The Internet of Bikes: A-D Bikes RideXme – Bethel to the Bay

I have always wanted to ride the Trek Across Maine, but I have never been much of a camper. The only alternative was to ride it in a day. Without much planning, Tak and I decided to go for it: the weather was fine, school was out and there were no races on. I obtained a Maine Gazetter and plotted out the route. My efforts to use a Garmin 810 were fruitless and in the end it was much easier to use a simple cue sheet given that the route itself is very straightforward. We arrived at Gould Academy and prepared for an 8 am start. I carried two bottles of Sustained Energy, a sandwich and some Hammer Gel, along with my cellphone attached to an Anker external battery. This was a smart move given that I got lost right at the start and we spent a bit of time on the phone trying to get me back on course (I went South on Route 26 instead of North. Doh!). Once I was on track, the ride became more relaxing; I was keeping up a brisk pace as I felt like I had lost time and I had a long way to go; I was also not  very sure how long the ride would take. The scenery was very nice: the sun was warm, the sky was a deep blue, the greens were bright and the clouds seemed to be within arms reach. The plan was for Tak to drive to Farmington and go for a ride; I would re-provision at the car and keep on going. Tak would then catch up in the car around Waterville.
The plan worked fine. I arrived in Farmington after four hours of riding. I felt like that would keep me on schedule. I found the car, picked up some food, and continued north on Route 27 towards Kingfield. This section was tough: it was uphill and there was a strong headwind; I was also heading away from my ultimate destination and there were some seriously big and fast moving trucks. I was pleased to get off Route 27 and head south again. From Route 16 almost all the way to Route 3 I had a very strong tailwind; I made up a lot of time here. Nevertheless, it was long and in some places the roads were rough and the traffic was busy. I concentrated on the road and the traffic.
Just before Waterville, Tak caught up in the car. We stopped and I refilled bottles and had a sandwich. I had completed the leg from Farmington to Waterville in under four hours; I was on track to complete the ride within a reasonable time frame. I pushed through downtown Waterville and soon i was rounding China Lake. Although I had some 50 miles to go, I felt like this was the home stretch. Route 3 was busy and very rough but it was the last big road before Route 173, which is  familiar territory and the last section of the ride. Indeed, the last 20 miles were tough as I was feeling the effort and there are some good hills around Liberty and Searsmont. Tak followed me all the way in to Lincolnville Beach. We arrived around 5:30 pm after some nine hours of riding (seven bottles of Sustained Energy, plenty of Hammer Gel, three sandwiches, bananas.) It was a great relief. No mechanicals. No bonk. I was still coherent. It was my longest ride. Would I do it again? Probably not. Some of the roads were just too busy and from a training perspective, a tougher route could be worked out around Bethel. But it was fun and I am glad I did it: it was a cycling adventure that included Tak, we both saw parts of Maine we have not seen before and it was a challenge for me. If I am persuaded to do it again, I will suggest that the ride continues from Lincolnville Beach to Eastport. That would really make it a Ride Across Maine. Anyone? Anyone? 
Staging Selfie
On the road
Make my GoPro go
Route 232
China Lake
Androscoggin River

Fine scenery

Carrabasset River
A-D Superleicht running FOS 38 tubulars

Feed Zone

At Penobscott Bay

Seven of these bottles

186 miles later

Finish Selfie
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