Well folks, the big ride for 2014 has come and gone! Yesterday I completed the Seattle to Portland in one day. Officially it is 204 miles , but my odometer read a bit more 207.38
I’ve come to a decision though, this was my LAST STP…
There are many reason for this, so let’s talk about the ride for a bit, and I’ll explain as we go.
I was up and moving at 3 AM as planned. Sadly, though, due to a last minute run for AAA batteries for my lights so I didn’t crash the night before as early as I had hoped. I had the bike loaded, and breakfast done by 330, and poor Michelle up and ready to take me to the starting line.
I was taking off at 4 to try to avoid some of the heat. Seattle was forecast to hit 90 and there was a heat advisory issued. Please limit your outside activities. (yes I know we are wimps up here! (I can hear you think it Trish)) Worse yet, the maps showed it would be hotter as I went south.
Early on it was fun, Michelle loaded me up with healthy snacks for the ride
and I had two water bottles and a camelback full of water and gatorade. I was able to skip all the stops for the first 60 miles, I was feeling good, heat wasn’t bad and people were in good moods.
One group were riding antique fixed gear bikes and wearing sandals. Anytime someone would pass they would ring bells and squeeze the loud horns. I laughed, but real riders didn’t seem amused.
Another lady tried to find out the room and hotel of the air conditioner waiting for me in Portland, but somehow I thought telling here would make Michelle a bit cross.
The sights for the first leg just really ain’t that pretty. Its a lot of industrial areas and strip malls
Not to mention the Honeybucket storage lot. Yeah not that scenic.
At the halfway mark, Centralia, the heat started to rise. I went to grab food for the next leg and was given a turkey sandwich. Two pieces of white bread and one piece of deli meat… Really?? Good thing I was carrying my own food.
All this time my friend Liz and her hubby were leap frogging with me. They’d pass me like I was standing still (first time yelling “Move over old timer!”) and then suddenly I’d be ahead of them again. I think its because I seldom stop and when I do, its for a very short time. Grab food and go!
As I went south, it got hotter and hotter. One thermometer said 97!! I was constantly reloading all my water containers, and it is NOT inconceivable that I drank and sweated 3 gallons yesterday!
At one point I came upon Liz sitting in the shade Dry as a tater chip. I gave her my emergency water and a NUUN tablet for electrolytes and went in search of her hubby. (He was ahead and didn’t realize she’d stopped (Never leave your wingman! Have we learned nothing from Top Gun?) I found him waiting 2 miles down the road and filled him in.
As I was going along I came realized I really wasn’t enjoying myself. I know part was due to the heat, but part was the route was boring! There is very little to see. I am used to the rides I’ve done the last few years
These had things to see, or a view at the end, and beauty along the way. This ride took me through redneckville IISA, including one guy with a flashing lit sign “BE QUIET! NO TALKING” To which I yelled loudly “Why are we being quiet!”
Then the last 50+ very hot miles is along Hwy 30 in Oregon, breathing exhaust the entire way. Gotta admit it was kinda depressing (and yes I know part was the heat).
In all honestly, with 25 miles left I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Sun was blazing down, people were bitchy, people were dropping from the heat and I was in a bad mood. At a time like that I broke out my 80s work out mix! Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Joan Jett, got me through the next hour. With 10 miles left, I knew I’d make it and the spirits rose!
I finished 16 hours and 15 minutes after I started. Flat exhausted! I got my one day rider patch and t-shirt, and headed for the hotel. Michelle said I faded fast as I ate pasta and drank a beer, and was asleep probably before I crawled in bed. (Liz and company finsihed as well! Damn proud of her!)
The STP is almost a rite of passage for a Northwest Cyclist, and a one day trip at 200+ miles is on many a bucket list. But folks, I’ve been there, done it AND bought the tshirt (twice!!)
and I no longer have anything to prove to myself. That was my last STP! Time for a new and more fun challenge.
But I made it!!!