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Sep 04 2010

Overdue Ride Report for the 2010 STP

Here is my version of the STP ride report. It is from my perspective. Other folks will have had different experiences.

The 2010 STP ride:
We started off from Lewis Creek park at around 6:45 or so. The temperature was cold and everyone was eager to get started. We split off into a bunch of ride groups and headed down Lakemont onto Forrest Drive. The rambo/lambshank tandem took a detour and missed Forrest Drive, but met up with us on the Lake Washington Trail. Riding at a leisure pace, we pulled up at Coulon Park for an “old man’s” stop – everyone hydrated a bit too well. Once we got back on the road, we had a mishap on Park Ave. near a traffic signal. A couple of scrapes – a little blood here and there. No serious injuries but I was a little concerned about how this ride was going to go. After bandaging up, we rode into the mainline of cyclists streaming down Rainier Ave. The police were out in full force waving people through lights and managing the cars. Too bad it’s not like this every day!
 
I stopped in Renton at 7th to help Eddie fix a rubbing front tire. After he got it to stop rubbing, we flew down 7th – clocking a good 22+ to try to get back to the main group. Eddie’s an Animal – he’d only been on like three training rides. We rode into the first stop near REI for real bandages and another restroom break. Definitely well hydrated. It was fun to see our support vehicles and hear the excitement at REI headquarters – I hadn’t been back there since I left seven months ago. We met up with Steve Haas, a VP at World Vision who was on a tandem. It was great to be part of team World Vision this year. The orange jerseys really made us stand out.
 
After we regrouped and had some food, we started off again. It was really different with 30 riders. This time I straggled behind with the high school crowd – Bentley and Daniel; if you put both of them together, they might weigh as much as me. A few miles later, we hit a rough patch of road and Benley flatted. A little inspection and we found a classic snake bite pinch flat. Thanks to the Goldwing guy who pulled over with his compressor. We were back on the road in minutes. I rode lead hoping to catch up with our small group. As the wind started to pick up, I slowed down from 19 to 18 and next thing I know Daniel takes the lead. As he started to slow down, Bentley took the lead. Hmm – this was a new way to ride paceline. It was hard to do since each time the lead slowed down, another person took the lead at a little faster pace. I was getting tired from the inverted paceline just as we started to climb “The Hill”, I could see the high schoolers talking and I knew what was coming next – the big acceleration on an incline. I chased both of them – Daniel leading; halfway up he slowed down and Bentley poured on the gas. I chased Bentley, but he managed to stay about three yards in front. Fifty yards from the top Bentley started zigzagging – something a faster rider does to allow a slower rider to catch up. At the top I told him, “Ok, you win. You win!” He had a grin on his face.
 
The next portion of the ride took us through Spanaway and into McKenna where I saw the after effects of another crash; some blood and some roadrash. People were walking though so no apparent hard injuries. We had a great lunch – our support crew broke out some hors d’oeuvres which brought our STP support to a new level! Our next section of trail was through the trail to Tenino. I like the trail since it has no cars; but I don’t like the trail because it’s narrow. We rode at a reasonable pace. We almost lost track of Jon and Andrew on tandem because they stopped to help with a flat, but we found them and managed to ride into the next stop at Tenino; the last stop before Centralia.
 
Rolling out of Tenino, I rode with a small group, but we quickly fragmented – Dan lead our subgroup, but then he started to pull away and pulled Reggie with him. I stayed back with Eddie and we kept our pace on into Centralia. All I could think of was the Creamsicle that was waiting for us – my orange World Vision jersey kept reminding me of it. In Centralia we rode through the spray, got our Creamsicle, snagged a chocolate milk and a water bottle. The Creamsicle was good since the temperature warmed up and the sun was out. In fact, Heather gave me another one after I finished mine so I had two!
 
