Quick Ride Report (okay, maybe not so quick) - 25th Annual Seattle to Portland
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  1. #1

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    Quick Ride Report (okay, maybe not so quick) - 25th Annual Seattle to Portland

    I've been trying to decide if I should even post a ride report for fear it might sound a bit too self-absorbed. I guess we'll just have to see.

    Last Saturday was the culmination of three plus months of very specific training to ride in my first 1-day STP. The route is 206 miles from the U of W in Seattle to Halladay Park across the street from Lloyd Center in downtown Portland. The route wanders across Interstate 5 (overpasses) a couple times and goes through quite a few small towns along the way. The route is mostly flat with just 1,951 feet of vertical and 30.87 miles up hill. The max altitude is only 463 feet.

    Despite setting two alarms for myself I managed to sleep through them both (possibly with the help of my girlfriend who thinks she may have unconsciously turned them off instantaneously). I woke up on my own at 4:17 am, about 45 minutes behind schedule. I already had a voicemail from my father who was at the start waiting for me. I flew around getting my stuff together, shellacking myself with 45 spf, and throwing my bike in the back of my girlfriend's car to get a ride instead of the original plan to ride the 4 miles to the start line (her penance for the alarm debacle).

    Rather than mess around with the fitting the bike in the back of the Explorer I just left the lift gate open, which turned out to be a mistake. One of my bottles of Perpetuem (my only fuel for the entire ride) fell out the back at about 45 miles an hour and bounced along the street for a hundred feet or so. Luckily it only suffered road rash and was still in working condition.

    My father elected to meet me about .5 miles into the route rather than at the start line, so that's where I joined the ride. It was 4:53 when I mounted the bike and began my ride. The sun was just starting to come up and the light level was pretty low. Many riders had their lights and warm clothing on. Counting on the weather forecast to be accurate, I only wore removable arm warmers to protect against the morning chill. I decided to ride solo and see where the adventure took me.

    We wandered out of Seattle along Lake Washington Blvd, which was absolutely gorgeous. We were treated to the spectacle of the first (and possibly only) day of the sockeye salmon season on the lake which was marked by literally hundreds and hundreds of boats littering the lake. It was a toss up which was a bigger circus - the lake or the 8,000 riders heading south on the road. As we progressed south through Renton and towards the first official rest stop at REI headquarters, the sun peeked up over the Cascade mountains and produced a glorious sunrise and enveloped us in a warm glow.

    At the first rest stop I filled up my water bottles and headed out. As I mentioned, I only consumed Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes the entire ride, opting against solid food. This decision meant fewer rest stops, considerably less time at each one, and eliminated the need to digest solid food. Big props to Hammer and E-Caps for their products Ė they absolutely rocked (shameless plug).

    As the day progressed I jumped into a bunch of different pace lines, always moving into a new one if it looked more appropriate for my pace. As expected, some tandems went by like a locomotive leading out a group of 15 or more riders. Around about the 65 mile mark I was riding in a decent pace line doing about 23 mph when a group of 10 or so riders went flying by us. I was all jacked up and feeling great so I figured I would jump on and see what they were all about. Well it didnít take long to realize they were complete animals. These guys were doing between 27 and 30 mph and the leaders were taking long turns at the front. I was amazed. I hung on for about 15 minutes before realizing I would pay a steep price for sticking with this group any longer. I let them roar ahead and dropped off to ride alone for a while.

    About 80 miles into the ride I encountered a group I ride with on Tuesdays and Thursdays and followed them for a couple hours until one got a flat and the whole group stopped. I pressed on and jumped into another group.

    At one point we were detoured off the traditional route due to a parade. They ran us West a few miles up some hills, then South again, and right down a portion of the parade route. The streets were lined with people waiting for the parade but perfectly willing to cheer for the riders as we went through town. Of course the encouragement got me cranking twice as hard and banking hard and fast around the corner and off the main drag. Closest Iíve ever come to feeling like I was in a really important, attended race. What a blast!

    The weather along the route started off mild with scattered clouds and as we progressed South grew increasingly sunny and hot. By about the 100 mile mark the temps were in the high 80s, maybe low 90s. The only relief was to periodically drench my head with cold water and keep moving.

