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.
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.