Steven and I road our bikes from 10:00am to 7:30pm Sunday, May 16. We wanted to ride from his apartment in Old Town back to our home in Gardiner.
Around 7:30AM we left Gardiner and hauled our bikes to Old Town. The drive up was uneventful. It was a crowded vehicle with all the bikes, food, and equipment needed for the day. On the bike ride back to Gardiner, Doreen drove our Ford Freestyle along the route as Steven and I made our way.
On the trip, I had a Garmin watch that recorder GPS coordinates. Here is a map of the first half of the trip, about 44 miles. The top is the map, the bottom shows the elevation:
The first 20 miles were pretty smooth, and Steven and I had a lot of confidence we would be able to finish the ride without too much pain. Before the ride I was thinking I would be the one having a hard time, and Steven would be OK. I have run a lot over the last few years, but Steven had been biking a lot since he went back to college.
It didn’t turn out that way. I actually had an easier time than Steven. In Bangor (mile 10 or so), Steven commented after riding up one hill that he wasn’t quite recovered from it. I thought it was strange, because I didn’t think it was all that bad. If I had been thinking, I would have thought that this might not be such an easy ride. There were some big hills coming up (especially mile 24 to 30.)
We stopped a couple times in the first 24 miles. However, from mile 24 to 30, we stopped at the top of a few hills. It was pretty hard. Steven got to the top of the hill, drove off the side of the road, jumped off his bike, laid and/or sat down, and tried to get ready for the next hill. He was a hurting unit.
Our original plan was to ride 10 miles and then take a break. Doreen had planned to drive 10 miles in front of us, find a good place to park, and wait for us to catch up. The breaks quickly went to eight miles, then six miles, and by the end of the day, every two miles.
Somewhere between mile 30 and 40 we stopped at a little store that had a kitchen that made food. Every 10 miles I ate an energy bar and drank a bottle of Gatorade. Steven only had water up to this point. I think that may have been part of his problem. Steven and Doreen ordered a pizza. I ate a veggie wrap I had made at home. I was impressed Steven was able to eat a greasy, heavy, cheese pizza, and still be able to ride. I would have had all kinds of problems if I ate it. Steven’s 20 year old stomach is a lot stronger than my 44 year old one.
We got to Unity around 3:30pm. I was worried my Garmin watch would run out of battery power. I stopped the watch, and saved the data up to that point. That way I thought that the first half would be saved if it ran out of battery.
We left Unity around 3:40 pm, and I started the watch. Here is the map from Unity to China, almost 23 miles:
The Unity to China trip was pretty up and down, but I didn’t think it was too bad. The road, 202/9, was great for riding bikes. It had a three or four foot, paved shoulder that Steven and I rode in. Cars would zip by us, but we felt very safe because we had a lot of space. We kept plugging along, riding 4 to 8 miles (30 to 50 minutes), and then look for Doreen and take a break.
There is a straight line on the elevation graph between mile 19 and mile 21.5. I had done a good job stopping the watch after every break, and then starting it when we take off. I missed that stretch though.
We got to China, and it was about 6:00pm. We still had between 10 and 15 miles to get to Augusta. After that it was another 10 miles or so to get home. At this point we thought we should think about calling it quits. We didn’t want to be riding after dark.
Between China and Augusta, we also knew there were some pretty horrible up hills. We decided to pack the bikes up and drive them to the rail trail in Augusta. We had gone almost 67 miles.
We then road the bikes from the start of the Augusta rail trail back home, almost 9 miles. We got home at 7:30pm. I had stopped the Garmin watch in China, and started it again in Augusta. Here is the last map between Augusta and our home:
So we road the bikes over 75 miles!
When Steven and I were riding between Hallowell and Gardiner, Doreen picked up two large pizzas from a pizza place. My stomach had no problem eating my share!
Studying the information from the Garmin, I think we went the wrong way. If you look at the maps in the opposite direction, starting in Gardiner and then going to Old Town, it would start with a down hill (we ended with an uphill), and then the flat rail trail section to Augusta.
We didn’t ride from the Augusta end of the rail trail to China, but it seemed to be uphill going into Augusta. I bet it would be easier to ride a bike from Augusta out to China.
The ride between China and Unity I think is just as hard or easy either way.
The last (or first) map, from Unity to Old Town, I think shows it would be much easier riding a bike between Unity and Old Town than the other way. The first 14 or so miles would be uphill. The last 30 or so miles would be mostly down hill.
Next time we should try to ride from Gardiner to Old Town. If we do it that way, I bet it would feel mostly uphill too though.