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Let the Games begin

I guess you could say I'm officially "in training," as I've made plans to participate in three events this autumn. Competitive goals have never been a big part of my cycling; I just like pedaling a bicycle. The only exception would involve doing at least one century (100-mile) ride during any given year.

First up on the calendar is the Northwoods Gravel Grind, previously mentioned in an earlier blog posting. It is slated to happen on Saturday, Sept. 11 in Rangeley. I'll be dodging rutted roads, stones, and wild animals for 50 miles in the rugged, mountainous region of western Maine. The beautiful surroundings are worth the punishment. It will be my second time partaking in this fun, laid-back affair.

Number two on my to-do list is something completely different for me. It's the Maine Senior Games, which feature more than 20 different sports for both men and women. The only requirement: you must be 45 years of age or older. I'd heard about the Games in the past, but hadn't given them too much thought — until now.

At last year's Cadillac Challenge.

There are two separate contests in the cycling category: a 10K (kilometer) time trial and a 20K road race, which is the competition I've decided to enter. Hoping — and praying — I can keep up a consistent pace for 12.4 miles. The course, which is contained within the former naval air station in Brunswick, is 2.3 miles long — so laps are involved — and it's mostly flat. To be honest, I was looking forward to some hills, which has always been a strongpoint for me. I'll be vying for a medal in the 65-to-69 age bracket.

The spinning of the wheels at the Maine Senior Games occurs on Sunday, Sept. 19. Obviously, this puts the kibosh on my plans to attend my 50th high school reunion. Initially, I was thinking of riding my bike from Maine to Michigan for the gathering, but then I nixed that idea. And now I'm not even going. It's for a variety of reasons, but the athletic endeavor in Brunswick should help soften the blow.

And what's third item as part of my fall frenzy? It is the Cadillac Challenge, taking place on Sunday, Oct. 3 on Maine's gorgeous Mount Desert Island and within Acadia National Park.

It's by far the hardest century ride I've ever done, with nearly 7,000 feet of climbing. But, I guess, it isn't bad enough to deter this old cyclist, as this will be my third test of the 100-mile ordeal. Hopefully, the weather conditions will improve over last year's Challenge, when Jon and I encountered heavy rain for most of the day and temperatures in the 40s and 50s. It was nowhere close to being fun on that particular day.

So, busy biking is up ahead. Time for a training ride!

'Thought for the day'

"Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym." — Bill Nye, The Science Guy

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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