The annual Trek Across Maine is coming up on Father’s Day Weekend. It’s an incredible and memorable bike ride spanning three days and 180 miles. (There are also 1-day and 2-day options, if you prefer.)

Riders of all levels turn up each year to participate in the Trek – riding road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, and tandems.

And while June seems eons away, now is the time to start getting serious about the Trek. I mean, not TOO serious. The Trek is a ride, not a race, it’s about having fun and raising money for the American Lung Association.

To help you get started, I’ve teamed up with the American Lung Association to develop these Extremely Helpful Tips for Training for the Trek.

1. Get in that all-important “seat time”

Seat time means your butt on a bike seat as much as possible leading up to the ride. But it’s not enough to just sit there – you need to pedal, too. No surprise, but your best indoor training tool is an indoor bike. You can sign up for group classes at a local spin studio, put your bike on a trainer and ride at home while watching Dateline reruns. You can also use apps like Zwift that allow you to ride virtually with other people on really cool courses.

2. Replicate the Trek experience

While riding indoors can’t perfectly match the on-road experience, with some tips and tricks we sure can get close. For starters, Maine ain’t flat, and neither is the Trek course. But you can mimic going up a hill by increasing the tension on the bike. Practice those flats with some sprints.

The weather often has a big influence on the Trek experience. And since the ride takes place on Father’s Day weekend, there’s no telling what kind of weather you’ll get. So it’s best to prepare for all of it.

3. Rehearse your Trek camaraderie

One of the best parts of the Trek is all the people you meet along the way. It doesn’t take long for your fellow riders to become Trek friends, and you’ll be cheering each other on along the course. So try out a few upbeat phrases to motivate your fellow riders.

4. Cross train

Off-bike exercise can be an important part of your Trek training regimen, particularly exercises that strengthen your legs and glutes. Movements like squats, lunges, and step-ups can be done at home or at the gym. > Squats, lunges, etc

Make sure you give that upper body some attention, too. You’ll need strong arms to maintain a level of quality high-fiving. And you’ll be high fiving a lot during the Trek, I can promise you that.

And let’s not forget all those Trek selfies you’re going to take. ​In fact, June 21, the third and final day of the Trek, is selfie day. But you’re more than welcome to take all the selfies you want on day 1 and 2, as well.

5. Practice your snacking

I’m not kidding. Riders don’t refer to it as the Eat Across Maine for nothing. In addition to hearty breakfasts and dinners, there are rest areas every 15 miles along the course with all kinds of snacks, from fluffernutters to Fig Newtons. And each day when you cross the finish line, you’ll be served up more food. You will be snacking, probably heavily. So practice eating those Fluffernutters. Practice eating those Fig Newtons. Practice pocketing those bananas, then peeling them as fast as you can. And practice getting off a bicycle after a long ride and immediately being handed a baked potato.

6. Hone your bike short strut

It’s true, everyone naturally looks amazing in bike shorts, so no need to worry about that. But if you want to feel 100 percent comfortable in your padded shorts, wear them around. Wear them riding. Wear them not riding. Get used the glorious sensation of walking around with something extra in the back of your pants. And strut with confidence.

We know you’re going to have an excellent time on this year’s Trek, and we hope these training tips will help you get ready.

For more Trek info and to connect with other riders, be sure to join the Official Trek Across Maine rider’s group on Facebook. And if you haven’t already, register by May 20!

Train well, my friends, and we’ll see you Father’s Day weekend.

FMI on the Trek Across Maine and to register: