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Century Sunday

I went to church last Sunday, with the road providing its ever-present spiritual significance. It's where I find peace and relaxation. It's where I collect all my thoughts. It's where I feel most myself. And, yes, it's where I ride my bicycles.

The "lesson" on this particular Sabbath was getting to know my brand-new Trek Domane, following up on my most recent posting — where I checked out my 2023 Trek Checkpoint. I figured the best way to familiarize myself with the two-wheeled beauty was to do a century. In other words, go for a 100-mile pedal.

Trek Domane ... at the ready.

Being so early in the season — with the majority of cyclists still building up endurance — it's hard to find any organized long-distance events. So this was going to be a self-supported affair, which I had done a few times in the past.

It was a perfect day for a ride. The sun was out, the wind wasn't much of a factor, with a high temperature of around 70 degrees. Very pleasant conditions, indeed. My longest journeys for this year had been in the 40-mile range, but I was up for the challenge. Speaking of which, my water bottle for the day — which I'd obtained at the bike shop — featured the words "Trek Century Challenge" on it. Very fitting for the occasion.

Taking off just after ten in the morning, I had no specific route in mind. Just looked forward to doing some extensive rural riding until I hit the magic number. I ended up spinning my wheels on several roads I had never been on before; in fact, there was a stretch of 15 or so miles where I had no clue as to my whereabouts. I figured if I kept traveling south and east I would eventually reconnect with "home" territory.

The scenery was what one would expect in Maine: farms, fields, forests. And plenty of up and down terrain. Motorists — for the whole day — were very mindful of my presence. Which was greatly appreciated. The only real bummer was encountering some fresh pavement just after lunch and not liking the tiny tar-coated stones bouncing off my carbon fiber bicycle frame.

My initial loop registered at 83 miles, so I had to do the Kennebec River Rail Trail a second time to complete the century. The first one in my 70s.

Black Crow Bakery ... a favorite stop.

Here are some notable statistics from the trek:

— Ride time: Six hours, 38 minutes.

— Average speed: 15.2 miles per hour.

— Average heart rate: 115 beats per minute; maximum, 157 bpm.

— Elevation gain: 4,226 feet.

— Total elevation: 8,590 feet.

— Total calories burned: 2,730.

So, impressions of the newest road bike to join my fleet? Trek describes its Domane as a bicycle designed with long-distance rides in mind. From where I was sitting, the Wisconsin-based company was spot on. The bike is super comfortable; no achy, tight muscles or joints during the entire 100 miles. As with four of my other machines, I switched out the original saddle for a Specialized Power Comp. A perfect complement to an already fine bicycle.

The 32mm tires also do a great job at smoothing out the road. The bike rolls really well. It screams down hills and dances up them, with so little weight to wrestle with under your hands. And I really like its designated deep smoke color. I've seen the paint schemes for Trek's special Project One bikes. Mine is, by far, way better.

Anyway, my Sunday wasn't quite a day of rest. But I pray I'll have countless more experiences like this in the future. I love my new bike and, it goes without saying, I love to ride. Stay safe!

Cycling in Maine ... scenery that keeps on giving.

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