WATERVILLE — Not a cloud was in sight early Saturday afternoon as some 2,200 bicyclists began to descend on the Colby College campus, marking an end to the second leg of the three-day Trek Across Maine.

With this weekend bringing some of the nicest weather the annual 180-mile bike tour has seen in recent years, spirits were high as a chorus of clapping and cheering fans greeted cyclists as they completed 125 miles of the trek.

“This is great fun. This is the best weather I’ve ever experienced,” said Janet Fowle, of Damariscotta, who is participating in her 12th Trek Across Maine this year.

The 32nd annual trek, which is organized by and benefits the American Lung Association, started Friday at Sunday River in Newry, with cyclists traveling about 68 miles to the University of Maine at Farmington, where they spent the evening.

On Saturday, the cyclists, comprising 135 teams, traveled a combination of back roads to cross the second day’s finish line at Colby, where they planned to spend the evening. The last leg of the tour will have cyclists traveling 56 miles Sunday from Colby to Belfast.

With Sunday’s weather forecast shaping up to be another nice day, event organizers and veteran cyclists were basking in the sunshine that they say makes participating in the good cause all the more enjoyable.

“The cyclists always show their spirit on the trek. Though when we have nice days like this, spirits are even higher,” said Jeff Seyler, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast.

Poor weather plagued at least one out of the three days of the last three treks, so three days of sunshine is welcomed by Hans Breaux, of Portland, who is participating in his fourth trek.

“It makes it so much easier when the weather is nice. I go way faster when the sun is out,” Breaux said.

While veteran trekkers appreciated the nice weather, newcomers to the tour said it made their first experience that much more memorable. Breaux enlisted his friend Melissa Landon, of Portland, to join him this year. Landon said her favorite part of this new experience was the positive energy that surrounded the tour — coming from both participants and the estimated 650 volunteers who make the trek possible.

In particular, she mentioned one volunteer whom she saw twice along the route, keeping the mood festive by dressing in silver on Friday with silver sequins in his beard, and on Saturday with purple sequins.

“All the volunteers are great,” Landon said. “And you look around and there are people of all ages participating, doing it at their own pace. They’re inspiring.”

For friends Ricki Waltz and Beth Jones, participating in the Trek Across Maine is following through with a mission they had set out on three years ago of doing something new that challenges them physically each year. Two years ago, that meant hiking through Bigelow Preserve; last year, it meant completing a triathlon.

While they said they wish they had preprepared more for the Trek, over the course of the spring they went on bike rides together three times a week, biking 15 to 45 miles each time.

Waltz and Jones said they were tired at the end of the second leg, though despite the heat, the beautiful scenery along Saturday’s route kept them going.

Of their challenges, they agreed that hiking in the Bigelow Preserve has been their favorite; however, they’re not ready to rule out the Trek as a favorite challenge contender just yet.

“We’re not done with this yet,” Waltz said.

This year’s Trek Across Maine has raised $1.65 million for the American Lung Association.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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