Long-Distance Cycling: Food is the Thought
As fuel for a 100-mile bike trek, the food choice was definitely questionable
— if not downright gastronomically ghastly. But sometimes, according to veteran century rider Adam Rosenbaum of Falmouth, you have to go with your gut or, rather, what your gut is telling you to eat.
So that’s how Rosenbaum came to down a hot dog crammed with a hefty helping of sauerkraut while pedaling his way through a century. “Even though I knew it wasn’t the best (food choice),” he said, “I’m riding a long way, and I want a hot dog piled with sauerkraut.”
For people in the long-distance cycling community, food is a must, and while some are quite discriminating about what food they choose to consume, most simply are concerned about preventing their energy gauge from falling to empty.
Most authorities on food and fitness estimate the average 150-pound person expends between 500 and 800 calories per hour when cycling. Of course a variety of factors- head wind, hills, intensity of the riding- weigh into determining the actually number, but what’s indisputable is a cyclist riding 50 miles or more is going to burn a lot of fuel.
Consider the Trek Across Maine, the annual three-day 180-mile fundraising ride hosted by the American Lung Association of Maine. Even a cyclist pedaling at a moderate rate of between 12 and 14 miles per hour might consume about 600 calories per hour. At that rate, a 50-mile ride demands about 2,400 calories. Given that huge caloric need, organizers make sure they have an ample supply of food available before, during, and after each leg of the event. Take the 2015 Trek for example. That year organizers supplied 200 pounds of carrots, 350 pounds of granola, 2,300 oranges, 3,500 apples, 5,000 bananas, and 10,000 energy and granola bars. Seem like a lot? Think again. More than 2,000 people pedaled the Trek that year, which comes down to fewer than three bananas per cyclist over the three-day endurance test. So, no, there can never be too much food – not when you’re pushing pedals for as many as 10 hours a day.
Gary Smith, school superintendent of RSU 18, a school system covering five communities in central Maine, has completed the Trek Across Maine for 21 consecutive years. He credits his success in part to adhering to the advice of Trek organizers on nourishment.
“They have a saying on the Trek,” Smith said, “and I follow it: Drink before you’re thirsty and eat before you’re hungry.”
For Smith, though, there’s no hot dogs piled with sauerkraut.
“Fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, maybe a banana, and an energy drink – and that’s it,” he said. “But that’s just me. It’s kind of like a formula.”
Jim Merrick of the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club is a veteran long-distance cyclist, one who has completed numerous bike centuries as well as the Trek Across Maine. He said when it comes to staying sufficiently hydrated and energized for long rides, people need to use common sense. For example, he said, cyclists should drink water on a regular basis in the course of a long ride. But that doesn’t mean guzzling water by the gallons. “I think a lot of people usually say drink plenty of water,” he said, “but people can also overdo it. I know people who have done the Trek who have been hospitalized because they drank too much.”
Rosenbaum is most certainly not a water guzzler. “I ride centuries with one water bottle,” he said. “They say ride with two, but I find that one never gets used.” Instead, Rosenbaum said he simply refills his bottle when he reaches the next aid station. Most organized centuries and long-distance cycling events provide multiple rest stops with food and water for participants.
Merrick, like Smith, heads for the tables featuring bananas and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches although in recent years energy bars have become extremely popular. “They have all these energy bars (at rest stops),” Smith acknowledged, “and I usually grab one or two to put in my bike shirt and more often than not, I have about a dozen left at the end of the Trek.” And that goes back to Smith’s belief in the formula. “I think the magic sandwich,” he said, “is peanut butter with banana on whole grain bread.”
Some, though, see room for a bit of indulgence during a long ride. Take again Rosenbaum, the hot dog and sauerkraut fan. On a bike century he did last summer in New York, Rosenbaum ate much of the usual fare: energy bars, peanut-butter sandwiches, bananas, and the like.
But he also saved room for dessert. “I couldn’t help myself,” he said. “I also had a couple of chocolate-chip cookies that looked really good.”
— Text: Colin Hickey
Bike MS: Sisters Ride on a Mission Together
August 12 and 13, 2017 will mark the 33rd year for Maine Bike MS, the ninth year since Donna McGrew first heard the words “you have multiple sclerosis” when her sister was diagnosed, and the seventh year since her own diagnosis of MS. Now as team co-captain for Cycling Friends and a passionate advocate for the National MS Society, it is Donna’s personal mission to motivate individuals and families affected by MS to get out there and do something about MS NOW…like riding a bike. Because she knows every dollar raised and the miles ridden brings her and her sister closer to the day when MS will stand for Mystery Solved.
Early and on-going treatment with FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your healthcare professional and contacting the National MS Society at MSnewengland.org or 1.800.344.4867.
2017 Trek Across Maine
ARE YOU READY FOR LONG DISTANCE?
The 33rd annual Trek Across Maine will take place on
Father’s Day Weekend – June 16 – 18, 2017
Over the course of 3 days and 180 miles, you will travel from the remarkable western mountain region to the beautiful coast of Maine. You’ll be accompanied by 2,000 cyclists and 700 volunteers in this fully supported charity ride. Join the American Lung Association as we save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease!
