I’ve finally returned from the Trek Across Maine. This was my second year participating and I owe that to my friend Tracey who convinced me to join last year. It didn’t take much for me to be hooked.
Thanks to everyone who gave financial and moral support. It’s such a great event! Almost 2300 riders registered with almost 1900 actually participating, and we raised over $1.3 million! I’m signed up for the 2009 Trek next year, which will be the 25th year. How exciting!!
So, here is my account of the Trek…
TREK ARRIVAL AND CHECK-IN
Last year, even though I raised over $1200 I did not qualify for Winner’s Circle, which is a special check in for people who have submitted all their paperwork and have raised $1000 prior to the start of the Trek. (These have to be paid pledges, and bill-me-later pledged do not count.) Luckily my sponsors this year were great about paying up front and their generous donations made a huge difference. I’d like to especially thank Cornerbrook Plaza Eye Care and Maine Septic and Pumping for their pledges.
My friends Julie and Tracey had qualified for Winner’s Circle early on and right before the start I had too, so we were both able to check in together and have our photo taken with our snazzy new 2008 Trek jerseys.
We stayed at Sunday River the night before the Trek, which is where it starts. I was suffering from either some major allergies or a cold and with the night before the longest day, we made it an early night.
DAY 1: Sunday River to UMF, Farmington, ME
The morning was expected to be cool. As it turned out the sun was working its magic and warming things up quite nicely very early on before we started. Once we were all assembled it was time for a group photo.
The route from Sunday River to the first rest stop in Rumford was a great road where I was able to get some shots of the group riding along.
Now, we weren’t the biggest team, but when we rolled by other riders, you couldn’t help but smile and the words of admiration and awe coming from them. We really looked impressive in our club kit. I can’t tell you how many riders said, “Wow” as we passed by them. You aren’t supposed to ride pace lines in this event but when you ride single file, with your team, it’s bound to happen. Not to mention we ride together all year long so that’s what we are used to doing. One guy said we were the most organized “train” he had seen and he, among others throughout the weekend, all wanted to hop on and ride with us.
I asked a volunteer to shoot this video of us coming to the finish at UMF.
At the finish of the first day they serve baked potatoes with practically anything you can think of for toppings. I don’t eat potatoes but they did have chili for them so I was able to just have a bowl of chili for my post ride meal.
But the day wasn’t over yet as some of us chose to put on another 40 miles on top of the 60 we had already done for a full century. We chose to ride to Phillips to my mother’s house. It was a much better road for cycling than I thought it was going to be from a traffic standpoint and we rewarded ourselves with ice cream on the way back to UMF, where we stayed for the first night.
DAY 2 – UMF to Colby College, Waterville, ME
Day 2 was destined to be as nice as Day 1. The weather was incredible. We were all awake pretty early for breakfast and were probably a little anxious for our 7:30 departure.
Unfortunately Russ blew a spoke in his wheel that could not be repaired. Luckily Jake, our club’s bike shop mechanic, was stationed and the first rest stop not far away. Our team member Robert, who is also a mech at the shop, changed out Russ’s wheel so we didn’t have to wait for Jake to do it, as he was pretty busy with other riders’ issues.
We rode casually into Waterville so we could all stay pretty much together. I was mentioning to a couple team members that riding in our group was such a calming and peaceful way to ride. Of course it helped when I stayed in the back without taking any pulls due to the way I had been feeling all weekend.
I did manage to ride ahead of the group and video them heading out on the start of the day and coming into the finish at Colby.
4 of our teammates decided to ride a few more miles for another century that afternoon and just made it back prior to the team photo portion of the weekend. (Two of our teammates weren’t available for the photo.)
Keep in mind that 3 of our team mates had also ridden their bikes to Sunday River for an additional century. So for them they rode 3 consecutive centuries, which required celebrating that evening. It was also Julie’s first century on Friday, and she followed that with a second century the next day. I wish I could have joined them for the Saturday century but my allergies, or this cold, was just too much, and not being able to sleep well the previous two nights, I was in need of a nap.
DAY 3 – Colby College to Belfast, ME
Don’t let this picture of the sun illuminating the library fool you. It was a bit after 5am and I was excited to see the sun.
However, the forecast called for showers. We checked the radar and decided to hit the road early in an attempt to beat the rain. Didn’t happen. It started raining not long after we departed. It took me about 15 miles, to the first rest stop, to become accustomed to riding in the rain and on wet roads. Ordinarily I wouldn’t ride in the rain so I was a bit apprehensive to say the least. But it needed to be done. No pacelines today. We gave each other room to ride at our own pace.
Once we approached the finish we stopped to take off our rain jackets so we could “fly the team colors” riding across the finish. When we stopped we were joined by the rest of our team that chose to start a bit later. So there were 6 of us to ride across the line together and I’m sure it was very impressive. Unfortunately with the weather I didn’t take one single picture. After the event everyone was too chilled and we scattered to find our luggage and some dry clothes, in addition to some BBQ provided by the Trek.
It was a great weekend. Everyone enjoyed riding casually together, which probably made the many centuries of the weekend possible. I only wish I had been feeling better to accomplish 2 myself. We couldn’t have asked for anything more from the weather Friday and Saturday, though the weather Sunday was a bit of a damper. Still, not a horrible weekend and I don’t think that even Sunday’s rain could tarnish the fond memories we have of the weekend.
Many of us are already signed up again for next year. Let’s hope our team for the Trek continues to grow in numbers and enthusiasm.