From the mountains to sea

Curtis treks across Maine to honor late friend — 'Bimbo'

Rockland native will ride in memory of Albert Larrabee
By Zack Miller | Jun 13, 2018
Photo by: Courtesy of Doug Curtis Doug Curtis.

Rockland — Exercise is not at the forefront of most people’s minds, but, for some, it is a daily routine, and if not completed, the person may feel “out of whack.”

For Doug Curtis of Rockland, he falls between those categories.

On Father’s Day weekend, Friday through Sunday, June 15-17, one of the most popular exercise — and social — events will take place across the Pine Tree State, and Curtis will hop on his bicycle and make the 180-mile pedal journey — in honor of a lifelong friend.

The Trek Across Maine, a three-day ride that stretches from the mountains of Sunday River to the sea in Belfast, benefits the Maine chapter of the American Lung Association.

The Trek, in its 34 year, is the largest fundraiser for the Maine chapter of the lung association, and has raised more than $30 million. Nearly 1,400 cyclists and 70 volunteers take part in the weekend, with stops at the University of Maine in Farmington and Colby College in Waterville, and Curtis will be among the riders for the second time.

“I’ve always wanted to do it and then I decided for my 60th birthday I was going to do it, and it was a learning experience for me,” Curtis said. “I gained a lot of knowledge, some good, some not so good. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s about 180 miles normally, and the first year I did it I did 155. I did the first two days. This time it’s not going to be any easier.”

“It’s not about the distance that you do, it’s about raising money for the American Lung Association and helping people with the disease,” Curtis said.

The Trek Across Maine offers three options for the course: a three-day option, which starts at Sunday River and is the longest, the two-day option which starts at Colby College, and a one-day option that also starts at Colby College and ends in Belfast.

Curtis, who gives of plenty of his time to community causes, especially area youth sports (he has been the statistician for Oceanside and Rockland high school football for decades), will cycle through the three-day course, starting at Sunday River in Farmington, riding around 180 miles over the course of the three days, and finish at Steamboat Landing in Belfast.

“It’s an exhausting and exhilarating experience,” Curtis said. "I certainly am going to take some experience from that [previous race]. I think the number one thing I can take away is the amount of training that it takes and how consistent you have to be. The other thing I learned was you meet some wonderful people.”

“You see places in Maine in a different way than you did when you were younger,” Curtis said. “You don’t really appreciate the beauty of Maine until you take this ride.”

For the 63-year-old’s second trek across his home state it will be a more meaningful experience, as he cycles for his late friend Albert “Bimbo” Larrabee.

“I was saddened to see in Dan Dunkle’s story in The Courier [-Gazette] in the fall that Albert had passed away,” Curtis said. “Albert was good to everyone, just a good person.”

“Now today, you would call Albert a special needs kid, but back then we called him 'Bimbo,' ” Curtis said. “He was a nice kid and he worked his butt off. He would deliver The Courier-Gazette all over Rockland. He would shovel snow off people’s cars. He knew everyone and was just a kind person.”

“He was also an acolyte with me at St. Peter’s Church [in Rockland] when I was a young man,” Curtis said. “I remember all the good things at church and all the fun things we used to do, and I just said some people have hard lives, and he worked his butt off for everything and never asked for help. He did what he was asked to do, and I just thought it would be a good thing to do the race in his honor.”

Larrabee passed away on Nov. 26, 2017 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

“I think he would be surprised [about me riding in his honor],” Curtis said. "I think he would be very honored and very happy.”

When Curtis crosses the finish line in Belfast, it will give the local resident a feeling of accomplishment he only gets to feel rarely, and may feel never again.

“It would be truly exhilarating,” Curtis said. “Just to know at 63 years old to complete something athletically like that is great motivation. I’ve always been a good athlete, but as you get older you put on weight, but hopefully this will inspire me to keep riding after the race is over.”

“Albert used to ride a tricycle on Main Street and he used to make a siren sound, like an ambulance was coming down the street and he could get cars to pull over, it was amazing,” Curtis said. “I would love to be able to cross the finish line and do a siren sound for Albert.”

“[Albert] had a heart of gold and was kind to everyone, and this world needs a little more of that,” Curtis said. “I think there are a lot of 'Alberts' in the world, and everyone knows an 'Albert,' and I think that’s why people are doing this.”

Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 13, 2018 08:58

God bless you, Doug.  "“[Albert] had a heart of gold and was kind to everyone, and this world needs a little more of that,” Curtis said. “I think there are a lot of 'Alberts' in the world, and everyone knows an 'Albert,' and I think that’s why people are doing this.”

It isn't money in your pocket that makes a man. It is what is in their heart.  Albert was a fine example; as are many of YOU.

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