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STP Ride: A long (not too strange) trip...(15 posts)

STP Ride: A long (not too strange) trip...rwbadley
Jul 14, 2003 9:55 PM
It started off with the ever faithful digital camera taking a dump, sorry no pics. I'll do a thousand words instead... ;-)

I left Reno for Portland July 5. Stayed with a couple friends in their houseboat on the Willamette river. Did extensive riding all over town. Had a great time. The weather was perfect, the beer and food very tasty. Left for Seattle after two days.

The weather was still very nice in Seattle. I couldn't believe the blue sky, seventy to eighty degree days we were having. Wonderful. Did rides all over town. Rode the bike path from the University area out to Redmond (about thirty miles) Hooked up with a couple other cyclists and they were able to show me a few areas I may not have found. I was hoping to ride a bit with RBR member Todd, but our schedules were criss crossed, sorry Todd.

I really enjoyed all the great food and lovely scenery on Capitol Hill where I was staying. Alot of beautiful people in that area, I saw some prime podium girl contenders.

I think I may have overdid it riding around town. I put in about 250 miles in the six days up to the ride. I did take Friday as a rest day. This involved taking the truck down to Portland, dropping it off near the finish line, then boarding the Amtrak for return to Seattle. Did alot of walking tho'. Saw the movie "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" in a U district theatre. That was fun, then had the best Thai food I've come across at a little place near the U theatre. More people watching...hmmm

Now for the ride: In the few days before the ride, I was able to get everything squared away. All the usual pre ride stuff taken care of. I thought I knew where the start was, as the informed local riders had showed me where the parking lot was. Sooo, at about 5 AM I ride down off Capitol Hill to the starting point at the Husky Stadium south lot. Hmmm, this isn't it. I see masses of riders coming from somewhere. So, like a Salmon working it's way upstream, I go against the flow to find where the start line is. This is (fun?) It takes me a few miles out of my way to get back to the real starting line at a northern parking lot. Great, so now I've got ten miles in before the ride has started. No problemo, just call it a warm-up.

It turns out, the warm up was a good idea. We head out, I left with the group at about 5:40 AM. About four miles into it, I'm marveling at the gorgeous sunrise over Lake Washington; when a tandem passes, going fast. I had told myself to 'go slow go slow GO SLOW' for the first miles. That all went out the window when that fat juicy tandem went barreling by.

I fall in behind, and find out the Captain of the tandem was recently back from deployment and the stoker was his (about twelve-fourteen year old) son. I am amazed at the speed these guys are pulling. They take off like rockets from the stoplights. They pull hard and fast up the hills. They are passing everything on the road. I ask if they are doing the full ride in one or two days, they reply 'in two'. I mention they may want to back off the pace a bit, as they may fatigue at this rate. In any event, it is really work to hang with them; but it is a great pull, and we are flying.

After a couple rest stops, we hit about mile sixty, and the free ride is over. I felt a little sorry for the kid, but I'm sure they made out OK.

I had a small mechanical at about mile eighty. Some of the roads had been really rough, and I lost a water cage screw. Did a temporary roadside fix, then hit the next stop for a replacement.

I hook up with another team, and we swap turns at the front. More rest stops, more pacelines, we're making good time.

At about mile 110-115 I am at a stop and overhear a few guys talking. They sound like a good group, so when they head out, I am in their vicinity. We head up a hill right out of the stop, and one of the guys pulls past me. He is in the big ring, and has tree stumps for l
re: STP Ride: A long (not too strange) trip...rwbadley
Jul 14, 2003 9:59 PM
At about mile 110-115 I am at a stop and overhear a few guys talking. They sound like a good group, so when they head out, I am in their vicinity. We head up a hill right out of the stop, and one of the guys pulls past me. He is in the big ring, and has tree stumps for legs...geez. We gather on the flats and start moving. About seven of us travelling at a fast pace. We are in the rolling hills now, and this is great fun. I come to find out the guy with the legs is Washington State hill climbing champ Mike. That explains a lot. More work, hanging on by the skin of my teeth. We pull into the next stop... hey great ride... all around fun. Soo... the fun goes on for a few more miles.

At around 150 miles or so, I get the dreaded running out of gas feeling. I kinda figured it was bound to happen with the pace I had been humping. Took some time off. Rode solo for a while. Some more rest stops and GU, more rest. About mile 180 felt the life returning, and made it into town over the finish at about 7:30. This was about 13:50 hrs, with about 11:30 of it as riding time.

Now, this was a great ride and pretty well supported; But... I've done a number of these organized rides, and this was the first time riders at the stops were asked for donations for the food, and at some stops outright buy your own. I guess I didn't take quite as much cash as I should have on the road. At the finish, I was hungry and come to find out that no food is supplied at the finish... What? You can get a seven dollar plate of noodles if you like.... This was a source for some disgruntlement on my part, but no biggie, I just rode out to my truck and whipped out a tin of sardines, some rye crackers, and a German Kolsch beer... Yummy!

On the way back to Reno, I hit the Oregon Country Fair. That was great. More Wonderful Food and great sights. Some of the females were displaying boosms in a natural condition... ooh la la.

So, thanks for reading, sorry about the foto failure.

