After extreme heat made completing the Portland to Glacier 1000km unsafe, Matt Roy had another opportunity to knock off the distance right away, back here at the New England Randonneurs Downeast 1000km on July 30th. This time things went better, and his 63hr 9min finish was the best of the 18 riders who completed it. Here is the story of his Downeast 1000km, in his own words:
Earlier in the summer I had the brilliant idea that I could string a pair of 1000kms together with a one month buffer in between. It was my plan all along. And when the Portland to Glacier National Park 1000km went belly up in the heat I really had to commit. The Downeast 1000km was the first event in New England greater than 600km since the demise of the fabled Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200km, which was last run in 2006. The promoters, route designers and volunteers put a ton of effort in to it so I really wanted to be part of the inaugural edition.
The route promised to be amazing. Montpelier, VT to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park and back. 636 miles. More than 37,000 feet of climbing.
Day one, 4AM start, 20-or so starters headed out. The route would head northeast towards to the north side of Rangeley Lake in Maine, crossing New Hampshire following Bear Brook to Lake Umbagog. It’s moose country. Hunting and fishing country. Amazing that Conway is only 60 miles away. It might as well be Saskatchewan.
The overnight was at Colby College in Waterville, ME but I rolled in earlier than planned with two others. With plenty of daylight to spare, I decided to press on with hopes of making to Bucksport, which would put me at a little over 280 miles for the day. It also meant that I had a much better chance at making to the top of Cadillac Mountain close to sunrise the following morning.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but I was being pursued by a nasty storm cell that periodically dumped rain on me. I pushed it for the next few hours, pulling into Bucksport where Mo met me at a motel. Soaked, tired, but pretty happy with the day.
The next morning I pressed on to Cadillac with a fellow rider who met me in Bucksport after he got some shuteye in Waterville. We rode together along route 1 in silence. Both sleepy. In a literal and figurative fog.
Top of Cadillac. Maybe three, four other people there. Amazing. Mo picked berries on the side of the road and surprised us with them.
Bar Harbor. Bakery. Brekky. And then, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed into the streets of Bar Harbor where the early morning quiet had vanished, replaced with bustling buses, hordes of vacationers. I saw on bumper sticker that said something to the effect of “No I’m not on vacation.”
The highway back to Bucksport. Loud, hot, cars, trucks, RVs passing you at 65mph. Longing for the solitude of the roads east of Bucksport and back to Waterville.
My original plan was to blast past Waterville, ME and press on to North Conway but the day got hot, the wind picked up and it would have been a solo death march for the balance of the day. 150 miles on day 2. I opted for a shower and a luxurious five-hour nap. I waited for a trio of friends who had made the trip up from NJ/PA. The four of us cruised under the full moon, starting at 2am. Pace was super casual but they were a blast to ride with. Plus, Mo wouldn’t have to worry about me riding solo and she could get another hour or two of shut-eye since she was meeting me at every checkpoint.
Sleeping the night in Waterville and the leisurely nighttime ride meant that we’d get into Conway at prime weekend traffic hour, and up and over the Kancamangus with the buzz of a thousand Harleys. I pushed on alone once we hit Conway. Over the Kanc and thankfully soon on the quiet roads west of Kinsman Notch.
The last 60 miles were sublime. Winding dirt and paved roads. Hardly any cars. Along the Connecticut River crossing back in to Vermont and then winding gently up along the Waits River into the golden hour. Finished around 7pm. Daylight to spare. Not much left in the ol’ legs though. A little over 205 miles to cap it off.
Here’s the breakdown:
636.8 miles in 63 hours and 9 minutes. Total riding time, 42:11. Off the bike for 18:58 for a 15.09 mph rolling average. 37,402 feet of climbing. 20,949 estimated calories burned.