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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    South of Seattle.
    Posts
    1,037

    Good Luck STP Riders!

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    I want to wish everyone who will be riding this weekend in this year's STP good luck, tailwinds, and fun fun fun times! I had a blast last year when I did the STP in one day! I wish I could be out there with you this year but Joe and I have a niece's wedding to attend (I told her BAD timing girl!!!!) Next year I will be back riding it again.

    Please post your stories about the ride . . . . I know I would love to hear all about your ride!

    Tailwinds, be safe, and have FUN!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    484
    Susan126, thanks so much for the wishes...especially for the tailwinds! Looks like we are going to have perfect weather both here and in Portland. Not too hot... not raining... yeah!

    I am nervous, but excited. I didn't get as many training miles in, due to crappy weather this year or family events going on, plus some back trouble that had me worried a few weeks ago. But I am feeling good today and all packed and ready to go! I have studied the ride guide and just figured I will go at my own pace and make lots of rest stops and just have fun doing it!

    Hope you have a good time at the wedding this weekend. But how dare they plan their nuptials during a big bike event weekend! Sheesh.
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,219
    It really is PERFECT weather for the ride! Don't miss the boiled potatoes at the--I think---REI food stop! And just have a wonderful time. It's such a pageant!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    South of Seattle.
    Posts
    1,037
    Good luck AppleTree! Is this going to be your first STP? You really are prepared for the big ride! You're packed, you studied the ride's course, you're smart to just do your own pace, stop at all the rest stops, and the best . . . you plan on having fun! I look forward to hearing all about your ride!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    872
    I'm getting ready to go for my 4th two day STP. I know I can do it, but I'm currently wading through the feelings that it is an insane thing to do...

    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,250
    Have fun out there. The weather should be perfect.

    Maybe next year I can ride...
    Beth

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    872
    definitely, Beth

    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    484
    Quote Originally Posted by Susan126 View Post
    Good luck AppleTree! Is this going to be your first STP? You really are prepared for the big ride! You're packed, you studied the ride's course, you're smart to just do your own pace, stop at all the rest stops, and the best . . . you plan on having fun! I look forward to hearing all about your ride!
    First time! Nervous newbie for sure. My husband has done it three years previously. I used to think HE was insane. But you have to be a little crazy to really enjoy life, eh?

    I looked at the forecast earlier today...looks like we might really have tailwinds. Predicted: light wind from the north/northwest 10-15 mph in the afternoon/evening. YES!!
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Pac. NW
    Posts
    318

    Waiting to Hear How STP Went!!!!

    Well ladies, waiting to hear how this year's STP went. I live through you every year!
    2011 Specialized Ruby Comp

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    872
    well, this was my fourth STP and by far it was the best. But it will probably be my last. I've decided I'm just too much of an introvert to enjoy that much togetherness with my fellow humans. I was, however, inspired by Susan126s glowing and positive ride reports to try to go into this years ride with a more positive outlook, since I usually arrive in Portland feeling like a super grumpy troll, and more than a little hostile towards my fellow riders. So I made a point to notice and enjoy the excitement in the air at the start at 4:30 when I cheerfully sent hubby off on his one day effort. I enjoyed the sight of the sunrise over the line of porta potties as I stood in line not once, but twice before unloading my own bike. I waited and people watched a couple of waves passing before I decided to enter the stream of riders, and this seemed to make all the difference in my own enjoyment of the ride as most of the aggressive riders exhibiting the sketchy riding ethic that so angers me were up and away at the front of the pack. I enjoyed gliding through the sleepy city in the deepening glow of the dawn. The smell of Mimosa trees near the Arboretum made me smile and think of the Mimosa tree at my childhood home. The crowd had thinned out to nothing by the time I reached Lake Washington Boulevard and I enjoyed the beauty of the lake and the trees while dodging the outrageous potholes there. I was actually frantic for a bathroom AGAIN so i stopped at Seward park before slogging up Juneau to Rainier Ave, which I always feel is the true start of the ride where I can find my comfortable big gear flat cruising speed (this year it's up to 18 mph!) and really get moving. at least until people start playing the "pass the fat lady and slow down" game, which they do with irritating regularity...

