Champion the Cure Challenge
A Great Century Ride for a Terrific Cause
August 18, 2012
Supporting Cancer Care in Eastern Maine
I’ve been friends with the Lafayette and Rawcliffe families for the last 50 years, and actively involved with cancer charities for the last 12 – so when Dan Lafayette and Rudy Rawcliffe invited me up to a century (100 miles) bicycle ride to support the local cancer center in my home town I jumped at the chance. The Lafayette family generously helped build one of the best designed and well operated outpatient cancer centers in New England as part of the Eastern Maine Medical Center, located in Brewer Maine.
My business takes me through a lot of cancer centers, and this is one of the most smoothly functioning and patient friendly that I have ever seen. Their use of advanced technology – like RFID supported operations – is second to none, and yet they clearly operate with the best “patient centric” focus.
At the start at 6:30 AM
I was delighted to find that the century ride was as well designed and executed as the cancer center that it supports. The ride starts in Brewer, and heads up the east side of the Penobscot River (Routes 178 & 2) for 40 miles – all the way to Howland. This is paved shoulder, high speed bicycle cruising at its finest – dead flat with long straight highway. We averaged over 20 mph for a lot of this portion of the ride – it was simply a blast.
This part of Maine very recently “emerged” from the Atlantic (in the last few thousand years) due to glacial rebound, and it is still principally unconsolidated, flat lying, sea bottom sediments. The trip to Howland clung to this low lying river country along the Penobscot River providing beautiful views of the river for most of the this section.
Quiet water along the Penobscot River
Turning south and west in Howland (Routes 6 & 155), we headed into interior Maine into slightly more rolling country, but with freshly paved road surface (thanks to Federal stimulus money) and no traffic – I mean no vehicles at all. This lacked the spectacular river views of the morning, but was great bicycling for another 30 miles or so. Along the way the SAG stops were well stocked and staffed with some wonderful friendly people and great amenities – this was a really well organized ride.
The century route is marked in blue
Four old friends relaxing at the SAG stop in East Corinth
Wes Chapman, Stan Spencer, Rudy Rawcliffe and Bill Deighan
Ramsey Lafayette & Rudy Rawcliffe in Lagrange
Well stocked SAG stops
We joined Routes 15 and 11 in East Corinth, and the traffic picked up noticeably, but wherever we were on principal highways – there were paved shoulders. The route spent precious little time on major highways until we got into metropolitan Bangor, when the traffic increased – but not for very long. Most of the final 10 miles was winding through residential neighborhoods and back across the Penobscot to the Cancer Center in Brewer.
This is a very easy ride (for a century), and extremely well organized. The roads are flat, well maintained, and the traffic minimal. This is “everyman’s” century, and great for the self-esteem of the weekend warrior bicyclist. If you are thinking of trying out a century for the first time, coming back after an injury or suffering through a summer of too much food and not enough training – grab a slot in the Champion the Cure Challenge. These folks run a great century and the cause is terrific – we hope to see you next year.
Teammates coming in
Rudy & Wes at the finish
Stan makes it home
Adios, from Champion the Cure Challenge