Tag Archives: Trek Across Maine

Winding Down from Crazy

Well, I’m back from the Trek and this week has been crazy!

First I’ll start with the Trek. It was AWESOME!

As I posted earlier, I was undecided about signing up again. But I have. How can I not? It’s just so damn fun!

Me and my friend Jen, her first Trek.

The weather was pretty good this year, too. Hot Friday, cloudy Saturday, and sunny, breezy Sunday.

With a small team this year, I ended up riding a fair bit by myself. We just ride at our own pace and no necessarily with our teammates so I just did my own ride. Typically we’d all catch up at the rest stops.

I had a friend that lent me a helmet camera for the Trek.

Helmet cam. I am a geek.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to test it out before leaving. Without a computer to download the footage it was so hard to know where the camera was pointing so I had to hope for the best. I’m happy to say that I got some really great footage of the pavement between Bethel and Belfast. I wonder if the Maine Department of Transportation can use any of it?

Since I returned it’s been a crazy week. Crazy at work and also busy after work with social commitments. One of those commitments was attending a fundraiser for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine at Flatbread Pizza. I had heard they had a decent gluten free crust and after checking out the ingredients, finding that they were satisfactory, I ordered a pizza. That was a highlight of me week – real pizza that I haven’t had in a very long time!

Now the week is winding down and the weather a little dreary. No matter. I’m just enjoying a little downtime with my husband before things get crazy again. They always do.

At the finish in Belfast, Maine.

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Trek Across Maine – Year 5

This is my fifth year at the Trek Across Maine. In recognition of that I received a hat.

A few years ago I decided to do this for at least five years then figure out where I am and if I wanted to do it again. I’m still undecided.

Today is our first leg – Sunday River in Bethel to UMF in Farmington.

The weather today is supposed to be nice. As I lay in the hotel bed I can see clear skies and sun illuminating the morning. Tomorrow could be a little wet and I’m hoping “showers” avoids us for the most part.

I’m Trekker number 14 this year of approximately 2000 cyclists. The low number is the result of registering early, when it opens in May for the following year. Two years ago I had number 10 for the same reason.

There are so many great things about the Trek and one that’s my favorite is seeing all the people that I usually only see at this event. It really has become near and dear to my heart, as it has for many of the other rides. Each one of us has a story for riding. For me, it’s just fun and i’m happy to be able to be here another year.

As I write this, I wonder if I had already decided to be here again next year.

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Trek Across Maine – Day 3

We were not surprised to wake to wet roads yet again. Breakfast opened early at 5:30 and the hall was quite busy at that hour. I think most people were anxious to get the last day over and get home.

After picking up the bikes and meeting up with friends I threw my leg over the bike to clip in and realized that my crank was spinning freely and not engaging the wheel/cassette. I wasn’t going anywhere.

I urged my friends to go ahead without me as I got in line for a mechanic, who told me I was done. He wasn’t able to help me. There was another mechanic on site but he only had a spare 9-speed wheel and not a 10-speed wheel so that wasn’t going to help either.

My only option was to hop a sag wagon to the first rest stop to receive help there. I can’t believe how disappointed I felt not being able to ride. My heart sank even more after passing a couple friends. I received a text from another friend who said that Jamie of Gorham Bike and Ski was at the first rest stop. I felt a little relief but also knew that if he couldn’t help me it would probably mean a sag ride all the way into Belfast.

To my glee, Jamie had a 10-speed wheel for me to borrow to get me to Belfast. After it was installed I rode off with a couple other friends I had met there (the ones I passed in the sag wagon). Unfortunately I just didn’t have the legs to keep up with them. They had already ridden 15 miles so they were much more warmed up that I was after having sitting in the back of a club cab for 15 miles. I finally told them to go ahead without me. With a 20 mph head wind I couldn’t continue to catch up to them after being dropped on a few of the climbs.

At the second rest stop I met up with the friends that I parted with at the beginning of the day. We rode mostly together from there to Belfast and crossed the line together.

My husband was there to meet us. After a quick bite to eat at the BBQ we were on the road back home.

Even with all the rain and gray skies, the Trek is one of my favorite biking events. I signed up for next year’s Trek on May 28th, before this year’s Trek even took place. Hopefully we’ll have better weather in 2010.

Trek Video

Please forgive the typo at the end – next year’s event is 2010 not 2001.

This year’s event was the 25th anniversary with 2000 riders, 600 volunteers and over $1.6 million raised! Thank you to those who pledged and participated.



Busy Week with a Cycling Finish

It’s been a very hectic week thus far. Not only is it crazy busy at work but I’m also preparing to depart for the Trek Across Maine, which is a 180-mile bike ride over three days from Sunday River Ski Resort in the western mountains to the coastal town of Belfast, Maine.

I’ve managed a couple rides in over the past couple days, which has only put me behind in my packing and preparations. I like to lay everything out to make sure I have what I need then pack them all up. Unfortunately the weather is looking dreary with chances of rain for all three days so my clothing choices will have to be adjusted.

The bright side, literally and figuratively, to my trip is that I’m biking with a few friends to Sunday River from our home town of Portland. That will be a nice 80-mile warmup for the miles to come.

If you were considering donating to this worthy cause, you can still do so by clicking HERE. Last year we raised over 1 million dollars for the American Lung Association.

I participate in this event in honor of my father. Even though he died of heart disease, his health problems started from smoking. My father had his first heart attack at 36, a quin-bypass at 38, and dead at 49. I miss him every day, even though he has been gone almost 17 years. So cycling keeps me healthy in addition to raising money to hopefully prevent others from the same fate as my father. But the American Lung Associate is more than just smoking prevention. They are also fighting for clean air. That’s something we ALL benefit from!

I might not be posting much on the blog until I return but you can follow me on Twitter, if you are so inclined.

Trek Across Maine

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

That evening we headed to the local pub, The Granary, for a drink and to listen to the sounds of The Dead Sexies.

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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.

RECAP

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.