View Full Version : First Seattle To Portland Ride!

07-11-2005, 11:57 PM
Thought I'd share with you guys my adventure story from last weekend's STP. I had been training to do it in two days until about a month ago when some business travel got scheduled that required me to be on a plane on Sunday morning so I had to switch to doing it in 1 day instead. Hopefully my training partner yogaangel (http://forums.teamestrogen.com/member.php?u=1397) will pop in here too and tell her story, her ride was a lot more exciting than mine!

STP-2: Thursday
So my only job for today is go to the office, act productive for a respectable amount of time, leave early, and get everything packed and ready in order to leave for Seattle on Friday morning and also be packed to leave Sunday morning on a business trip. I haven't even figured out which bike clothes to wear and what is really going to happen with the weather. I've been stalking the forecast all week and the pattern has been a little stormlet coming through every few days with a 1-2 day window of dry weather in between. Rain is still a very strong possibility but so far everything indicates that the temperature will be mild in the low 70s (thank god!). I get all my work stuff wrapped up, which takes longer than hoped because I had to do all my final travel arrangements for the trip next week (yeah, better get that hotel booked already), set up my out of office stuff, and get all my itinerary things printed out. Finally run out the door at 6:30 and high-tail it over to the local bike shop.

Yogaangel had already proxy-shopped at REI for me via cellphone, describing to me which rain booties they had and none of them sounded right to me so I decided to go to the Bike Gallery instead. Besides, even when on a short schedule I'm always interested in seeing what gear variety might be had at another retailer. Because I'm a gear *****. I get there 15 minutes before they close and make a beeline for the clothes area. Within seconds I have totally scored. Not that I need them this time of year, but I find the coveted wool Ibex knee-warmers in my size for $15 on the clearance rack. Then, not one, but two! Smartwool longsleeve zip underlayers, women's size medium for 50% off. Which is still embarrassingly expensive even at half-off so I won't list the price here. Call yogaangel and inform her that I found the base layer she's been looking for and agree to pick it up for her. Then I start evaluating the bootie situation and quickly realize that I can't realistically try on booties without my shoes. Fortunately they sell my shoe at this store so I enlist the help of a CBSG (cute bike store guy) to fetch me a pair in my size so that I can try on booties. Most of the booties are made for weenie road shoes that don't have tread, and most of the ones I tried either didn't fit over the treads or they were so tight that I could feel them compressing my flipper-feet. And then I see this one pair just flopped onto the ground apart from the others, the only one of it's kind in the pile. Picking it up it has no price tag and is a size XL, they look huge. I think to myself "Huge... yeah... sounds about the right size" and try one on, and it fits perfectly! Most importantly it's waterproof outside and fleecy inside, and it has these goofy little yellow fabric panels at the tip of the toe and the heel for visibility. It has no price tag (that means it's free, right?) so I have the CBSG check on it and it's $25. On impulse I pick up another spare inner tube and a few handfuls of Gu and in 15 minutes total shopping time I have cleared the building.

Oh, and I forgot the part where a second CBSG shows up to tell the first CBSG that he is leaving early. I looked up from my footwear-trying-on-task and just blurted out "oh you might want to zip your fly up before you leave". Did I mention I get a mild case of true-ette's syndrome when I'm stressed? :)

Next stop: Trader Joe's to buy Larabars and sundry vittles. I wolf down the doggy-bag of Thai food from lunch in my car in the parking lot because I'm about to fall over. Next stop: Birdbath & Beyond to find a birthday present with my brother. Why now? Oh, yeah. Because his birthday was only a month ago and I'm a bad sister and haven't gotten him one yet, and anyways I need to get one now because we're staying at his house tomorrow night. Fortunately my shopping karma is strong today and within 15 minutes I have located and acquired a very appropriate gift that's exactly in the price/quality range that I was looking for. Last stop: my local Albertson's to pick up more food and get one last eyeful of Hot Stockboy before I leave. Oh, and during this entire shopping expedition I think I made/received no less than 6 cellphone calls from yogaangel, some of them involving blond moments and awol sleeping bag stuffsacks, but that's really her story to tell... :p

OK, so we're still on STP-2 and it's 10pm and I've finally arrived home with all of my various foraged items. I need to prepare some foodstuffs, pack for the STP, pack for Chicago, and at a bare minimum lube my chain. Shouldn't take that long, right? So, um, yeah. I realize that I need clean clothes for next week so I put a load of laundry on. Also realize that I am already 1 day late on one utility bill and have about 5 more due next week, and I have about 3 weeks of unopened mail piled on the kitchen counter because god only knows what other things lurk in that pile. And I'm bummed because my cool blue sleeveless Biker Chick jersey didn't get shipped until yesterday Wednesday (when I'd ordered it last week, grrrr!). Oh, and I'm also in the habit of compulsively straightening my house up every time I go travelling so that when I come home I'll have clean towels in the bathroom, clean sheets in the bed, and things are soothing and peaceful state to arrive home to. So anyway, loooong story short I just kinda didn't quite make it to bed that night. :eek: I could have done the bare minimum that I had to get done and gotten maybe 5 hours but I was so wired I'm not sure that I could have slept if I tried and at some point my bizarre logic was that I'd be so tired then I would be guaranteed to sleep the night before the event in spite of nerves.

STP-1: Friday
The Mom-Mobile arrives at 8:30 am and I'm almost ready. She's cranky and I can tell her blood sugar is down so I toss a chipotle chicken sandwich in her direction. Besides keeping her quiet for 10 minutes it markedly improves her mood. Cram my bike and bags in the back of her mini-suv and we head over to pick up my training partner. Cram her bike and bags in and hit Starbucks and we are on the road. Mom had me drive and it was quite rainy in several stretches on the way to Seattle which makes I-5 turn into an almost white out with the rain and waterspray being kicked up by trucks. Sphincter factor: 6.5. Not to mention the dread factor of thinking "weather, please don't be like this tomorrow!" Once in Seattle we visited the Mother Ship Gear Palace to just ogle the fancy stuff and possibly find a larger handlebar map holder but the bike section was picked pretty clean. Yogaangel found her dream socks; it's easy to find wool and it's easy to find pink, but rarely together. She's got a thing about pink, to say the least. Upon leaving REI we suddenly realized just why there was such an awesome parking space available right next to the store (wow can you believe our luck?) seeing that our car had gotten a little visit from the Ticket Fairy. Sigh. From there we headed to my brother's house and vegged for a while, watched some of the Tour de France and ate a big pasta meal. One very last gear run to his local bike shop (which was open 24 hrs the eve of STP) just to see if there's really any last item we might possibly need. Incredibly, I left empty handed! :rolleyes: The rain had stopped by then and the final as-close-as-it's-gonna-get weather forecast was finally available for tomorrow: Partly Cloudy!!! This made the final evening's packing much easier, though I still couldn't bear to part with all of my rain gear, if only because I'm sure it would have rained if I hadn't brought it. I decided to fit everything I needed in my camelback and not carry the trunk bag like I normally would. Got everything packed and sorted into my camelback bag to take and the one bag to put on the luggage truck. Stretched the legs out a little bit and we were in bed by 10:30 pm and I dropped off almost immediately.

