Sunday, March 9, 2014
March has arrived and that means time is running out for Red Riders to register and be guaranteed a jersey for the Kennebunks Tour de Cure.
The event that begins and ends at Wells Reserve at Laudholm takes place June 9. Red Riders are the reason for the Tour. They are people with diabetes who raise money for the American Diabetes Association and ride for their cause.
If you hope to be a Red Rider, register by March 20 and then raise at least $200. Those who raise $1,000 by May 1 will also earn a pair of Red Rider cycling shorts.
Back during the summer days of riding in riding in short-sleeved jerseys past blooming fields and lush green trees, I wrote a column about the Bicycle Coalition of Maine's new ride, BikeMaine. In July, the inaugural event seemed a long way off. That's no longer the case.
BikeMaine's Ride Committee recently announced that the route for this cross-Maine ride will be announced on Feb. 6, 2013. Registration starts Feb. 13 (Coalition members will get early access on Feb. 12) and the plan is to limit the debut event to 350 riders. Half of those slots will be reserved for riders from out of state.
All that said, if you want in, be sure to mark Feb. 13 on every calendar you can find. Or make a New Year's resolution to join the BCM's Yellow Jersey Club, then commit to riding in BikeMaine by Feb. 6, and you're guaranteed a slot in the historic first ride.
In a little more than a month, cyclists will be poised at the start line for another Dempsey Challenge. The event began as a rousing success in 2009 and has continued to bring out huge numbers of riders and raise huge amounts of money every year since.
This year should be no different when the event takes place on Sunday, Oct. 14 in Lewiston/Auburn.
Opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. and cyclists will be released in waves beginning with the 100-milers. They'll be followed by the 70-mile riders, then 50-milers, 25-milers and 10-milers. The Festival in the Park, which is free and open to the public, runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closing ceremonies, led by Patrick Dempsey, happen at 3:30 p.m.
The Ellsworth area makes for a great bike ride any time of year. And a post-Labor Day ride, when many of the tourists have returned home, somehow makes the sights and sounds of the coastal roads even better.
If you need more reason than that so put the bike on the car rack and head toward the Blue Hill Peninsula, how about the 8th Annual Beth C. Wright Ride for Life?
This favorite of folks in Hancock and Washington counties is a fundraiser for the Beth C. Wright Cancer Research Center in Ellsworth. Beth was born on Beals Island and, at age 24, was diagnosed with breast cancer. After finding few helpful resources in the local area she started a support group at Down East Community Hospital and then the Choose Life Foundation. Beth lost her battle in 2000.
Most riders who have tackled a century or three probably wouldn't describe any of them as easy. But many who have ridden the Loon Echo Trek would probably agree that it's on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Publicized as "the toughest century in Maine," the Loon Echo Trek also features 25-mile and 50-mile routes that are a little less intense as far as the hilly terrain goes. The event is now in its 11th year and Carrie Walia, executive director of the Loon Echo Trust, said many riders are drawn to it for the challenge.
"Some people use it as a goal to work to throughout the year," she said. Though she hasn't ridden the century she's heard plenty of riders describe their experience as "you think you've hit the hardest hill -- but you haven't."