    In no time at all I was at the Kent Rei Stop, chuckling at the outrageous "Disco Stu" get up worn by the MC and failing to keep my booty from boogying just a little to the Rick James song throbbing from the speakers. After a quick re-fuel and pee, I was off again and in no time at all was faced with the "dreaded" Puyallup hill. I was pleased to note that the hill didn't seem all that bad this year, and that I was actually passing quite a few people, instead of being the one left behind in the dust. Soon after that was the crowded lunch stop where I noticed that it wasn't even 10:00 yet and that I had only drunk half a bottle of gatorade and less than half a bottle of water (and had probably peed more than twice that already!). I gulped my food ,and, noting the length of the potty line, set off, sure in the knowledge that there would be more pottys soon ,and also resolved to drink more. In the long stretch of road behind Fort Lewis I noticed many riders wading out into the waist high grass and was tempted, and irritated by the idea. I could wait. I wasn't going to be one of "those" riders that the Cascade Club gets calls about. I also noticed that my legs were getting crampy. Within the next 10 miles the sight of a line of porta potties in a gravel lot was positively heavenly. I began to wonder if I was working on a bladder infection as I laid my bike down and joined the very short line. When I returned to my bike I was dismayed to see that my water bottles had been emptying themselves into the gravel. So much for drinking more! Luckily, I was only a few miles away from the mini stop at Mckenna High school, where I bought 2 bottles of gatoraide and one of water and I made myself sit down and drink a whole bottle of G. As I sat, I flashed on a memory of my first visit to this same rest stop four years ago when the temps had hit the high nineties and I was struggling with nausea in addition to cramps and flirting with the idea of sagging out. By comparison, I felt great! It's great to have that low base line to compare ones current state to as motivation to continue.

    Continue I did, and soon I was in Yelm, enjoying the suburban sprawl, before being directed onto the Yelm-Tenino trail, accumpanied by many riders grumbling about being forced to take the trail. I actually like the trail, once the herd thins out. It is a nice, quiet, wooded path across the prairie; a nice break from the traffic, and a potent indicator that we are getting farther out into the country. That was soon over and the trail emptied out onto the chip sealed country roads that lead to Centralia College, and a relaxing night on a sleeping bag on the gym floor with hundreds of snoring riders (I have sleep apnea, so I am one of the worst offenders...). After a quick shower, I decided to splurge and have a massage since I was feeling crampy still. I've never actually had a sports massage, so that was quite a surprise how painful it was as the masseur pushed ,tugged and generally whomped on my lower back. I could tell good things were happening, so I managed not to scream or even whimper.

    After a restless night, I set out early, again enjoying the colors of the dawn over the pretty country side and was soon enjoying the rolling hills around napavine and vader. The hill just before Napavine and the one just after Vader are every bit as nasty as the Puyallup hill, and I always find myself wondering why they don't get equal billing when nasty hills of STP are mentioned. Soon enough, I was over those hills and waiting in line to cross the Longview bridge--which is also another hill that nobody mentions. I always dread the bridge with its hungry, gaping expansion joints, but always make it over. The exhiliaration at the sight of the "Welcom to Oregon" sign is always dampened by the sight of the Highway 30 sign immediately after. I don't know why, but this bit ofhighway leading to Portland always seems to go on and on andon forever. The rest of the ride was a pleasant blurr, but this stretch was/is interminable. I was still sticking to my resolve to be positve; not getting mad at people who pass too close, cut in too soon, and pass three abreast, enraging motorists, but that resolve was flagging. I was trying not to see it as a grim grind towards mordor, but that thought did creep in from time to time. In time, I was delighted to see that we would not be taking the usual route through the armpit industrial area of Portland, but up and over the St Johns bridge and through pleasant residential areas with civilized bike lanes and friendly locals. Soon, we reached Rose Center and the sounds of welcoming crowds. I was so happy to be done. Everything was hurting and I was thirsty and hungry to boot. I passed under the finish and accepted my finishers patch and burst into tears. not sure why, but at least I wasn't an angry troll...
    Hubby whisked me away to our room at the Doubletree and I was soon showered and feasting.

    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    484
    lauraelmore1033 - I was really interested to read your ride report and compare it to my own experience, being a first timer. You sound like you were in MUCH better shape and had trained properly and made very good time. You ROCK. Four times is a huge accomplishment (okay, maybe a little crazy, ha).

    I finished, but I had to reach pretty deep into my "suitcase of pain" (a Phil Ligget-ism) the second day. I LOVED the start. We took off from the line about 5:30 after loading our luggage on the Winlock truck.

