Monday, July 20, 2015
There is very little access to internet – so we haven’t been in touch with what is going on in the world. And that might be a good thing. We discovered later (once internet re-appeared) that south of Maine the country is baking in heat. We are enjoying perfect bicycling weather conditions – temperatures in the 60’s, overcast skies, and just enough fog to keep a constant mist on your skin. Today’s ride has us working our way south along the Maine coastline south of Rockland.
Despite my yearning for miles that don’t include mega+ percent grade hills, we are still located in ‘hill country’. Here is how hill climbing on a 40+ pound 38 mil fat tire touring bicycle works –
- You notice you are riding toward what appears to be a WALL
- You tell yourself it is NOT a wall
- You size up the ‘non-wall’ and convince yourself it’s not that bad
- ¾ of the way up the ‘non-wall’, you have used up all your lower gears and you wonder if it is time to un-clip your shoes from the bike to avoid the dreaded bike-topple and just walk the bike to the top
- And just when your mind has you convinced that walking up “the wall” would not shame your ego, your heart takes over
- the thought of letting that ‘non-wall hill’ turn you into a walker is too much to bear
- So you leave a few remnants of your lungs on the road
- And somehow dig deep for one more piece of grit to reach the summit
Your reward to climbing the “Maine rollers”, is the downhill. I’m gradually letting go of my need for ‘safe descents’ and now opt for high speed descents to help gain momentum for the next hill.
Today’s ride took us through remote countryside, seaside towns and a community that appears to be built around lobster fishing. Homes had front yards filled with lobster pots, broken boat parts, fishing vessels, and free roaming chickens.
A dense fog hugged the coast and throughout most of our ride we were not able to view the beauty of the coastline. Since we had some miles to make up, it was OK that we didn’t stop constantly to take pictures. We have discovered that within the less populated areas of Maine, the drivers are bicycle friendly. This might have something to do with Maine law that drivers must give bicyclists 3 feet of room when passing. In Maryland, where the same law exists – good luck with that 3′ safe zone. But here in Maine, not only do the drivers slow before passing, but they wait until they can give you an entire lane of clearance. Sweet!
I’m also learning to appreciate roads with slow speed limits. For example, roads that are marked 25 or 35 miles per hour – are by far my favorite roads to bicycle on. Everyone gets to experience travels in less of a rush. We had to bike along a few that have 55 mph limits – but fortunately the shoulders were wide, or the volume of traffic was slim to none in these faster zones.
I am also awestruck by the intensity that water flows between low and high tides in Maine. It easily resembles rapids – and of course we had to stop to capture this on video.
At the end of today’s ride, we met up with our SAG support driver Paddy who biked the final miles with us like a pacer. We then found a cafe, and inhaled halibut chowder and a plate load of food, along with the most fantastic coffee. Funny how food and coffee are more delicious than ever after a day of bicycling.