As we left Centralia, I saw Rocky snag another chocolate milk. At that point, I kind of figured Rocky would be a good source of food. We made it to our half-way point about two miles later at the Peppermill Inn. The evening meal was good – pizza and some entertaining bike stories; the usual kidding around. I could tell all the first time riders – they all looked like they were going to do a face plant :) I’m sure I was the same way on my first STP. I had a great time of fellowship with Curt – we shared a room and had some time to talk and pray.
 
The next morning, I was certain I could have used a couple more hours of sleep. I felt tired but good to go. I told William to dial in a “moderate slow” pace – but once we started out, we were clocking 18, 19, 20. With John W. and Eric in the group, I should have known better. Hitting the first hill of the day, I was leading and decided to ramp it up a little; I thought I dropped everyone off until I saw John W’s front wheel coming up next to me near the top. He looked like he was ready to sprint – I’m sure I looked like I was ready to stop. We pulled off to wait for the others then regrouped and rode on to Winlock where we made a pit stop. Too much hydration.
 
We then rolled on to our next stop along Westside Hwy where we switched off groups. I started off to lead a group, but no one was crazy enough to follow except Dan. We rolled into the Lexington Park rest stop for a quick pit stop where we met up with Richard, Jeff, and Craig.
 
Once we were back on the road, we made it to our Longview stop – where I was chosen to wear the official orange hair. It felt a little odd, but I got to I lead a group back on the road to approach the Longview bridge. The lady directing traffic for the bridge said I looked good.  We grouped up and rode over the bridge at moderate pace until we crested the bridge. Then William took off as he descended around the nice wide curve off the bridge; we regrouped briefly and then we started one of the fastest portions of the ride. William lead the downhills and I took the ups. I think it was because we had Billy in our group and Dan egging him on or maybe it was the orange hair.
 
We did take one flat near the gas plant. Other than that, we shot along at 20+ and at one point we were going a nice 23+ as we got pulled along by a four-pack of animals. These guys were fast. We finally pulled into St. Helens – our final stop before going into Portland. We re-grouped and met up again at Scappoose where we took a short pit stop. Victor was asking if anyone had shot blocks and musing about steak in Portland. I remembered Rocky and sure enough, Rocky pulled out a fresh pack of shot blocks for Victor. We left Scappoose and made our way to the intersection at NW Nicolai St. and NW Wardway St.
 
It was determined that we would have one last sprint up this little hill, so we gathered up all those who wanted to sprint. I could see John W. and he looked like he was ready to chew up the road. The light changed and we were off! Mikkel and Billy took the lead and as I chased after them I could feel Kary and John W. right on my wheel. Half way up Mikkel took off followed closely by Billy. I heard some wild noises as Billy and Mikkel sprinted. I tried to keep up the pressure, but it was over by then. Mikkel took the KoM. After our hill sprint we kept our group together for the final entrance to the finish. It was great to see our group riding together – a long line of orange World Vision jerseys; a cool sight to see especially as we rounded corners going toward the finish line.  A great finish to a classic ride.

1 comment

  1. Ed

    Nice write up. Regarding the “mishap on Park Ave” I can add some more color, from my 1st person point of view. What happened is I was following Ed & Mike on the tandem, and cruising along at, something like 15-18 mph, and just enjoying the empty street on a quiet Saturday morning.

    I noticed as we approached the intersection that the light was turning yellow. Normally, when riding with Ed, a yellow light doesn’t mean anything, meaning that he doesn’t stop. However, on that day, for a strange reason, Ed decided to stop. I was caught totally unprepared. It was too late to grab the brakes, so I instinctively swerved to avoid his back wheel. That’s when I took out Curtis, launching my bike into the street, and finished off with an asphalt tango. It tore open the skin on my hand, and gave me a really nice road rash on my hip under my shorts which, for some strange reason, remained intact.

    We regrouped and got rolling again once we determined that no one was injured. However as we rode I noticed some strange sound from my front wheel, which I eventually determined was rubbing against my front fork, a result of the wreck. In retrospect, I can’t believe that there wasn’t greater damage to my bike, or to Curtis’s bike, or to our bodies. It was only God’s grace that kept us intact that morning. We were meant to finish out our ride after all.

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