Trail Fest: The winner in all of us

Sat, 10/05/2019 - 6:00pm

CAMDEN — In July 2000, Scott, of Lewiston, was in a motor vehicle accident. He spent five months in a coma, and approximately 18 years working to return his paralyzed left side to a fully-functioning life. 

Saturday, Oct. 5, Scott treaded his way along a rugged Camden Snow Bowl running course where calf muscles often strain as participants race up the perimeter ski trails. Carrying a walking stick and traveling slowly, he negotiated the earthy course, circling rocks and roots that other athletes easily hurdled.

“I got about three-quarters of the way through, and there’s a little piece of the trail that you have to step over a couple of pipes,” he said. “And there was nothing in grabbing distance. So, I edged my foot to the edge. I got off the plywood thing and managed to somehow climb over the boulders.”

This is the fourth year that Baxter Outdoors’ co-founder Adam Platz, of Auburn, has brought the Camden Snow Bowl Trail Fest to the Midcoast. This year, participants chose among a 3K (1.86 mile) and a 5K (3.1 mile) running races, a 10K mountain bike race, and relay and solo options to run/bike. 

The course was great, Scott told race organizers at the finish line. But, tough.

“That second turn on the trail, seriously, it was like, a complete 45-degree angle,” he said. “And rough.”

Scott then mimicked the whimpering and intimidation he felt as he looked up at the course in front of him. 

Scott received a hearty round of applause as he traversed the final stretch toward the finish, along with a couple 5K runners who’d met up with him along the route and chosen to stay with him.

As he beamed in reminiscence of the natural trail, an addition to his story slipped out. Though this may be his first trail run, Scott wasn’t here to walk the course (or participate in an “intense hike” as another athlete referred to the 1.9 and 3 mile running races). Scott, who is just getting back into sitting on a bike, had registered to cycle. When he showed up at 7:45 a.m., ready to line up with others, handle bar to handle bar, at the anticipated 10:35 a.m. start, a bicycle pro caught sight of Scott’s set of wheels. 

“He was like, no, no. Those tires cannot handle this.”

Those wheels may have been fine for the portion of the bicycle course that rode along the street and parking lot, but more tread was needed for the mountain’s backcountry challenge.

With his bike back in his vehicle, he could have done what others in his position might have done: get back in the vehicle, retrace his 1.5-hour drive, and gone home.

Instead, he changed his registration and found another way. 

“It was fun,” he said. “It was great. Absolutely great.”


See our corresponding article: Trail Fest: In the winners’ circle