If you’re looking for a great bike ride in New England this Summer, the Tri-State Trek should be at the top of your list. The Trek, which takes place from June 24th-25th 2023, will take riders through the New Hampshire Lakes Region, the Southern Maine Coast, and the Massachusetts North Shore, with distance options from 30 to 200 miles over two days.
The 2023 Trek has routes suitable for all levels – from seasoned cyclists looking to test their endurance with a double-century ride – to beginners looking to experience their first cycling event. Most importantly, every mile you pedal will support a great cause – the critical research to end ALS at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI).
A Tradition of #TrekFamily
For the past 20 years, the Tri-State Trek has been built on a shared mission and a true feeling of connection and #Trekfamily. The ride began in 2003 when 16 cyclists pedaled from Boston to New York and raised $30,000 for ALS research. Over the following decades, it has grown into ALS TDI’s premiere fundraising event, attracting more than 450 annual participants, and raising over $10 million for ALS research.
The Trek has always been open to cyclists from a variety of backgrounds – from hardcore endurance athletes to new riders stepping up to their first cycling event. The Trek’s world-class amenities, which include all lodging, food, and on-the-road support for the weekend, have made it an accessible event for those looking for an intense physical challenge, as well as those hoping for a more leisurely experience.
New for 2023: Ride Options for All Levels of Experience
In 2023, the Trek will debut a new format and course that will only increase its appeal to cyclists of all levels. This year’s ride will be held over two days, with each day starting and ending in the scenic New England town of Durham, NH. Each day riders will be able to choose from two course options – a 30 or 100-mile loop. Both route options will cover different ground each day, meaning that anyone who chooses to ride the same distance on both days will be treated to a completely new course. Participants can choose to ride either one day or two, resulting in five total distance options for the weekend – either 30, 60, 100, 130, or 200 miles total.
Trek Riders on What Makes the Ride Special
Val Tassinari, an ALS TDI scientist, and longtime Trek participant who often rides near the front of the pack all three days, credits the ride with sparking her passion for cycling. After tackling her first Trek as a cycling novice, Val went on to race road bikes, compete in cyclocross, and developed a love for mountain biking. Despite all the challenges she’s taken on in the intervening years as a racer, she says that Trek remains one of the most challenging – but also most welcoming – rides she’s ever attempted.
“It's a legit ride,” she says. “It can be a very hard ride. You often think of a charity ride as a bunch of people riding bikes easily at a slow pace to raise money. But the Trek is not like that. It's really long. There are hills. It's a hard ride and it's beautiful. But there’s also so much support. You get fed all day, so you don't have to carry anything. If I was doing a century by myself, I'd have to carry a lot of stuff. For the Trek, you only need one tube and two bottles.”
Brittany Schwartz, on the other hand, has been the last person to cross the finish line for many years running. As a volunteer ride marshal, she has served as the “sweep” for several years, riding slow and steady at the back of the pack, accompanying new riders and those who just prefer a leisurely pace.
“I like to ride at a nice slow pace,” she says. “Because I had worked with youth bike programs in the past, it was a good fit for me to spend a lot of time as the sweep in the back, working with folks who might be newer to bikes and might need a little bit of help figuring out how to use their gears, or who just want a nice group to ride with at an even pace.”
Brittany emphasizes that the key to keeping the ride appealing to all kinds of riders is the extensive support provided by the Trek team.
“I think it's really great that the ride is so inclusive,” she says. “You just bring yourself and your bike. The Trek staff take care of all the snacks. Around every 20 miles, you can refill water, and hear some cheering from the sidelines. There's mechanics at every rest stop along the way if you need them. And then we have vans who will pick folks up if they want to get a little boost or if they need to take a break. It can be a huge challenge. It's so many miles and so many feet of elevation, but we make it possible for everyone.”
According to Val, it’s also the culture of the ride that sets it apart. Unlike so many other cycling events, it feels more like a big group ride than a race – with everyone working to support one another rather than compete for the finish line.
“The Trek vibe is way less competitive than any other event I’ve ever done,” she says. “There’s sometimes a small group of people who will ride hard and do a paceline, but that competitiveness doesn't really extend to the rest of the Trek. People who want to do that can, but it doesn't bleed over into the people that don't.”
When you register for the Tri-State Trek, you commit to fundraising for ALS TDI’s mission in addition to riding your bike. Every dollar raised at the Trek goes to fund Research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). ALS TDI is the most comprehensive drug discovery lab dedicated to ALS research and one of the world’s only nonprofit biotech companies. It is their mission to discover treatments and cures for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and motor neuron disease (MND).
ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This results in the wasting away of muscle, loss of movement, paralysis, and, eventually, death. There are an estimated 30,000 people living with ALS in the United States at any given time and every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS.
Many riders in the Trek have friends and family who have been affected by ALS – and people living with the disease often join the experience at base camp – helping to remind everyone of the cause they are riding for. Brittany says it’s this sense of community and purpose that helps set the Trek apart from other cycling events – even other charity rides.
“The Trek is an incredibly powerful weekend,” she says. “You can go on an amazing ride and help ALS TDI along the way. If you're going to go on an awesome, fully supported weekend ride with vetted routes that includes food and lodging, how cool is it that your ride could contribute to such an important cause?”
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