Sunday, July 15, 2007

The 2007 STP - Two Hundred and Ten Miles in One Day

At 4:45 the one-day STP (about 2,000 riders I'm told) rolled out to cheers, and with the sun not even up yet we headed off. One woman fell in the first few feet of the ride, that had to be a hard start to the day! I hope she made it..

It was weird looking at my cyclo-computer and knowing that the 0.01 miles it read would eventually read 200-something later that day.. I still think the hardest part of a double-century is the mental side, although the physical toll can't be discounted.

Once we got onto open road the pace lines were plenty to choose from. We ended up on a 50+ person-paceline that was going a good 22-24 mph, and then jumped onto a 25-27 mph paceline and stuck with that for at least 20 miles. Thanks to everyone that pulled me for so long! Sure, I took some pulls at the front of a few of the lines, but some of them are so long and unorganized that you can sit on the back forever.

We finished the first half of the ride by 10:45 A.M., rolling into the half-way festival at the Centralia Community College. Our average speed at this point is still 20+ mph, which is way faster than my usual, but with so many pacelines to choose from it's not too hard to keep your speed up.

After a huge plate of spaghetti and some more sun-block and we were off once again at 11:30 or so. After Centralia is where you start hitting the really tiny/wacky towns that dot the route. Winlock has the World's Largest Egg which sits proudly on their 'main' street. (From my quick searching it looks like there's some dispute as to who's got the biggest egg, but their egg is just about all Winlock's got going for it!)

I love the interesting town-names that dot Washington and Oregon! Tenino, Bucoda, Yelm, Vader, Puyallup, Goble - too bad some of the towns' names don't match their atmosphere!

At mile 150 we took another break, and at this point were starting to get a sense of just how hard it is to do a double-century. It was about 3:00 P.M. and we were definitely slowing down. Dousing my head with cold water of course helped, but at some point I can only eat so many Odwalla Bars, and I can only drink so much Propel. I'm human god-dammit! I should start eating more food made for humans; I'm not an robotic athelete who's sole purpose in life is to consume energy gels and eat odd-tasting 'energy bars.' Luckily the organizers of the STP always have bananas and bagels at the rest stops, guess I'm not the only human in the pack! But at some point even real food doesn't seem to give me a boost. If only I could've had some Phad Kee Mao! Now that would've helped..

The organizers of the ride (Cascade.org) do a great job with the route, taking you on some of the most scenic country roads of Washington State, and showing you some of the most quirky towns along the way. But once in Oregon they decide to throw you on a four-lane highway (Highway 30) for the last 50 miles of the ride! The last 30 miles of hwy 30 are nasty strip-malls and cars pulling in and out of them.

Maybe they're trying to make us hate Oregon? That would make sense because Highway 30 has nothing but fast-moving traffic and worthless towns that weren't even towns. I suppose this is the 'quickest' way to Portland, but can't they tack on 10 or 20 miles somewhere and put us back on country roads? Sure, it's better than the interstate but it stands in stark contrast to the rest of the ride.

So I was beat at the end, and was glad it was over fore sure. But it felt great to accomplish a new milestone, a double-century! Next year I'll try to see just how fast I can do it!

Total Distance: 210 miles (4 miles from my house to the start)
Total Elapsed Time: 14.5 hours
Total Saddle Time: 10.5 hours
Overall Average Speed: 19.1 mph
Flats: 1
Roadkill seen: 7+ (including two birds stuffed in a drain in Portland, go figure)
Mountains seen in the distance: 3 (Rainer, St. Helens, Hood)
Energy left at the end of the ride: zero

Update: got some pics of me during the STP - see here.

6 comments:

riddenwords said...

Congrats on the ride. Sounds like it went super for you - except for the flat but that's better than a broken spoke.

Heck of an average speed as well. How big was your group? I think it's easiest with 6-8 to roll down there.

matt said...

Dennis and I were hopping on all kinds of random pacelines, and sometimes riding by ourselves.

Some of the pacelines were 60+ riders long (!), while others were maybe just four or five people.

I'd like to have a dedicated group of 6-8 to stick with, that way we wouldn't have to rely on other pacelines to get our speed up.

zappoman said...

Sounds like you had a great ride. I love a good pace line!

Ner-mer-verk said...

Congrats on your double century. I found your blog searching for Seattle area cycling blogs.

Give up on the Propel and Odwalla bar diet and try something better on your rides. I've personally had good luck with Hammer Nutrition products on double centuries I rode last year in CA. I did the Devil Mountain Double (http://www.caltriplecrown.com/schedule.htm#devilmountain) on Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, HEED, and Enduralytes. I didn't touch any solid foods during the ride and finished very strong.

No pacelines on the Devil Mountain Double though. too hilly.

GRAHAM said...

I'm not an robotic athelete...yes, in fact, you are a robotic athelete.

GRAHAM said...

Hey, is there anyway that you could put together a roadkill pie-chart?