My final gear list:
Worn: bike shorts, fleecy tights, socks, shoes, bra, longsleeve light wool layer, light jacket, gloves, pantyhose on head, helmet
Carried: sunglasses, wallet, cellphone, keys, light rain jacket, rain booties, inner tube, very basic toolset, tiny first aid kit, sunscreen, chamois butter mini-packets, vagicaine
Food: 2 nutella croissants, 4 nutella-cookie bombs, large bag pretzels, 2 Larabars, 1 chipotle sandwich, 10 packets Gu, 1 extra packet cytomax, 3 L water, 1 L prepared cytomax

4am arrived so very painfully early. I really would have liked to redo my fuzzy braid but there wasn't time so I just stashed it in the pantyhose-do and noone would know the difference anyway. Brushed teeth, slathered shorts in butt butter, dressed, and we were out the door. Put my camelback on backwards with the pack in front of me, and my big backpack on my back, and with this big pregobelly I had to bring my knees out wide at the top of each stroke. Now I can see why most women stop riding at about 7-8 months - I had to ride very gently so as to not tweak my knees on the short 2 miles down to the start line. I also realized during the ride to the start that my headlight's battery was fading, so I just took it off my bike and put it in the bag that I put on the truck. Bright idea #127.

We dropped our bags off and rearranged ourselves and took a quick picture, my brother went to find his riding partner, and then my yogaangel and I departed at exactly 5am. They were controlling the release of riders so that we all started in waves. I had read accounts online describing the first 20 miles as elbow-to-elbow mayhem but the way they throttled everyone it was very reasonable, busy but not overcrowded. As expected, I lost sight of yogaangel pretty early, most likely at the first downhill since she doesn't like to go downhill as fast. She was doing it in 2-days and staying in Centralia, so it was inevitable that we would separate at some point in the ride. Seattle police and event coordinators were at nearly every intersection directing traffic, which made a big difference. I had finished my two croissants on the way to the start and within the first 5 miles and also slurped two packets of Gu before reaching the REI rest stop in Kent. My feet were both a little bit numb and I'm pretty sure this was just due to temperature, not pressure or fit issues. I made good time to the REI stop (mile 24), a little over an hour. Ate a banana and a small handful of pretzels and was still feeling good so I got back on my bike within 5 minutes.

Back on the road I rode in a few mini-pelotons which were a blast, very easy to move at a good pace in a pack like that. Lots of very nice toned thighs and calves to look at, too. :) I was breezing along when I heard a voice on my left calling out "Hey Gorgeous!" I got twitterpated for all of 1 second until I realized it was just my brother and his riding buddy. Sigh. They blew on by with a group that was going fairly quick. Passing through Sumner there was an entire block of wet muddy gravel, and this was the only time when I was actually happy to be on a mountain bike. I knew that The Hill was coming soon so I ate 2 more packs of Gu. Geared down a little bit early since I didn't want to drop the chain and just tractored right up the hill at my usual 5mph. It wasn't nearly as awful as everyone made it sound. Then again, it is good to have a mountain bike with granny gears. As soon as I got to the top I could see it flattened out so I rested on the bike, just taking it easy until I caught my breath. I felt pretty decent and was making reasonable time until the Spanaway rest stop (mile 53) around 9am. Although when I got off the bike I suddenly realized how woozy I was getting. Strange, you don't really feel it when you're riding but get off and try to walk in a straight line and only then do you realize you are bonking. Headed to the food line and found some boiled potatoes which were really good, and picked up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that was made with the driest chewiest whole wheat bread I've ever eaten, it may have contained sawdust but I'm not sure. Managed to choke it down with lots of water. I also took the first pit stop, and when all I got was a little dribble and some rabbit pellets, I realized that after 4 hours on the bike I was way behind on water consumption. I also reapplied butt butter to the rear edge of my chamois pad which had started bothering me. I sat down to rest a little, took off my tights, and put sunscreen on. My head was starting to hurt, and I switched to sunglasses. After about 15 minutes I felt better and headed out again. :cool:

Munched on a Clif bar soon afterwards to try and keep ahead of hunger, and marveled to think at how Luna can possibly be owned by Clif. How is it that Peppermint Chocolate Luna bars are so damn tasty and Clif Mint Chocolate bars are so craptastic? At this point the crowds were thinned out quite a bit but there were still plenty of riders ahead and behind. There were no more large peloton groups, just little 3-5 person lines here and there and most of them seemed to be riding buddies. I came across a group of three grrls, 2 on a tandem and one solo, all wearing jerseys that said Alaska and had pretty cool wolf-howling-at-moon artwork. We all seemed to be going the same pace so I drafted with them for a while with their gracious permission. After about 10 miles I realized I had gone into a trance while staring in morbid fascination at their (rather hairy) legs so I peeled off at the Mill Pond rest stop at mile 72. After a lovely break involving a real sit-down toilet in a real restroom, I sat down to eat a Larabar and some pretzels and right then my camelback went dry, how fortuitous. I filled it back up before leaving the rest stop. Since putting on sunglasses and making an effort to force more fluids my headache was subsiding, and I promised myself that I would finish my half-full bottle of cytomax before getting to Centralia. Since the temperature warmed up my feet were no longer numb.

