AUGUSTA — When Bryan McCarthy of Hope rode across the finish line of his first Trek Across Maine, his daughter, Maggie McCarthy, was planning her first Trek.
“Last year at the finish, Maggie was looking around and saw other kids,” Bryan McCarthy said. “She was like, ‘Can I do this with you next year?’”
Maggie, now 9, pedaled with her dad on a tandem bicycle into Augusta on their third day of the 185-mile ride.
“I like the whole thing,” Maggie said. “It’s just really fun and cool.”
“People are really nice to us (and cheer), ‘Go Team Tandem!’” She pumped her hand into the air.
Through Craigslist, they purchased the tandem last month from a cyclist who’d ridden the Trek on it with her daughter, who was also 9 at the time. McCarthy called finding the tandem a “karma connection.”
The pair started riding together immediately, and Maggie felt great after riding 22 miles, McCarthy said, but this is the most they have ridden together.
“First day tough because it was cold and windy,” McCarthy said. “The roads got better after we got away from the coast — much more conducive for families to ride.”
Maggie plans to ride as an adult, and she hopes she and her father can keep doing it together.
“She heard another trekker say her dad was 80 and was doing it,” Bryan McCarthy said.
“Maggie said to me, ‘Hey can we do this together when you’re 80?’”
McCarthy turned 40 last year and planned 40 events to celebrate, including riding the Trek Across Maine. He documented his journey with the podcast Fit 40 Radio.
The third leg of the Trek Across Maine made a stop Sunday morning at the Augusta waterfront on the Kennebec River as part of a new route.
This year’s route made a loop from Brunswick Landing to a stopover Friday in Lewiston at Bates College, then traveled to Waterville to stay Saturday night at Colby College, and came through Augusta on Sunday, returning to Brunswick.
Previously, the Trek had started at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry and traveled east to Belfast, with stopovers in Farmington and Waterville.
The Kennebec River Rail Trail between Augusta and Gardiner was closed while Trekkers left the road Sunday.
The Trek drew 1,675 registered riders this year, said Kim Chamard, development director for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. Riders can ride all three days of the Trek or single days.
The Trek is the largest fundraiser for the American Lung Association, having gathered around $24 million in its 35 years.
The Kennebec Valley YMCA, with a team of about 30 riders, participated this year with team leader Debbi White of Augusta, who was riding the Trek for the 11th time.
White, who has been teaching spin classes for 12 years at the Kennebec Valley YMCA, leads the Indoor Trek Across Maine Class. The class is a 22-week spin class geared to train cyclists for the event.
For veteran cyclists such as Karl Finison and Jane Finison-Jones, of Augusta, the class kept them in shape through winter and spring. This was their first Trek.
For others, it was a way to start at the beginning.
“Last year I only did half of each day,” said another student, Nancy Marshall, “and this year there is still fuel in my tank.”
“We have a lot of success stories where the first-years (students) have to walk up hills,” White said.
“They could only ride some of it, and now they’re doing it all days, all miles.”
Abigail Austin — 207-621-5631
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