Student's cycling interest sparks Trek team creation
Montville — A fifth-grade student from Walker Elementary School in Liberty has taken her love for cycling the extra mile.
And, in the coming days, the youngster will have plenty of miles to pedal.
Sophia King, 11, will be one of two students from the school to participate in the 30th annual American Lung Association of the Northeast's Trek Across Maine Friday through Sunday, June 13-15.
The Trek, which includes 2,000 riders and 700 volunteers, is a three-day, 180-mile bicycle ride that travels from Sunday River in Newry to the University of Maine in Farmington the first day to Colby College in Waterville the second and concludes at the Steamboat Landing Park in Belfast on the third.
A love for cycling all began one day when Sophie asked her mother, Jennifer Gunderman-King, if she could start riding her bicycle to school in the mornings.
"I love riding my bike. It gives me a lot of exercise," Sophie said, adding, "It doesn't put time to waste."
The opportunity to ride to school was a perfect fit.
It was not long before the principal of the school, Glen Widemer, told Sophie about the Trek Across Maine that takes place each June. Sophie told her mother about it after school that day, and almost immediately, the two decided to do it.
The Davison Trek Team was formed from there, consisting of Sophie, Gunderman-King, Widemer and his son, Isaac, also a Walker Elementary School student.
Montville resident Widemer and his wife have done the ride together with students in previous years, but stopped when they began to have children of their own. This will be Widemer's fifth Trek Across Maine. It is the first for Sophie, Gunderman-King and Isaac.
After the team was formed, the members sent an email to others on the whim that more people may want to join the team and cycle with them. Robert Price of Montville and the grandfather of Isaac, joined the team as did William Terry of Searsport.
Anyone participating in the ride must raise $500 in order to take part in the event. When the Davison Trek Team started, they sent emails to relatives for donations first. The second round of emails went to friends, and a third to businesses in the area. After three months, the team had raised the funds needed to participate in the Trek.
"Most donations were from family and friends, but Magnum [Manufacturing] in Liberty gave a big donation," said Gunderman-King.
To get ready for the long ride, the team has spent their free time training. The riders do 35- and 40-mile rides to practice and prepare.
The weekend before the Trek, Sophie said the team planned a 40-mile, round-trip cycle from Liberty to China and back. Before the riders sets out for the long ride on June 13, team members plan to spend an hour pedaling around Sunday River, using the time and ride to warm up and prepare themselves physically and mentally for what is ahead.
"Being able to do what I want for three whole days, and people doing it with me," Sophie said of what she looks forward to most about taking part in the Trek.
She also hopes there are a lot of friends and family members waiting for her and the team at the end of the ride when they reach Belfast at some point Sunday morning or early afternoon.
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Holly has been part of the team at Courier Publications since mid-2009, working mostly with the sports department, but occasionally lending a hand throughout the company.
She holds degrees in photography from Maine Media Workshop and University of Maine. Her column, "From the Pit Box," has won a second-place award from the Maine Press Association.
When she's not in the office, Holly can be found in her garden, kayaking, running or at the gym. She is an avid racing fan, and enjoys watching European League Football and Major League Soccer.
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