    Around the 125 mile mark my early zeal caught up with me and I felt the bonk coming on hard. I pressed on to a rest stop at about 135 where I stopped to rest, re-hydrate, consume electrolyte supplements, rub my aching big toe (stupid toe), and recharge. Ten minutes later I was back on the road and recovering nicely.

    Throughout the day I saw the same riders over and over again as I approached rest stops or rode by them. One group consisted of a middle aged fellow, a 60 plus guy, and a younger kid in his late teens. The 60 plus guy turned out to be the kidís grandfather. The kid was bonking hard and struggling to maintain focus. His grandfather was an amazing athlete and incredibly strong rider. His legs would have looked appropriate on a 25 year old. I joined their group, led by a tandem team, and followed them the last 50 mile in to the finish. The whole time we looked out for the younger guy, providing a big slipstream in which to draft and lots of moral support. He made it, and was pretty darn glad to be done. I must admit I was happy to be done too, but had an incredible ride.

    My only noticeable pains were some slightly sore hands, shoulders, and neck, and some minor cramping in my left hip flexor and inner quad/groin, which wasnít bad enough to make me stop. The crotch was certainly not happy, but also not terribly uncomfortable. My final stats were 205.5 miles in 10 hours and 14 minutes with an average speed of 20.1 mph. Those are very close estimates because my computer reset itself automatically at 10 hours (stupid computer!). Although it was a ride and not a race, I couldnít help overhearing a ride volunteer at the finish line telling another ride that arrived after me that he was in the top 35 out of 1500 riders to finish. In summary, I had an amazing day and exceeded all of my expectations.

    Iíve resolved to do the 1-day ride every year until Iím physically incapable of doing so. The 156 mile, 10,000 vertical foot 1-day RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) is next Thursday, and although Iím not registered (sold out for months now), Iím still considering riding the course. Iím pretty pumped!
    Last edited by t0adman; 07-20-2004 at 01:30 PM.
    Just pluggin along...

  2. #2
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    Congrats on a nice ride...

    STP is a fun ride and a rite of cycling passage here in the PacNW.

    Now you should go to http://www.seattlerandonneur.org/ to see about doing some long rides next spring... Picture STP plus RAMROD over 40 hours. I'll be there...

  3. #3
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    Did STP as a one day ride the two years I lived in Seattle and loved it, though in 95 it rained most of the way. The Tues / Thur group you ride with, is that out of Coulon Park?

  4. #4

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    Cycle Tuesdays out of Coulon Park. Sounds like you've ridden with that group as well. They had about 15 or so in a group with their jerseys and were working an double alternating pace line.
    Just pluggin along...

  5. #5
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    I also did the STP this year but I rode with my wife and opted to make it a 2 day ride. It was her first and second century ride ever and she did great! We did the first 100 miles in 5 hours and 20 minutes. Pretty good for a newbie road biker. I must say that the route in Oregon, especially south of St Helens, leaves a lot to be desired. The start along Lake Washington is so nice compared to the homeless people I passed along the route in North Portland. Doesn't represent Oregon or Portland very well and I live here. I liked the old finish that crossed the St. John bridge and ended in the park below better than the maze through downtown PDX.

  6. #6
    Nat
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    Emmmmm...did your camera batteries run out? ;)

  7. #7

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    Ha! No, but I didn't even think to carry more weight that distance. I do have some of me at the finish line but I'm sure those aren't what you were hoping to see. Maybe someone else took some shots of the ride. There were plenty of good images to capture. Next time I'll pack the digicam.
    Just pluggin along...

  8. #8
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    Did the Coulon / Cycle Tuesday ride every chance I got. Does Chris Gulick (big Chris) still do the ride? I was out there in April of this year and did the ride and he wasn't there. Went with the fast group out to Mercer Island for a fast lap and back. Nice pace, comfortable, and still a lot of fun.

  9. #9

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    I wonder if we didn't end up riding together. Do you do some road racing now? It was my first ride with that group (and one of my first of the season) and I went out with the fast group too. By the time we hit MI you guys took off like a shot and dropped me like I was changing a flat. Things are a little different now.
    Just pluggin along...

  10. #10
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    I do, but I live in Denver now and was just in Seattle for couple of days. I was there from 4/1 - 4/7 and I did the Thursday night ride. I was wearing a Pro Peloton jersey and shorts, mainly blue in color and riding a Serotta CSI.

