Day 40: 1000 Miles!

29 miles

Scenic MarshThis morning Rachel and Pete both had to be out of the house by about 6 AM.  Rachel was leading an LL Bean bike trip to a nearby island and Pete works Sundays as a church organist.  They were amazingly generous last night and told us to sleep in and to take our time getting ready and to let ourselves out.  They even insisted we make ourselves at home in their kitchen to make breakfast.  They left us some homemade blueberry muffins and cantaloupe melon.  We also fried some eggs and made toast.  I’m really starting to love using Warm Showers.  I wish we could stay with Warm Showers folks every night.  Then we could ditch our camping and cooking gear and travel light!

Back on the road I was feeling much better than yesterday.  I decided that maybe I should try to pedal a higher cadence today.  Maybe I felt so sluggish and my quads have felt so sore because I’ve been pedaling a lower cadence than I’m used to.  For you non-cyclists: cadence is how quickly you spin the pedals.  In basic terms, you shift to an easier gear to pedal at a higher cadence without really increasing the speed of your bike.  Cyclists debate the pros and cons of a fast versus slow cadence, but I tend to pedal a faster cadence than some.

The problem is that the steep hills we run into limit how high a cadence I can manage.  I quickly reach my lowest gear and have no choice but to struggle uphill at a low cadence.  Sometimes we’re pulling hard on the handlebars to use upper body muscles or standing up on the pedals just to keep forward momentum uphill.  I tell ya, these hills might not be very tall, but they make up for it in steepness.  The photo below from today fails to adequately convey the steepness of the hill ahead of Caroline.  Notice how the road disappears from sight in a couple places ahead of her?  Yeah, that’s because it’s so steep you can’t even see past the top of the hill.  I’ll try to get a better photo of these hills, but trust me when I say they’re STEEP. 🙂

Steep Hill Ahead

Steep Hill Ahead

Anyway, back to today’s ride.  We quickly rode through the town of Brunswick, Maine. Apparently it’s home to Bowdoin College and it’s a very pretty little college town.  We were seeing a fair number of cyclists out for a Sunday bike ride.  We got on a bike path in Brunswick for a few (nice and flat) miles and before long we reached the town of Bath, Maine.  We stopped at the grocery store there for a few things and then debated what to do next.  The weather forecast predicted heavy rain this afternoon and we wanted to get inside before the rain, but we wanted to get in a few more miles.  Our trip odometer was just shy of 1000 miles and we wanted to reach that milestone today.

1000 MilesWe pushed on across the Kennebec River towards Wiscasset.  On the other side of the river we stopped to take a photo of my bike computer just before the 1000 mile changeover.  We celebrated with a kiss and a high five before continuing down the road.  We were riding along some quiet back roads, which meant: hills!  The other night Rachel had mentioned how Route 1, the main road leading to Acadia National Park, is well graded, meaning flatter than some roads around here.  So it occurred to me today that we have a choice between riding quiet, but hilly, back roads or noisy, but flatter, Route 1.  I think the ACA route takes us partially on Route 1 in the coming days, so I guess we’ll get a taste of both.  But maybe we’ll tolerate riding on the shoulder of busy Route 1 if it means a less hilly ride.

We were almost into the town of Wiscasset when we started to feel light raindrops.  We stopped to pull on our rain jackets and turned towards the nearest cheap motel.  Unfortunately, we didn’t beat the rain and got a little wet in the last mile before the motel.  The motel is basic, but affordable and they have a Chinese restaurant on site.  We spent the rest of the day dry indoors watching TV, eating Chinese food, listening to the rain fall outside, and resting our tired legs.

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2 thoughts on “Day 40: 1000 Miles!

  1. Any way to change gearing? I couldn’t mtn bike without my 22f/34r combo and I think the newer bikes have even lower gearing than that!

    • I think the lowest gear on our bikes is 22f/34r, but I need to double check. I’ve definitely thought about getting a lower bottom gear. I’ll have to ask at the next bike store we pass if that’s possible.

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