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Thread: STP primer

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    STP primer

    Since STP will become a popular subject here I thought I would share what I have learned from doing it four times. Please feel free to add your experiences.

    I have always done the one day version so I have no experience with where to stay or the logistics involved in getting your stuff to some place near Centralia. Maybe I am missing out of some great fun on the two day.

    Preparation - Lots of time in the saddle. I commute as much as possible and my commute is around 2:40 round trip so the hours in the saddle really add up. I started with a metric century in May (Rhody Ride in Port Townsend) followed by the Peninsula Century which was very hard (103 miles, 7700 feet of climbing), and the final century (Flying Wheels) before the STP.

    Weekend of - Stayed in a hotel the night before. Paid for parking at UW, had no problems with traffic. The bike was ready to go, tires pumped, chain lubed, etc. Coffee and a pastry for breakfast at 4am.

    Ride - Get near the front but it isn't the end of the world if you don't. Once you start roll along for the first few miles avoiding the edges of the street where cyclist swerve around parked cars in the dark. Pass people where you can but don't work too hard. Be patient until you get past the lake and then start using small groups of riders for recovery and then pass them.

    Rest stops - Roll past the first one at around 25 miles. It's not hot yet, you don't need to fill your bottles. Eat something once you past the rest stop. Eat every 20-25 miles regardless. Keep your wits about you as you approach the first stop because some jackass will decide he/she wants to stop at the last second from the far left and swerve across the road while braking.

    Next rest stop (around 45 miles) - This one is a few miles after "the climb" and is a good place to stop. By the time you reach this stop, you are riding with many people who will ride your pace. Stop for food, fill your bottles, and hit the porta johns. Put some food in your jersey or a bento box mounted behind your stem on the top tube. Rolling out look for a good group of a dozen or more riders that will hold 21-23 mph on this flat section leading to Centralia. This will be a long leg to Centralia which is the 100 mile point.

    Centralia to Longview is the hardest terrain-wise with a good rest stop around mile 145. Fill up at this rest stop because it gets pretty scarce after this. There are water stops between Centralia and Longview.

    Longview to Portland - This part gets tough mentally. For me, mile 160-180 is the toughest section. Compare it to runners "hitting the wall". The terrain isn't that tough, mostly rolling after Rainier. Keep hydrated, you can recover from bonking by eating, but if you get dehydrated, there is no quick recovery. It was hot in 2008 so I was stopping every twenty miles to fill bottles.

    Portland - Lots of stop and go and you feel like you'll never finish. You finish and have a beer.

    What I learned in 2008.

    Send my bike case to Portland as my bag. Pack my bike and put it on the bus back to Seattle so I can go home that night. Otherwise you have to wait until Sunday morning at 10am to get your bike.

    Travel size squeeze soap for the shower. The shower is totally worth it. They have nice towels for a small fee, no reason to bring your own. Put some flip flops in your bag.

    Amino Vital is a electrolyte and amino acid drink mix that seems to help me with cramping. I put two packets in my bag and mix a bottle after the ride.

    Eat something within 30 minutes of finishing and before your beer.

    Bring cash for the good deals at the vendors (Bike Tires Direct).
    Retired sailor

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    I havent dont the STP yet. PLanning on this year. I was going to do it last year but it was sold out.

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    I plan on doing STP this year. I keep hearing that it's not a tough ride, but 'the climb' that is in Puyallup comes up. Could you describe this 'climb'. Where in Puyallup is this part of the ride? How long is it?

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    I have not ridden the STP, but I aspire.

    The route map from last year is here.

    It shows "the hill" at the west of Puyallup extending from where the main pavement of Pioneer continues staight up "the hill" as 72nd St E. and levels off by the time it gets to Canyon Road.

    From this topo map I figure it rises maybe 250 feet.

