Long Island, Maine and the LL Bean Women's Ride

Mother Nature and I are friends again. I was a little angry at her for being freezing and rainy on Memorial Day weekend, but she made it up to me with a perfect first weekend in June.

Saturday was downright hot, in the high 80's and humid. That is about as hot as it ever gets in Maine. I escaped to the air conditioned gym in the morning and then headed to meet some friends at the ferry to head out to Long Island. There are so many islands on the Maine coast, that it's almost impossible to see them all, but I am going to try and see as many as possible!

Long Island is one of the outer islands in Casco Bay. It seceded from Portland in 1993 and now is an independent town of 230 people. It was about a 30 minute ride, because the ferry stopped at several other islands on the way out. Each island has a different flavor to it, and Long Island is a very traditional, local island. There wasn't much besides a small general store and the houses were all normal sized family houses.

We had been advised to head across the island to the back side where there is a sandy public beach. It was the perfect spot. We were on the open Atlantic side, so it was noticeably cooler, but sheltered by a little barrier island, so it wasn't too windy. We spent a bucolic afternoon walking, reading, and napping in the sun. I was so determined that I was going to get in my first swim of the year, but I only made it to my knees. The water temp is still in the very low 50's and my feet just ached.

We took the ferry back around 5 totally refreshed, sunburned, and famished! As soon as we docked we headed to Gritty's where I ate a delicious, and not so healthy, dinner of pulled pork on top of sweet potato fries. Then it was home for an early bed, because Sunday morning I had to be up early for the LL Bean Women's Ride.

I have been wanting to do this ride for a few years, but always had a conflict on the date. I realized last weekend that I could actually do it this year, and signed up! My dilemma was that there were 10, 25, 50, and 75 mile options. I have done 50 miles many times in past years, but because of a cold rainy spring, haven't been on my bike much at all this year. My longest ride this year was only 22 miles. But I went with the 50 anyway. If I am going to pay for a ride, I want to get a lot of bang for my bike!

The ride started at the LL Bean Conference center. Check-in was a breeze, and they had lots of yummy breakfast foods, and plenty of bathrooms. I enjoyed a yummy piece of rhubarb bread, a banana, and some coffee.

Walking around the start, I ran into my twin. Same shorts, jersey, and hair. Everyone asked if we were sisters, and we said no, we just met. It was a little creepy!

The ride didn't get off to a great start. I'd had a mechanic check my bike and he had knocked off the chain. I didn't notice until I started to ride. I did a few seconds of frantic peddling and then unclipped my feet JUST in time to avoid falling. I ran back over to the mechanic and he got it back on, but by the time I started everyone my pace was long gone and I was stuck trying to get through the slower riders for the first 5 miles.

The course was 2 different 25 mile loops. I had been worried about the heat, but the first 25 was nice. We headed out towards the ocean, so there was a cool breeze and it was shady. The hills were no so nice. They were steep and frequent. At one point we rode a piece of the Tri for the Y course. Have you ever ended up somewhere you know you've been before, but have no idea how you got there or where you were in relation to anything? We also did a small portion with the 10 mile route, and it was so nice to see so many women riding with their daughters and grand-daughters. All the girls were smiling ear to ear.

this was a girl on a unicycle. crazy!

Somewhere near the end of the first 25 mile loop I got lost. It was totally my fault. We had maps, queue sheets, the roads were marked, and there were marshals at busy intersections. Luckily it was a point, where I knew somewhat where I was, and managed to meet back up with the course with just a few extra miles. Blah, I am an idiot.

The second 25 headed inland and it was hot. The sun was relentless and there was no wind. I stopped at both rest stops to fill my water bottles and eat grapes. I don't know why, but I love Fig Newtons when I am biking. I am not a huge fan normally, but I am always psyched to see them when on a ride.  I managed to hook up and ride with a couple other women on this portion, which was nice. I ride alone most of the time, so on organized rides like this, I want someone to chat with. My legs definitely started to feel heavy and my neck really hurt in the last 20 miles. But at the same time, I felt strong and never doubted I'd finish.It is nice to know that I have a general level of fitness that is strong enough to get me through a last minute 50 miler.

At the finish I headed straight for the massage. The massage guy was a miracle worker. He dug right into my neck and made it feel a million times better. And then I headed for food- there was a make your own loaded potato bar, fruit, and lots of yummy baked goods. As I ate, they were doing door prizes. Both the number above me and below me won, but not me. Wah, wah. 

Ahh Summer in Maine is finally here. Life is good. Except for my back. I sunburned in a very uneven pattern and it looks and feels terrible.

How was your weekend?


  1. My husband's family were the original non-native American settlers of Long Island. We spend time there every summer and it was where we got married. Love that place! Nice job on the ride!

    1. Oh! And I work at Gritty's and was there last yesterday! I bet we saw each other.

    2. Really? That's funny! I LOVE Gritty's! We were out on the patio.


Post a Comment