Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Maine Bike Rally (July Vacation Part 1)

That’s how our vacation started; at the Maine Bike Rally, in Fryeburg, Maine (July 11-13). I was fortunate in that one of my co-workers took my shift on Thursday (7/10) so I could spend that day getting “stuff” done. That stuff included moving everything in our basement so it could be painted while we were away, weeding the yard, and well, you get the picture. Friday morning it was time to actually get ready for the trip, and that meant packing, stuffing everything into the Element, and dropping Luna off at the kennel. Once all that was done, we were on the road—first to Portland, ME, for lunch. From Portland we shot west—through the tourist trap that is Sebago Lake—and ultimately arrived in Fryeburg. We didn’t have time to make any of the rides on the first day, but we got our tent set up, scoped out the scene (so many great rides available), and planned our weekend. On Friday night we got to see a great slide show (don’t worry, it was digital) about a couple that was touring through Arizona when there bikes were stolen by some crack-heads. In the end, they got the bikes back, but not until they confronted the alleged thief in the “hood.” It was very entertaining, and the teaching point is to ALWAYS lock your bike.

Saturday morning we got up, got our “included” breakfast, and chose our route. We picked a fun 20+-miler called the Farm and Garden loop or something like that. The rural roads in Northern Maine were great and the ride was very fun. We got back in time for me to participate in one of the group mountain bike rides. We had to carpool about 12 miles to North Conway, but the trail was worth it—fun singletrack with some good climbs and good downhills.

The Rally had an amazing spread set up for dinner that night with chicken, portabello mushrooms, pulled pork and other stuff that Jean ate. From there we were sucked in to watching a movie presentation by a Canadian couple who rode their bikes 8,000km through Mongolia, China, Tibet, Nepal and India. While I do think a ride of that magnitude is impressive, the movie was so self-congratulatory that it was sickening. It’s not like they were over there building schools or working with sick people—they were on a ride for themselves, and it was annoying hearing them talk about how they always find new and challenging ways to push themselves beyond the limit. Blah, blah, blah. Get a job and a haircut.

Sunday we got out for another road ride, this time on part of the Kancamagus highway. This was a very scenic 35-mile ride and a great way to stretch the legs out. After that, it was time to break camp and head to North Conway to support the local “Outlet” economy. Jean didn’t do so well, but I cleaned up at Reebok and Pearl Izumi, and scored a nice sweater from Brooks Brothers. We hit the road and then made for Vermont—to the Northeast Kingdom for riding at Kingdom Trails. We drove into to scattered showers and storms…hmmmm… the trails might be messy…It rained ALL night Sunday night, and stopped just before sunrise. The weather outlook for Monday was questionable, but in the end, the rain held off and while the trails were muddy in spots, any day on Kingdom Trails is a good day.

1 comment:

Adam said...

The 20th Annual Maine Bike Rally and League of American Bicyclists’ National Rally in Fryeburg was a huge success. The rally and related events drew a record crowd of more than 650 people from all over the United States and Canada. Several veterans of previous Maine Bike Rallies declared the Fryeburg event the best ever.


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