NEW 2 day option available – June 17 & 18, 2017
Enjoy shorter mileage (97 miles) and a lower fundraising minimum
without losing out on the experience of the
Trek Across Maine!
For more information or to register, please visit BikeTrekNewEngland.org or email TrekAcrossMaine@LungNE.org.
Use code RACEME for $20 off your registration. Each individual participant is required to fundraise $550 and ages 7-17 must raise $400. Check out our Facebook page for promotions, discount codes and updates all year long: Facebook.com/MaineTrek.
Innovations in Running Gear
RaceME spoke with John Rogers, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running in Portland Maine, and Erin Flatley, Social Media Marketing Manager and Run Club Coach, about the trends we can expect to see in running gear this year.
What new shoe trends are you seeing for 2017?
JOHN: I believe shoe companies will build upon similar advances from 2016 in continuing with “Geometric” Designs, that use similar midsole materials and seamless upper designs. I see the future of shoe innovations will be aided by the latest technology in gait analysis and 3D imaging and scanning. These advanced imaging tools give more accurate details for measuring gait characteristics from “heel strike” to “toe off” with significant information in real time.
ERIN: I see designs trending toward how a shoe fits the foot as a whole rather than focusing on just stability.
Recovery seems to be the hot topic these days, what equipment is trending for pre- and post-run stretching and massage tools?
JOHN: There is a greater emphasis on injury prevention and recovery than ever before. Brands such as Addaday, Moji, Pro-Tec and Trigger Point are scientifically designing sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and flexible massage devices, which incorporate varied surface textures, materials and shapes to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and realign joints.
Many of these products are self massage tools and mimic the techniques used by physical therapists to speed recovery, break down muscle and tendon scarring and help runners relieve IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, hamstring strains, shin splints, low back tightness and glute pain. These advances are truly helping runners recover at greater speed, prevent injury, and run pain-free.
What is new in the tech world?
ERIN: Listen up runners!! Aftershokz Head phones are a game changer that enhances the runner’s music experience while adding the safety of hearing whats going on around you as well. The technology behind this revolutionary device is called “bone conduction.” Aftershokz Trekz Titanium have been a extremely popular item in which their Portland store has sold out 4 times since Christmas!
— Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running has locations at 309 Marginal Way in Portland, and 89 Main Street in Brunswick.
Raise Your Bar – Hook up with a Running Group
It doesn’t matter whether you’re fast or slow — you are welcome to run, learn, and train with the coaches at Fleet Feet! These fun, simple and social running groups meet in Portland and Brunswick.
location: 309 Marginal Way
schedule: The Portland group starts April 4th and meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6pm, Saturdays at 9am (after June 10th – 8am)
cost: $75 includes a Maine Track Club membership, or use promo code SKIP to register for just for Run Club at $50
coaches: Erin Flatley, David Dowling, Kathy Bowe & Michael Gaige
location: 9 Maine Street
schedule: The Brunsick group starts April 3rd and meets Mondays & Wednesdays at 6pm, Saturdays at 8am (after June 10th – 7am)
coaches: Katrina White & CeCe Camacho
Run Club participants receive:
- A year-long structured training program.
- Dedicated support and individual counseling from a Run Club coach.
- 3 group training sessions during the week (option of 5 if you attend both Portland + Brunswick!) Each week will include one structured workout, one group run of 3-5 miles, and a Saturday long run.
- Information clinics by coaches and vendors on proper footwear, gear, injury prevention, and nutrition featuring product
try-ons and more!
- Access to planned Pub Runs, Scavenger Hunts and many other fun runs!
- Weekly Training Group Email and Group Facebook Run Club Training Page.
- Race Course Preview Training Runs.
- Winter Warrior Training – Winter Workouts to maintain strength and endurance….and brave the Maine Winter elements!
- The camaraderie of others like you with the same goal!
- With the registration fee, each person will also receive one technical running shirt (one t-shirt or singlet) and one other custom FFSMR product.
Fuel: Nutrition Guide for Runners
We spoke with nutritionist and running coach Tara Whiton of Fleet Feet Sports to get answers to some common questions athletes have as they get into their training routines. This is Tara’s Nutrition Guide for Runners — check out these important tips to make sure you are on track to meet your goals.
What are some common mistakes runners make with nutrition?
Rewarding yourself with “treats” or very large meals simply because you’ve completed a run is a common mistake. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but remember what your goals are to keep things in check. Beginning runners tend to overestimate their calorie expenditure. In reality we only burn about 100 calories/mile no matter how fast we run.
Eating lots of carbs is another common error. While eating carbs is definitely important for running, runners still need to eat a balanced diet just like everyone else. Lean protein for muscle building and repair, healthy fats (like monounsaturated and omega-3’s), fruits & vegetables for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A balanced diet is important for fueling performance and recovering for the next exercise session.
When and how much should I eat before a 30-minute run?
