Jul 14 2013

2013 STP in 1 Day


This was an event that I had been wanting to do for many years, ever since my first STP. So this year, I finally
decided to do it. Kary had planned everything out, with Gail and Kathryn providing support. Kary even had a customized spreadsheet to figure out the time points and you could enter various speeds. According to the spreadsheet, our projected end-time would be 7:15pm

We started at 4 – as in dark, cold, 4am. We started out this way to avoid burning the matches early. Riding in the dark with headlights slows you down. Naturally, Eric P. rode to the start getting in an extra 12miles. It was kind of neat riding in the dark with the group. I usually just ride solo in the dark on my commutes. Kary lead us all the way down to the first stop near REI; there were very few people there. I took off the Tyvek jacket that you always get for the STP. Kary and Gail brought some onigiri with umeboshi. This stuff is awesome! Food from my childhood and beyond.

We worked our way toward “the Hill” but not before our team hit a tack field. Some thoughtless person decided it would be fun to see cyclists fixing flats. Peng was in front of me and took two tacks. Chao and Kary both got one and Tom nearly got one. I swapped out Peng’s flat since I figured he took my tack. After 10 minutes fixing flats, we got back on course. As we hit the hill, I decided it wasn’t time to burn out so I kept it easy. Kary was at the top first, so in addition to being king of the mountain, he is king of the hill. We got there 15min ahead of schedule despite the flats! Kary picked up another tube, we got more food and we were back on the road. On the way to our next stop, some screeching noises came from Kary’s back wheel. We couldn’t figure out what it was – we thought it was just something that got stuck in the brake so we kept going. I had my own mechanicals; my front derailleur was still out of tune. I had to be very careful so it didn’t flip off the big ring and if it did, I switched gears to the small ring so it flipped back on. I learned this trick from Eddie. If you want to really learn how to ride your bike, ride with Eddie. Unfortunately, one time it flipped off the small ring and you can’t get away from that one – or at least I don’t know how other than to stop and put it back on.

McKenna: normally we take lunch on the two-day, but here it was just another stop. I made my pit stop – and here’s a hint for you if you’re a guy: sit down to take your bio-break. You get to sit on something else other than a saddle. Howard was saying his knee and ankle were hurting a little so he took some ibuprofen. As he was talking about it, my ankle and knee started to hurt too so I took some ibuprofen myself. I tried out one of the humbows that Tom brought. He got it from Duk Li in the ID – they have some good Chinese pastry. If you go there, try their iced tea too. We took our fifteen minute break with seconds to spare and got back on the road. Gail’s timer was relentless, but we were determined to be ahead of schedule.

Tenino: our plan was to stay on the road instead of taking the narrow bike trail and as we got near it, Peng missed a turn. We got back on the route, but then we got fouled up and missed the turn and ended up on the trail. Chao and I hung back a bit, but never too far from the pack. I’m glad there weren’t too many people on the narrow trail unlike the coming two-day riders. We made it out of the trail and hit the restrooms. We waited a few seconds as Eric finished talking about World Bike Relief to another rider. World Bike Relief is what we were riding for this year. Check it out and make a donation! We stopped at Tenino and got some food and ice cold water. Chao and I talked up QM4 – you might want to check it out. I saw Eric Y. sitting down on the ground. I could not do that! If I did, I would not be able to get up. Another hint for you – I took at least 3 Endurolytes every stop, used Nuun for every bottle, and I forced myself to try to finish a bottle just before each stop. No kochin for me!

Centralia: Philip was right behind me as we rolled in. Chao avoided the spray, but I told Philip to follow me through the spray. It felt great! We got our creamsicles – I had to eat mine during a bio-break (ok, don’t read this while you’re eating!) and we got back on the road. We missed a turn going to the Pepermill and Kary had to stop again for a flat. I told Eric P. that I didn’t need the extra miles. What I forgot to say was that I “dialed-in” my legs for only 200 miles. We got to the Peppermill and Kary swapped out his front wheel. At this point, I followed Chao’s old suggestion to take off my shoes. I knew from RAMROD and the High Pass Challenge that my feet start to hurt after about 100 miles and this was it. Craig decided to stop – he was battling gout and he’d done a century. Craig is pretty tough! After we took our break, we got back on the road, minus one of our lead cyclists. We were down to nine.

Vader: Getting to Vader, you have to go through a bit of a climb, but then you get to take a nice downhill. Part way through the downhill, I whizzed past Kary on the side of the road; it looked like he was adjusting his brake. Shortly after, we waited for him and we rode to a gas station where we met up with our support. It turned out that the bearings in Kary’s rear wheel were making those loud noises we heard before. Kary swapped out his rear wheel and used Peng’s spare wheel. I never thought we’d need a full wheel set, but it’s good we had one courtesy of Peng. We got back on the road and our group attacked the climb to Vader. The Vader stop that we use is a shady park spot. I took off my shoes again. There was some chip seal there – it was a great massage for my feet; it was also a very cool spot, out of the hot sun.

Longview: At the timer, I set out from Vader – the group started out a little slow so I was solo for a bit. The group caught up pretty quickly and we rode pretty much without incident to Longview. I again took off my shoes – very comfortable break for my feet. We got back on the road and hit the Longview bridge. Philip was leading and we got stuck behind this guy who was pretty slow going up the bridge. Normally there’s a dedicated lane across the bridge on Sunday, but for the one-day riders, you have to go up the narrow walkway – single file. A tandem and another rider passed early on taking a chance in the car lane. But we stayed behind the slow guy. It was torturous just sitting behind Philip who was sitting behind these two slow guys. It was also kind of scary going down the bridge too, but we had long since learned to space ourselves out on descents. Then we made our way into Longview where some event was happening and we had to stop a few times for people crossing the streets. We then made our way to the nice slightly downhill grade. You can pick up some pretty good speed in this area, cruising along at 20+. We then grinded our way up the slight grade leading to St. Helens.

St. Helens to the finish: I took the normal pit stop at St. Helens, taking my shoe break, and our support team got us some popsicles; pretty good, but a bit sugary for me. A few guys got some cokes from McDonald’s. Eric Y. had wanted coffee earlier but settled for a coke, and not just an ordinary coke, Eric Y. got a cherry coke. We set off for our final destination, but we ended up taking an unplanned break at Scappoose. I filled my water and Philip couldn’t resist laying down on the grass. A few minutes later, we started off – Chao and Tom set a blistering pace at 20; I tried to keep up and here’s where things get a bit foggy. I think they eventually slowed down and I took the lead. I kept up at 19, then dropped to 18, then 17 or so and then I rotated out. I ended up on the rear and started to run out of gas – I drifted back further and I just saw the team get smaller and smaller. I kept up at about 15 or so but all I can say is I was beat. I rode on for a while looking for a World Bike Relief jersey, but found none. Then I saw Eric P. on the side of the road waiting. He asked what happened and all I could say was I was getting tired. He pulled me along for a while and then as we got toward the climb up to St. Johns bridge he rode out of sight. I had to stop at the base of the bridge and eat something – I bonked pretty hard. Fortunately I had the umeboshi onigiri in my back pocket and my handy kochin bottle. I refueled and made my way across the bridge. I finally met up with the group and we made our way through some stop lights. At one, I managed to stuff a peanut butter sandwich in my mouth and grab a few more slugs from the kochin bottle; enough to get me through the bonk and across the finish line at about 6:45pm

Thanks to those who supported our team – rest stop supports, training, planning, and pre-ride carb load: Kary, Gail, Kathryn, Craig, and Eric P.!

PS – Eddie, William, and Doug did the one-day as well. You’ll have to ask them how it went, but I know they finished it!