A few more miles of rolling hills and I stopped at Tenino (mile 86) and ate two very tasty molasses cookies and drank a Mountain Dew. By this point I was starting to feel fatigued in my legs and sorta creaky, but I just kept onwards in spite of a light headwind and made it to Centralia (mile 100) at 1pm. My first official century, in 8 hours. Go me! Now rinse and repeat. Tons of cyclists were everywhere milling around. I rolled to a stop right in front of a massage tent like a thirsty man staggering into an oasis. Within 2 minutes of arriving I was flat on a massage table getting prodded. My neck and arms were also getting fairly sore at this point. I felt bad for the massage therapists, they must have massaged a lot of sweaty sticky stinky people that day. After that lovely 15 minute refresher I wandered over to the toilets, then checked out the food situation. There was a food tent that specified "1-Day Riders Only" but when I went over there it was really not very inspiring. Maybe I just arrived there too late, but all I saw were just some boxes of orange wedges, fig newtons, and rice krispy treats. I grabbed a half-banana and a Rice Krispy treat and saved it for later, and walked back to the food vendor area where I bought a full plate of spaghetti to eat. That really hit the spot. I rested a few more minutes waiting for it to digest at least a little bit, mixed my second bottle of cytomax, and then hit the bathrooms again and was back on the bike around 1:45pm.

The next part of the ride was fairly quiet, people were a lot more spaced out and there just weren't that many of them. I was feeling ok but definitely starting to lag at a slower pace, at first 14-15 mph and then later a more pathetic 12-13. Starting to feel more and more saddle discomfort as well, especially up front. :bigeyes: I stopped at a gas station in Napavine (mile 110), knowing that some hills were coming up. Hit the restroom and inspected the situation. All I'm gonna say is that the little man in the boat appeared to have jumped ship and it looked for all the world like a hot dog bun down there what with all the swelling. I slapped on some vagicaine which started giving relief almost immediately, albeit a strangely numb "the coochie has left the building" sort of relief. :eek: I was definitely staying well hydrated at this point in the ride as I wanted a restroom about once an hour. Bought a 6 pack of oreos and scarfed half of the pack, and then didn't know where to stick the rest. My bento box was crammed full with a few emergency gu packets and the rice krispie treat. I didn't want to stick it into my backpack and then not have it handy. I looked down and realized that the gap in my cleavage was like a perfect pocket, the way my outer layer jacket was zipped up to just under the boobs which pulled my underlayer in snugly to form the base of the pocket. I was also thinking how someone so totally needs to invent a women's sportsbra that specifically has a pocket built in. It would probably only work for C-D and larger cups, and it would separate the boobs on the inside but have a smooth shelf-like appearance on the outside, and that would form a triangular pocket conveniently right there. Aw hell, maybe I just need a strap-on feed bag.

Headed out and was soon riding up the large-ish hill, just tractoring slowly. Passed a guy on the way up :) who was pushing really high gears and looked like he was about to puke. He complained about not having any lower gears, and I took a look at his rear derailleur and said "actually you do have one ring left". Happy surprise for him... funny how sometimes we're just too busy with our heads down to think clearly. After the crest of the hill I met the famed Banana Bread Lady! Free banana bread, which I was more than happy to donate for. Really good banana bread, too, it had this crystallized sugary glaze on top that may or may not have contained crack cocaine. A little further down the road was another home-based cookie stop, where I bought a peanut butter cookie. The young girl running the stop had hip-length twin braids. I smiled at her and said "Hey, I used to have hair like that!" and she said "oh really, what happened to it?" I said "Oh, I forgot to cut it and now it's down to there!" pointing down at my calf. I'm not sure she believed me though, especially since I had looped my covered braid into the top of my camelback so that it wouldn't pull on my neck, and it was pretty much invisible to her. She probably thought I was just some weirdo biker alien from outer space that was trying to pull her leg. Anyway.

Moving on I made it to Winlock (mile 120) and was rather disappointed by the World's Largest Egg. I guess if it's a real egg it is truly impressive, but I had been expecting something on a more massive and kitchy scale a la The World's Biggest Ball of Twine. I hadn't planned to stop but my cellphone had rung a few minutes earlier and when I saw a nice bench I decided to stop there and eat some pretzels for a while. It was 4:30 by this point and my brother had just crossed over the Longview Bridge 30 miles ahead of me and he was sounding pretty run down. (Comparing ride notes later revealed that he had a nasty crash at mile 70 and really took it hard on the knee, and the large quantities of Vitamin I he was taking as a result were tearing up his stomach and he was either bonking or puking the rest of the ride. But if Mom asks the official story is that his ride went just fine. Yes, just fine. :wacko: ) Leaving Winlock I kept going in crawl mode over more rolling hills that just kept going one after another. At some point I popped another packet of goo and ate the rice krispie treat. An Asian man with very nice calves and I leapfrogged over eachother a few times. The last time he tried to pass me he was pedalling furiously and just as he called out "On your left" he shifted and dropped his chain. I just chuckled and said "aw, I hate it when that happens" and kept plodding, he seemed rather mortified by the incident. Stopped again at Castle Rock (mile 137) sometime after 6pm. Bought a large cinnamon twist donut and a soft PB&J made with wonderfully junky white bread and those went down so nice and easy. While sitting on the school lawn a friendly golden retriever came over and decided to adopt me for a while and flopped his head down on my leg. Eventually I had to convince him to let me leave so I could keep riding, and hit the road again at about 6:30pm.

Heading out I was still moving slowly but not feeling that bad, just tired and sluggish. Passing through Kelso at around 7:10pm I took a quick call from my mom and told her where I was, she was waiting at the finish line for my brother. Then I proceeded over some really rough roads to reach The Bridge. I'd heard so many icky things about the Longview bridge that I was apprehensive, but when I finally arrived it was almost a letdown. I'd heard that there was no shoulder and a narrow car lane and horrible crosswinds. I did feel a little wind and was pleased to note that it would be giving me a nice tailwind once I crossed over to Rainier. The bridge was full of debris but there was a normal-width bike lane and thankfully not much traffic at that time of night. Coming down the other side I was amused to see about a dozen water bottles laying on the side immediately after a rather stiff bump from an expansion joint on the bridge. I could hear my cellphone ringing again and I resisted the temptation to fling it over the side of the bridge. I stopped at a convenience store right on the other side just before Rainier (mile 154). I was really feeling pain in my legs at this point, nothing that felt like a bad injury but definitely feeling overused and abused. Took a pit stop and listened to a voicemail from my brother, he had just finished around 7:30pm. Saw a Hostess Apple Pie and inspected the label: 470 calories!! Huzzah! I remember eating these things like they were going out of style in 7th grade, damn no wonder I gained so much puppy weight back then. Bought that and another bag of Oreos, this time the mini-bites. Then my cellphone rang yet again, it was Mom. She had just met my brother at the finish line and knew that I was in Rainier, and then she started doing the math and realized I was at least 4 hours away and she started freaking out. She wanted to come pick me up, threatening that the sag wagon was going to close the course and aliens would abduct me as soon as it got dark. She just wouldn't give it a rest. Yes, I know I have a 6am flight tomorrow morning, but that doesn't help me ride any faster right now! After trying to reason with her finally I just said "listen, what I'm doing is hard enough, and you're not making it any easier." I suggested to her that if she was trying to be helpful she could pick up my bag from the truck before the finish line closes. Otherwise just leave me alone, pfffft! OK, I didn't say that last part, but I certainly thought it. Back on the road around 8:00pm.

