Today features a guest post from the I Was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but… category.
Sara and her husband, Gary, are North Carolina randonneurs turned Maine residents (and coffeeneurs). Without further ado, here is their story, along with an extensive excuse well worthy of a Coffeeneuring Challenge Honorable Mention. Something about this thing called “running.” Thank you, Sara, for guest-posting!
Trip 1: Frosty’s Donuts, 54 Maine (that is not a typo) St., Brunswick, ME.
Saturday, October 14. 14.5 miles.
Our first coffeeneuring ride had two purposes:
- to eat donuts and drink coffee at the famous Frosty’s in Brunswick; and
- to finally bicycle to the farmer’s market at Crystal Springs Farm.
I rode my mountain bike, Gary his cyclo-cross/heavy touring bike with the trailer hitched up to it. It was a gorgeous blue sky day and we got a late start, but they still had donuts when we arrived at Frosty’s, although a limited selection.
Frosty’s opens at 4:00 am 7 days a week and closes when they run out of donuts! They serve great Green Mountain coffee as well. We sat outside in the sun at a sidewalk table and enjoyed our huge donuts and strong hot coffee. We were not the first cyclists at Frosty’s that morning; another was enjoying his coffee and donuts inside, but all three of us got back on the road about the same time and rode up Maine St. together, chit-chatting about the new Frosty’s that had just opened in Freeport, making a two-Frosty’s ride a possibility!
We hadn’t gotten but a half-mile up the road when I noticed Gary slowing down behind me – yep, flat tire. So we pulled over for the repair and I did the math as to whether we could still get to the farmers market before it closed – Gary got it fixed in short order and we decided we had plenty of time and pressed on. We passed part of the sheep flock on the way, then uphill to the farm, which was not as busy as normal – starting to wind down. We were too late for bread from the bread guy, but piled up on vegetables! The trailer easily handled our groceries.
The ride back though Brunswick, over the Androscoggin River, and home through Topsham was gorgeous and uneventful.
Trip 2: Bowdoinham Town Landing Place, 12 Main St., Bowdoinham, ME.
November 4. 19.4 miles.
This ride also had two purposes:
- to ride out one of our favorite roads, Browns Point Rd, to see the Abbagadassett River and Merrymeeting Bay, perhaps for the last ride out there of the year; and
- to stop for coffee at the Bowdoinham Town Landing Place on the Cathance River, which has the best molasses cookies around and great Green Mountain coffee.
One of the great things about Maine is that pretty much any country store, convenience store, or gas station has great coffee, enabled in large part by the Green Mountain coffee folks. We rode out the flatter way to Bowdoinham, with a few views of the Bay, then over the Cathance River, through quaint Bowdoinham, and onto Brown’s Point Rd. This is a lovely rural road that starts out rolling, then heads down to the Abbagadassett crossing at a one-lane bridge where the river flows into the Bay, then runs flat along the Bay.
It was a beautiful clear day, but with a stiff biting wind straight off the Arctic, and the flat portion here did not offer much protection from the cold wind. It was freezing, colder than we had dressed for, and we turned around a bit sooner than usual to head back to the Town Landing Place.
Normally we see lots of ducks and even a heron on this route, but no one was out today, too cold! They had already headed out farther into the Bay, where many overwinter. We were happy to reach our coffeeneuring spot and warm up with some hot coffee. I enjoyed one of their molasses cookies (the cakey kind I love) and Gary some salty chips. Normally we eat down by the River, but too cold today and we found a sheltered spot in the sun near the building (they do have sit-down inside).
Then we headed back home the hilly way, and I was looking forward to that to keep me warm! Up the big hill in Bowdoinham, then left onto our road, Fisher Rd in Bowdoinham, Cathance Rd in Topsham, which is the most awesome biking road around. It twists and turns through woods and farmland, up and down many hills, over the Cathance River twice, for about 6 miles from Bowdoinham to our place in Topsham. We had no clue when we moved here how great a cycling road this is, it was just sheer luck, but our road is on everyone’s cycling routes. A fun day out, and perhaps one of our last real rides of the year up north. We warmed up with more coffee at home.
I Was Going to Complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge, but…
So, why did we only manage to do two coffeeneuring rides? Well I think two main reasons. One or both of us was out of town sans bikes for two of the eligible weekends, including the three day Columbus weekend. So that cut down on our eligible days.
The other reason is that we’ve been trying this brand new sport – it’s called “running” and it’s quite interesting. It has some similarities to randonneuring, as some people are able to travel amazing distances in all kinds of weather and terrain by this mode of transport. But there are no pedals or wheels or gears involved. You actually propel yourself forward by hitting the ground with your feet, if you can believe it. There’s no saddle either, so you actually have to stand up the entire time! In fact there’s no equipment of any kind, except for yourself and protection from the elements – it’s very strange.
Anyhow, we have started this strange new sport just for something new and interesting to do, particularly during the winter up north here, and we have been preparing for a “5k run” November 18. Now here you are saying, 5k what’s the big deal, that is barely a prologue, that’ll only take like 5-15 minutes at most to complete! But here’s the beauty of “running” – you get far more entertainment time out of every kilometer running than you do bicycling! So even a decently fast runnier can get 15-20 minutes of entertainment out of a 5k run, while most get even more entertainment time. The slowest, like me, get 40ish minutes out of it.
So we spent most of the coffeeneuring weekends working hard on both Saturday and Sunday to prepare for our running 5K, and the Coffeeneuring Challenge suffered as a result. Maybe next year we can have a Coffeeneurrunning Challenge that would allow transport by bicycle or running? From what I have seen, these very odd running folks are even more serious about their coffee than randonneurs. It could open up a whole new participant group. ;)
Hmmm… I will give it some consideration, Sara. In the meantime, congratulations on Gary’s and your recent involvement in this activity called “running,” and A+ on your Coffeeneuring Challenge excuse.