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    Thanks you for this. I've been wanting to try the STP for the last couple years, but my schedule just hasn't worked out, and this served as a reminder to get my a$$ in gear. Hopefully my new ride will be finished by the time the ride rolls around.
    "Use one hand to keep the chuck from popping off the valve, the other hand to pump. Switch hands every so often so you don't wind up looking like a fiddler crab." -Wim

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    MING
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    well aint you a solution looking for a problem there bill =) good write up.

    beware the bridge across the columbia, its like at mile 170. everyone is mentally and physically tired at this point, dumb things can happen. the year i did it (06, one day) the bridge hadnt been swept and had glass on it and an entire car bumper on it, rather dangerous. and then there was some yahoo on a 3 wheel recumbent.... i have no idea how he got to that point in the ride that fast and then proceeded to go that slowly on the bridge.

    pack things you normally wouldnt need- i had some ibuprofen for one and small tube of sunscreen. if youre a garmin user your battery wont last the whole trip unless youre super fast. so get one of those cell phone rechargers that uses mini usb, theyre ~20 bucks and will help you get the whole ride.

    on those bigger badder rides bill mentioned work on group riding skills, communication and manners. if want to ride in a group but youre not fit to ride in a group youre in for a long, lonely day. i recall someone in a group saying-

    'if you use your brakes one more time im going to hit you with a frame pump'

    dont make it come to that.

    wont be going to portland this year, i have a climbing ride in california the same day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreger
    well aint you a solution looking for a problem there bill =) good write up.

    beware the bridge across the columbia, its like at mile 170. everyone is mentally and physically tired at this point, dumb things can happen. the year i did it (06, one day) the bridge hadnt been swept and had glass on it and an entire car bumper on it, rather dangerous. and then there was some yahoo on a 3 wheel recumbent.... i have no idea how he got to that point in the ride that fast and then proceeded to go that slowly on the bridge.

    pack things you normally wouldnt need- i had some ibuprofen for one and small tube of sunscreen. if youre a garmin user your battery wont last the whole trip unless youre super fast. so get one of those cell phone rechargers that uses mini usb, theyre ~20 bucks and will help you get the whole ride.

    on those bigger badder rides bill mentioned work on group riding skills, communication and manners. if want to ride in a group but youre not fit to ride in a group youre in for a long, lonely day. i recall someone in a group saying-

    'if you use your brakes one more time im going to hit you with a frame pump'

    dont make it come to that.

    wont be going to portland this year, i have a climbing ride in california the same
    day.
    The Markleeville Death Ride? Have fun and survive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettekid
    I have not ridden the STP, but I aspire.

    The route map from last year is here.

    It shows "the hill" at the west of Puyallup extending from where the main pavement of Pioneer continues staight up "the hill" as 72nd St E. and levels off by the time it gets to Canyon Road.

    From this topo map I figure it rises maybe 250 feet.
    The hill is a steady 5% or so grade. The only significance is that the ride is flat until you reach the hill. It isn't that bad, find your pace and don't worry about getting back in a group, the rest stop is a good place to regroup.
    Retired sailor

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbill
    The hill is a steady 5% or so grade. The only significance is that the ride is flat until you reach the hill. It isn't that bad, find your pace and don't worry about getting back in a group, the rest stop is a good place to regroup.
    I have driven up and down that hill a lot. I can see why people would be surprised to see 'the hill' since it does come out of no where from being all flat! Besides the rollers, are their any other hills on the ride? I heard that their is one right before you hit the finish line?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzg35
    I have driven up and down that hill a lot. I can see why people would be surprised to see 'the hill' since it does come out of no where from being all flat! Besides the rollers, are their any other hills on the ride? I heard that their is one right before you hit the finish line?
    Years ago there was a climb before the finish and it was a real kick in the junk because it was after a hairpin turn that took all your momentum away. Now it is just city streets with traffic lights.

    South of Centralia is a rolling hills section before Longview. To me, that was the toughest part. Once you are in Oregon and past Rainier, it is gentle rolling terrain since you are riding next to the Columbia river.
    Retired sailor

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbill
    Years ago there was a climb before the finish and it was a real kick in the junk because it was after a hairpin turn that took all your momentum away. Now it is just city streets with traffic lights.

