No Excuses

Foot Bridge In Brunswick

Leaving Belfast

Dave, Carl and Matt

Future Destination Restaurant

Conditions were too good for me to have any excuses the last 2 days. No rain. No extreme heat. Abd reduced humidity.

July 7 (Belfast to Brunswick):

But there were 4,685 feet. That isn’t a huge number. But it is quite a bit more than 2,338 feet which is the number of feet that Google Maps had projected. I can say that I felt all of the additional 2,347 feet. However, the good news for me is that they weren’t as bad as they would have been a couple of days ago. Even though some of the grades were 13 and 14% (not sustained, but not infrequently, either).

I guess that has to do with the training that I did for this ride, which is to say pretty much nothing other than our weekly rides and that can hardly include Tuesdays because I wasn’t keeping up on those. I suppose it would have made sense to have done a number of consecutive day rides, but I didn’t. I figured that I could hurt while training or I could hurt here and with my usual procrastination I chose to hurt here. But I hope that things are improving.

What can I say about the ride? The weather was almost perfect, perfection having been missed because the temperature got all the way up to 80 or so after having spent much of the day in the high 60s, which are prefect. The skies were blue. The roads were, as has been true throughout Maine, at least B level and almost always very safe feeling. There are usually wide shoulders and they are usually free of debris. And while the surfaces aren’t glassy, they have been pretty good. If I knew that the rest of the roads were going to be comparable, I would be very pleased. And surprised.

I met Dave, Carl and Matt, cyclists, while I was lying on some grass gazing across the road at a building being constructed somewhere near Wiscasset, Maine. I called to them when they stopped at an intersection not far from where I was to see where they were going so I might tag along for a while. Unfortunately, they were heading back to where I had been. One of them mentioned that the building is going to be a restaurant. I was surprised because we really were out in the boonies but I was told that destination restaurants are popular in Maine. They mentioned one in the area – I should have gotten the name – that is so popular that you have to apply for a reservation a year in advance. Yes, apply. Because then they have a lottery to select those who will actually get in. And because it is a fixed menu, you better hope that you like what they are serving when your turn comes around, if it does.

At lunch I met a lady who had been going to the same restaurant daily for 30+ years. She had watched generations of waitresses go through the restaurant.

As always, I was glad to get to the finish, 74 miles later. But I was actually feeling pretty good.

Norm And Lin

Leaving Brunswick

Entering Portland

From The Bridge Into Portland

More Pretty Maine

In Portland

Carolyn And Bob

Bob And Me

July 8 (Brunswick to Portsmouth, NH):

Another great day. Outstanding weather, meaning moderate temperatures and no rainstorms. Plus the skies were blue, the scenery was beautiful – rivers, a bay and the ocean and always lush vegetation – and the roads remained excellent. I am a life long Californian and I love where I live but I have to say that you cannot beat Maine. At least during the right time of the year. Because, unlike California, the winters can be brutal and the humidity can be oppressive. But for now, Maine has been paradise.

I also have to mention riding into Portland because that was on a paved bike path that skirts the bay and drops you into the heart of town. I rode past a large cruise ship that was docked there and was not surprised that that beautiful port was on the cruise’s itinerary.

I met Norm and Lin at the motel this morning, 2 very avid bicyclists from New Zeland who are traveling self supported. I don’t know their exact route, but it will be well more than 1,000 miles and this is just their current ride. They have done other long distance rides in the USA including Canada to Mexico down the west coast, throughout the state of Oregon and on the east coast. Not to mention a long ride in Europe. At 74, Norm said that the rides have become a little more difficult. BUT he, and Lin, are still doing them. Safe travels Lin and Norm!

My 85 miles today included around 20 on some dirt paths. Although they were packed hard enough that I could do 15 mph even up a slight incline. I definitely prefer paved routes.

One of the paths crossed some paved roads and at one intersection I met Holden and Wilson, brothers who had a free lemonade stand. How could I pass that up, especially since I was assured it was cold? Despite it being free, their sign said that donations were accepted and they clearly appreciated mine.

I spent a while talking to them – they were both very articulate, and polite – and learned that their mother’s cousin had ridden across the US last year. Bob, their dad, showed up and said it had been a central route. When he said that they had enjoyed reading his posts and tracking his progress across the country, I had to give him a Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card and asked to include Wilson’s and Holden’s photo in my blog. Hello, to you 2; I know from your dad’s message that you will be following along. I hope you post a comment and say hi.

Riding into Portsmouth was fun because that is where last year’s ride ended. Those were some good memories.

