Maine Bike Trip 2006       Picasa Photo Album

That Fateful Day in February 2005...

How did I become a Gonzo at such a tender young age? Better question. How did my daughter (Ai Ai) become a Gonzo at only 3 years of age? As they say in Nova Scotia, “There’s a history.”

A good friend of mine would push the limits on how early in the season he could get out on his road bike. He had been out once or twice already during early February 2005. Not to be usurped, I also started out on the road as early as I could that year.

I set out for one of my first few chilly rides in late February/early March of last year. About an hour into the ride I had a flat tire. I have a condition in my hands called Reynaud’s Phenomenon. When my hands are exposed to the cold, the blood vessels constrict and spasm, decreasing the blood flow to my fingers, and consequently rapidly decreasing their fine motor function. I had gotten my tire off the rim and the tube out. Put the new tube around the rim.

Darn! The presta valve on my spare tube was jammed. I could not inflate the new tire. And in the 5C temperatures, my hands were quickly becoming useless. I could feel my panic rising. Along came our fearless leader—Bruce Duffy. He unjammed the valve and changed my flat.

Rescued! Bruce invited me to the Gonzo’s first ride of the year the following weekend. I went. Met Gordon, Nancy, Bruce, Ross, Chris, Betty, etc... and the rest is history. Well there were a few more bike rides (and meals) with the Gonzos. And a little trip to Chongqing, China to pick up Ai Ai and meet up with another Gonzo (Robert Kaufman) during my two weeks there.

And now we jump forward to the present. . .

The ‘Tour de Maine 2006’. What a grand time Ai Ai and I had! To think we almost missed it! After returning from China, I was on parental leave from April to October of this year. One of the mother-daughter activities that Ai Ai and I enjoyed together was cycling, I on my road bike towing her in a little Mountain Equipment Co-op bicycle trailer. We probably logged in over 2000 km together. Fortunately Ai Ai now enjoys cycling as much as I do. Actually she seems quite addicted to cycling. I was able to keep up with the Gonzo’s during the rides I did with them by myself back in 2005.

But towing Ai Ai in the trailer slowed me down significantly. I decided to not go to Maine as I did not feel I would be able to keep up to the pace. Then I (and Ai Ai) ran into Bruce again one day during a ride along Waverly Road. "You won’t slow us down! It will be great to have you guys come along!" He did a bit more selling on the ride. And we came along! The week of the Tour de Maine was a blur! But oh so much fun!

The things that I will always remember:

1) Bruce Duffy’s amazing organizing ability in getting 11 adults, 11 bikes, one 3-year old (and her bicycle trailer) into three vehicles. And seamlessly co-coordinating, assembling (and disassembling) this group and their gear over the 1000 km drive among two provinces and one state on the way down and back.

2) Gordon Warnica bringing hot coffee to our motel room each morning. Possibly was a strategy to get us women all out of bed and on the road by 8:00 a.m. It worked very well!

3) Towing Ai Ai in her trailer 85 km the first day. Then rapidly losing my ability to tow her any significant distance or speed over the next few days. Thanks to Bruce for pulling a groin muscle one day (slowing him down to our speed), his taking Ai Ai as a support buddy in the truck the next day (so I could enjoy my second 100 km day without towing Ai Ai), and Larry towing Ai Ai on our last day (which slowed Larry down enough so that the rest of us could keep up to him).

4) How much I could consume in the way of chips, beer, and food and never seem to reach satiety. Maybe that was the reason I got slower each day. It wasn’t just Ai Ai’s weight.

5) The dinners! Oh man the delicious food every night. Wow!

6) Red Truck Wine. Which is apparently on back-order at Port of Wines? Is that going to be the official Gonzo dinner wine?

7) How well the all of the men all took such good care of us women, doing a lot of the food preparation, dish-washing, loading and unloading our luggage and bikes. Almost every night and every morning, we four women would remark to each other about how well we were all being taken care of!

The things I will not forget:

1) To take Ai Ai’s Landed Residency Papers when crossing the Canada/US Border. Fortunately the customs officer did not ask to see her citizenship papers. They don’t yet exist! She was possibly an illegal alien for the seven days of the tour.

2) To take a map and to note the town and motel address when I take off with Carol Young to go shopping. Carol and I both definitely knew how to get to the shops at Freeport. Just neither of us worried too much about the details on how to get back until we were actually on our way back. The conversation sort of gradually unfolded as we were admiring the gorgeous fall colors in the setting sun. . . Do you remember which exit we take? The address of the motel? The town? The name of the motel? Fortunately, we did remember the name of the motel. And we are women. So we stopped and asked for directions.:-)

However, we did try the "guy way" of driving around for a bit to see if we could recognize things. It was all so much fun. With many fond memories that Ai Ai and I will chat about for a long time.

Donna & Ai Ai


Poetry in Motion...

Three cars, and then four,
leapfrogging down Highway 1,
bound for coastal Maine.
Three to sixty-three,
steel, carbon and sertz inserts,
no miles to thousands.
Some L.L. Bean'ing
plus five days in the saddle
on the agenda,
With ride support from
Sam Adams, a Red Truck and
sources of trans fat.
Mickey D breakfast,
A pair of moist 100Ks
hot-tub, beer, chicken.
Sun-rise at seven,
Portsmouth waterfront and brew,
Neutering fixed gears.
Déjà vu again,
Halloween ale in Portland,
Losing the longcut.
The Brunswick Diner,
headwinds and hills heading home,
Young exuberance.
Hikers and Bikers,
Ai Ai trailering behind,
Sausage spaghetti.
Riding, eating, beer.
The essentials are unchanged,
As is the question,
Do we ride the miles?
So we can rationalize
All of the eating,
Or to hide the fact
we're just bargain hunters with
a biking problem?