    South of Centralia is a rolling hills section before Longview. To me, that was the toughest part. Once you are in Oregon and past Rainier, it is gentle rolling terrain since you are riding next to the Columbia river.
    That's good to hear. Are the rollers south of Centralia pretty hard? How long of stretch would you say that would be?

    I guess in the end, if you plan on doing the STP in one day, you should have a lot of saddle time before the time comes. I would rather do it in one day then ride 100+ miles one day and wake up the next morning knowing you have another 100+ to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzg35
    That's good to hear. Are the rollers south of Centralia pretty hard? How long of stretch would you say that would be?

    I guess in the end, if you plan on doing the STP in one day, you should have a lot of saddle time before the time comes. I would rather do it in one day then ride 100+ miles one day and wake up the next morning knowing you have another 100+ to go.
    I will look at the profile on my Garmin file tonight. From what I recall, the rollers start around mile 110 and end around 145. They are hard because you are six or more hours into the ride. That part was really hot last year as well. I would say for me the heat was the biggest factor last year. We had a slight tailwind the whole way coupled with the heat made it feel even hotter.
    Retired sailor

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    MING
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    thanks dude. im not overly worried, I know the ride decently well and have completed 5 passes each time the last two years.

    registration is closed for the ride, but there are always people looking to ditch their registration in the weeks before the ride, esp on craigslist in Sacramento. if you can do stp, you can do death ride, just a little more climbing.

    http://angrybeesound.wordpress.com/2...ide-aftermath/
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    A "little" more climbing? Isn't it about 12000 feet total for the ride? I never did it while I lived down there, but I remember the stories from co-workers and friends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreger
    well aint you a solution looking for a problem there bill =) good write up.

    on those bigger badder rides bill mentioned work on group riding skills, communication and manners. if want to ride in a group but youre not fit to ride in a group youre in for a long, lonely day. i recall someone in a group saying-

    'if you use your brakes one more time im going to hit you with a frame pump'

    dont make it come to that.
    I didn't threaten the guy with a frame pump. It was more along the lines of "what the **** are you braking for, there's no one in front of you, you've been riding like a ****ing idiot for the last twenty miles, pull your head out of your ass or go to the back" Something like that.

    don't make it come to that.
    Retired sailor

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    MING
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    I didn't threaten the guy with a frame pump. It was more along the lines of "what the **** are you braking for, there's no one in front of you, you've been riding like a ****ing idiot for the last twenty miles, pull your head out of your ass or go to the back" Something like that.

    don't make it come to that.
    yeah thats right, you dont ride with a frame pump on your pegoretti do you? word to the wise, dont piss bill off.

    pd-
    the ride claims 15,000 feet of climbing, my garmin registered 17,500 both times. the rollers on stp all add up to 7200 (for me) for the day. so 2x the climbing, 2/3rds the distance, the real killer is the 5,000 higher base elevation, and the bears. the bears make it hard
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    I live on the Olympic Peninsula, so bear sightings are not a too uncommon occurrence here. Cougars, too. So far, I haven't caught sight of any myself, but I did see some cougar scat on a mountain bike ride, once.
    I can't even comprehend a ride that starts at 5000 feet. I've only climbed that high on my bike on Ventoux and Hurricane Ridge, and that was the ending elevation. Anyway, enjoy yourself. I'll stick with the rollers and chance of rain up here this July 11th.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdainsworth
    I live on the Olympic Peninsula, so bear sightings are not a too uncommon occurrence here. Cougars, too. So far, I haven't caught sight of any myself, but I did see some cougar scat on a mountain bike ride, once.
    I can't even comprehend a ride that starts at 5000 feet. I've only climbed that high on my bike on Ventoux and Hurricane Ridge, and that was the ending elevation. Anyway, enjoy yourself. I'll stick with the rollers and chance of rain up here this July 11th.
    Last year I had a bear scoot across the road about 25 feet in front of me last year on the road to Olympic Hot Springs, just above the lake. It was a big one!