If you are running in the morning after waking you don’t necessarily even need to eat. Later in the day, the general rule of thumb is to eat just a small snack (200 calories) about 1.5-2 hours before the run.
What are the best pre-run foods?
Carbohydrates that are easier to digest along with a little fat and/or protein (to help stabilize blood sugars and keep you feeling satiated). Some examples: banana w/nut butter, 5-6 crackers with nut butter, 5-6 crackers and a couple small pieces of cheese. For those on the go and need of a “convenience snack,” have 1 serving of Clif Shot Bloks, a gel, or a small glass of Gatorade, 30 minutes before run.
How much should you eat before a 60-minute run?
As with a 30-minute run, eat a small snack of around 200-300 calories, keeping in mind that caloric needs are dependent on body size and how fit you are.
What do you need to bring on a long run?
Liquids are the most important thing. Bring water plus electrolytes (like Nuun tablets) to replace electrolytes lost in sweat (primarily sodium and some potassium). Electrolytes also help to move carbohydrates from the small intestine into to the blood stream where they are needed. bring liquids in a handheld water bottle, hydration belt, or hydration pack. Nutrition options should be focused on carbohydrates. Convenient carbohydrates to bring with you are gels and chews.
What nutritional supplements do you recommend?
At Fleet Feet of Maine, we carry GU, Hammer, Clif, Huma, Nuun, Bonk Breaker, Picky Bars and Honey Stinger. Within those brands are several different nutrition forms: gels, chews, electrolyte drinks, recovery.
What about hydration and electrolyte replacement?
Rehydrating with water plus electrolytes is vital to prevent hyponatremia. Hyponatremia can occur by drinking too much water without replacing electrolytes. Drinking only water, you dilute your blood sodium levels, and this can be deadly! This is only a concern in very hot conditions and longer/more intense races.
Drinking electrolytes can also help move carbohydrates ingested out of your small intestine and into the blood steam (so will help prevent that sloshing feeling) AND can help prevent that nauseous feeling that many people experience after a long run. If feeling that way, drink a glass of electrolytes post-run.
What are the best food and drink choices after a moderate run?
Post run it’s important to eat something within the first 30 minutes after exercise (preferably some carbohydrates and liquid). If you can’t stomach it, try to suck down some Gatorade (carbs, liquid + electrolytes). Within the hour, try to consume a small meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and some fat…a well-rounded meal. Some examples might be a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana and 2 eggs, a fruit smoothie with some protein powder, yogurt with fruit and granola…etc.
What about having a beer or two after a race or running?
I think having a beer or two is just fine. Beer is only dehydrating if you drink a lot of it, but everything in moderation of course! You are consuming liquid + carbs + B vitamins. Also, if not just for mental enjoyment!
Why are training groups successful in furthering runner’s abilities and goals?
I think training groups are successful from the motivational and accountability stand point. We have friendly coaches and great people who attend our groups. They are very high energy and I think that runner’s typically thrive in this type of supportive environment! People make friends and find running buddies through our groups and we see them return year after year! In a few words: High energy, fun, supportive, motivational!
— Tara Whiton has her Master’s (MS) in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, and a running coach. Tara is the Director of Social Media & Communications, and Run Coach at Fleet Feet Maine Running. She is fond of trail races, particularly the 50K as well as short, steep uphill running races. On the road her preferred distance is the half-marathon.
Distilling in Maine: Ingenuity, Craft, and History
It’s mid-afternoon on a Saturday and I’m in an up-and-coming industrial neighborhood in one of Maine’s coastal towns, enjoying a drink. It’s Maine Craft Distilling’s take on a Moscow Mule, served with their spiced Ration Rum, ginger beer, and lime juice. Or perhaps it’s peppery Gunpowder Rye from New England Distilling, served straight up along with a tour of the distillery. I could be in Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill sipping a Bimini Special—a refreshing tonic made with Round Turn Distilling’s Bimini Gin, coconut water, lime juice, and a dash of bitters. The spirits may vary, but one thing is consistent: these craft distilleries are helping to bring life back to once-neglected industrial spaces as part of a resurgence of distilling in Maine that hasn’t been this robust since before Prohibition.
Craft distilleries and their accompanying tasting rooms are following in the well-trod steps of craft breweries. Fifteen distilleries have opened in Maine in the last 11 years, wrestling consumers’ attention away from national brands with carefully crafted, often locally-sourced products in a wide array of styles. Like breweries, the forerunners of the industry worked to change unfavorable laws leftover from the 1930s for their businesses to thrive. And it’s working—as regulations become friendlier to small businesses and the public’s thirst for craft beverages grows, more and more distilleries are firing up their stills and slinging drinks across the tasting room bar.
Distilling in Maine was actually outlawed for the longest period of time in the country—from the passage of the so-called Maine Law in 1851 until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933—a total of 82 years. It should follow then that near every distillery in Maine gives a nod to history by revitalizing forgotten spaces. Distillers work in once-abandoned mills and warehouses in Portland, Brewer, Biddeford and in renovated barns in York, Freeport, Union, and Newcastle. They create spirits that honor our state’s rich history of shipyards, working waterfronts, and agriculture in these spaces made relevant once again.
