Jul 22 2011

STP 2011 – Red Team Ride Report

Our ride started off almost like clockwork – people got their streamers and their much valued  wrist bands. We left at 6:20am and the remaining color teams left roughly on schedule with the yellow team rolling out at 6:40am. At Kent, we saw some of the teams start to come in and our team (red) took off again. The flourescent streamers really helped us stay together. Thanks to Dan for a brilliant and colorful idea!

The next stage finished off at the Puyallup hill. I teased Daniel H. that the hill was coming up when it was still about a half-mile off. My stoker and I started the climb – it was slow but steady and we managed to try to keep up with Daniel H., but he left us in the dust! I think he was a sandbagger all season or he had a lot of adrenaline, or he’s a young kid , or all of the above. Whatever the reason, he was the first IJM jersey to the top of “The Hill”.

At McKenna – I checked in with Jeff in the white pod. He said Eddie was going pretty fast at 20+. Kary (blue)rolled in and said, “We were looking for you!” Club Dred(pink) rolled in with some of club Dred on singles. Renee said keeping up was pretty hard! Someone else told me the green pod had stopped to fix a flat or two, including one external to team IJM. Mikkel (purple) had the same look that a dog has after it’s been chasing rabbits. If Mikkel had a tail, it would be wagging pretty happily. We just started seeing the
yellow team come in when it was time to roll.

We arrived at the Tenino stop only to find…no cars! We out rode our support! We waited 5-10minutes or so and our stokers, Karen and Frances started talking about Creamsicles then Daniel started talking about how it would be nice to have something cold. Doug agreed and so we rolled out of Tenino to Centralia.

Was it my imagination or did Daniel and Doug lead the pack going into Centralia? Frances said they did. We got our Creamsicles in Centralia and as we waited for the other teams, Daniel started on his second. He said I should get another, and I thought I’d hold off. But then I saw Doug going for his second…and it
looked so good, I had to get another. Now my daughter has a sweet tooth and when it comes to sweets and who eats what, she keeps an accurate count. I thought everyone had just two Creamsicles, but she later told me that Doug had three! I think that’s a record! I wonder how many Creamsicles they go through
in Centralia?

We regrouped at the Peppermill. What a pleasant surprise to see our luggage all decked out – a testimony to our excellent support crew. In addition, they had a self-serve sandwich station going. Support keeps raising the bar on every STP. The overnight at the Peppermill gave everyone a chance to catch up with the other groups and swap entertaining bike stories.

The second day was a little more challenging – half of the animal pack (the purple/orange/lime green team) did just the first day so I had Rocky go to the remaining animal team. We took on Aaron in place of Daniel.

Just before getting into Longview, we got swept up by the re-energized green group and club Dred. There was an entertaining dash as we headed toward Longview – I think we had three tandems going at it.

Going over the Longview bridge, the water bottle of the person next to me popped out and lodged under her front tire – she managed to keep upright, but a guy crashed into her from behind. It’s a good thing they were going slow and had not yet started the fast descent.

Coming out of Longview, I noticed Aaron was having a tough time. I finally stopped to examine his bike and found that his front brake was fully on – no wonder he was struggling! He had ridden over 130 miles with his brake full on! At one stop I got Aaron a candy bar. He gave it back to me at St. Helens saying I might be able to use it. Little did I know that I would.

Somehow, Doug missed St. Helens so we weren’t sure where he was. Leaving St. Helens, we passed the green team and caught up with club Dred at the Scapoose stop. I thought I could keep up with them since Renee was on a single and I thought Ed wouldn’t push on the gas. We stayed in a pace line for little while and then they just kept going faster. Soon, club Dred, Renee, Justin, Jon, Nicole and the others were way ahead of us. Renee had really improved since our first ride. It helps to be young!

As we hit a hill going into Portland my chain broke. Jon helped me get the chain back on, but after the top of the bridge, the chain seized again. I had to break it and put it on one more time. I had joined Victor’s club – it’s one club I really didn’t want to be in. Rolling the last few miles I was running
out of gas from fixing the chain and then I remembered Aaron’s candy bar – I made good use of it;
thanks Aaron! We finally met up with the main group at the Rose Garden and there was Doug! We rolled in to the finish at around 4pm – over 40 riders in a mass of blue IJM jerseys!