    Thanks for the primer Bill. I was one of the unlucky ones that succumbed to the heat gods last year. About the Longview bridge was the last moment where I felt ok. I'm convinced it was due to two things; one, the Nuun crap they gave me at the second rest stop almost made me puke and left my tummy all torn up; and two, the jerk offs that don't know how to ride in a pace line made it nearly impossible for me to take my hands off the bars long enough to get a friggin drink. They should make you pass some kind of rider's exam or test before allowing some of these people to ride. Well, it's really my own damn fault for not drinking enough! The guys on the skateboards were real gluttons for pain. I'm going to do it again this year but with proper hydration. I think it will be more fun that way!

  19. #19
    MING
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    oops, i was joking about the bears =)

    the only thing you need to worry about on the death ride is cows, and theyre warned about, but ive never seen one.

    yeah tyro i think that could go on the primer of advice. dont do anything new with eating or drinking.

    most rides will tell you what food is offered on the ride website, in particular the electrolyte replacement drink. the death ride offers cytomax, it is nasty stuff, but you can acclimate and water it down. it is a good idea to buy a bucket of mix and get used to what youre going to use on your big day. its no good getting the bubbly guts afer you take in some things that dont agree with you.

    worse comes to worse you can pack something you do like with you. i rode stp with a guy who couldnt ingest solid food while riding, he started out with something like 3 pounds of protien shake mix, carbo load stuff. the stuff was nasty, but it worked for him, find what works for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreger
    oops, i was joking about the bears =)

    the only thing you need to worry about on the death ride is cows, and theyre warned about, but ive never seen one.

    yeah tyro i think that could go on the primer of advice. dont do anything new with eating or drinking.

    most rides will tell you what food is offered on the ride website, in particular the electrolyte replacement drink. the death ride offers cytomax, it is nasty stuff, but you can acclimate and water it down. it is a good idea to buy a bucket of mix and get used to what youre going to use on your big day. its no good getting the bubbly guts afer you take in some things that dont agree with you.

    worse comes to worse you can pack something you do like with you. i rode stp with a guy who couldnt ingest solid food while riding, he started out with something like 3 pounds of protien shake mix, carbo load stuff. the stuff was nasty, but it worked for him, find what works for you.
    Da Bearz...

    Good point. Never try new stuff in an event. (Lesson learned the hard way.) I took my own Clif drink mix on the High Pass Challenge. It served me well.

    What is the death ride?

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    Seems like the heat was a factor for all riders, especially if you are that long into the ride and have rollers coming up. Did you ride with a group the whole time? Seems like that would be a good thing when you are doing this in one day. What time did you cross the finish line?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pinzg35
    Seems like the heat was a factor for all riders, especially if you are that long into the ride and have rollers coming up. Did you ride with a group the whole time? Seems like that would be a good thing when you are doing this in one day. What time did you cross the finish line?
    I finished with 10:15 ride time and 11:15 overall. I rolled across the line around 4 pm so I got the full brunt of the afternoon heat when I was at my most exhausted. It was right at 100 degrees in Ranier, OR. I was in groups as large as 20 people and did the last 35 miles with one other guy who was completely cooked and couldn't pull. I made my best time between mile 45 and 145 with a group of eight. We rolled along at 22-23 mph.
    Retired sailor

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    MING
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    Quote Originally Posted by tyro
    Da Bearz...

    What is the death ride?
    death ride, tour of the califonian alps, markleeville death ride, all the same thing.

    http://www.deathride.com/

    big day in the saddle. the most ive ever done for a little pin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kreger
    death ride, tour of the califonian alps, markleeville death ride, all the same thing.

    http://www.deathride.com/

    big day in the saddle. the most ive ever done for a little pin.
    That looks like "fun"!

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    I started an STP 2009 Facebook group if anyone is interested in joining.

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