2003 STP (Comments on the ride)



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William Higley

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2003 STP

DAY 1 (108 miles)

It was an interesting experience in many ways.

I started the event on a good solid 3.5 hours sleep the night before the ride began. My wife and I
suddenly realize that she has a 7:00 meeting she needs to attend. (Rush like mad, OOPS leave my
cycling sandals and wallet at my desk)

I arrive at the start line and realize I don't have my sandals. At least my pedals allow me to clip
in or use as a platform. My wife says she will bring the rest of my gear when we hook up that night.

The skies are clear, the weather warm, it looks to be a fabulous ride. I have an opportunity to chat
with several of the 7000+ riders that are out this weekend. I made one brief stop at the REI
foodstop (24 miles out) and had some juice. My next stop was for lunch at the 54-mile mark. The
weather was holding, I was feeling good, it was a dream come true.

I was continuing on after lunch at a fair clip and just enjoying the ride. About 10 miles after
lunch I was thinking that I seemed to be slowing up a little. Not to noticeable, maybe the effects
of the 3.5 hours sleep the night before. I finally get to a point where I am climbing a hill in my
lowest gear and I can barely make it. I decide to pull over and check my bike. The rear tire is
almost flat. OK, I change the tire struggle with the pump and get ready to go. By this time though,
I pretty much feel like a spawned out salmon that hasn't had the decency to die yet.

After a few miles I seem to have recovered and am once again doing fairly well. I start to think
that I will get back on track. Then it starts all over. I experience a gradual decline in speed and
pulling power. It doesn't take me near as long this time to figure it all out. I pull over and now I
have a front tire that is flat. OK this will only take a few minutes and I will be back at it. I
pull the tire, change out the tube and wonder why I have several inches of innertube still poking
out. I check the box and my new tube and they say the same thing. I review the size of my wheel and
the old innertube and they all agree. I don't know why but the tube will not fit. So I grab my patch
kit and proceed to patch the tire. I get it patched up, put back together and now I am struggling
with the pump. I can't seem to get the tire properly inflated. Well its close so off I go.

A few miles later I am loosing speed and check the tire and it is getting lower. I figure I will
make it to the next rest area. There I get the tire pumped up and decide to see how it goes. While
there I talk with a couple of people that are telling me that some vandal had spread tacks along a
portion of the ride (in the Town of Roy). I had noticed a lot more people with flats than ever
before. It seems that there may be truth to this. (By the end of the ride I have talked with about
another 20 people about this and I am hearing the same thing.)

By this time the day is running late and I haven't heard from my wife. Well she finally pages me,
but the number is one digit short on the prefix. I finally call home and leave a message. I then
call my answering service so I can get the prefix of my cellular (yes I do use it twice a year). I
finally track down my wife and she has been delayed in traffic. A gasoline tanker has crashed,
exploded and has traffic backed up for 2 hours. She is running late.

I tell her to meet me in Chehalis. I am still struggling with the front tire and will stop about 13
miles short of my goal. I made 108 miles the first day and am pooped.

We head back to our motel and then out to dinner. A Grande Margarita and some excellent Mexican food
have made the day look a little better. Back to the hotel, tear the tire apart, do a proper job on
the patch, reassemble, test tire it's holding, consume large cheap beer and go to bed. It's now
11:30 pm and I am getting up at 5:00 am.

DAY 2 (97 miles)

The day begins with overcast skies and a black ominous looking cloudbank in the direction we are
heading. Drive through a pouring rain on our way to my departure point. The clouds lighten, I see
small patches of blue sky, my heart is soaring once again.

We reach my point of departure. The skies are now gray again and threatening rain. I run through a
little drizzle hear and there for the next 30 miles. For the second day I have hooked up with a guy
riding a Typhoon. A nice looking bike and he was making it look easy. He had been riding recumbents
for 2 weeks and doing a darn good job. I have had a chance to pass and be passed by uprights and
recumbents. On some of the hills I am passing a fair number of uprights and recumbents. On other
hills "I am the weakest link."

About 7 miles from the next foodstop the rain just pours. It's too warm to wear rain gear and I
didn't bring it anyway. I squish into the next food stop thankful that I had put on my sunscreen
that morning. I noticed that I had gone nearly 40 miles since getting on the bike this morning and I
am still feeling good. When things are going well I don't have the need to get off my bike all that
often. In past years I was stopping every 10 to 20 miles. Now I find that I can go 20 to 40 miles
before I feel a need to stop.

I am now on my way to Longview and the bridge crossing over the Columbia River. They hold up the
riders for a while and then send them across about 500 at a pop. They shut down traffic in one
direction so we can make a safe passage. Every time I make this crossing I am reminded about the
saying on dog sled teams "except for the lead dog the scenery never changes". Pedaling along with
500 other people you can appreciate this. I only wish that people would realize that if your spandex
starts to look like fishnet stockings perhaps it is time to go to a more ample fit.

I'm in Oregon and cruising. I hook up with the guy on the Typhoon (He works for REI, heck of a nice
guy (I'm lousy with names), and sets a mean pace. I tag along with him until we get to St Helens.
Except for the lights we are stopping at, we are usually cruising at 18 or 19 mph. In the right
places we can hold 21-22 for a while. At one point, as I was catching up with him, I had my bike up
to 45 on a good downhill. We stopped at St Helens for a break. It amazes me how much I crave
watermelon at this point in the ride.

I finally decided to get going. I still had 30 miles to go. The weather had finally cleared and it
was getting fairly warm. My sunscreen had all washed away and I didn't want to add sunburn to my
already long list of woes. I started out rather slowly but as the miles rolled by I could feel that
one last burst of energy coming on. The roads were mostly flat so I was cruising again. I did pretty
well until the last few miles in Portland. Traffic lights, traffic, pedestrians, and the whole fun
of having the ride end in the middle of a fairly large city.