Once on the Oregon side of the river my speed picked back up to a decent 15mph rate. Probably a combined effect of a nice tailwind, the apple pie, and the 'supportive' phone call from Mom. From here on back the road was familiar and comforting. I am so very glad that yogaangel and I trained so much on highway 30. My legs were really starting to feel in pain. I was seriously debating whether or not to I would be able to make it to Portland at this rate. On my left (problem child) knee the tendon below the patella hurt, as well as that big ol' tendon in the back of the knee (where the hamstring connects?), and the top of my IT band on my right leg were the worst, and then general screaming soreness from all muscles. I forced myself to keep drinking water and ran out, and then worked on finishing my half-full bottle of cytomax. Around that time my legs started to feel less painful, most likely from the electrolytes in the Cytomax. For a while I could see a yellow-jacketed cyclist about a half-mile ahead of me, until s/he stopped at the Deer Island convenience store. I was considering stopping until I saw some kind of support vehicle pull over honking and I was afraid it was the Sag Wagon coming to fetch me so I just kept going. Bring Out Your Dead! They'll have to catch me first! I made it to St. Helens (mile 178 ) at around 9:30pm and hit a gas station to buy some Powerade. Watched a really beautiful sunset as I tried to eat more nutella-cookie sandwich bombs but they were just too rich, so I ate more oreos instead. Eyeing my stash of goo I realized that I had about 5 packs left and I could start using these again to get back to Portland.

By this time it was dark and here I am with no headlight and a mere sliver of a crescent moon low in the sky. My blinkybutt light was flashing strong though, and I could always make out the white line and stay somewhere to the right of it when there were no cars. When a car would come up behind me I could use the light from it's headlights to visualize the distance ahead as far as I could and move further away from the white line. It was at this moment that I was so thankful that they finally swept the bike lane on Highway 30. As recently as a few weeks ago it was full of junk and debris and I surely would have gotten a flat tire in the dark being unable to navigate around the junk. Passed Scappoose (mile 185) at 10pm and kept on trucking, slurping down a several more packets of goo for the few hills I knew were coming up. By the time I got to Scappoose I realized I was close enough and alive enough that I would be able to get to Portland. But then I also realized that the Finish line was long closed. At that point I made my decision: I would reach the City Limits, but not ride the last 5 miles into downtown. I called the ManFriend and told him to meet me at the Shell station in Linnton in about 45 minutes. Shortly after Scappoose I saw a mini-stop on the side of the road with a bunch of tents next to it, I gathered that the volunteers staffing it just decided to camp overnight to be available to help the slowpokes like me and be ready bright and early for the next day riders. In the pitch black they must have seen my blinky red light because out of the darkness I heard a whoop of encouragement. I choked up and barely managed to squeak out a response yelp, and had to quickly shove the lump in my throat back down to keep from getting an asthma attack. Further on ahead I saw some blinking ahead in the distance and it slowly got closer and closer. I passed a group of 4 who were dogging up the hill and we all just whooped at eachother in encouragement. Well, either that or I just scared the holy crap out of them by sneaking up behind them in the dark with no headlight, not sure which. :p

At 10:45 I reached the Portland City Limits sign (mile 193), and about a mile later I was in Linnton, very carefully stepping off my bike and clutching the tailgate of the truck trying not to fall over. What amazes me to no end is how I can be so tired and shakey that I can barely walk or get into the truck and yet be capable of hauling *** on a bike in that condition. Strange, indeed. The last 40 miles I kept envisioning the scene in the second Black Stallion movie where he's riding the horse around the track and just glued onto the horse, hands frozen around the reins which they had to cut off in order to get him off the horse. In a way I envy the wonderful camraderie of a community ride and arriving at the finish line in celebration the way my friends did, but instead it was just a very quiet and very solitary journey the last 100 miles.

This is the way my STP ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

07-12-2005, 06:06 AM
Wow, great write-up and great ride! Way to tough it out through all those miles. I can't even imagine doing 200 miles in one day. What a great accomplishment!!

07-12-2005, 06:14 AM
I am totally in awe. Not only did you complete a ride in a single day that is a long distance when split over two days, you took care of those of us who wanted to share the experience with you. Great write-up, an amazing sense of humor, and a fabulous ride!

Thanks so much for sharing your ride.

--- Denise

07-12-2005, 07:45 AM
On Saturday morning at 4:30, Dianyla, her brother, and I took off from his place. Dianyla and I looked like two pregnant women on bikes - we had our camel backs on the front and our backpacks on our back. Loaded down, we breezed to the starting line. Her brother was kind and took us on a route that was pretty flat. :-)

After throwing our bags on the right bus, we got in line with all of the others. Our start time was right at 5 a.m. I was pretty excited about the ride and felt strong at first. Since we didn't really eat much at the beginning, I got hungry right away. I lost sight of Dianyla and then stopped at the first mini-stop to eat.

When I got to the Kent stop, I was starving. I ate my two chocolate delights that Dianyla made and that hit the spot. Yummy! I felt very strong and boy did I need it when I got to the 72nd Street hill. I made it up the hill and took a break at the gas station at the top. (Along with a hundred other people!) Doing the STP by myself, I did end up taking more/longer breaks than I would have with Dianyla.

I felt pretty strong going to Spanaway and that stuck with me to Centralia. By this time, everyone is calling me "Biker Chick" because of my jersey. "Hey, biker chick, your turn to take us up this hill" "There she is - we didn't know where Biker Chick went to." :)

Two critters Ė a mouse and a chipmunk Ė ran out in front of me within two miles of each other. The lady behind me was laughing so hard about the animals and their suicide attempts with my front tire. We all had a good laugh over that.

