WATERVILLE — Clayton Giggey sailed through the finish line Saturday at Colby College to the sounds of music blaring, bells ringing, hands clapping and spectators cheering him on.

Giggey, 61, of Damariscotta, was one of 1,270 bicyclists taking part in the 35th Trek Across Maine, a three-day, 180-plus-mile trip to raise funds for the American Lung Association.

By the time Giggey reached Colby on Saturday on his 18-pound, all-carbon Cannondale bicycle, the Trek had raised $1.2 million.

Giggey had pedaled 118 miles — first from Harpswell to Bates College in Lewiston, for a total of 57 miles; and then on Saturday, from Lewiston to Waterville, a 61-mile trek.

“This was a new route this year and we just finished the second day,” Giggey said. “I’m looking forward to talking to other people to see what they thought of the route. Today was tough. There were numerous hills, very scenic, but a lot of big hills at the end of the ride.”

Waiting for Giggey at the finish line on Campus Drive were his parents, Clayton Giggey Sr., 84, and Mildred Giggey, 79. The elder Giggeys had volunteered for the Trek the last two years but were unable to do so this year.

“I love it. It’s a very good cause,” Mildred Giggey said.

The couple, who have two other sons, are volunteers at Thayer Center for Health, just down the street from Colby, where they are known affectionately as “Buddy” and “Punkey.” They retired five years ago to Waterville from Montville, they said.

The younger Giggey said he started cycling in his late 50s and a friend convinced him to ride the Trek. While many people enter because they know people affected by cancer, Giggey said he does not.

“It’s pretty much a personal challenge only,” he said.

This is the fifth consecutive year Giggey has taken part in the Trek. He donated $550 this year.

Giggey retired Thursday from his job in South Portland, where he was a software developer for ON Semiconductor, based in Phoenix, Arizona, he said. He has done similar bicycle rides in the past, including the Maine Lighthouse Ride in South Portland. The Trek, he said, is well organized.

“Extremely well organized, well supported, lots of volunteers, a good cause,” he said.

He said he would be staying in a dormitory on the Colby campus Saturday night, but would take part in activities before that.

“I’m tired, but that’s normal after a long day,” he said. “I’ll relax and watch golf with a lot of gentlemen in the Union this afternoon.”

Kim Chamard, development manager for the American Lung Association in Maine, said that of all the fundraising events the organization holds, the Trek raises the most money. In the last 30-plus years, it has raised $25 million.

“We’re really, really proud,” she said.

While 1,675 people registered for the Trek, 1,270 rode in the event, according to Chamard. About 140 cyclists and volunteers would be staying overnight Saturday at Colby’s new dormitory, the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, downtown, she said. Others would stay in the field house, dormitories or tents on campus, according to Chamard.

The bikers planned to leave Colby around 7 a.m. Sunday, Father’s Day, to head back to Brunswick, she said. The last leg of the trip is about 65 miles, she said.

Bicyclists from 28 states, including Alaska, and at least two other countries, took part in the Trek, according to Chamard, who said the youngest bicyclist is 7. They biked through Harpswell, Brunswick, Freeport, Durham, Lewiston and then Waterville, she said. Two cyclists have participated all 35 years, she said.

“We’ve got people of all ages, all body types, all backgrounds,” Chamard said. “We actually have a unicyclist, and we’ve got dads and kids that ride together because of Father’s Day. We’ve got a gentleman who is 80 years old. They are definitely a lively and interesting group.”

Saturday’s activities at Colby were scheduled to include a barbecue, games and socializing.


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