Of course, no one narrative captures the wide variety within Maine’s craft distilling industry. The men and women behind the stills produce unique spirits using technology that was first discovered in Medieval times, but given a 21st century twist. Unwanted potatoes become gin and vodka at Maine Distilleries; Split Rock Distilling ferments and distills locally-grown organic grains into vodka and bourbon. Several distilleries use molasses to make a number of rums as varied as those from the Caribbean Islands, and gins are flavored with unique botanicals like chamomile, rose petals, and naturally, blueberries. There’s a Maine-made spirit for everyone from fruity mixed drink lovers to serious whiskey aficionados.
As the Maine craft distilling industry grows, so does the average drinker’s knowledge of spirits. Bespoke cocktail menus featuring bitters, amaros, egg white-topped drinks, and housemade ingredients have helped turn many average bar-goers into a knowledgeable and discerning consumers. Others are simply happy to try something new that tastes good, and many are looking to connect with the story behind the drink. As a result, the last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of events and groups that offer drinks with a side of education.
The Portland Spirits Society (of which I am the founder) hosts ladies-only educational events about different styles of liquor. We’ve learned about everything from tequila and Scotch to what kind of whiskey pairs well with chocolate. Briana Volk, owner of the Portland cocktail bar Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, coordinates the New England Cocktail Conference annually, a multi-day event for industry professionals and the public. The conference’s events in years past ranged from tiki drinks 101 to a “grandpa drinks”-themed retro dinner.
A natural extension of the farm-to-table ethos that has gripped our nation’s food, craft distilling has what’s missing from those ubiquitous national brands: a unique sense of place. People want a drink with a story, and the ingenuity and craft that has long characterized the makers of our state fills every bottle. So next time you order a drink at a bar, ask what’s local, and listen for the unique story that only a Maine-made spirit can tell.
— Kate McCarty is a food and drink writer living in Portland, Maine. She has written two books, including Distilled in Maine: A History of Libations, Temperance, and Craft Spirits. Find more of her writing at blueberryfiles.com.
Brewed Awakenings: The Fusion of Coffee and Beer
When you think of the words “Maine,” “coffee,” and “alcohol,” your mind probably goes to Allen’s Coffee Brandy. The ubiquitous brown liquor is practically synonymous with Maine, where it’s been the best-selling spirit in the state for over twenty years. In recent years, Allen’s annually sells over a million bottles – nearly one for every resident of the state.
However, Mainers would be wise to marry coffee and alcohol with another libation – craft beer. Brewers in Maine, like those all over the country, have been incorporating coffee into their brews to delicious effect. And if you’re not a beer drinker, coffee beers can be a great introduction.
In the world of commercially-brewed beer, fusion of coffee and ale is a relatively new development. As recently as the mid-90s, the first coffee beers were met with resistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who cited coffee as not being an approved additive for beer. Thankfully, the humble coffee bean survived this threat, and now features prominently beers that vary wildly in style and flavor.
Hops’ and grains’ characteristics in beer vary wildly based on where they’re from and how they’re roasted. In the same way, coffee beans can create a rainbow of different flavors and aromas in beer. A coffee bean can add notes that range from floral and fruity, to smokey, to brown sugar sweet. A favorite early-morning activity of mine is stopping into Speckled Ax in Portland and looking over the flavor descriptions for their different coffees. Coffee has a bounty of descriptors, and the list could put sommeliers to shame.
Coffee is added to beer in a variety of different ways. Sometimes, grounds are steeped in water used to brew a batch of beer for a couple days, then blended into the beer during primary fermentation. Other beers call for adding similarly steeped water directly into the brite tank, where the beer is conditioned after primary fermentation. Still others add brewed coffee just before the beer is bottled and sent off to market. Each method imparts coffee characteristics in different ways, in the same way different methods of brewing coffee result in a different cup of joe. And that can all take a backseat to how much coffee is used, which can mean the difference between subtle coffee notes and a beer that tastes like a latte.
The majority of coffee beers on Maine brewers’ taps are stouts and porters, which makes sense. Those are styles that already have the bitter, roast flavors that many people associate with coffee. The addition of coffee simply accentuates and amplifies them.
The coffee-beer connection is also a chance for brewers to collaborate with local coffee roasters, craftsmen and women who work in an environment not dissimilar from a craft brewery. Even when they aren’t working together directly, the use of locally-roasted coffee drives business through the doors of these Maine producers. The superhero team-up has led to great beers like Waypoint (from Rising Tide and Tandem Coffee), Joe Stout (Bag and Kettle and Carrabassett Coffee), Jolly Woodsman (Banded Horn and Speckled Ax), Happy Dog (Marshall Wharf and Green Tree Coffee), and Mr. Grumpy Pants (Norway Brewing and Coffee By Design).