I pulled into the park, which was lined with hundreds of cheering people. I got off my bike and was
tired but nothing hurt. In spite of all the tribulations it was a good ride.

I was talking to another recumbent rider at the park while I was standing there with my wife. I
winked at him and told him of the several young ladies I went by in town that commented to their
partners "I want one of those". As much as I tried to convince myself it was me that they were
coveting I think it was the bike. Although pudgy guys in their early 50's with a bad heart are quite
in demand :)

Sorry about the length of the post but I just wanted to share a glorious ride and see if there are
any comments from any of the other bent riders I saw and talked to.

William L. Higley, Sr. Vision R-50
 
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Tom Sherman

Guest
"William Higley, Sr." wrote:
> ... For the second day I have hooked up with a guy riding a Typhoon....

Challenge Taifun?

> I am now on my way to Longview and the bridge crossing over the Columbia River. They hold up the
> riders for a while and then send them across about 500 at a pop. They shut down traffic in one
> direction so we can make a safe passage. Every time I make this crossing I am reminded about the
> saying on dog sled teams "except for the lead dog the scenery never changes". Pedaling along with
> 500 other people you can appreciate this. I only wish that people would realize that if your
> spandex starts to look like fishnet stockings perhaps it is time to go to a more ample fit....

The trick is to get behind the better looking scenery. ;)

Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
 
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Jeff Wills

Guest
"William Higley, Sr." <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> 2003 STP
>
> DAY 1 (108 miles)
>
<snip>
>
> DAY 2 (97 miles)
>
<snip>

Bill:

Our experience was very similar- except without the flats, missed connections, lack of sleep, and
sunburn. My wife and I did STP for the first time- 128 miles the first day, ate and sacked out in
Vader, and 78 miles the second day. We had a wonderful time.

Jeff WIlls
 
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Jeff Wills

Guest
Tom Sherman <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>... <snip>
I only wish that people
> > would realize that if your spandex starts to look like fishnet stockings perhaps it is time to
> > go to a more ample fit....
>
> The trick is to get behind the better looking scenery. ;)
>

No joke. I was riding with my wife, who drafted me the entire 206 miles. We met an old friend of
mine while riding (hadn't seen him in ten years) who was riding with his wife and her two
girlfriends. *sigh*

I found out today that two of the OHPV streamliner gang did STP in their Varna clones. I don't think
they had time to admire any "scenery". I expect to have a ride report after tonight.

Jeff
 
R

Road Wearier

Guest
"William Higley, Sr." <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

> 2003 STP I was talking to another recumbent rider at the park while I was standing there with my
> wife. I winked at him and told him of the several young ladies I went by in town that commented to
> their partners "I want one of those". As much as I tried to convince myself it was me that they
> were coveting I think it was the bike. Although pudgy guys in their early 50's with a bad heart
> are quite in demand :)
>
> Sorry about the length of the post but I just wanted to share a glorious ride and see if there are
> any comments from any of the other bent riders I saw and talked to.
>
> William L. Higley, Sr. Vision R-50
>
>

I foolishly did the STP on a mountain bike a few years ago. One hand was numb for a month after. I
learned my lesson and bought a road bike the week after. I decided to switch to a 'bent this year
after 3 days of agony on a 5 day ride last summer. One other thing I learned from the STP ride was
that there are two kinds of bikes I can't match for speed - tandems and recumbents.

Good for you just for doing the ride. I am also over 50 and pudgy but I can still ride most younger
folk into the ground. I get a real kick out of passing people in their 20's and 30's. I had one guy
get off his bike and start checking for mechanical problems after I blew by him.
 
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William Higley

Guest
I suffered through an assortment of pains the last few years on my uprights. This year I have
photographic proof I was happier.

The past few years all the photos of my rides showed a face that looked like I had just sat on a
squid jig (trust me that would be painful.)

This year was much different. In about half of them I went by the camera with a big grin and a
thumbs up sign. In the rest I just looked contented and relaxed. The "miles of smiles" is true. I
have another big ride coming up in two weeks. The RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party) is
186 miles of fun in the North West.

If anyone else is doing the ride let me know and I will keep an eye out for you. My bib number for
the RSVP ride is 506. I'll be the pudgy guy on the red Vision R-50.

William Higley, Sr. Vision R-50 "road wearier" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "William Higley, Sr." <[email protected]> wrote in
> news:[email protected]:
>
> > 2003 STP I was talking to another recumbent rider at the park while I was standing there with my
> > wife. I winked at him and told him of the several young ladies I went by in town that commented
> > to their partners "I want one of those". As much as I tried to convince myself it was me that
> > they were coveting I think it was the bike. Although pudgy guys in their early 50's with a bad
> > heart are quite in demand :)
> >
> > Sorry about the length of the post but I just wanted to share a glorious ride and see if there
> > are any comments from any of the other bent riders I saw and talked to.
> >
> > William L. Higley, Sr. Vision R-50
> >
> >
>
> I foolishly did the STP on a mountain bike a few years ago. One hand was numb for a month after. I
> learned my lesson and bought a road bike the week after. I decided to switch to a 'bent this year
> after 3 days of agony on a 5 day ride last summer. One other thing I learned from the STP ride was
> that there are two kinds of bikes I can't match for speed - tandems and recumbents.
>
> Good for you just for doing the ride. I am also over 50 and pudgy but I can still ride most
> younger folk into the ground. I get a real kick out of passing people in their 20's and 30's. I
> had one guy get off his bike and start checking for mechanical problems after I blew by him.
 
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