One day STP Trip Report

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides' started by cheg, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. cheg

    cheg Guest

    Yesterday I did my first Seattle to Portland double century. Along with a new
    friend met on the road, we completed the 206 mi. in 11:30 road time (17.9 avg.)
    and 2 hours of stops for a total clock average of 15.3 mph. Most of it was just
    the two of us trading off the lead but many thanks to the Cycle Tuesday experts
    for allowing us to trail behind their superb double paceline for a couple of 20
    mile stretches. We really appreciated the lift.

    My new friend Doug and I left about 45 min. before the official start time so
    there was a lot of open road for us. We joined up about 2.5 miles from the start
    and rode together pretty much the whole way to Portland. Riding together was
    really great because we each got to take breaks from the wind but it was casual
    enough you could drop back and look around or take a drink whenever when you
    wanted. The last 30 miles was a real grind but great satisfaction at the finish.

    Start to Kent: 24 mi.
    Beautiful dawn over Lake Washington. Very nice weather - no wind, temperature in
    the upper 60's. Opening day of fishing on Lake Washington so hundreds of people
    were lined up to launch their boats right on the STP route. We were glad to be
    through before the big crowd. Police directing traffic eased the way through
    Renton and into Kent to the (strangely) Mexican theme REI food stop - was it
    because of Pedro's products? Who knows. The strawberry smoothies were the
    highlight of the day for support food.

    Kent to Spanaway: 31 mi.
    Some road construction on West Valley but not too bad. May have caused some
    flats later on though. Lots of railroad tracks to cross. A significant hill
    between Puyallup and Spanaway, about 350 ft. in one mile. That is the one
    everyone talks about but it's really not that terrible if you include some hills
    in your training routes. The tough part is that you have to ride 40 miles to get
    there. Cascade says the total elevation gain on the STP is about 2000', but I
    think it is more like 4000'. Esimates vary.

    Spanaway to Centralia: 47 mi.
    We were overtaken by the Cycle Tuesdays paceline around McKenna and joined their
    entourage. They did not seem to mind the followers. Initially we were about 10
    or 15 riders back from the end of the paceline and there was a lot of accordion
    action and irregular braking going on so we passed ahead of the line and tucked
    in closer behind when they overtook us again. Traffic lights tend to break up
    the flow and it takes some time to get the line going again. Sometimes the
    lights chop the tail of followers off and it's next to impossible to rejoin
    unless the group stops. They got up to over 27 mph for some stretches but 23 was
    more typical. The paceline stopped at Tenino and Doug and I pushed on ahead of
    them after a short break. We reached the midpoint at about 10:00.

    Centralia to Lexington: 45 mi.
    Lots of rolling hills after Chehalis and a 200 ft. hill at Napavine. Lost an SPD
    cleat screw somewhere along there but was able to get a replacement from the
    mechanics at Castle Rock (thanks, guys). Classic sight at the Lexington stop -
    200 bikes piled on the ground and leaning against everything in site except the
    empty bike rack 10 feet from the food line.

    Lexington to St. Helens: 31 mi.
    We were overtaken by the Cycle Tuesdays again on the way into Kelso and stayed
    with them for about 20 miles until they stopped to fix a flat. Climbing the
    bridge over the Columbia river broke the line up for a while but it reformed
    within a few miles. The first time we were behind the paceline, I noticed that
    two riders who were not in the paceline were riding side by side at the back,
    apparently to keep strangers from getting into the circuit.100 miles later I
    got in that position on the left side of the line and got a good look at a
    double paceline at work. They were rotating clockwise with the faster line on
    the left and the slower line on the right. It seemed that the circulation was
    smooth and continuous, but the fast line leader had to have some way to know
    when the slow line leader was not overlapping and it was safe to cross over. I
    couldn't tell how from where I was. If you are in the position I was in you
    can't overlap the wheel of the last person on the right side of the line. That
    way they will always have space to switch over the the faster paceline when the
    time comes. It looks like a lot of fun to do if everyone knows what they are
    doing. I hope to try it sometime.
    We had a rain shower just after crossing the river which broke the heat some,
    but it was in the mid to high 80's and humid by the time we reached St. Helens.
    Lots of people were sticking their heads under the faucets at St. Helens.