  11. #11
    In Blue America
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    Good job!

    I didn't ride this year but have done the 1-day several times, most recently in 2002.

    My lasting impression is similar to yours: there may be 8,000 riders doing STP (and a small percentage doing it in 1 day) but I swear I saw only the same 100 people the entire day. It got to be kind of funny, as we would regroup with these strangers at rest stops and after 100 miles or so it was like we were old friends.
    So whenever friends or relatives asked what it was like traveling with a group of 8,000 cyclists, I told them that for all I knew it was a pack of 100. I think that's an advantage of doing the 1 day: fewer cyclists out there, and most of them know what they are doing.
    Great work - maybe I'll see you out there next year.
    Are you doing the Tour de Peaks in Snoqualmie in a few weeks?
    http://www.tourdepeaks.com/
    I'll put in a plug for this small event - incredible scenery with not as much climbing as you'd expect!

  12. #12
    More Cowbell!
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    Quote Originally Posted by t0adman
    Iíve resolved to do the 1-day ride every year until Iím physically incapable of doing so. The 156 mile, 10,000 vertical foot 1-day RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) is next Thursday, and although Iím not registered (sold out for months now), Iím still considering riding the course. Iím pretty pumped!
    RAMROD is in another class. I suggest not trying without support. I consumed about a bottle an hour on the bike plus a bottle (or more) at each support stop and I think that might not have been enough. There are two BIG killers on RAMROD:

    1) Cayuse Pass climb which starts around the 100 mile mark (after you've already climbed 6,000 feet or so).

    2) The last 40 miles is slightly descending but it faces into the ubiquitous northwesterly wind that tends to pick up at just the wrong time.

    It's a great ride though.
    Pro rep, yo!

  13. #13

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    Looks great. I'm sending an email to my extended family to see if I can rally them all for it. We're missing our traditional RSVP this year due to a wedding. Thanks for the heads up.
    Just pluggin along...

  14. #14

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    Toadman Pictures

    Toadman
    If you had a red outfit on, I have a good picture of you in the line with my grandson. Thanks for the compliment it was a good ride considering we had a 40min. repair to the tandem iin Lexington. The teenager is 15. He went back to Centralia that night to ride the second half with 2 friends who were doing the 2 day, unfortunately he got hit by a pickup truck just outside Portland. He was taken to O.H.S.U. Emergency room and kept over night. He was very lucky, he had alot of road rash, a broken right arm just below the shoulder and a fractured shoulder blade. His helmet was cracked both front and back, he has no concussion, so I think it saved his life or at least severe head injuries. Thanks but I don't think he was to badly bonked more just the speed of the tandem was getting to him.

    QUOTE=t0adman]I've been trying to decide if I should even post a ride report for fear it might sound a bit too self-absorbed. I guess we'll just have to see.

    Last Saturday was the culmination of three plus months of very specific training to ride in my first 1-day STP. The route is 206 miles from the U of W in Seattle to Halladay Park across the street from Lloyd Center in downtown Portland. The route wanders across Interstate 5 (overpasses) a couple times and goes through quite a few small towns along the way. The route is mostly flat with just 1,951 feet of vertical and 30.87 miles up hill. The max altitude is only 463 feet.

    Despite setting two alarms for myself I managed to sleep through them both (possibly with the help of my girlfriend who thinks she may have unconsciously turned them off instantaneously). I woke up on my own at 4:17 am, about 45 minutes behind schedule. I already had a voicemail from my father who was at the start waiting for me. I flew around getting my stuff together, shellacking myself with 45 spf, and throwing my bike in the back of my girlfriend's car to get a ride instead of the original plan to ride the 4 miles to the start line (her penance for the alarm debacle).

    Rather than mess around with the fitting the bike in the back of the Explorer I just left the lift gate open, which turned out to be a mistake. One of my bottles of Perpetuem (my only fuel for the entire ride) fell out the back at about 45 miles an hour and bounced along the street for a hundred feet or so. Luckily it only suffered road rash and was still in working condition.

    My father elected to meet me about .5 miles into the route rather than at the start line, so that's where I joined the ride. It was 4:53 when I mounted the bike and began my ride. The sun was just starting to come up and the light level was pretty low. Many riders had their lights and warm clothing on. Counting on the weather forecast to be accurate, I only wore removable arm warmers to protect against the morning chill. I decided to ride solo and see where the adventure took me.