I got to Centralia about 3 p.m. and wanted to take a shower really bad. I checked my bike at the corral and went in search of my bags. Once I found my bags (note to self - a bright ribbon would have been helpful), I headed to the gym. When I got in there, I tried to stake out the best spot for sleeping. I got my stuff all set up and hit the showers. Man, that was the best lukewarm shower!! When I got out, I headed for the cafeteria and ate lasagna, salad, and bread. There were swarms of people around the beer garden, laying on the ground, or setting up their tents. The campus would become a wall of tents by the end of the day. I grabbed the trolley to downtown and walked around a bit. I got a magazine to read, an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen. As I was paying for the icecream cone, the trolley went by. I had to run (YES, RUN) to catch it. Once back at the campus, I stopped by first-aid and asked for a bag of ice. My left knee was a little twingy. I also snagged a bunch of ibuprofen and headed for the sleeping bag. I got to my sleeping bag and there were 4 guys on both sides of me. :) My neighbor to my left asked me if I wanted to go have a beer with him and I told him no, I just wanted to ice my knee and relax. Not to be a gear snob, but he was one of those riders that wore cotton. :eek:

Thank God for the ear plugs!! I fell asleep around 8:30 and woke up at midnight to the song of snores. I dug out the ear plugs (a gift from Dianyla!!!!!) and went back to bed. I then woke up at 5:35 to the sound of sleeping bags rustling. I went and got in line to drop my bags off. (I wasn't sure if I was going to get everything put back in my backpack.) I got in line for my bike and once I got that I headed for the cafeteria. The line for the pancake feed by this time was out the door. The breakfast took way too long. I had already stood in lines for the bike and bags, so I was getting nervous about the time. It was about 7:45 before I got on the road and it was lightly raining.

It rained on and off until Vader. I started feeling sick to my stomach and soon suspected the sausage at breakfast. I kept forcing myself to eat, even though I was so nauseated. That feeling stuck with me the first 40 miles and slowed me way down. My knee felt okay, but my quads were *****ing at me. At mile 40, my stomach started feeling better and my muscles seemed to give up with the complaining and kick in. I was such a slug during this section, I knew that my time was going to suffer.

A line for the menís restroom?!? I had the pleasure of walking into a very nice mini-mart/gas station and marching right up to the womenís restroom. There were 5 guys in line waiting their turn for the menís. I couldnít resist making a smartass comment to them as I glided by. :cool:

I got to do a lot of drafting and riding with people. I would find a group to ride with and stay with them for as long as I could. I always asked permission to join. :) We would all get separated at the honey buckets or mini-stops and then I would search for another group going my speed. The downside of grouping with others was when I would get with a slower group and slow my pace down. I guess it helped with recovery though.

Just south of Winlock, I suddenly heard a noise coming from my rear tire. I stopped and looked at my tire and discovered a small spring stuck in my tire. Fortunately, it didnít make contact with my tube and I was able to pull it out without incident. A guy stopped and asked if I needed help and I said ďno thank you, I got it.Ē (Dianyla, I made you proud.)

I had the misfortune to witness two accidents that took time from my ride. One was a lady that did a header right before the Longview bridge. At that point, I was riding with three guys and we all stopped and sat with her for a while. We made her call her husband and check in. We then got the Gold Wing guys to stop and sit with her. She had a goose egg on her forehead and her knee was pretty shredded.

The bridge! I was in the first row waiting to go over the bridge. By the time we had gotten to Castlerock, there was a HUGE headwind. I have never ridden in a headwind that was that strong. We were all complaining about it. When you HAVE to pedal to go down a hill, you know thereís a headwind. OK, back to the bridge Ė when we got the all clear to take off, I hit it hard. I was only passed by 7 other people on the incline. Woohoo, I kicked itís ***. Several times, the wind was so strong, it would blow my bike around pretty bad. That wind lasted until I was south of Ranier.

After the bridge, I hit the Oregon signs. That didnít really impact me Ė the Rainier city limits sign Ė was a beacon for me that I was almost home. (The training rides on the end of the route with Dianyla were SO helpful.) Once I passed Rainier, I was going strong! Home stretch! Outside of Ranier by Jack Falls Road, a guy in front of me had a bad accident. He and I were riding by ourselves at that point. His tire caught the lip of the pavement right at the intersection and he headed for the ditch. He flew over his handlebars and landed on his shoulder in the ditch. We had been going about 15 mph, so impact was rough. I slowed down and stopped without crashing myself (Thank God!) I told him to stay put and reached for my cell phone. I sat in the ditch with him as I called the Gold Wing guys. Art, my new buddy, was saying his shoulder was really hurting. As he was trying to move his shoulder, he and I soon realized that it was his collar bone that was injured. The Gold Wings arrived and called for medical and I sat for a while and ate a banana. I was pretty shaken up from the whole experience and finally got on my bike and headed to Portland.

When I got to Goble, I hooked back up with some other people I was riding with before. They were running out of steam and I ended up breaking away from that group. I stopped in St. Helens McDonalds and ate the two hot apple pies. By this time, my digestive issues were back. I had slowed way down, but had good spirits. I knew I would make it.

The first view of St. Johnís bridge was pretty emotional. I was riding with three other women and we were cheering, yelling, and crying. Iím glad I got to share that experience with those three. I rode with them for a few miles and they pulled over. Not me, I was determined to get to the finish. At the St. Johnís bridge light, two older guys pulled up with me at the light. The three of us stuck together until ĎDa Hillí. I left them behind and geared down and took the hill. At the top, a group of people who had already finished had driven their cars back to that point and were cheering everyone up the hill. What a sight!! I was pretty emotional the last ten miles. I cruised to the Broadway Bridge and the event photographers got me coming down the other side. What a goofy picture that is going to be Ė tear-stained, dirty face with a giant smile, holding thumbs up to the camera.

As I crossed the finish line with a group of people, the announcer let everyone know a group was coming through. The bubble machine is pumping bubbles at you and there was a guy ringing a big bell. Everyone cheers as you get your STP finisher badge. I crossed the finish line around 6 pm. I didn't hit my target mph, but I did hit a new world record on a downhill ---- drumroll please ---- 41.3 mph. Woohoo!!

