The Trek Across Maine rolls around like clockwork in mid-June each year, and for many of us it represents a heavy anchor to windward, to winch ourselves off the mud bottom of our winter lifestyles.

It’s not so much the threat of the Trek’s three 60-mile biking days in a row, moving from Bethel to Belfast (Friday through Sunday, June 18-20 this year) and sleeping at two college campuses. This could be survived with a modicum of last-minute training. No, once you’ve begun this particular rite of passage, you discover that far more wonderful than watching slack muscles begin to tone again, is the close week-by-week involvement in the shy unfolding of a Maine Spring.

You begin pedaling, bundled up in the 35-degree mornings of March, when patches of snow lie on north-facing slopes and ice still grips the ponds. The road-side culverts gurgle with the spring run off, and the road is bathed in winter sand. Gradually, eggs appear on little tables in driveways, the trees begin budding in red, the rye grass rises purple, and at last the first Daffodils appear. Then the steady march of flowers begins, each anticipated and later mourned: The Forsythia, the three colors of Lilacs with their heady perfume, the Peonies, and now, best of all, the stately Lupins against their backdrop of bright-yellow buttercups.

Thanks to the pace and quiet of cycling, you greet the familiar dog-walkers as you pass. The robins stand sentinel on the golf-course lawns … listening … listening. Smokers, banned now from houses, take their first sacred puffs on front porches, and gaze musingly as you glide by. There is so much to see and enjoy when you’re out and about in the early morning.

Your training begins moderately, but by June the rides are getting longer, perhaps 20 miles every other day. You begin a careful dance: Arrogance cries out. More miles! Faster pace! Yet you’re only an inch away from an RSI, a repetitive stress injury. These injuries come not from a sudden overload, but from not allowing the body its natural recovery time after stress.

This past week I made that error. First there was a 40-mile ride to Port Clyde with my bike team, the Holy Rollers. Then an over zealous yoga class the next day. Then a knee-intensive handyman job rebuilding a dock on the third day. Bingo! A 70-year-old knee went on strike. Was this the end of this year’s Trek?

But after two days of careful and tedious babying of the injury, I found I could begin 10-mile rides, and decided on a more-moderate schedule until the Trek’s opening day. I often find that the injuries which come in a context of regular exercise are less serious than others.

So, here we are in the final stretch. On Thursday, June 17 our team will sleep like sardines in a Sunday River condo, and on the morning of Friday, June 18, after a hardy team breakfast, we’ll release the brakes, roll down the hill and turn West on Route 2, slowly getting into stride with about 2,000 other bicyclists.

“Bike left!” “Car back!” The shouted signals begin again.

More than $1 million will have jingled into the coffers of this worthiest of non-profits, the Maine Lung Association. And this amazing closely-coordinated caravancerai, this inspiring bagatelle of multi-aged humanity, moving together, acting together, caring for each other and for the planet, will flow from the mountains to the sea.

Jory Squibb of Camden is an occasional contributor to VillageSoup. The annual Trek Across Maine will be Friday through Sunday, June 18-20 from Sunday River in Bethel to Belfast.