In addition to offerings that are brewed first and foremost as coffee beers, a number of Maine brewers have won over drinkers with coffee-infused versions of their regular lineups. Foundation’s Burnside, already a sweet and nutty brown ale, takes on a deep coffee complexity when infused with coffee. Loads of other local brews – like Barreled Souls Quaker State, Austin Street Six Grain, Oxbow Townline Porter, and Saco River Old Course, to name just a few – tinker with their darker beers by adding brewed coffee or roasted coffee beans before pouring.
While the marriage of coffee and dark beers feels natural, brewers have discovered that java can be added to other styles with surprising – and impressive – results. Peak Organic’s Espresso Amber, which debuted in 2008, combines organic, fair-trade espresso with the toasty malt and slightly fruity flavors of an amber ale. Rather than overpower the beer, the coffee adds rich, roasty notes and a whiff of coffee in the nose.
Limerick’s Gneiss Brewing occasionally adds cold brew concentrate to Delta, a Dunkelweizen (a dark wheat, German-style beer). The result brings rich, roast coffee flavor to the bread and banana notes of a dunkel, creating a complex and unique beer. Strong Brewing also brews a dunkel with coffee, their 44 Kaffee Weisse. The legendary brewers at Allagash created James Bean by infusing a bourbon barrel aged, Belgian-style strong ale with cold press coffee from Speckled Ax. It all comes together in a beer bursting with caramel, coffee, bourbon, and berry flavors.
Maine’s brewing scene even has a limited edition brew that pays tribute to the infamous Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Since 2013, Ellen’s Coffee Stout has been brewed by Bar Harbor’s Atlantic Brewing Company. Coffee from Crooked Porch Coffee, milk sugar, and Madagascar vanilla make for a sweet and creamy stout that recalls the milk-and-brandy cocktail favored by Allen’s biggest fans.
Text: Josh Christie
Looking for some winter fun in Portland?
Pull on your long johns and embrace the invigorating fresh air.
Once you have the right gear, we have a few suggestions for you.
Cross-country skiers and snowshoers should check out the trails at Baxter Woods, Capisic Pond Park, Riverton Trolley Park and Evergreen Cemetery Woods. Follow the miles and miles of trails from Oat Nuts Park to the Presumpscot River Preserve and you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Presumpscot Falls.
For groomed cross-country classic and skate trails, check out the Riverside Snow Park at Riverside Golf Course. Riverside Snow Park also has hills for snowboarding, sledding and tubing. The same is true near the Back Cove at Payson Terrain Park. And Eastern Prom Hill is a great place to sled, tube, telemark ski, cross-country ski and snowshoe. For other opportunities, Portland Trails offers maps of the trail systems and occasional guided walks/hikes.
Sharpen your blades, lace up your skates and take a spin on the ice at Deering Oaks Park, Nason’s Corner/Breakwater School Pond, Payson Park and Riverside Snow Park. At Riverside, the rink is lit for night skating. For more information, refer to this list of places to skate in Maine.
Farmington and Wilton
Whether you are a student or a visitor, Farmington’s prime location among the rolling hills of Western Maine is a perfect jumping-off point to winter adventures and R & R. This picturesque town is home to the University of Maine at Farmington, named a U.S. News & World Report “Best College” nineteen times since 1998. A vibrant college town, downtown Farmington offers art galleries, plays, concerts, plus a diverse variety of shops and eateries.
The gateway to world-class skiing and snowboarding
If you know a college-bound student who’s into the outdoors, the University of Maine at Farmington is the perfect place for her or him to spend their college years. It also offers a degree in Outdoor Rec Business Administration and a certificate in Alpine Operations — plus intercollegiate Alpine, Nordic, Skier cross and Slopestyle skiing and Snowboard cross and Slopestyle snowboarding.
The University is right smack in the middle of some of the best hiking, mountain biking, camping, rafting, canoeing and kayaking in Maine. Farmington residents have long appreciated the great outdoors. Hometown son Chester Greenwood invented the earmuff at age 15, having come up with the idea while ice skating. Each winter the town celebrates Chester and his famous invention with an earmuff-clad parade. More recently, Farmington (and the world) celebrated the achievements of two-time Winter Olympic gold medalist Snowboard cross racer — and Farmington native — Seth Wescott.
Local skiers enjoy Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley as well as Titcomb Mountain in West Farmington. Titcomb Mountain is big enough to offer a variety of terrain, yet small enough that families are quickly at ease. Here, you’ll find both Alpine and Nordic skiing opportunities. Titcomb Mountain has added a new upgraded snowmaking system and the lodge has added a new stone patio with a grill and fire pit. The mountain has snowmaking capacity to cover 70% of its alpine terrain and lighted trails for night skiing, as well as a new small lighted XC Ski loop trail.
Since the 1970s, Northern Lights Stove Shop in Farmington has helped make homes cozy. They carry classic wood stoves, gas fireplaces, pellet stoves and outdoor wood furnaces.