    St. Helens to Portland: 28 mi.
    The last stretch seemed hard, long stretches with rolling hills and a short
    steep climb into the city of Portland. The finish was on the east side of the
    Willamette River in Portland so there was some urban cycling invloved in getting
    there. Again, we were happy to be there ahead of the 6000+ riders comming in on
    Sunday. The finish line could have been more practical. They were funneling
    everone into a very narrow corridor lined with spectators and a radio announcer
    was telling us all to slow down, slow down. It was not at all clear where to go
    after the gauntlet or where to park the bikes. I was thinking " these people
    just rode 200 miles, they don't want congratulations, THEY JUST WANT TO GET OFF
    THE BIKE." I hope that the layout was modified somewhat for Sunday. Otherwise,
    the ride was admirably well planned and supported, you couldn't ask for much
    better. Many thanks to Cascade Bicycle Club and all the other sponsors.
     
    Tags:


  2. "cheg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]_s04...

    > into Kent to the (strangely) Mexican theme REI food stop - was it
    > because of Pedro's products? Who knows.


    I thought the theme was South of the Border, ie, the Washington/Oregon
    border.

    > The strawberry smoothies were the
    > highlight of the day for support food.


    Yes indeed!

    > We reached the midpoint at about 10:00.


    Ooo doggies you are fast! Most of my one-day friends pulled in to Centralia
    at about 11:30. When I did my one-day two years ago, I pulled in around
    noon, about as late as you can get and still do a credible one-day ride.

    > I hope that the layout was modified somewhat for Sunday.


    No, it's even worse. You have zillions more riders arriving, zillions of
    their friends and family -- it's complete and total chaos.

    Congrats on your one-day STP! It's a real accomplishment.


    --
    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky
    Please replace earthlink for mouse-potato and .net for .com
    Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm
    See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/Cpetersky
     
  3. cheg

    cheg Guest

    "Claire Petersky" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:Hb1Lc.122541$%[email protected]_s01...
    > "cheg" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]_s04...
    >
    > > into Kent to the (strangely) Mexican theme REI food stop - was it
    > > because of Pedro's products? Who knows.

    >
    > I thought the theme was South of the Border, ie, the Washington/Oregon
    > border.
    >


    That makes sense. I couldn't fathom it at the time.

    >
    > > We reached the midpoint at about 10:00.

    >
    > Ooo doggies you are fast! Most of my one-day friends pulled in to Centralia
    > at about 11:30. When I did my one-day two years ago, I pulled in around
    > noon, about as late as you can get and still do a credible one-day ride.
    >


    Well, we cheated a bit by leaving at 0400, but a 6 hour century including stops
    is the best I've ever done by a wide margin. I was very lucky to find another
    rider with a compatible pace so early in the ride. At every stop one of us was
    saying "Are you ready to go, lets go..." Also, we had no flats or breakdowns,
    everything just worked for once.

    > > I hope that the layout was modified somewhat for Sunday.

    >
    > No, it's even worse. You have zillions more riders arriving, zillions of
    > their friends and family -- it's complete and total chaos.
    >


    I was afraid of that. I hope they rethink it for next year. Another problem at
    the finish on Saturday was that the trucks and buses were on the far side of an
    open street and people were directed to walk through the Doubletree parking lot
    to get there. That put them in the middle of the block so everyone was crossing
    against traffic as best they could. They should have the trucks closer, like
    between Lloyd Center Park and the Doubletree Inn if possible. At some point I
    guess they will move the finish line back to the St. John's Bridge but not until
    2006, I think. Next year it couild be improved.

    > Congrats on your one-day STP! It's a real accomplishment.


    Thanks. It was a really good and memorable experience. Many thanks to all who
    supported us.
     
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