-up at Bergamot on July 28 called “Whole Hog for the Ride.” All the proceeds go to Pan-Mass. “We are going to roast a whole pig, we are doing barbecue, black-eyed peas, hominy-cabbage slaw, potato salad, and corn on the cob.”

Says the chef, “It’s a big pile of food and it’s all going to a good cause.”

Tickets for Whole Hog for the Ride on July 28 are available at the door or go to www.bergamotrestaurant
.com. Event takes place from 10 p.m to 1 a.m. (food will stop at midnight) at Bergamot, 118 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-7700

‘We started back in March-April with the theory that if it is over 40 degrees, we are biking.’

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