View Full Version : Seattle to Portland Ride Reports--put 'em here!

07-17-2006, 08:21 AM
Chris and I DID actually do the STP in one day on Saturday on our tandem. Yeeha! Ow.

We crossed the start line somewhere around 4 am or a little after (forgot to actually look at our watches). We found a riding buddy from San Jose early on who liked our pace and stuck with us for 30 miles or so, a really nice guy named Andy. Had done lots of other rides, was a Team in Training guy. Eventually he joined a paceline and was gone.

The first 100 miles were great, actually. With the exception of one long hill, they are mostly flat. And the weather couldnít have been better for our purposes: 60s with a cloud cover till about mile 100, and a slight tailwind as wellóunusual for us, since the prevailing winds here are often southeasterly. Susan Otcenas, oddly enough we matched your one-day tandem time for the first 100 miles, getting to the Centralia stop at 11:00 am, with a 16.7 average.

After about mile 50, I stopped at most of the pee stops, having a very small bladder that also seems to have the magical ability to actually multiple water molecules once they get inside. It was just stop-pee-go, an advantage to being a one-day rider, since you miss the 15-20 minute Porta-potty lines that the 6,000 or so second-day riders suffer with.

We got a front flat at mile 106, stopped to fix that. Then...the rollers started. Funny, I loved that section last year, when we did it in two days, and started the rollers on the second day with fresh legs. This year, I still found the scenery beautifulófrom about mile 110 to mile 150óbut man, itís a lot harder to do rolling hills when you have 110-mile legs! Then we got a front flat. Our average slowed to 16.4, and by mile 170 or so, about 16.1. Also, the sun came out from behind the clouds, so started having to put on the funny bandana-type thing soaked with water under our helmets. By the way, we also did start taking one Endurolyte capsule an hour at that pointówe decided to risk doing a totally new thing by taking them against the surer risk of getting overheated. Neither of us had a bad reaction to the capsules, luckily, and took them for the next six hours or so.

Then we got a stiff chain link, so had to stop and fiddle with that. Also, in Longview, we saw a SCARY car-bike accident. Several riders not far in front of us got caught between one car and a car behind it that was being towed by a strap. The cars were turning left out of a lot on our side of the street. The cars didnít see the riders and the riders didnít see the strap. Two riders fell and one was half under the car, while the drivers took a few seconds to figure out what had happened and to stop. Neither was more than scraped, I think, but it was an awful sight. And the drivers were both pretty freaked out too. One of the riders was carrying his helmet on his handlebars rather than his head when this all happened. Not a candidate for rocket science school.

The last 50 miles or so were flatter but on the not-very-friendly Route 30 that goes to Portland. We did okay right up until 8 miles before the finish line when we gotóyeah!óa rear flat. Got lots of rueful, sympathetic smiles from riders who went past us at this point while we fixed it. Ugh! What a time to get a flat, when youíre so close and so tired. So we didnít actually get to the finish line until about 9:50 pm. Final total average speed about 15.7, with 13 hours 45 minutes on the bike. Would have been nice to get in earlier, but, you know---we DID IT! And even though the Finish Line Festival closed at 9 pm, Cascade Bicycle Club still had volunteers there to hand out One-Day Rider badges, AND kids and adults cheering people across the finish line. Donít ask me why, but the kids were just cheering everyone wildly as they came in and it was just delightful. Call me a cornball, but I liked it. I almost cried, just like last year, but didnít. Too tired and too hungry!!

This ride ends in a park across the street from a Doubletree Hotel in Portland. We made room reservations many months ago when we decided to try for the one-day. They have a big underground garage-type space where they have a bike corral and where the bags are delivered. We dropped our bike, got our bag, exchanged a few quips with the Cascade Bike Club guy guarding the area, marched into the hotel, checked in, ordered room service, took showers, and got into bed. What a brilliant thing, to be able to just go upstairs to a really nice room. We ate their buffet brunch this morning, spent a hour or so at the Finish Line Festival buying ride shirts and watching two-day riders come in. It really is COOL to watch other riders come in. They are so happy and it is such an achievement. Spouses, parents, kids, and dogs come to meet the riders, and itís just a ton of fun to watch.

We are thrilled that we were actually able to do it in one day this year. We are also really appreciative of what a well organized and supported ride this is. On to Ummelina's Spa this morning for massage and jetted bath.

Congrats to all other STPers! Let us hear about your rides.

07-17-2006, 09:43 AM
Chris and I DID actually do the STP in one day on Saturday on our tandem. Yeeha! Ow.

Cascade Bicycle Club still had volunteers there to hand out One-Day Rider badges, AND kids and adults cheering people across the finish line. Donít ask me why, but the kids were just cheering everyone wildly as they came in and it was just delightful.

Congrats to all other STPers! Let us hear about your rides.

yay! salsabike!
the year my husband and son completed their first one day STP, we all went back down to the finish line to cheer on the late finishers. That year they weren't getting finishers badges after 9pm which really disturbed us.
So we were down there screaming and cheering too.

07-17-2006, 06:22 PM
I was keeping my eyes open, but with 9,000 people out I didn't catch sight of any fellow TE'ers. I did see some Bent Brigaders out there though.

We had a pretty uneventful ride. Didn't see any crashes or even many sketchy riders - but I did notice that group ettiquette has gone completely out the window. No one was calling out car back, slowing or pointing out hazards, but I didn't see too much erratic riding or moving out without looking, which was good. I liked some of the new sections - the Chehalis to Napavine part was particularly pretty - sunrise, mist rising off of the fields.

