WHAT? Well, I would have said it's that ride Dad's done the past 11 years . . . a whole slew of biking maniacs streaming through town over a weekend in July . . . but this year we were two of the crazies!
WHERE? Seattle, Washington, to Portland, Oregon - 202.2 miles. That was the goal anyway.
WHY? Dad's always wanted us to. And for ten years we've been saying, "Someday . . . " Besides, you guys wouldn't let us get texting until Dad worked out a deal that we do STP with him this year.
WHEN? All in one day - for us, but most people (or lots of them) break it in half and finish on Sunday.
So WHY NOT? Well, when Daddy first biked it he had to get back to give a talk on Sunday - and if you've done it in one day once - (shrug)? Besides who really wants to get back on their bikeseat for another hundred miles if you've already hammered out a hundred miles the day before?
HOW? Well, one of us trained through the winter in the garage with our bike up on the trainer. It's like riding up hill for half an hour straight. And not very interesting scenery. Then the Astoria ride and shorter rides. Running with track. And Dad made us go on several hill rides in Utah. But we didn't do enough . . .
BEST PART? Starting out in the morning - 5 a.m. - all 10,000 of us -
SIZE OF A SMALL TOWN? Yeah. It was great. We're all in a group together and in the crowd I got separated from Eldest and when the sun was coming up over Lake Washington I was wishing I could share it with her but then this lady behind me went - "Wow! Will you look at that sun! It's a DAZZLER!"
BEST PART? All the people there starting out - everyone talking about bikes, gears clicking, bikes jingling. I felt part of something.
FUNNY PARTS? MEMORABLE? I don't know . . . not really funny but it made me laugh during the ride to see this one group of guys that were all dressed in green - green flip-flops, green shorts, green shirts, green helmets - and they were riding these green bikes - the old doggy-paddle upright type? with fat tires? - No gears and flip-flops - on the STP! And all in green!
* And there was this one guy who turned really quick and started to fall but caught himself - after that he'd pass me, I'd pass him and then he rode right behind me for like 13 miles and never said anything at all the whole time. Funny- awkward, you know?
* At 87 miles, I passed my record of the most miles I'd ever done in a day - there was a whole group of guys in Army tees. I was pretty exhausted. Each one passing me would say, "Good job!" or "You can do it!" That really helped.
* When Dad said to go ahead without him and Mid, it was really hard to bike by myself. Hard to keep up the pace. I had to find people that were going the speed I wanted - 17 mph. Then I'd pretend like they were my uncles because then I wouldn't feel so weird following them so close. Usually I wouldn't have left Dad. But it was okay - there were so many people and everyone so concentrated on the biking.
There was a scary part - after 25 miles Mid was right behind me on this rough road. You know when there are two layers of pavement? and the top layer has worn through? so there are these long ruts worn through and if you got caught in one you just had to ride in it until you could ease yourself out? . . . Well, at that point I was really confident: "I'm a good rider. And all around me are all these good riders." Then a couple of guys ahead of me got his tire caught in the rut and his bike flipped over. And the guy in front of me had to slam his breaks and swerve out around. And I had to swing out to miss him and Mid had to swerve around me and almost hit me. After that I wasn't so confident. So easy for anyone to fall - really badly.
* And there was that place on the trail where the photographers were. And right in front of the photographers this one guy's bike suddenly went up in the air. Well, not that his bike actually just levitated, but suddenly all I saw was his tires - which you don't usually see just hanging in the air.
ANYTHING ELSE? Bit by a porta-potty. . . . but I don't want to talk about it.
I have something I want to say about the STP -OKAY? The motel was pretty fun even if there wasn't a swimming pool and driving along seeing the bikers - that was fun. And waiting in the parks.
So, DID IT HELP TO HAVE US WAITING AT THE STOPS? Yeah, because I knew if I absolutely needed to, I could quit.
But it was also kind of long. Like boring.
It was nice to see familiar faces. And since I got there before Mid and Dad I wouldn't have known where to go or what to do until they came.
HOW WAS THE FOOD? Great! I love Cliff bars. And they had Odwalla juice and fruit - that was good.
Good. The chocolate milk they passed out at the 100-mile mark in Chehalis was fantastic!
I thought it was stinky that they made us pay for the food if we weren't riders.
But the chocolate milk was good and they gave me some even though. But didn't we used to go to Ivar's the night before and have salmon? Why don't we do that any more?
WORST PART? Deciding to go on at the 100 mile mark. I was so tired but I knew I could go at least a little further - 129.3 miles got me to Vader. That was all I could do.
WORST PART? At the 50 mile mark - I was following a group and we were going 20 mph but then they picked up the pace to 22 mph. It was just too fast for me and I fell behind and I was so SO tired.
HOW ABLE TO KEEP GOING? I was already over that big hill when Dad caught up and said Mid had dropped out. So I just kept going until I was exhausted -
and then I kept going - had to at least get to Oregon. 157 miles, just over the bridge from Kelso, Washington, outside of Rainier, Oregon.
So I guess I did the SToRB - Seattle to over-the-Rainier-Bridge.WHAT DO DIFFERENTLY? Train more. Drink more water. Do more hill rides. Eat better - I didn't finish brekkers because the yogurt was warm.
And I did the STV - Seattle to Vader.
I'd start earlier, too - get out there at 4:30 when the ride first opens.
NEXT YEAR? Yeah, probably. Gotta beat it.
Mmm . . . I'm thinking about it.