Every year since 1985 the American Lung Association has hosted the Trek Across Maine, which is its largest fundraising event. The past two years of this event were not held as usual, though people could still bike on their own whilst logging the 180 miles, which my own family did.

Held June 17-19, this Trek was my fifth, though I had previously only done two of them with the large group as normal. The Trek began and ended in Brunswick this year at the starting point of Thomas Point Campground.  We gathered there Thursday night to complete the check-in. Among the attendees was Scott Cowger, one of two people who have completed all 38 of the Trek Across Maine rides. He is quite a jovial and pleasant man. The next day we were back at Thomas Point ready for departure. A throng of people were there dropping off their luggage and beginning to ride.

As a trekker, when you first get on your bicycle, you immediately pass through a crowd of people cheering you and the other cyclists, but then soon move on to the relative quiet of the ride. The first leg was flat compared to Waldo County and it seemed early when I arrived at the first of the rest stops. The elevation then increased and the second stop was achieved by ascending the hills into L.L. Bean headquarters in Freeport.

While we were there, I stopped to buy a pair of bike gloves, and before long we were off again. Once we reached the third rest stop there was an impending thunderstorm so we weathered under the tents for over half an hour before finishing the ride along the sublime Androscoggin River into Lewiston, where we terminated the day’s ride at Bates College.

The next day we got an earlier start and found the ride hillier. One of those hills was particularly challenging, causing some individuals to break their longstanding records of never walking a hill in decades of participating. This day was largely spent encircling Sebago Lake to Saint Joseph’s College where we spent the second night.

That evening there was an event called “Spirit of the Trek” where members of the American Lung Association, most of them trekkers themselves, discussed the organization’s goal of limiting tobacco use and improving air quality. The personal stories  highlighted  the fundraiser’s importance.

Thanks to my generous friends and family, I was able to raise over $1,440. Joanne Pease of Liberty was recognized as a top fundraiser with a total of $4,305 in donations!

The final day began hilly but ended in the flatlands of Brunswick in the midst of a cold rainstorm. Though the rain was unpleasant to bike in, it did make finishing all the better, which my family did in a personal record time at about 12:40 p.m.

If any of you enjoy cycling and wish to aid the American Lung Association in its critical mission, I highly recommend participating in next year’s Trek Across Maine.