The second day sometime just after the Longview bridge the hubby and I hooked up with Dr. John Knight aka Doc - the doctor that is in the Group Health commercials about cycling (he was one of the volunteers in the red shirts). He was a hoot - and a lot of fun to ride with too. Non-stop talker with one beauty of a bike - a Pinarello Dogma! that he got in Italy from the factory! The second day was really fast - especially after Longview with that great tailwind. Its too bad that it has to be along such a busy road.

07-18-2006, 04:59 AM
What's the distance on this ride? It sounds like a cool community event, especially the festival at the end!

07-18-2006, 06:50 AM
Its a total of 204 miles with the option to do it in 1 or 2 days. It's a relatively flat course, a bit more rolling on the second day. Its a big ride with now 9,000 entries allowed.


07-18-2006, 05:33 PM
Chris and I still have a lot to learn about tandem technique, especially for hill climbing. That is, there are several significant hills on our normal training route, and we've gotten much better at them. But there's knowledge out there we need to tap, still. Someone on TE posted a link on how to climb different KINDS of hills, and I looked at it Sunday night. It was very cool. The guy talked about convex vs. concave hills, and connected hills like these rollers, and mountains, and how each kind had to be approached differently and why. Very useful. Wish there was tandem-specific training out there somewhere.

Anyway, most of STP is a nice ride, especially the rollers. But wish I'd read that hill link a week ago! Isn't it always the way?

07-18-2006, 06:02 PM
Hi Everyone,
Here is a quick write up of the STP ride:
We left for Seattle on Thursday evening after a major repair job on my shifter. We took my husbands off of his bike and the mechanic put it on mine. We stayed the first night in Boise, Idaho with my daughter and then took off bright and early Friday at 0630. Our plan was to get an early start and make it into Seattle with lots of day light to find our hotel, find the starting point, estimate the time it will take us in the AM to drive to the start line and pick out a meeting point to hook up with our friends who were staying at the dorms. Since we gained an hour and really made great time we stopped at the Hyatt Vineyards:) . What a great place! We shared a 2005 bottle of Muscat wine, enjoyed the view of Yakima Valley and talked endlessly about the ride we were about to experience. We made it into Seattle and around 4:00 found our hotel, drove down to the college to get a visual of the the starting place, made phone contact with our friends and had a sea food pasta dinner on the Wharf.

We settled into the our rooms, laid out biking cloths, pinned on the numbers and tried to sleep. The alarm clock buzzed right on schedule at 0330, tried to gag down oatmeal, banana, coffee and water. We found a honey bucket for a quick pit stop then made our way down to the starting line to meet up with our friends. We took off at 0530. The first crash we witnessed happened within the the first mile or so at the first bridge right in front off one of our riders. The guy only had scraps and bruises but made the rest of us a little nervous. It is different riding with so many people and watching for traffic. My husband said there was also a pile up right behind us at the start after we left.

I was happy to say that the hills in Idaho definitely paid off because both of my riding buddies and myself rolled up the hills both days. There is something to be said about training on hills and in the wind and Southeast Idaho has both all the time! We formed a strong pace line and rolled along with an average speed overall of 18mph. A very nice man named Sal from Salem joined us and we kept it going. We arrived in Centralia at 1215 with 5 1/2 hrs of actual riding time. We were all very pleased and felt great. The atmosphere at the midpoint was great and loved the scenery. We meet up with our husbands had lunch, made planns to begin our second day ride at 0530 again and then we drove to Tumwater to find our hotel. We showered and drove into Olympia and had microbew beer, yummy salmon sandwitch and salad at a local place called The Fish Bowl. It wasn't fancy but we really enjoyed it. My husband and I ended up relaxing back at the hotel by 6PM and our friends opted to check out the local casino. I was sound asleep by 930PM and glad for the comfortable bed.

The alarm clocked buzzed again at 0330 and we packed up and headed the 20miles back to Centralia. My girlfriend and I headed to the Honey Buckets and found out after settling in that neither one had toliet paper:eek: . NOTE TO SELF... ALWAYS CHECK BEFORE SETTLING IN. My friend heard someone outside the stalls and hollered for him to please check the other stalls. Only one bathroom had any paper. He could have made a million dollars from us! Two nervous morning stomachs would have paid any amount of money :D !!

Our friends were running late and so we started out at 0630 instead of 0530. It did give it time to warm up a tad and the sun came out. The bad part was I had ate breakfast at 0400 and worried that I would get hungery and bonk. So I downed some red bull. The ride was beautiful and the rolling hills were enjoyable. The traffic was a little bit more than I enjoy and with a strong pace line we were passing a lot of riders so it was a little nerve racking at times. I could not believe how amzing it was to cross the Lewis and Clark Bridge. What a view with all of the riders! It is really beautiful country to ride in!

All of the stops were well supplied and very friendly. Lots of honey buckets with not a lot of wait time. The lunch stops were great and the food was great. They had PJ sandwitches, cookies, fresh fruit, cliff bars, refill on gatorade and water supplies. I was very impressed with the entire ride and the organization.

The last 15 miles seemed to go on for ever with lots of busy traffic and some stop and go at the lights with steep hills but the finish line celebration was well worth it. People were cheering you on and really made you feel great. They gave everyone a finishers patch and we wore proudly.

I was amazed at all of the different types of bikes and riders. Many riders of different ages, sizes and shapes. It was impressive to know that many of these riders would be riding for a long time to finish, but they were out there and determined. I am sure the feeling of acomplishment would be overwhelming for each of them and their families.

We stayed our last night in Beaverton at a nice Marriott and enjoyed sharing stories and making our husbands hear all about the ride over and over. It felt like a great accomplishment and I would definitely do it again.

We visited two more vineyards on the way home so the trip home was a 14 hour day. Glad I had taken another vacation day on Tuesday to recover!