• Patrick Gabrion

Ready ... or not!

My Trek Domane bicycle is ready to roll, all my cycling gear is packed, and I'm eager to head "down east" as we say in Maine to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park to participate in Sunday's 29th annual 100-mile Cadillac Challenge.


To be honest, it seems a bit surreal that this is even happening, given the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has pretty much triggered the cancellation of just about everything. There is a limit of 100 cyclists, which I understand was easily reached. I believe it will be made up of a hardy bunch; pedal pushers starving — and glad — to participate in an organized ride.


I hope I haven't forgotten anything!

Obviously, steps are being taken to keep people as safe as possible. Registration forms were provided online, while social distancing and mask wearing are part of the rules at off-bike sites. There will be rest/food stops, but I also plan on stuffing my jersey pockets with my usual long-journey staples: Clif and fig bars, a couple of bananas, and some energy gel shots for a little boost near the end. And I'll be carrying plenty of water.


It's been announced that the 2021 event will be the last one unless someone else is willing to run the show. Despite the fact it's a hard century, with nearly 7,000 feet of elevation, it would be a shame if the brakes were applied to stop it after next year. In my opinion, it's also probably one of the nation's most scenic.


The weather forecast calls for dry conditions, but a bit on the chilly side. The high temperature for the day will be 58, so I'm guessing the low 40s for the 8 a.m. start. I'm preparing accordingly: long-fingered gloves, toe covers for my shoes, tights, vest and light jacket, heavier cap, arm warmers, etc.


As I said in an earlier blog posting, I'm not too concerned with the physical part, while also knowing it's no cakewalk. I've ridden nearly 5,400 miles this season and with this being my 23rd century, I kind of know what it takes to complete one. In preparation this week, I've only done 20-to-30-mile rides to keep my legs fresh. It's just whether I'll be dialed in mentally on the day that is the big question mark.


To reach the top of Cadillac Mountain will hold special meaning this time. Little did I know when I accomplished it in 2013, that five years later — almost to the day — I would lose my son, Gavin. As a family, we placed some of his ashes near the summit, as Acadia park was one of his favorite places.


So I'm meeting my friend, Jon, in Bar Harbor on Saturday. We'll go for a short bike ride, have dinner, retire to our motel, and have sweet dreams about conquering the Cadillac Challenge the next day.


Freshening up blog


You'll discover a couple of changes on my blog, notably with the home page. It has a different look, showing the three most recent postings. On the bottom, I've made it easier to subscribe, which in doing so automatically notifies you of any new writings.


Another alteration has to do with the "Photos" heading at the top of the home page. By clicking on it, you will find a place for photo albums; one has already been created titled "Close to Home." Future entries will include rides with friends and events like the Cadillac Challenge. The "Photos" feature was established with my 2021 Maine-to-Michigan "Reunion Tour" in mind, which will allow me to post images at the end of each day's ride. Please enjoy!

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