Mileage: 42 miles
Weather: Crystal clear skies and upper 60s to start. A few clouds and mid 70s to end. Winds out of the WNW
Highlights of the day:
What a difference a day makes! It was absolutely beautiful and really odd too. We left breakfast wearing short sleeves and shorts. These temperatures are so strangely moderate. We will enjoy them as long as they last, even if we do scratch our head every once and a while in disbelief.
Today we took the hill repeats and amped them up a lot. Right out of gate, the riders warmed up climbing the first 3 miles with a few pitches well into the double digits. A brief respite down hill took us across the Androscoggin River, into Lewiston and through Bates College. Then it was more hills, a few horse farms, and the SAG stop at the Roaring Brook Nursery. It was closed but we still had a chance to commune with the one goat and take pictures of pumpkins.
The second half of the route treated us to more hills and probably the longest climb of the day. The grade wasn’t quite as steep as what greeted us first thing this morning but length & repeats certainly added up. While the total number of feet climbed today was a topic of discussion as to whose total we should believe, I think it is safe to say that we climbed nearly 3000’ in 42 miles. That is a goodly amount of climbing in short steep increments.
We were in early enough this afternoon to take in a little side trip to Old Fort Western. Build in 1754, it is the oldest surviving wooden fort in Maine and all of New England. It played a part in the French & Indian War and was a staging point for Benedict Arnold’s ill-fated assault on Quebec. It was fascinating and we all enjoyed the tour guide's stories.
We ended the day at a local establishment called “The Liberal Cup,” a local brew pub on the Kennebec River. Large plates of pub fare were polished off in quick fashion. I’m not sure where they put it all! Riders climbed back into the van for the ride “home” and commented how tired they were & how late it felt… It was 6:30 pm. I think everyone worked hard today and will not have any trouble getting in a good night’s sleep.