In the weeks leading up to our Mount Desert Island (“MDI”) weekend, we stumbled upon this list of the best bike ride in each of the 50 states, according to Bicycling Magazine. Coincidentally the ride in Maine is the Cadillac Challenge Loop, which covers all of MDI, including Cadillac Mountain. The description on the site reads: “Pedal these 98 winding miles through Acadia National Park and you’ll pass rocky cliffs, secluded coves, and lighthouses—and climb up 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the park’s high point and the first spot in the United States to catch rays from the rising sun.” Sounds great, right? It did to us, so we planned to tackle the challenge on Saturday, but with a slightly modified route so that we could start/end at our campsite and ride up Cadillac Mountain at the beginning to see the sunrise.
This has been in part motivated by the fact that my friend, Andy, is riding in the Lotoja Classic 2016, a 200+ mile ride from Logan, UT to Jackson, WY. In order to help him prepare, another friend, James, and I have gone on several long rides with him this spring and summer. The longest of these rides was still 80 miles shorter than Lotoja, though, so hopefully our efforts paid off! All of these rides might sound crazy (at first they did to me as well), but once you’ve ridden 30 miles, 50 doesn’t seem crazy anymore – then you ride 50, and 75 doesn’t seem crazy anymore. So it is really a matter of perspective, and if you don’t set a limit for yourself, then your definition of “crazy” can slowly creep towards the ceiling. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an endurance athlete of any sort, but I guess I dabble.
This is the only picture anyone took during the ride, and it was during the one section where we walked, because the road was too rough and it wasn’t worth risking flat tires. Fortunately it was only ~200yds long. Continue reading James’ Monster Ride
Despite a lack of preparation and a less-than-ideal weather forecast, I signed up for my first Brevet ride which took place last weekend. The weather turned out great, except for one brief (but long/heavy enough to fill our shoes) period of rain. I was joined by my friend and former colleague Andy, but also made another friend/riding partner in the process, James (also from my former employer).
We were fortunate to ride with a few others who knew the route, which saved us from constantly referring to the cue sheet. The route was top-notch, aside from some sections of rough road, with some great scenery to boot. Also, I heard a good analogy that I won’t soon forget. Andy and I lead a group of 10 (or so) cyclists astray. It was an easy mistake to correct, but they were surprised because we seemed so confident in our decision. Andy replied, saying something like, “You can think of us as the sled dogs… we may take the front and pull you along, but we certainly don’t know where we’re going.”
Last year Rachel and I wanted to take part in the New England Parkinson’s Ride but couldn’t due to a schedule conflict. This year, we had been thinking we wanted to sign up for a century ride soon after we finished our tour, and the timing worked out perfectly! We started the day with a large group of cyclists and despite my best efforts, I took my turn at the front of the pack several times. The group slowly dwindled, typically losing a few riders at every refuel station, but we (Rachel & I) always tried to get started again with everyone else. The time flew by and we were surprised to see we were already 65 miles in at a particular rest stop. After that point, though, the group disbanded almost completely and we carried on with only a small handful of people. At the end, it was Rachel, myself and another rider, named John, who remained loyal and helped us finish with a great average pace. We shared some great stories and got to know John a little bit during the ride, but never exchanged info afterwards because he rode back on the course to meet up with his girlfriend who was riding the 50mile route. Maybe we will meet up with him again next year 🙂
We lucked out with great weather, and really enjoyed the route. There were some beautiful sections along the coast, as well as through some nice little towns and quiet back roads. It was so great to be involved in such a successful fundraiser for a charity that we love to support.