Wilton: The hub of Maine’s recreational mecca
Wilton is a four season destination nestled in the foothills of Western Maine on the shore of beautiful Wilson Lake. While most of the well-known areas in Maine get lots of press, you’ll find a gold mine of other destinations to call your own special discovery — and Wilton is one of them. Wilton is less than one hour from Saddleback, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Black Mountain and Titcomb ski areas. It’s also located on Maine’s Interconnected Trail System (ITS) 82 and 89.
In 2012, the Wilson Lake Inn was awarded the “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor. Wilson Lake Inn delivers unsurpassed value, warm hospitality, and personalized service you can only find at a family-operated inn. The guest rooms, studios and suites are bright, clean, spacious and quiet. Continental breakfast includes freshly ground coffee, bakery fresh coffee cakes and muffins, fresh fruit and juice to get you off to a great start to explore this winter wonderland. Inn owners Tom and Susan invite you to enjoy the peace, serenity and service that will exceed your expectations. As your base camp for a fun-filled getaway, they want to share the snow covered hills and valleys that surround the lake and provide you endless opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing and ice fishing.
In 1876, George Henry Bass founded G. H. Bass & Company on Wilson Lake in Wilton. Bass shoes were manufactured here until the family sold the business in 1998. Today, Calzolaio Pasta Company, an Italian restaurant with some American alternatives, is located in the historic former shoe factory building. The restaurant features homemade sauces and pasta, brickoven-style pizza, fresh Maine seafood and natural meats. It’s open 7 days a week from 11am- 9pm for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
Are you ready to purchase that mountain getaway or new snowmobile? At Franklin Savings Bank, they’ll be happy to assist you in the process. The bank has convenient locations in Farmington, Jay, Mexico, Mount Blue, Rangeley, Rumford, Skowhegan and Wilton. You’ll also find ATMs at most of these locations.
To learn more about all of the businesses and events in Farmington, visit the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce on the web at: franklincountymaine.org or call 207-778-4215.
YIN YOGA: An essential Practice for Runners
Yoga is a fantastic complement to running and is one of the best practices for our physical and emotional well being. Yin Yoga, specifically, is an ideal practice for athletes as it targets the denser connective tissue, particularly within the joints, which other styles of yoga or exercise can’t adequately address. More active forms of yoga such as Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Bikram, Flow and Core style classes may also attract runners as they are great for building strength and balance, enhancing range of motion and creating greater body awareness.
Yin Yoga is a naturally meditative practice.
By spending time in stillness, Yin Yoga creates the opportunity to pay attention to what arises. We are able to closely examine the nuanced sensation of the tissue as it receives the benefits from the long holds, as well as observe the natural tendencies of the mind. This time of inward focus directly parallels all that takes place on a challenging run and is a valuable component to athletic training. It allows us to become receptive to any adversity whether it’s mild discomfort in the body, or agitation in the mind. By learning to be with these sweeping states, we can become more tolerant of that discomfort, and may notice that a certain level of calm arises. Within a more peaceful and grounded state, we have a greater capacity to examine our goals and appreciate our accomplishments. It’s truly the ultimate recharge.
Here are a few Yin poses that can be incorporated into your existing routine and are designed to energetically complement the Transition/Build phase of training. These postures are part of a longer sequence. To receive this sequence in full, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How to practice
There are three main principles of Yin Yoga. First, we come into a shape and go to the first point of resistance, and from that mild “edge” of sensation, observe what is being felt. Sensation should be no more than a mild, dull ache, and not gravitate toward anything sharp, stabbing or burning.
The second principle is to remain still. With the muscles relatively relaxed, the stress will transfer to the denser connective tissues. Keep in mind, you are not fixed in a single spot for the duration of the pose. Do be sure to change the angle of the pose to accommodate for any release, or to back away from sensation that becomes too intense.
Lastly, yin postures are held for longer periods of time. Postures can be held anywhere from 3 to even 20 minutes, but start with a time frame that makes sense for you, honoring the foregoing tenets.
Practice the postures sequentially as listed, allowing for 3-6 minutes in each pose. Give yourself at least 1-2 minutes between postures to rest in a prone or supine position (savasana), observing the effects. It is normal to feel some fragility as you exit a posture, and that sensation may stay present for a minute or two.
Disclaimer: Not all yoga poses are suitable for all persons. Always consult your health care provider and obtain full medical clearance before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice or direct guidance of a qualified yoga instructor.
Terry Cockburn has been teaching yoga since 2006 and owns Freeport Yoga Company (Freeport, Maine) and Yarmouth Yoga Studio (Yarmouth, Maine). A marathon runner, mother to two boys (and one yellow dog), business owner and outdoor adventure seeker, she balances an active yang lifestyle with time on the meditation cushion and a contemplative yin practice. Terry teaches classes, workshops and retreats and has a passion for working with the athletic population. Check out her upcoming offerings at www.freeportyogaco.com
The Stratton & High Peaks Region
The Stratton and High Peaks region offers easy trail access and gives snowmobilers a lot of choices during their February Polar Blast. Polar Blast events include a karaoke contest, a spaghetti supper and cribbage tournament at the Stratton Plaza Hotel, a Crazy Cardboard Slide and bonfire event in Eustis Village, chili/ chowder/stew contest, and fireworks at night.