    We wandered out of Seattle along Lake Washington Blvd, which was absolutely gorgeous. We were treated to the spectacle of the first (and possibly only) day of the sockeye salmon season on the lake which was marked by literally hundreds and hundreds of boats littering the lake. It was a toss up which was a bigger circus - the lake or the 8,000 riders heading south on the road. As we progressed south through Renton and towards the first official rest stop at REI headquarters, the sun peeked up over the Cascade mountains and produced a glorious sunrise and enveloped us in a warm glow.

    At the first rest stop I filled up my water bottles and headed out. As I mentioned, I only consumed Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, and Endurolytes the entire ride, opting against solid food. This decision meant fewer rest stops, considerably less time at each one, and eliminated the need to digest solid food. Big props to Hammer and E-Caps for their products Ė they absolutely rocked (shameless plug).

    As the day progressed I jumped into a bunch of different pace lines, always moving into a new one if it looked more appropriate for my pace. As expected, some tandems went by like a locomotive leading out a group of 15 or more riders. Around about the 65 mile mark I was riding in a decent pace line doing about 23 mph when a group of 10 or so riders went flying by us. I was all jacked up and feeling great so I figured I would jump on and see what they were all about. Well it didnít take long to realize they were complete animals. These guys were doing between 27 and 30 mph and the leaders were taking long turns at the front. I was amazed. I hung on for about 15 minutes before realizing I would pay a steep price for sticking with this group any longer. I let them roar ahead and dropped off to ride alone for a while.

    About 80 miles into the ride I encountered a group I ride with on Tuesdays and Thursdays and followed them for a couple hours until one got a flat and the whole group stopped. I pressed on and jumped into another group.

    At one point we were detoured off the traditional route due to a parade. They ran us West a few miles up some hills, then South again, and right down a portion of the parade route. The streets were lined with people waiting for the parade but perfectly willing to cheer for the riders as we went through town. Of course the encouragement got me cranking twice as hard and banking hard and fast around the corner and off the main drag. Closest Iíve ever come to feeling like I was in a really important, attended race. What a blast!

    The weather along the route started off mild with scattered clouds and as we progressed South grew increasingly sunny and hot. By about the 100 mile mark the temps were in the high 80s, maybe low 90s. The only relief was to periodically drench my head with cold water and keep moving.

    Around the 125 mile mark my early zeal caught up with me and I felt the bonk coming on hard. I pressed on to a rest stop at about 135 where I stopped to rest, re-hydrate, consume electrolyte supplements, rub my aching big toe (stupid toe), and recharge. Ten minutes later I was back on the road and recovering nicely.

    Throughout the day I saw the same riders over and over again as I approached rest stops or rode by them. One group consisted of a middle aged fellow, a 60 plus guy, and a younger kid in his late teens. The 60 plus guy turned out to be the kidís grandfather. The kid was bonking hard and struggling to maintain focus. His grandfather was an amazing athlete and incredibly strong rider. His legs would have looked appropriate on a 25 year old. I joined their group, led by a tandem team, and followed them the last 50 mile in to the finish. The whole time we looked out for the younger guy, providing a big slipstream in which to draft and lots of moral support. He made it, and was pretty darn glad to be done. I must admit I was happy to be done too, but had an incredible ride.

    My only noticeable pains were some slightly sore hands, shoulders, and neck, and some minor cramping in my left hip flexor and inner quad/groin, which wasnít bad enough to make me stop. The crotch was certainly not happy, but also not terribly uncomfortable. My final stats were 205.5 miles in 10 hours and 14 minutes with an average speed of 20.1 mph. Those are very close estimates because my computer reset itself automatically at 10 hours (stupid computer!). Although it was a ride and not a race, I couldnít help overhearing a ride volunteer at the finish line telling another ride that arrived after me that he was in the top 35 out of 1500 riders to finish. In summary, I had an amazing day and exceeded all of my expectations.

    Iíve resolved to do the 1-day ride every year until Iím physically incapable of doing so. The 156 mile, 10,000 vertical foot 1-day RAMROD (Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day) is next Thursday, and although Iím not registered (sold out for months now), Iím still considering riding the course. Iím pretty pumped![/QUOTE]

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