oregon adventures

Monday, July 17, 2006

Seattle To Portland Bike Ride


Imagine a beautiful blue sky weekend of riding along on your bike with literally 1000's of other riders in the company of good friends and a support van along the way to augment the food stops every 20 miles or so. I've done the 204 mile Seattle to Portland (STP) bike ride three years now and had a good time- but this year was great! It started Friday when I met Frank S and his wife and sister Terry, Kriss, and Kevin at the base where we left our cars and piled into Frank's van with all our bikes on top and drove up to Seattle. Met up at an Italian restaurant with Steve K and his wife and Ray who were riding it in one day. Took up a whole corner of the small place near the University of Washington that had fantastic food (I had salmon and pasta)and really pretty waitresses. Stayed the night at the University towers hotel where they had a guarded bike corral in the conference rooms. The next morning we rode less than two miles to the start line while Frank's wife took our baggage to the midpoint. Started in the last group to leave and it was still huge with a couple hundred riders- slow and crowded at first, but we slowly moved apart as people settled into their own riding speeds. One of the prettiest parts of the ride is in the beginning as we ride around lake Washington with the mansions on one side and a park and the lake on the other. Passed a triathlon clinic going on along the lake. Frank's sister Terry is a slower rider than the rest, so Kriss, Kevin and I would ride together then wait at the food stops to regroup. At one point Kevin sprinted on so Kriss and I were cruising along at about 21 and passed some young guys who when they saw her pass said "I thought we were going fast!" Kriss and I ran the Hood to Coast (170 mile relay run with 10 member teams) together on the base team in 2004 and in between runs would talk about hiking and running and dogs, etc. So we rode along talking about hiking, biking (she started riding this year), family, etc. Her and her husband are climbing St Helens in August. I mooed at the cows and when I neighed at the horses Kriss said that that horse should be put down, she used to ride horses as a kid. I have to work on my neighs, the horses never even look up when I do. The cows almost always look now. The first day Frank and family, Terry and her family and Kriss stayed at the campground in Centralia at the 100 mile mark. Kevin and I rode on to Chehalis to St john's Lutheran church where they have a gym in the basement with a kitchen and showers. They give you all you can eat spaghetti at night and all you can eat breakfast in the morning and floor space for $40. The Centralia campground is free, but Frank said he'll look into the church next year because it was too crowded and noisy. He rode it in one day last year and Steve K and Ray called him Saturday night and they made the 204 miles averaging just under 19 making only 4 stops. I averaged 15.8 over 108.7 miles and that includes walking though the food stops and all the stop lights. Oh yeah, there are 9000 riders who do STP, so when you stop at a light there's usually at least 30-40 people with you and when we all start up when it's green and click in- it's amazing- it sounds like a machine gun going off. The next morning up and ready to ride, we were the last one's to leave the church at 6:30. We had agreed to meet at Winlock the first food stop. We had gotten so many comments on our Oregon Air Guard jersey's that I washed mine out and wore it again on Sunday. Frank had them made for the bike riders on base. Right after Frank and Kriss and Terry arrived at Winlock a guy came over saw the jerseys and said he worked on the base too- small world. Terry told Frank she was fine on her own, so Frank, Kriss, Kevin, and I did a pace line with speeds of around 20.5- to 25 on flats. Frank would time us and yell "breakout" every 2 minutes and we were having a great time when we came up on an accident where someone had touched wheels and gone down and he was having trouble breathing. The last two years I've done STP, I didn't see any accidents, but this year we passed two down riders and saw one happen. That spooked us, so we went to a relaxed pace line with about 4-5 feet separation. Frank's wife was driving support this day and she was by the road at just the right time for a drink break with Gatorade and water refills and snacks. I'd never had a support van before, it was great she even picked up a Diet Pepsi for me at one of her stops. Usually the second day starts to drag, but this time the miles melted by as we took turns leading and Steve K met us at the town of St Helens where he lives and rode with us for 6 miles in his Air Guard jersey. About 4 miles from the end we were zooming along and Frank was leading and said "on your left" to a guy and he moved over and kept moving like he was going to go into a gas station, but the curb had a lip and he hit that and went down and his face slid on the cement. We turned around and went back and some people had phones out and called 9-11. He was pretty bloody, but said "I'm a marathoner, I'm ok, I want to finish and get the patch." Then to the finish line with a line of cheering people and they gave us a patch and bottle of water. Loaded up and back to the base to the cars. 98.1 miles at a 16.3 average for the second day. Luckily I had today off, because I'm tired! Next is Michigan for a family reunion, then the Mid-summer sprint tri and then maybe the Garlic festival 10K or a mooing contest in Southern Oregon, then the Apple Capital olympic tri. After that- no concrete plans yet.

3 Comments:

  • Sounds like a lot of fun & with all the future races you have coming up.... not sure if you need any other concrete plans! ;)

    By Blogger Deb, at 6:08 PM  

  • welcome back jeffers!!!!!!

    a mooing contest, for real? :)

    By Blogger neese, at 11:51 AM  

  • Very cool design! Useful information. Go on! film editing classes

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:46 PM  

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