Sunday I decided to go for a bike ride to enjoy Maine's scenery. I kitted up Sherman and set of in the wee hours for what I hoped was going to be an enjoyable trek. Clearly I had completely forgotten that we were surrounded by mountain-sized hills. This realization came crashing in on me very quickly as the ride became a succession of long painful climbs followed by a short burst of speed on the downhill and then quickly down-shifting for the next hill. But this is how we get better. Right?
Riding through the heart of Raymond I was given a brief respite as it was mostly flat because it was the top of the hill. The elevation also allowed me to get my first cell signal of the weekend. Soon I came to the down side of the hill where I had the most fun of the ride; my speed topped out at almost 40 mph as I bombed down the road, hoping that a moose didn't decide to walk out into the open at that exact moment.
Alas, the fun couldn't last and it was back to the long slow climbs. This continued for several miles, but at least it evened out a bit so it was a somewhat pleasant ride along a big lake. I was enjoying the scenery and the nice, sunny day until I came up to the intersection of Rt 26 where I needed to...wait, Rt 26? That wasn't on my route. Dammit! I missed my turn! A consult with the map showed that I could take a road and cut back to where I wanted to be but this little detour added about 8 miles to the ride. Super.
Off I went, trying not to get killed on the absolute worst road I have ever ridden on, until I was making my way back to the road that would get me back home. I knew I was getting closer to my last turn, although I couldn't help but notice the very large and steep hill that was getting nearer and nearer. Where the hell was the turn? No freakin' way was I going to make it up that monster hill. It had a radio tower on top of it! For the first time though, luck was on my side. The road I was looking for ran along the base of the hill. Finally I was heading towards home and man was I tired.
My luck was short-lived; they had saved the best for last. A couple miles down the road began the longest and steepest section of the entire route. Looking up the hill I couldn't help but curse its very existence. I rapidly down-shifted and kept doing so until I found myself in first. Yes, I actually had to use first gear. The climb began and didn't stop until nearly two miles later when finally, tired, worn out, and increasingly frustrated with the entire state of Maine, I emerged at the peak. At this point the terrain took pity on me and it was mostly downhill from there. Arriving home at last I rapidly took off my shoes, threw off my shirt, and submerged myself in the lake. Aaah.
|You can just make out the mountain goats on that last peak|