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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trek Across Maine 2014

The Trek Across Maine this year coincided with a flurry of cramped schedules, end of school bustle and to do list longer than my leg.  Well, my legs aren't very long so a to do list longer than Sandi's leg.

A number of varying logistical issues had us stressing the major time commitment of the Trek this year.  It is nearly a four day event since we would need to be on the bus to Sunday River (the start) on Thursday at 2 and not returning home until later Sunday afternoon.  We made an executive decision to skip the first day and meet our team on day 2.  

It turns out this was a stroke of brilliance since day 1 was fraught with rain and cold.  Seventy miles of peddling and contenting with such factors made the decision very easy.  

Our modified Trek then had us leaving from our house Saturday morning and riding our bikes to Colby College (where day 2 ends).  Colby College has tent city where teams can gather and hang out on the lawn all afternoon.  Since we had an injured team member who was traveling by car to tent city with food and such, we threw our backpacks in her truck and rode our bikes the 55 miles (which, ironically, is the same distance as day 2 of the Trek).

Maya had us take Squeaky the dolphin on our adventure.

One of the fun parts about the Trek is the social component and the amazing amount of support, from traffic assistance to huge spreads of food at any of the 3 rest stops each day.   Being that we were riding on our own we had none of that and had to pack all our stuff.  The first 30 miles were literally nothing but hills, owning to one of the hardest rides I've ever done (excluding riding up Cadillac Mountain).  We also saw a snapping turtle and I got chased by 2 pit bulls while I was riding uphill.  I carry Mace for this sort of thing but I had left it at home (of course) and had to out peddle a pair of canines determined to eat my calves for lunch.   There are no pictures of that.

But you get the idea...

When we got to Colby, we came in a different way from the Trek route and found our way to our teammates dorm where they had all of our check-in materials.  Then we made our way toward the finish area to stow our bikes but the only way to get there was to join the Trek route.  All these spectators were yelling, "You did it! You made it!" and all I could do was laugh.  I felt a little like a poser but had to tell myself, well we did ride here and soon we were in the finish line chute accepting congratulations.

At the finish line we found a lemon.
Then it was time to get into dry clothes and hang out with our team for a few hours. (We had the BEST tent city pit crew this year and our tent didn't just not suck- it rocked!  Thanks Jaimee and Ann and Luke!!)  Better late then never. 

Team photo in our new jerseys:

Our team ended up as 18 people and we raised almost $13,000!  Nothing better than a good cause that is also this much fun.

Speaking of fun, I really needed some time away and some hearty fun.  And time on my bike always restores my soul.  There is always plenty of fun to be had with this guy around:

Getting ready to head to Belfast on the last day.

The ride to Belfast (day 3 for everyone else, day 2 for us) is beautiful and the most challenging of the 3 days.  And it was not even close to as hilly as what we did the day before.  It is just beautiful, pastoral and lush as you traverse the rolling terrain.

Favorite parts of day 3:

-Seeing 2 iPhones charging unattended in the hallway of the dining hall during breakfast.  This is the kind of trust and safety that exists among the Trekkers.

-Having a chicken run across the road right in front of us leading me to go over and over possible versions on the why did the chicken cross the road during the Trek Across Maine? theme.

-Seeing all the people, especially the kids, that come to the end of their driveways with signs and cowbells and cups of coffee to cheer on the 2,000 plus riders.

-Watching our friend Patrick, who has a prosthetic leg from a sky diving accident and was doing his first Trek, muscle his way up a huge hill.

-The cheerful "good mornings!" and joyful contentment of the riders throughout the miles.  When someone asks me, "How are you?"  and I say, "Great!  There is no where else I'd rather be!" and they grin and agree.  It is just such a happy event.

A mile before the finish line we met up with some of our similarly paced teammates at a designated area and hung out before riding in as a group.  It is actually one of my favorite parts when you are all done riding and people haven't all scattered yet.  The sun was shining and we just sat around chatting and stretching and talking about the highlights of our ride.

And then we rounded up and the 8 of us rode to the finish line where they forgot to announce us as a team and I caught sight of my mother who had come to watch us finish and had no idea it was us as we rode by.  The thrill of coming into Belfast and the throngs of cheering people never gets old.

As soon as the put the medal around my neck I couldn't wait to give it to one of the girls.  As soon as we saw them we each handed them a medal and they were overjoyed.  Now they have a green one each from last year and red one from this year.
It was 110 miles instead of 180 but it didn't matter at all to us.  All that mattered is that we raised the money and we got to have fun doing the Trek.  And we are already signed up for next year.   There is plenty of room on our team.  Anyone?  Anyone?  You, too, can eat free lobster rolls on Belfast harbor next Father's Day...

1 comment:

Nicholas Goldman said...

It sounds like you guys had much fun! I wish I was there. If I only lived in Maine...

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