I did it. I gave myself the gift of completing the STP all on my own. Wow.

Here are some other personal stats:
3 years ago: rode my bike on a HUGE 5 mile ride :p
2+ years ago: 85 pounds heavier
1 year ago: cried when I completed my first 25 mile event
4 months ago: completed my first metric century
2 weeks ago: made it from mile 40 to mile 50 on Barlow Century (hardest incline)
Today: a tad sore, but very proud.

07-12-2005, 08:00 AM
I did it. I gave myself the gift of completing the STP all on my own. Wow.

yogaangel -
Congrats to you too! It was great hearing about this ride from two points of view - not only two different people, but one as a single day ride, and one as a two day ride. I have to say, if I ever get the opportunity to do this ride - I'd have to do it in two days, not one!

--- Denise

07-12-2005, 10:01 AM
Wow, thanks so much for your posts about this! I'm planning to do STP next year if I can get out there. You guys rock. Congratulations!

07-12-2005, 10:29 AM
what great reviews you two! way to go... you should both be very, very proud of yourselves! all that training paid off...

and Dianyla I was cracking up at the banana bread laced with crack remark... :D you go girl! half the battle is keeping your spirits up!!!

07-12-2005, 02:01 PM
Well done girls! Nice write-ups, too. I may have to add "twitterpation" to my vocabulary.

07-12-2005, 03:00 PM
Congrats to both of you!!! I was supposed to do my epic ride starting next Saturday, but life got in the way. It was sort of nice to live vicariously through you. It's cooling down to about 85 right now (6:00 p.m.). I guess I better eat so I can get my miles in.

07-12-2005, 03:22 PM
Congratulations ladies! Quite accomplishments for you both. I really enjoy reading about these adventures!


07-13-2005, 12:21 PM
Congrats both of you - not only did you do the ride but your writeups were so entertaining and fun it took me right with you!

Dianyla - a double century! I take my hat off to you hun! I haven't tried that yet but ppl keep telling me I should!

Yogaangel - what a list of accomplishments. Who would've ever thought you would be doing these things just by hopping on a bike??

Job well done ladies!

07-13-2005, 03:08 PM
congrats! bike goddess, how'd things go? You were there too?

07-13-2005, 10:28 PM
Thank you both for sharing this! I'm all choked up here! YogaAngel I'm just stunned by your list of accomplishments! I was sitting here kicking myself because I haven't gotten on my bike since Sunday. YOu are an inspiration!

Hill Slug
07-14-2005, 08:48 PM
I'll just hop onto this thread too.....

This was my first STP as well. And well.....I was very sore after this ride let me tell you.....Not sure I can be as detailed as the ladies above, but will give you the basic gist....

First, Bike Goddess carpooled with me and my partner, Alanne. We left Sacramento on Thursday around 10:30, made various gas, food, and rest stops along the way to Portland. Got there around 8:30-ish. Dropped BG off with her friends, and we went to St Helens to spend the night with friends too. The skies were threatening, and there was a chance of rain. Friday morning it was raining....We picked up BG and headed up to Seattle. Finally got to REI, picked up packets and extra butt'r, then dropped BG at the hostel. I know she thinks we're a pretty wacked out pair with our bickering, but it's pretty harmless.... ;)
I met up with my Team in Training group at the University Inn, about a mile from the start. We had a really good pasta dinner and inspiring/motivating presentation. Then back to the hotel for final prep. Got all the stuff out I needed and actually went to bed at a decent hour to be at the start line for a 6:30 am start.
Saturday weather had cleared up, no rain but clouds. Still it was nice. For me the start was pretty overwhelming - finally, we're here!!!! There were so many people. You really had to watch out and call out things. The law enforcement officers and traffic control was really great. They kept things moving. There was an accident requiring paramedics on a sharp down hill early on. I suspect the bikes slipped out due to a little too much speed on the moist road.
Pretty uneventful otherwise......There was a quick steep one block hill out of the first mini stop at about mile 11 I think. Don't have the map in front of me. Alot of people didn't shift fast enough and a couple fell in front of me, but I was able to get around them, whew! Further down, we saw to guys riding Big Wheels, yes Big Wheel trikes. They were very loud due to the plastic wheels. I don't know if they completed the whole ride or not.....I took a picture of them, I hope it comes out. I rode with a friend of mine and we pretty much drafted off of each other the entire ride. It seemed like I didn't really notice as much scenery as I would have liked because I was trying to focus on not running into anyone or being run into! There was one house in Puyallup(sp?) that did have some beautiful gladiollus....This was before the hill......That hill reminded me of Sierra College Blvd in Roseville, but a little longer. I did it and that's all that really mattered. It took me a bit, but I got up it! The reststops were pretty well stocked with stuff, and all the folks working were pleasant. Some people complained about the bean and rice wraps, but I thought they were ok....not special, but ok. I know I started slowing down at about mile 70...We still had 40 miles to Chehalis. We we got to Centralia, I thought wahoo, but then realized there was still 11 miles....wah.....oh well. We kept going along I-5 and finally got to the Bethel Church. There were some beautiful old Victorian homes we rode by. Really big, and pretty...wow....There were also some kids who high 5'd us as we rode by - that was cool! Yay, got to the church, and out of the saddle. I was very sore.....Oh well, they provided a really good pasta dinner, great salad, Russian Cream dessert with fruit (very yummy), rolls, water, and ice tea. It really was very good. Also got a nice shower, and then fell into bed around 8:30-ish.
Sunday we had another great meal before leaving. I would recommend the Bethel Church to any one. It was $45....We left at around 6:15-ish, in the rain......not pouring, but coming down enough. I hadn't ridden in the rain before so again, I was trying to be very careful. My legs and crotch were sore, as I had never ridden 111 miles in one day before. I wasn't sure I could even get back on the bike, but I did. There was a hill before the banana bread lady, and I was pooped when I finished that, but kept going. One guy ahead of me went down on a sharp corner. He was going too fast on the wet pavement......But he got up right away. For most of the ride, it was raining off and on, more on......And there was a headwind. Again, my friend Michelle and I drafted off of each other, and she really helped me keep going. She's a stronger rider, and she kept going and I didn't think I could pass another person, but I did just to keep up with her. There were more rolling hills that I had hoped for, and so on some of them I just did what I could. A unicyclist passed me on one of those hills.....But I was able to descend well. At mile 125 mile computer reset itself!! :mad: I was beside myself! It just pissed me off....oh well, just keep going. We stopped at the lunch stop in Lexington (I think) because I needed some first aid.....The nice lady gave me some stuff that helps diaper rash, like Desitin she said, and it did help. The butt'r was just not enough. And I think that was because of the length of this ride.....We got to the Longview Bridge and went over as a huge group. I wanted to take a picture, but didn't feel safe doing that. One of my TNT teammates slipped on one of the lane divider bumps, hit another teammate, and then hit Michelle. So all three went down on the bridge. Fortunately, there was a bit of a gap, so no one was run over by the herd....All were ok, but 2 had tweaked wheels, but not so bad they couldn't keep going. That was one long @ss bridge!! It started raining when we got to the top. And there were a ton of water bottles on the descent! Still really sore, and can't wait to get done!!! Stopped in St Helens reststop for a sandwich and potty break. I realized I hadn't been eating much, and really needed the break to rest and eat......Finally last 30 miles......that last "da hill" was just pure evil. But again, I slowly got up it. There were a bunch of train tracks and some had nasty asphalt sticking way high. I hit one a little hard, and it did not feel good.....Anyway, finally over the bridge, and through town to the park.
Oh my goodness....I got my finishers patch and just broke down. I was sooooo tired. Our other teammates were there and it was really nice to see them. Took pictures, walked around the vendor booths, then finally checked into the Double Tree.
I felt so much better after taking a shower. TNT had a victory dinner downstairs, where again, really good food, music and celebration. We left Portland around 10:30 on Monday morning, and of course the weather was much nicer....But that's ok. BG hopped in and off we went. By the time we got to Redding it was like 107 - yuck!!! Oh well....knew that was coming. Got home around 8:35, and it was nice to see the dog and cats again.
This really was a nice ride, and I'll probably do it again. The support was awesome, it was nice to see the medics riding the course, and the gold wing motorcycle folks too. It made me feel much more secure. It was a little hillier that I thought it would be, but that's ok, at least it wasn't at 8,000 feet!
Well....that was longer than I thought....sorry!

