Posted by: robinson2000 | July 25, 2012

The ride really does begin

24th July

After what was a particularly exhausting and stressful day, you’d of thought that a mammoth sleep in would follow, except I woke up at 6.30am and couldn’t fall asleep again. With the previous days disaster behind us, all I wanted was to get through the day without any bike problems and try to enjoy my cycling. Breakfast was included with the hotel so at 7.30am we were the only two in the dining room tucking into the bagels, waffles, cereals and yogurt that had been left out for us. It was a feast and I also smuggled out a cream cheese bagel, boiled egg and an apple for laters. We left the hotel at 9am and freewheeled down to a bike shop down the road. Typically they couldn’t help us with a specialised needs and sent us on a wild goose chase around Downtown to another shop that we didn’t find in the end. Throwing caution to the wind, we decided to get the riding under way and hit the open road. We found Highway 1 which wound its way towards the town of Stockton Springs, on the coastline of Maine. The road was actually pretty good with a smooth surface which gently undulated, taking us through some very picturesque towns with beautiful wooden houses. The problem for us at this point was the conditions. Humidity was near enough 100% and with the sun out, we were perspiring profusely for the whole ride meaning water intake was essential. As I said in a previous blog, you can only do so much training at home but you just can’t recreate these kind of conditions.

We arrived at Stockton Springs about 11.30am and using my little GPS navigation device we headed to a small diner called Just Bait run by a few doddery old ladies and treated ourselves to a turkey sandwich and 2 huge drinks. We then pushed on to the town of Belfast and on the way discovered a well stocked bike shop run by a big old fella with the biggest hands I’ve ever seen! He tried to help us with our pannier clips but the pieces we are missing are so specific that there’s very small chance anywhere will stock them. Looks like the string will have to hold for 2400 miles! A few more miles and we entered Belfast, a small town with a wonderful harbour view. Pulling into the main street I went in search of gas for our camping stoves as Chris chatted to some of the locals about our bikes which were attracting a lot of attention. Who’d of thought getting hold of a gas canister to fit the stove would be so difficult. Neither of the two places I tried stocked them but were recommended a place 16 miles down the road that was guaranteed to have them!

The final 16 miles of the day were grueling as the road was continually climbing and falling and for the most part it felt like there was more uphill than downhill. Some of the downhills though were amazing as the speedo clocked us at 38 mph at one point. Our legs were really suffering by now as neither of us had been able to train for hills like these. On one of the final hills I reluctantly dropped down to my lowest gear and pedaled away pathetically at 4 mph on one such climb. Around 4pm we rolled into a wonderful town called Camden, and as the heavens opened with a thunderstorm that had been brewing all day, we took shelter in a coffee shop and watched the world go by. When I asked the two dizzy waitresses for a vanilla milkshake they looked puzzled by my request but said they could make an ice-cream based smoothie instead, which was exactly the same as a milkshake. After a carb intake we found Camden Hills State Park and re-learnt how to erect our tent using misshapen tent pegs. We had dinner at a nice tavern in the town and washed it down with 3 Summer Vacation Ales which the loud bar tender kept insisting we drank. We were joined at the bar by a man who kept laughing maniacally at a kid whose tooth had just fallen out. By 9.30am we were ready to drop so slowly pedaled the mile and a half back to the state park and crashed out for a well-earned sleep.

Miles completed : 60 miles

Top speed : 38 mph

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Responses

  1. Hiya Ben – am following your adventure! You are very articulate. Bad luck about the clips. I was in Camden last year – yes it’s georgeous. Lots of luck and lots of fun for you!
    Lizx

    • Thanks for the comment Liz. keep reading.x


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