The 2017 Polar Blast runs from February 9 through February 11. You’ll find comprehensive information about the Polar Blast and other winter activities in the High Peaks region at the F.A.B.A. website.
For other winter adventures, check out the Cathedral Pines trails in Eustis that are XC and snowshoe friendly. And if you book rooms at the Spillover Motel, you will have use of the snowmobile and XC skiing trails all around their property. Right next door is The Coplin Dinner House and together they offer overnight dinner packages, a winter weekend dinner/ brunch package, and a romance package that includes an overnight guest room, dinner at The Coplin Dinner House, and a basket full of romantic goodies in your room.
When you want some indoor fun and great food, stop into The Sugarbowl Restaurant and Sports Pub. In fact, you can find a lot of great places to eat in the region.
When you are on Main Street in Stratton, think about breakfast or lunch at the Looney Moose Cafe. Open seven days a week, this is the place for a delicious home-cooked meal. If you are looking for comfort food, warm up with a cup of their famous chili and a grilled cheese sandwich!
The Carrabassett Valley Antigravity Complex at the base of Sugarloaf is operated by the Town of Carrabassett and Carrabassett Valley Academy. This recreation complex features Maine’s largest indoor skate park and skate bowl, Olympic-size trampolines, an indoor rock climbing wall, full-court gymnasium and fitness room. Classes and private lessons are offered and reservations are required for the trampolines and climbing wall.
Tucked into the trees at 3004 Town Line Road, Carrabassett Valley, is Nestlewood Inn Bed & Breakfast. This elegantly furnished log cabin lodge offers seven cozy guest rooms, each with a private bath and all with woodland views. You’ll be conveniently located near Sugarloaf, yet just off the beaten path.
After your day-long outdoor adventures, warm up by the field stone fireplace in the Great Room as you sip a cup of tea.
One way to see the beautiful backcountry of Maine is by renting snowmobiles at Flagstaff Rentals Inc. They have just the ride for you to enjoy scenic terrain and groomed trails on self-guided snowmobile rentals that are well suited for novice to experienced riders. Some day trips from their location include Quill Hill, Rangeley, Carrabassett and The Canadian Trail where you can cross the border and have lunch with your passport! Ask about multiple day packages as well. Why Rent? Because renting is much more convenient and affordable than owning. Just show up and ride. No purchase, registration, maintenance costs, storage or trailering. Just pure enjoyment and memories to last a lifetime. Contact Flagstaff Rentals Inc. to rent snowmobiles and join your friends and family on guided or self-guided tours to local spots like the beautiful overlook on Quill Hill (shown at top of page). Now that’s an adventure you can brag about on social media!
Escape to Bethel
With one of the state’s two biggest ski areas, it’s not surprising that Bethel is a center for winter sports. But you may be surprised at the variety of outdoor options winter offers there. Besides downhill and Nordic skiing, ice skating and snow tubing, there are places to snowshoe, dogsled, take a sleigh ride, even fish through a hole in the ice. Those who’ve never tried any of these winter activities will find lessons, equipment and lots of outdoor company in this friendly town.
The centerpiece of winter sports is Sunday River, eight mountain peaks connected by 135 trails across 870 acres of developed trails and glades served by 15 lifts. It’s a family-friendly place, where kids love the slope-side entertainment and snow tubing at South Ridge, and teens appreciate the six terrain parks. Boarders of all ages gravitate to Pinnacle Snowboard Shop, with top names in boards, customized goggles and gear right at the mountain.
Cross-country skiers find trails and equipment right in town at Bethel Nordic Ski Center, at the start of 30km of classic and skate tracks, through forests and across fields with views of the Mahoosuc Mountains. Five miles of snowshoe trails and a skating rink make this a one-stop winter recreation center.
Plenty of scenic trails are available, too, for those who prefer to explore the woods and fields on a snowmobile. Northeast Snowmobile Rentals can provide machines to use on their trails and groomed terrain, the largest in the area. Complete instruction, helmets and free trail maps, along with free GPS tracking assure your safety.
Like Dogs? Like Snow? A dogsledding trip may be the winter adventure for you! Contact Mahoosuc Guide Service and find out why Mushing Magazine, the recognized international authority on dogsledding, recommends them as one of North America’s Top 5 dogsledding outfits.
Mornington Crescent Sled Dogs, just south of Bethel, offers hands-on dogsled experiences that are more than just a ride.
Fishing is an all-season sport, so if you want to know how – and where – to land a 10-pound pike in February, stop at Orion Outfitters and Guide Service.
For augers, bait,and tackle, the experts at Bethel Bait Tackle & More offer plenty of tips about nearby lakes and ponds.
Rent Bethel is a premier vacation rental agency servicing the greater Sunday River & Bethel, ME area. They offer a great selection of on and off mountain homes and condos for rent seasonally and short term. With over 10 years of experience in vacation rentals and a handpicked inventory of rent ready properties staying with Rent Bethel guarantees your satisfaction from booking to check out. See your winter getaway options right now at rentbethel.com.