07-15-2005, 11:31 AM
and the fans go wilddddddddddddddd!!!!!!!!!!! job well done! Isn't it amazing sometime just when you don't think you can take another pedal stroke, climb on the bike 1 more time, eat yet Another energy bar, you find the something somewhere inside you that keeps you going and makes it all worth it in the end!

Bike Goddess
07-18-2005, 01:24 PM
Well, I guess it's my turn! Since you have all heard about the route from 3 others, I'll give you my version of all the snafus that can happen when you plan a ride a year in advance!

When I got back from the STP last year, I vowed that if I ever did it again, I'd do it with others. While I ride a lot by myself, it is nice to have company from time to time and the STP is a loooong ride on your own!

So lo and behold, 2 people from my home town, Joe and Barbara Wood, indicate that they want to do the ride in 2005. Joe starts talking about it in September 2004 nonstop. He registers as soon as it opens and then makes vacation plans with his girlfriend around the ride. Barbara, as it turns out, has relatives that want to do the ride as well. Since they live on Bainbridge Island (not far from Seattle)it would be easy for them to join her. Another bike pal who left our club in December to move back to Seattle said he'd meet us in his hometown which happens to be on the route to Portland. So, that meant 4 of us from the club would be going. Joe also found another guy, Galen, on a ride this past spring who also indicated he would come too. The list grows!

I finally got myself registered in May and found a room at the Seattle Hostel. Things looked good. Barbara and I planned to ride up together, I only needed to find a way back as she was planning to stay in the Northwest longer than I. Fortunately, thanks to the TE forum, I discovered that Hill Slug was doing this ride with her TNT group from Sacramento. I quickly emailed her and discovered that she was coming home the day after the ride and that yes I could have a ride back to Sacto.

Well, as we all know, things never turn out as you expect especially if you plan ahead, like well ahead! First Barbara tells me that she wants to go up sooner and I should find another ride up. Back to the email and Hill Slug. Bless her heart, Yes, I could go up with them as well. So transportation problem solved. The catch- drive to her place in Sacto. No problem.

Meanwhile, our friend Neil, seems unreachable. The phone number we have for him doesn't work and the email I had keeps getting returned. So, Joe and I begin to question whether or not he is going to show up.

After some conversations with Hill Slug, I discover that they are planning to stay overnight at a friends house which is north west of Portland. I call my Thursday night host and let them know that I would need a ride up the road from their place on Friday instead of a ride to Portland. No problem!

Thursday, 2 days before the ride, I arrive at Hill Slug's house (she's also a Nancy). The three of us (Hill Slug, her partner, and myself) manage to leave Sacto area around 10:15 or so. All well and good.

As we near the Portland area, I call my hosts and make arrangements to have us meet them in downtown Portland. On this call I am told that they are going south to California first thing Friday morning and will not be able to drive me to the prearranged destination. This meant that my current ride would have to back track some 25 miles to pick me up in Portland. The first snafu has arrived!

Friday comes, the ladies kindly pick me up along the road, and we head up to Seattle. Rain, Rain, Rain. How hard can it rain anyway! We all hoped that the next day, Saturday, would be nice and sunny. At least the weather report said this current front would be moving on and just a few chances of showers over the weekend.

Hill Slug and Alann (her partner) left me at the hostel around 2:30PM. "See you Monday in Portland," was the last word. I was glad to have extra time to get settled and get ready for the next day.

About 3:30 Joe's girlfriend, Barbara, calls and tells me the Joe is so sick he can't even get to the phone. He's been sick for the past 2 days, she says, and the prognosis doesn't look good. Headache and nausea. Not interested in eating, etc. Well, one down for a riding partner plus Neil who never responded to new email address before I left. No one knew where Galen was and Joe certainly wasn't looking for him!

Didn't have Barbara Wood's cell phone- we ahd figured we'd see her at Castle Rock- 137 miles away Saturday night. Since Joe and I are quite a bit faster, that was fine.

Barbara, bless her heart, volunteers to pick me up at 6:00AM Saturday AM. It had been the original plan, but with Joe sick, I figured all bets were off! Anyway we finally arrive at the start around 6:45 or so (traffic terrible getting there due one main street for all of the cars dropping people off). I leave my possessions on the Castle Rock truck and leave around 7:15AM.

