We're starting to thaw out here in Maine. Part of that springtime process involves the inevitable — the altered conditions of our roads. Like magic, dirt surfaces turn into a mushy mess with a little bit of rain, and the fluctuating temperatures create unforgiving fissures in once-smooth pavement.
As a way to test one's mettle for such unfriendly circumstances, 150 brave souls, myself included, have signed up for the Frost Heave Fondo, slated for Sunday, April 10 in Searsmont. There are two courses to choose from — 30 and 50 miles — and the best part is that both routes end at a craft brewery. After all, it's important to rehydrate after a long ride.
Two things of note for me. Firstly, I participated in the inaugural Frost Heave Fondo back in 2019 and, yes, my bicycle did get very dirty. Just as then, this time I will be utilizing my Specialized Crux cyclocross two-wheeled machine. It was a fun-filled adventure, and I distinctly remember its less than serious approach being manifested through an offer of a variety of whiskeys at the lone rest stop. More hydration, I suppose! And secondly, this will be my first sanctioned event since my big bad crash in the Northwoods Gravel Grind in Rangeley last September.
So what is a fondo? Basically, it is an endurance challenge for the masses; a giant party on wheels where cyclists "compete" against the clock and each other. It's one of those "the more, the merrier" kind of things.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting together with some good friends to crush the backcountry roads — and, of course, drink beer — at the opening meet of the 2022 Maine Gravel Series, which is a collection of gravel happenings that showcase the excellent and varied terrain of Midcoast Maine. Other events on this year's calendar include Island Time 35, Deerfly Challenge, Down Cellah Classic, and more. Stay safe out there ... whether you are on the road — or not!
'Thought for the day'
"Anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mine." — Gary Fisher, considered one of the inventors of the modern mountain bike.
From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)