    The first thing I forgot was my cycle-computer. MAJOR BUMMER!! I missed having that, and knowing how fast I was going, and what mile I was at, what my average was,etc. I did have my route guide at least. I cannot believe I forgot that. ARGH.

    The second set back was that my cell phone went dead around noon or so... my husband also was a faster rider (not a one-dayer, but riding with a couple of fast buddies). I begged to use someone's cell phones a couple of times to check in.

    I didn't get to Centralia till 5:30. I took way too long at stops, I know, but some of that time (a lot of it) was wasted in potty lines...they need twice as many potties at those events. Up until Centralia I felt really well. I flagged a little in Yelm too, just felt a little overheated, so I rested in the shade for a bit, drank cool water, ate a banana and a shot block or two. Put my "cool collar" on after soaking it, that helped me a bunch. Overheard a ride ref tell a story about woman having a flat, he had stopped to help her; asked if she had a tube/patch kit..."no, the salesman told me these tires would NEVER go flat"

    Well, as I started riding to Winlock, I kept thinking what if... something went wrong and I can't call anyone? OMG. Thankfully there are ride support people on motorcycles, that was so reassuring. I finally made it to Winlock - totally wiped out, about 9:00 pm. My DH had set up my sleeping bag and pad for me, and I had a little spaghetti dinner they had saved. I was almost too tired to eat...and that is saying something for me.

    I did NOT want to get back on my bike the next day. Oooch, ouch, eech, and many other worse words going through my mind when I sat down on my saddle.

    I will NEVER wear another Novara chamois, at least for that long of a ride. I had a Terry Bella knicker on the first day, 120 miles... not too bad, sit bones were sore of course the next day...but by the end of the 2nd day, the chamois pad was cutting into the inside of my thighs.. that really, really hurt.

    I only noticed a few bozo's out there... a few of them passing on my right. One guy we thought was going to be creamed by a car, he swerved out into traffic from the bike lane. Running red lights. I did see a couple of riders down in the road, being attended to by medics. Not sure what happened, neither looked like there was a car involved.

    I still can't believe how nice the weather was for us. If it were hot, like it was a few years back, I am sure I couldn't have completed the ride. We had tailwind most of the way, and that helped me, even as slow as I was.

    The Longview bridge scared the dickens out of me, but I pushed the pedals the whole way over. But I was the VERY LAST rider in the bunch, the motorcycle escort was right behind me. Ha! I was the Lantern Rouge!!

    Funny, I had the same feelings crossing the finish line at about 5:30 pm, and getting my finishers patch... I had to try very hard to keep from just weeping...from tiredness, from joy, from just relief that it was over...

    I got a sports massage after we had a bite to eat. I had the most problem with neck and shoulder pain/tension. I had huge knots in my shoulder muscles. The massage therapist worked miracles. Thank God they were there. Worth every penny.

    Things I didn't like about the STP:

    Long lines for potties
    Chip seal pavement (an invention from hell)
    The shower at the Winlock stop...you had to pull a chain to get water..come on.
    Riding along busy Highway 30 (did you hear someone dropped tacks in the road?)
    That I was so darn slow

    Things I absolutely love about STP:

    I can say I DID IT!
    The look of incredulity when I tell people that this 54 year old gramma DID IT!
    The helpful STP volunteers and people along the way cheering for you
    The funny dude wearing furry leg warmers. Sasquatch anyone?
    In Portland they decorated some of their bike lane decals...made me smile.
    The gorgeous scenery and the mountain views (Mt St Helens - WOW)
    The cream cheese bagels at the REI food stop.
    The oriental chicken wraps at the Jamba Juice food stop.
    The turkey pita sandwiches and watermelon at St. Helens food stop. (do you see a theme here?)

    Before the ride, I thought I didn't want the jersey, I didn't like the design of it all that well anyway. But after... you'd better believe it, I EARNED that stinkin' jersey and want to show it off, ha.

    We stayed the night in Portland and left on the 8:30 bus the next morning. It was nice to just sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery rolling painlessly by.
    "Don't go too fast, but I go pretty far"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
    872
    Apple tree, it sounds like your first STP went MUCH better than mine! Congratulations! Revel in your achievement and yes, buy that jersey! Next year will go much smoother for you. I'm already reconsidering my "never again" decision.

    Bacchetta Bellandare
    HPV Gekko fx
    Custom Rodriguez Tandem
    2009 Specialized Tricross

 

 

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