April 15, 2012

Maine beer industry pioneer's long ride is brewing

Andy Hazen is 67 with a heart condition, and set to take on a tough cycling challenge.

By Deirdre Fleming dfleming@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Andy Hazen, 67, will be riding in June from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, N.M. – a mere 2,745 miles full of potential problems. And he’ll be doing it despite a heart ailment. “I want to do it in 22 days … and I think it’s a doable goal,” he says.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Andy Hazen plans to encounter a challenge that few, if any, men his age have attempted. He’s doing it despite a heart condition because … well, because he can.


To follow Andy Hazen’s Tour Divide race, go to www.tourdivide.org/leaderboard

To Hazen's friends and family in Maine, it's more than a little daunting.

His son, Ben, isn't sure about his father's long ride, but knows he's committed to the task, so Ben just laughs softly when asked about it.

"He is crazy, all the neighbors think he is, when he goes for his long rides. I don't think I'd be doing it. I'll stay here and run the brewery," Ben Hazen said.

As for Andy Hazen's colleagues in the Maine Brewers Guild, they're rooting for him.

"He's a wild man. That's an intense race," said Thomas Wilson, Gritty's director of marketing and a road cyclist.

And Mike Bray, co-owner of a 17-year-old brew pub in Naples, said Hazen's porter will be flowing at Bray's when the starting gun goes off June 8.

"We'll have his beer on tap during the race, and see what we can do to track his progress," Bray said.

To increase his chances of finishing, Hazen has worked out every bit of gear and packed it sparingly on his bike. Equipment such as repair tools, a GPS and a first-aid kit, as well as a small tent, sleeping bag and clothes, are carefully fitted into zip sacks. He's ridden the bike with nearly 30 pounds of gear since February. And Hazen has put 5,200 miles on his new hard tail in the past 11 months.

All that's left is the plane ride to Montana and a warmup ride to the starting line. Then Hazen will become a blip on computer screens across the country as his progress is tracked by endurance riders everywhere, and maybe a few Maine brew owners.

"I can't win this thing, but they give males 27 days to finish it and women 30. I want to do it in 22 days. That's 120 miles a day. And I think it's a doable goal," Hazen said. "I just want to go at my own pace, to err on the side of caution. Forward motion is better than sitting on a rock. If I can just trick my mind into saying, 'Just get up and get going.' "

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: dfleming@pressherald.com

Twitter: Flemingpph


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