Fitting right into that, the evening ended great because I had dinner with Bob Bernoth and his wife Carolyn. That was special because it was Bob who rode into Portsmouth with me last year to celebrate the end of Laura’s Ride North with us. Thank you Bob and Carolyn for making the drive to meet me for dinner and thank you for your generosity in getting me dinner. I hope to see you again though next time lets make it when you come stay with Sandi and me in California.

Although I definitely got tired today, I felt that I had more power going up hills (3,219 feet). I hope that continues. Me getting stronger, that is, not the climbing though other than tomorrow, that won’t end for a while yet.

Tomorrow is Boston and our first rest day after what will be 8 consecutive days of riding. I am sure my body will appreciate it.

Good night,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Stultifying Heat To Torrential Rain

Leaving Bangor

Belfast Harbor Restaurant

From Belfast Harbor

The weather reports warned of thunder showers so I took my light rain jacket with me. However, because it wasn’t raining I stuffed it into a jersey pocket.

The temperature was great, high 60’s, though still very humid. The roads also continued to be everything one could hope for. While I have ridden on smoother surfaces, these were fine and almost all had wide, relatively clean shoulders. And, as always on this trip, the scenery was beautiful.

I started off optimistic because yesterday went pretty well and today was only 51 miles. I felt better at the start than I had the past few days and that remained pretty much during the ride.

Maybe 20 miles into the ride it started to rain just enough that I stopped to put on my rain jacket. I was a little reluctant because with the humidity I really didn’t want to add clothes. But it was raining enough that I thought it would help.

Since it wasn’t cold, and because the shoulder was pretty wide, the rain was no big deal. Until it was. The skies pretty much opened up and it was coming down so hard that I stopped to put my phone and Garmin in plastic bags in my jersey pocket because as far as I know, neither is guaranteed as water proof. My phone still communicated with my ear piece – I use it for directions – so that wasn’t a problem but I did miss not having the data visible from the Garmin. I especially like to keep track of my speed, the grade and the distance I have gone. I don’t know how much it mattered, though, because I am not sure I could have read the screen anyway between the water that would have been on the screen, the water that did cover my glasses – yes, window wipers are very useful – and the density of the falling rain. My vision generally was impaired so I made an effort to slow down, especially on the descents, so I wouldn’t hit something I hadn’t seen

After some number of miles – I don’t know how many because the Garmin was in my pocket – I turned into the first small market I had seen for a number of mules. I knew I was wet when I walked in but was surprised when I moved one of my arms and water poured out of my sleeve. So I wouldn’t make too big of a puddle in the store, I stepped outside and loosened the cuff on my other sleeve to let another stream of water out. I had been so wet that I didn’t know how wet I was. When I walked back into the store, I was greeted with, “You should dry off after you take a shower,” to which I responded that I don’t get that wet when I do shower.

I got a soft drink and a slice of pizza since I hadn’t really had breakfast because of the motel we had stayed in. I pulled my credit card out when I saw a sign saying there was a $5 minimum to use a card because I prefer to use my card rather than getting change from using cash. To say the least, I was surprised when the bill was less than $3.00 (and it had been a large pizza slice). I wish the cost of our other meals had surprised me the same way.

After eating and cleaning my glasses – yes, a futile act – I figured I mught as well get started on the last 20 or so miles. While it was still raining, the intensity had diminished significantly and finally got to be light enough that I stopped to remount the Garmin.

Ale caught me about 10 miles from the finish and I took the opportunity to down a half bottle of Pelligrino and exchange the rain jacket for a wind breaker since it had stopped raining. Not that the rain jacket had lived up to its name when it was raining.

The last 10 miles were fun and there were even a few times when I would push part way up an incline, a marked contrast from my typical slow spin in a low gear. I hope I can do more of that as the ride progresses.

So, another day of no cramps and improving legs. And no complaining about the heat.

After Ale and I had dinner at Belfast harbor and were looking across a large river whose name I won’t even attempt that empties into the ocean not far from here, Ale said that she didn’t want to leave this state. Having been on the previous 2 rides, Ale has now seen more of our country’s states than have most Americans and her conclusion is that Maine is her favorite of all. It certainly is beautiful. Because I didn’t yesterday, I will include some photos of Bar Harbor to help substantiate that claim.

So, day 5 is now in the books – 52 miles, 2,450 feet, with 3 more ride days before we get to Boston where we will spend an R&R day. I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s 77 miles and 2,200 feet. Not a killer, by any means. But I have been a bit wimpy so far. But, as I have said, just keep on pedaling.

I look forward to hearing from some of you. With special thanks to Sandi, Annie, Karen and Sal for your comments.

Rick

Another Bar Harbor Hotel

Bat Harbor

Our Dinner View Outside Of Central Bar Harbor

My Sea Food Platter (I ate The Asparagus Too, Sal)

From Near The Restaurant

Beach Near The Restaurant