WINDSOR LOCKS, CT
TO BAR HARBOR, ME
May 20 to 26, 2018
2,241 Miles total with 70,938' of climb
Day 29. 23.2 Miles. 1,585' of climb. We welcomed a cloudy
day but with no rain. Also, temperatures were about 10-15 degrees warmer. More long, steep hills today with several registering 10% and one long one at 12%. The relentless hills were taxing to the legs but also to a bicycle that had been designed for Florida riding.
At the 22 mile mark, the left pedal broke off of its arm as I stared at it incredulous. Fortunately, I was only 1 mile from the rest stop and, without another major climb, I was able to 1-pedal it the remaining distance. Unfortunately, I would have to wait for the part to be express shipped in before riding again. However, on the drive back to Florida, Sherry will drop me off so I can ride any segments that had been missed along the way. After all, if one is going to ride the Atlantic Coast, one must actually ride it.
Day 30. 0 Miles. Had to ride in the van to our destination for the night while awaiting the part. Another nice church. It is an older building but clean and quaint and in good repair. It will be good lodging for the night and the express shipped part can be delivered here by 10 o'clock in the morning.
The broken part actually is a blessing. From the beginning of the ride, I had felt that only 3 rest days were insufficient. 11 days of consecutive riding is a little much to ask, especially considering the longer, steeper hills in the New England area. The legs and seat become quite weary on long days of 80 plus miles. This forced day off would allow the body to heal sufficiently and offer new energy for the remaining 5 days of the tour. Then, with a few days off, I can come back and attack the missed segments to totally complete the mileage.
Road Kill. It was impossible to count the precise number of critters pasted to the road along the way but we generally agreed on an informal accounting. There were 4 deer, 1 squirrel, 2 porcupines, a skunk and many unrecognizable. However, the greatest number by far were the possums. They won hands down even after discounting their number by 25% because of the possibility that some were simply "Playing possum."
Day 31. 53.5 Miles. 2,394' of climb. The part arrived precisely at 10 AM and it took less than 5 minutes to install. It was very nice that 4 other riders stayed behind with me so I would not be riding alone. We were on the road by 10:15. With a day's rest, the hills did not seem as steep and the mileage was easily completed. One problem was that the rain began around the halfway point. It had been forecast, however, so we were appropriately dressed and it was easily taken in stride.
The latter portion of the ride hugged the picturesque Maine coastline which likely made the ride seem easier. It is in considerable contrast to that of Florida. Although very beautiful, however, the water temperature is unbelievably cold.
The night's lodging was scheduled for an oceanfront campground. As attractive as that may seem, a local hotel only a mile away seemed a better choice than setting up a tent in the rain. And the prospect of a lobster dinner in town cemented that decision.
Day 32. 50.4 Miles. 2,349' of climb. Although showers persisted through the night, the morning broke sunny and clear. It was one of the most perfect days for riding on the entire trip--or it may be possible that we simply appreciated it more after those several inclement days.
Dogs. One of the banes of cycling is the constant threat of interdiction by loose dogs. Being bitten is not the greatest problem, but that the dog will disrupt the front wheel in some fashion and we will suddenly find ourselves on the ground. If a dog is unleashed, the best course is to simply pedal as fast as possible until the dog tires of the chase. In the southern states, there were many such encounters and all of us were successful in outrunning the dogs sufficiently with no unpleasant confrontations. From Maryland northward, although there seemed to be an equal number of dogs, they seemed to be either fenced or leashed so they posed no threat to our safety.
Day 33. 57.4 Miles. 3,068' of climb. The day was clear and sunny but quite cold. Again, it had been forecast and we dressed for it so it was not a problem. As the day progressed, we could remove one layer but, amazingly, the temps stayed low throughout the day. One problem, however, was that the steep hills returned. Several were 10-12% with one more than 1,000' long at 13-14%. That was a killer. We could paper-boy parts of it but there was auto traffic and we had to tough it out whenever cars approached.
The group stayed at a Congregational church for the night and our route leaders prepared a hearty spaghetti dinner for us. A long day of 76 miles awaits us with nearly 5,000' of climbing and the pasta will help us through that.
Day 34. 75.0 Miles. 4,844' of climb. Sunny and warmer. 51 degrees at the start but in the middle 60's within an hour. We climbed more than usual but the hills, although long, were not as steep. We traveled along more of Maine's beautiful, rocky coast. People were playing and picnicking on the beach but no one was venturing into that cold water.
Tomorrow is our last day. Bring it on!
Day 35. 42.1 Miles. 2,264' of climb. The last day was a breeze. The hills were not bad but the adrenaline boost of the finish excitement likely helped. Rain had been forecast but temps in the 60's and 70's prevailed without a drop falling on our helmets. All of us rode into Bar Harbor together and dipped our wheels into the waters of Penobscot Bay.
It had been an eventful but very successful ride. No one dropped out along the way and the camaraderie was considerable. My heart wishes the ride could continue for a few more weeks but my legs say, "Are you serious!"
It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you don't stop.