For rooms, dining and an après-ski scene in one place, consider The Sudbury Inn, a family-friendly inn with a French bistro and Suds Pub, featuring 29 beers on tap. The free Mountain Explorer shuttle takes skiers right to Sunday River and home again, so you can leave your car right at the inn.
No winter getaway is complete without some quality après-ski time. Check out Sunday River Brewing Company, a microbrewery where you can lift a glass by the fireside and satisfy your appetite with a hearty pub dinner.
There’s plenty of winter fun in Bethel; stop by the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at Station Place in the center of town to learn more.
Text: Bobbie Randolph
Aroostook County: Open for Exploration
Aroostook County is rich in outdoor recreation opportunities in every season.
If you are new to outdoor adventure, consider hiring one of the many local Registered Maine Guides in the area. Even if you are an experienced outdoor adventurer, a Registered Maine Guide can make your trip a more enjoyable and often an educational experience.
Caribou has the best of both worlds with modern urban amenities and breathtaking scenery. Whether you like snowmobiling, four-wheeling, motorcycle cruising, kayaking, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, summer street fairs, fall arts and crafts or just plain relaxing by a campsite, Caribou is for you.
Caribou has over 100 miles of beautifully groomed snowmobile trails which connect to over 2300 miles throughout Aroostook County. The season typically starts in December and often runs well into April. With copious amounts of snowfall, typically measured in feet rather than inches, Caribou offers endless sledding adventures for all! For more information, go to cariboumaine.org, facebook.com/cityofcaribou, or the Caribou Snowmobile Club.
Central Aroostook County offers beauty and interesting vistas every season. As the leaves change color we prepare for the incredible snowmobile season, cross country skiing, alpine skiing, biathlons, skating, star gazing and more. There is nothing that compares with star gazing and the Northern Lights in Aroostook County.
A Beer-Lover’s Guide to Aroostook County
Aroostook County is known as a four-season outdoor-lover’s paradise, especially for winter recreation enthusiasts into cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling. The microbrewing revolution that has recently exploded in Portland, Bangor, and other points west and Downeast, has yet to be fully realized in “The County.” However, there are as many beer-lovers per capita here as anywhere else in the state of Maine, and things are happening, beer-wise. Here is just a sampling:
As you pull off Interstate 95 into Houlton, the first stop for any craft beer enthusiast should be the Thirsty Dawg beer and wine store, just off Route 2A on Florence Avenue. Established by Kent Good in 2010, the beer selection is one of the best in the state of Maine, with over 30 Maine breweries in stock. He is also one of the chief organizers of the Black Fly Brewfest, which will be held on May 20, 2017.
Aroostook Hops currently grows four popular varieties at their hop yard: Cascade, Centennial, Mt. Hood, and Nugget. Back in August, the CFO of Gritty McDuff’s was in the County with his Gritty’s balloon for the Aroostook Balloon Festival, and stopped by to pick up some fresh Centennial and Cascade hops to use in their “Wet Hop Ale.” Geaghan Brothers Brewing also used some of their fresh hops in making its “Aroostook Hop Harvest” ale.
Heading northeast on Route 1A from Westfield to Fort Fairfield you will find The Hop Yard’s northern farm on the Maple Grove Road. This was their first commercial hop yard and they have since established another in Gorham.
Another area farm producing quality ingredients for the Maine craft beer market is Buck Farms’ Maine Malt House, located in Mapleton, just east of Presque Isle on Route 163. Brothers Jared, Josh, and Jacob Buck, along with father Bruce and uncles Brent and Barry, started the Maine Malt House in February of 2015.
If you head about 10 miles north on Route 1 from Presque Isle, you will arrive at Aroostook County’s only microbrewery, Northern Maine Brewing Company in Caribou. Of their six brews on tap, I sampled the Maine Logger (a crisp Pilsen lager), the River Driver’s Red ale, the Skidder Grease Stout, and the Farmer IPA, with an IBU of 63 and ABV of 6.9%.
30 miles further north in Fort Kent, where Route 161 ends and U.S. Route 1 begins (ending in Key West, Florida), you can make your way to Walker’s Pub on West Main Street where you’ll find fine food and several Maine craft beers on tap.
Continuing on Route 1 to the Northeastern most point in the United States, just across the St. John River from Madawaska in Edmunston, New Brunswick, is Les Brasseurs de Petit-Sault brewery (“Little Falls Brewery”). It is worth the trip to tour the brewery and sample the beers on the Canadian side of the border, but bring your passport and a designated driver.
Aroostook County may be behind the rest of Maine in the number of local microbreweries, but the scenery is great, the people are friendly, and they are ready to ride the craft beer wave that is sweeping over the state. Most of these establishments can be found on Facebook and it would behoove travelers to bring their skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles and check them out this winter. Upcoming winter events include the Holiday Light Parade in Presque Isle on December 3rd and the Caribou Winter Carnival in mid-February.
Text: Paul Lamoreau