The annual Trek Across Maine is coming up on Father’s Day Weekend. It’s an incredible – and memorable – three days and 180 miles. If you’ve been eyeing this ride for years but have yet to sign up because you keep telling yourself, “That ride looks awesome, but I couldn’t do that,” well I’m here to say: Yes you can! (And that doubting inner voice can zip it.)
Here are 10 reasons YOU can do the Trek Across Maine this year.
+ Video produced in partnership with the American Lung Association
1. The Trek Across Maine is a ride, not a race
This is not the Tour de France. It’s more like the Tour de Fun because it’s a ride meant for everyone, whatever your pace and whatever bike you’ve got. (I might even call it the Tour de Fluffernutters, because there are fluffernutters at the rest stops along the route and I find fluffernutters wildly motivating.) There are riders from age 7 to age 80 and beyond who participate, and every kind of bike you can imagine: road bikes, mountain bikes, tandems, recumbent bikes and more! The Trek is not about being the first to cross the finish line. It’s about the whole unique experience.
2. There are 1, 2- and 3-day options
Don’t feel up to the full 180 miles? Choose the 1-day or 2-day option, riding as few as 65 miles (although 65 miles is still nothing to sneeze at). Not only will no one be timing you, there will actually be people on the route who will be cheering FOR you.
If the idea of raising $500 has you hesitating, the 1-day and 2-day rides have lower fundraising minimums: $400 for the 2-day ride and $250 for the 1-day ride. But I also think you might be pleasantly surprised by how many of your friends, family, and coworkers are happy to donate once they hear about this really cool thing you’re doing.
3. The Trek staff is awesome!
There is an incredible team of people dedicated to making sure you have a spectacular time during the Trek. Between the staff, the helpful pros, and the 750 volunteers, you’ll be in excellent hands the whole way. The ride is fully supported with multiple rest stops each day, all of which have food, bathrooms, and beverages, as well as bike mechanics and medics, just in case. Whatever you need, they’ve got your back.
There are also 10 SAG vehicles roaming the route at all times. (For you first timers, “SAG” stands for “support and gear.” In a nutshell, the SAG vehicles are there to pick you up – and your bike – should you be unable to continue riding.) This takes a lot of pressure off first-time riders who might think they can’t finish the day. But not to worry: You got this! (But, you know, if you don’t: SAG wagon!)
If you’re worried about any other medical conditions or health-related issues, Delta Ambulance provides medical support along the route and at each finish line. From a minor scratch to something more serious, you’ve got the best medical professionals right there with you.
4. The food!
Many veteran Trekkers joke that this ride should really be called the “Eat Across Maine” on account of all the food. That could be due to the fully stocked rest stops (fluffernutters!), the baked potato and pizza lunches, the Fielder’s Choice ice cream and a catered meal on Father’s Day, which includes lobster mac & cheese, pulled pork, and more. You will not want for grub during the trek. You might gain a couple of pounds.
5. Don’t fear the fundraising
Do you have friends? Family? People who think you’re pretty swell and who would be pretty dang proud of you for signing up for something like the Trek? Those stupendous folks will want to support you and the excellent cause you are riding for: the American Lung Association. You can also remind them that if they like breathing, the American Lung Association works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Cheers to that.
Social media and email are also wonderful ways to let people know you are riding. The Trek gives you your own fundraising web page to share with friends and family, and you can utilize Facebook Fundraiser or apps like Venmo, which allow you to collect those donations easily.
6. Baby steps are the key to success
180 miles sounds like a lot. It is. But ignore that number for now and look at the Trek in increments of 15 miles at a time. There are rest stops (on average) every 15 miles on the Trek route. If you can ride 15 miles at a time, you can do the Trek! Then when you’re done, you can brag about those 180 miles. Also: seat time on your bike is the most important part of training, so get your “seat” ready for the ride. That means the more time your butt spends on the actual bike seat leading up to the event, the better off your butt will be after the ride.
7. Getting to Brunswick is so easy
You can drive, ride, or fly right to Brunswick to start your ride! The Amtrak Downeaster provides service to Brunswick and the Brunswick Landing airport and the Portland Jetport are options for those coming from farther away. The Trek will even help you ship your bike. There are people coming in from Alaska to do the race, so if you live in Maine – or in New England even – getting to Brunswick is a breeze. And this year’s new route is one big loop, so you will be able to arrive back at the same spot where you started. There’s even free long-term parking at Brunswick Landing. Score!
8. The amazing Trek camaraderie
Cycling is so much more fun when you ride with other people. During the Trek, you’ll have the pleasure of riding with nearly 2,000 fellow cyclists, and the on-road camaraderie is outstanding. There are more than 100 Trek teams, and many of them are ready and willing to accept new members. From corporate teams to friends and family teams, there is a group that would love for you to join them. It’s highly likely you’ll make a bunch of new friends before the weekend is over. For help finding a team or a training group in your area, call the Trek office in Augusta.
9. It’s Father’s Day weekend
The Trek is a family-friendly event. It’s been held on Father’s Day every year since 1985, making it a decades-long tradition that keeps on growing. And kids as young as 7 are able to ride or volunteer. In fact, there are a variety of volunteer options for your non-riding family members, so you can spend the weekend together while giving back to an important organization. You’ll make great memories with your family – or whomever else you choose to ride with. And you can raise a fluffernutter to all the excellent dads in the world.
10. Need a bike? No problem
If it’s been eons since you’ve been on a bike – let alone owned one – do not be deterred. You legs will remember how to ride. If you need a bike, contact your local bike shop to inquire about renting a bike or potentially purchasing a gently used model. Better yet, check out one of the Treks sponsoring bike shops! Also cool: Garmin and L.L. Bean offer discounts to registered Trekkers for all kinds of bike gear.
So there you go, 10 really good reasons why you can do the Trek Across Maine THIS year. Your next step is to really, truly, for real sign up. Head to trekacrossmaine.org now to register.
+ Huge thanks to the American Lung Association for partnering with me on this video, and for all the fantastic work they do all year. Join us for the Trek Across Maine, this Father’s Day. +