Along the way I rode with a few fellows here and there. I looked for Hill Slug and for Barbara Wood figuring I might catch up to them as they had started earlier. It was fun, I met lots of new people- mostly from Seattle or Portland area. One couple on a tandem recumbent was from Montana! At the lunch stop, just as I was ready to leave, I came across Barbara W. She said she was doing fine and I'd see her in Castle Rock.

About 100 miles into the ride (just before Centralia) I passed a fellow from the Bike Journal (Slo Joe Recumbo) who had said on one of their forums that he was going to do the STP. He told me what to look for, and lo and behold, I did find him out of some 8000 riders. Not too shabby, huh? We rode together off and on until his evening stop- Vader. Then I was on my own again to Castle Rock. I was pleased with my time- average speed- 16.2MPH for 137 miles. It was cooler than last year and I was in much better shape and had slept fairly well the night before.

I like to get to Castle Rock, but I don't like the food! For $7.00 you get a plate of spaghetti, a roll, and a small salad. No dessert, no drink. Not much for a hungry cyclist. The original plan had Joe and I going out to eat with Barbara who would be coming down in the car. (Castle Rock has a population of about 1200- no wonderful restaurants in town-we would have gone down to Longview about 10 miles south) So, I again endured the food,(even saw Barbara w.who arrived about an hour later) had some of my own stuff and hit the sack.

I awoke in the evening needing to go to the bathroom. Upon wandering around the area I noticed a sign that had been posted after we had all gone to bed. Essentially it read; "We are sorry to inform you that there will be no pancake breakfast this morning. We apologize for the inconvenience". Well reading that note wasn't the best news by any means. This meant a 10 mile+ ride to Longview in search of food . Oh well, I'd survive!

The next morning (Sunday) I awoke at 5:00AM to the sound of rain drops on my tent. Not much, mind you, but enough to make the fly wet. I quickly dressed and moved my stuff out of the tent and then proceeded to pack up the tent (by now quite wet). Fortunately the rain was just sprinkles, nothing threatening, and I could certainly cycle my way to breakfast.

I purchased coffee from the high school people who had made our dinner. I found out that we didn't get our pancake breakfast because the health department decided everyone had to have a food permit and the group that does the breakfast had not gotten one. Mystery solved.

I asked about places to eat in Longview- at 6:00AM on a Sunday morning not much is available. Also, our route goes through the industrial area of town, not exactly restaurant row!

Anyway, to make a long story short, I went through Longview, couldn't find anything, so went across the now famous bridge to Rainier. By this time it was sprinkling a little more. Fortunately I had my STP jacket which managed to keep me fairly warm and dry.

I found a wonderful coffee shop in Rainier and had a yummy breakfast. It was soooo nice to sit inside out of the wet weather and just relax. It wasn't getting any nicer outside so I hit the road about an hour later. (I had heard it was really raining in Chahalis where Hill Slug was, but she rode through it all and made it to the finish too! BRAVO for the TE group!!)

What next- well let me tell you, don't EVER think you can ride long distances in CHEAP bike shorts!!!! Dumb me, I figured it was 60 miles, my cheap REI shorts would be fine. WRONG. About 10 miles past the coffee shop I realized that I was extremely sore, like burning up, on my seat. Fortunately I had some chamois butter packets that I used asap. It helped, but didn't completely relieve the pain! Furthermore, it began to rain harder and I began to wonder if I'd make it the whole way. Stubborn that I am, I just kept plugging along. And at noon I arrived at the finish line. More sore and wet than tired! But at least I did the ride and got the reward! AND to make the finish sweeter, I found Slo Joe once more. (I'd passed him earlier before I took my breakfast break). We got some pictures, I got a ride back to my friends house and the rest is HISTORY! WHEW!!!!!

Joe is still sick- hopefully he went to the docs today as promised. I'm fine. Managed to ride lots last week despite seat pains.

THANKs for reading my version. THANKS HILL SLUG. YOU SAVED the DAY!! AND you and Alann are good travelers in my book! :D :D


07-18-2005, 02:49 PM
whewwwwwww what a story Goddess! I'm worn out just reading it! How neat you got to meet SloJo - he and I are doing both virtual RAAM and a virtual Ride Across Australia (VOZ) and he's one of my biggest motivator/supporters!!
I'm sorry things just didn't work out for you - but you survived and did the ride!! good on you!!

Bike Goddess
07-18-2005, 05:16 PM
CM - what is virtual RAAM and virtural VOZ? He gets around doesn't he! I've got some pics I'll figure out how to put on this site for you. Seen your name on the BJ, maybe in the chatroom or on a forum thread! Small world, eh?

07-18-2005, 05:45 PM
Great story, BikeGoddess! I think I would have been homicidal or close to it if the much expected pancake breakfast had not manifested!!! :mad:

07-19-2005, 11:26 AM
CM - what is virtual RAAM and virtural VOZ? He gets around doesn't he! I've got some pics I'll figure out how to put on this site for you. Seen your name on the BJ, maybe in the chatroom or on a forum thread! Small world, eh?

On Bikejournal in Jan 13 of us decided to do the RAAM virtually. The goal was to finish it before the end of the year but other than that it was all personal goals. Well 5 of us have already ridden to "Atlantic City" and so ChrisL thought it would be fun to virtually ride from Perth to Melbourne, Aus. So now I think there's 7 of us virtually riding across Australia while 4 of us are virtually riding back across the US at the same time. Or in the case of ChrisL - he's already ridden back and is crossing the US again from west to east.

You can follow our adventures at the BJ forum under the VRC3 thread and the Virtual Ride Across Australia thread.

if I may brag for 1 moment: I was the first woman to virtually reach Atlantic City at 3046 miles! :)

07-19-2005, 03:27 PM
I am really enjoying reading about these experiences!
I am very interested in what it's like out there for those individuals who commit to rides!

It's not likely I'll be able to attain that level of bike riding; yet, I truly enjoy learning more about it... the "experiences," the "commitment" and the "human spirit" so evident in all of the stories!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share them!

Corsair, I'd just read about your virtual ride around Austrailia on bikejournal last night! Congrats on reaching Atlantic City! :D

With Humble Appreciation,

Bike Goddess
07-19-2005, 05:01 PM
CM- I'll look for the ride on the BJ! Good job! 3046 miles is definitely something to brag about! :p :p :p