A "tacky" experience...crestlinefarm
Jul 15, 2003 8:07 AM
Were you lucky enough to pick up a carpet tack south of Yelm? All three in our group found one of these joys within a half mile of each other. Besides that, the ride was a hoot--though I have to agree about the food stops...
A "tacky" experience...rwbadley
Jul 15, 2003 8:39 AM
No, I guess I was lucky enough to miss those. I did see quite a few roadside repairs going on. The tacks may have had something to do with that.
Yep, got one in Yelmshamelessgearwhore
Jul 15, 2003 10:44 AM
I didn't even suspect anything weird because the tack wasn't sticking in my tire, but then someone asked me about it and I looked around and saw all these other people fixing tires. That sucked! It was a great ride! Too bad they only provide enough food for the front riders. They ran out.
You made good time.Steve98501
Jul 15, 2003 11:03 AM
My friend and I were slower this year due to headwinds that began around Rainier and persisted most of the next 125 miles. I missed the tacks at Yelm also. That work must have occurred after we rolled by. Food is free at official rest stops, and for sale or by donation at others. I never thought about that as a shortcoming, but I always had some cash with me.

Glad you had a mostly trouble-free ride.

FYI on the rest stops...miposy
Jul 15, 2003 9:30 AM
...there are only a few rest stops run by the organizers, I think it's four or five, and they are all free including the food, drink, snacks, etc. The mile 100 stop was one of them (though the massages cost $).

The rest are run for $$ by various civic groups, athletic teams, etc., of the small towns and cities through which the route runs.

It seems like you mostly hit the unofficial rest stops, many of which look and feel convincingly as if they are regular stops.

As far as your actual ride, it sounds like you had a good time as I did last year. Thanks for the report!
Did you get Mike's last name?brider
Jul 15, 2003 1:55 PM
One of the years I did STP, I was flying in a long pace line at about 30 miles when all of a sudden the whole line exploded all over the road. People were trying to dodge a lane-wide field of broken glass (obviously intentional). I managed to get through it woth no flats, but I saw about 40 people beyond that point all changing one or two flats each. Would love to catch these people.

Anyway, did you catch Mike's last name? Was it Eddy by any chance (masters rider)?
It may have been...rwbadley
Jul 15, 2003 3:43 PM
He was tall (maybe 6'2") big shoulders, big legs. Tall, dark and handsome I guess would sum it up. I think in his early thirties or so. He was a very strong rider, I know that.
That would NOT be...brider
Jul 16, 2003 9:10 AM
...Mike Eddy. I think he's all of 5'3", and about 40 by now. I was just trying to think of the "Mikes" that race in the area (and would especially be good climbers).
Great report - sorry I missed you!t0adman
Jul 15, 2003 3:22 PM
Sounds like you enjoyed the ride. I'm disappointed that we didn't catch up for a ride - my schedule was a mess all last week.

STP is a good one to do in one day since it's short on hills and long on straight and flat. I missed the tacks in Yelm (someone needs a bill for tubes and time) but a friend got nailed by intentional broken glass on the road. Gotta love the irony of local groups collecting money to help guide the very kids that sabotage the ride. Maybe it will help. Chances are it won't.

I did it in two days although working through considerable agony I'm sure I could have made it in one. We stopped in Winlock at the 121 mile mark (provided my computer is accurate). I'm not in good enough shape yet to roll 206 in a day. We got in early and enjoyed a nice, hot shower and a pretty good spaghetti feast put on by the senior center. I camped in my two man tent in the soccer field behind the gym and slept fairly well considering the number of perfectly audible conversations I could hear. Of particular amusement was the competitive flatulence contest going on amongst the 40-somethings in the tent next to me. I couldn't help but chuckle a couple times. The next morning was french toast at the senior center and back on the ride. My legs were great but the saddle and I didn't get along. I rode a fair portion of the second day out of the saddle the darn thing hurt so much. We've (the saddle and I) since worked out our issues and are back to getting along.

I enjoyed the STP and will do it again next year, but in one day instead. I'm really looking forward to the RSVP. That's a gorgeous, fun ride. Let me know if you're ever in town again Ron, we'll try again!
Glad you had a good ride! nmrwbadley
Jul 15, 2003 3:50 PM
re: STP Ride: A long (not too strange) trip...crestlinefarm
Jul 15, 2003 6:13 PM
I just posted some of my reflections on the STP on
The chapter titles are:

"Where's the Food?"
"Detachable Penis"
"A Tacky Experience"
"Scenic Thurston County Detour"
"Dude, Where's My Luggage?"
"Dog Doo Dah"
"Chance of Showers Sunday"
"The Lewis & Clark What?"
"Quote of the Day"
"Riding The Gravy Train"
"Finisher: 206 Miles -- I Mean 218"
Wow, that's a good one...rwbadley
Jul 15, 2003 7:28 PM
I am amazed at the pictures of all those people. I think I was fortunate to be somewhere ahead (where all the food was?! ;-0) I didn't see near the crowds you had to contend with. There were times when I could look forward and look back, and see nobody.

I'm glad you had a good time. Even if it is only something to look back at and share with your buddies about the misery of it all! heh heh

We did have some showers on hwy30 (Oregon) Saturday, Just enough to feel good and get the bike dirty.

The Oregon Country Fair experiencerockbender
Jul 16, 2003 9:44 AM
RW - Glad you got to experience the Country Fair - I havn't been for a few years, but it is always a fun thing to check out - for people watching if nothing else! Good food, good music, good times. It has actually become more of a 'family' scene in the past 5 years or so - it used to be even a bit more racy and free spirited.

I just got an e-mail from a friend who did the STP - I guess one of his partners wrecked bad within the first 5 miles and had multiple boken bones... not a fun time.

Glad to hear you had a good ride and, most importantly, got to have some good beer.