James, you doing this? Anyone else interested? I am heading out on July 1 from Indianapolis with my girlfriend to get started out west. We are planning on taking our time out there, probably planting our cars in Portland and finding a way up to Seattle for this weekend, where we will then ride back down and take part in the event. The lady will be on her bike. Hope the weather agrees, because I'd much prefer to pump rather than push.
James, I know you've done this a few times now. Got any advice before we rip it up?
Hey Jeff, that's cool! -- did you manage to get tickets? I was planning to do this but I spaced on the registrations before they were gone. I didn't figure on an April sell-out.
This would have been my 5th year in a row on this ride so I am still hoping to get a registration somehow. Not that I haven't thought of just being a "pirate", but I've really been trying to stay legit on this ride and skate it as a registered rider, especially since we pretty much stand out from the 9,999 bikers. There's kind of a bad juju associated with the pirates, as you can see from the Cascade thread: http://cascade.org/Community/foru...ew.cfm?catid=5&threadid=16449
Btw, I've always blown through the midpoint Centralia stop between 3--5 pm, to make it to Castle Rock before sundown, something like 137 miles on the first day. Sometimes it's tough to make it a short stop in Centralia because everyone is already partying there, but I like to save it for a longer Finish line beer fest down in Portland the next day. The 2nd day is not nearly as smooth or scenic, so I've always liked cracking out most the miles on day one.
I feel ya. No, I had no idea the registration was gonna be that type of process. Man, I hope I can find a way to make it happen. Don't like bad juju. If we can find a way to all make it out there, I'll probably hope to make it as far as you're going on day 1. I imagine it'll be quite tough but I can manage, but that's definitely a super long ride and way longer than anything I've tried before...If that doesn't work I'll have to find something else to fill its void. I was getting myself excited.
No prob, I PM'd you with some info on how to possibly still obtain late tickets, it's a long shot but it's what I'm going to try next month.
I would highly suggest you try finding a place you can skate overnight and do an Ultraskate along "with" us June 25th. Nothing like warming up for a 200+ mile ride than by putting in 100+ miles on some of the weekends leading up.
Well Jeff, I know a lot's changed since last time you updated here, hopefully this will work out in some future year!
I was sweating bullets about missing the registration until just a couple weeks ago, then NEW BELGIUM pulled through for me again this year -- thank you Jason and Steve for securing a spot!! I'll be wearing the FAT TIRE jersey next weekend and proudly condoning the ingestion of said brew at the mid-point stop, and the finish line
Congrats, James, on another STP. Youre an animal! Let us know how it went. _________________ Subsonic Pulse V2 - IndeeSZ 139mm - BigZigs
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A few days after STP number five, I'm finally settled enough to post an update. As tradition goes I usually jump right back into work Monday and these days work has been more chaotic than usual. Facebook was really easy to toss up photos without using a server and babble a little in my cracks of free time, so I'll start there and elaborate with a few other memories along the ride.
There's a steady stream of euphoria from each of these rides that can't be adequately explained in words online. It's almost like explaining the "how to" or stoke of pumping. There is such an amazing amount of support from the bikers on these, as you're being steadily passed by them over the two days, they talk and comment and ask you the same questions, but mainly you just feed off the energy of 10,000 bikes slowly passing and interacting. There's never a dull moment, the ride is very social since you're usually going a wee bit slower than the rest, and you're balancing the chats and quick back and forth responses with dodging the road kill, potholes, gravel, corrugated asphalt patches and other little curveballs that come your way throughout the day. It really helped that the weather was absolutely perfect this year -- I've done this ride in 100+ degree sun and also in the rain, and find 60-70 degrees and overcast the perfect match. I think that's why so many bikers come from all around the country let alone the world for this Northwest ride.
The total distance is somewhere around 203 miles, seems like bikers blog all variances of mileage, maybe because they base it off their detours to where they stay at night, and keep their GPS on while they waddle back and forth to restrooms, I'm not sure. Even Cascade.org publishes both 204 miles in one place and 202 miles in another. Whatever the case, I was 23 hours on the road, 15.5 Saturday, 7.5 Sunday. Roughly 137 miles the first day to Castle Rock high school, and 67 miles into Portland the next day. I find it best to stay GPS- and map-free and just go with the flow, checking the clock now and then but not thinking about miles.
"Almost there!" was one comment that really cracked me up this year, and I find it usually starts coming around the last 10-15 miles of the ride just before Portland. I usually just smile, this time when people engaged me with that encouragement I would say "Let's chat again at THREE miles from the finish line!" -- they seemed to understand or appreciate our difference in pace. More bikers also seemed to empathize with my plugging across the chipsealed surface, maybe because my bearings were also in pretty bad shape so the board was rattling a little more than usual. The Fat Tire guys on their retro Schwinns had it best, with the big plush fatties cruising over that crappy surface. I always go through this mental equation of whether it would make sense to use a setup with really big wheels and push most instead of pump, but the topmount LDP really pays off on the flats and for me, at speed, since some of the hills get up to nearly 40 mph and I just feel more stable on a topmount at speed. My tuck, and flipping between tucking and airbraking has improved, to where I could even catch up to bikes that were coasting the hills.
Subsonic Scotty and family was there to greet at the finish line again. I was so stoked to spend some time chatting with him -- Scott was big on bikes as a kid and was thinking about biking STP next year with his son Gavin. We also chatted with the guy who invented the ElliptiGO (elliptical bicycle) who also rode this STP on this thing. It looked amazingly efficient and impact-free. The MSRP is still quite high at $2200, but that's often the price you pay for a finished, polished innovation, until the knock-offs hit the market.
I still packed too much food, thinking I need to be completely self-sufficient when I really should just eat more of the stuff Cascade provides, and pick up more food from mini-marts along the way, which I end up doing anyway just because the snack bars I brought lose their appeal. At the 100-mile Centralia point, Darigold girls were handing out creamsicles and a new 25g protein enhanced lactose free chocolate milk that hasn't yet hit the market, but man was it just the right thing. I have not yet found a protein powder or bar that doesn't hit my digestive system hard (Muscle Milk was very disappointing) but chocolate milk has been a consistently good thing. I went for a lot more "real" food on the ride this time, carried some gels and protein bars but just couldn't stand to eat them. However the NUUN electrolyte boosts made a huge difference, when I was feeling a bit weary I could take a couple gulps and almost instantly feel the stuff tingling through my veins.
The Fat Tire guys were a total riot, they kept a similar pace with me throughout the day, so we kept crossing over each other's paths. I finally took them up on their kind offer for food support at Spanaway and spent a few minutes at their stop, skipping the official STP stop for the first time. They offered again at a couple other towns but as much as I wanted to, the breaks I take are pretty function-focused and I try to maintain pace. It's so easy to stop too often or for too long, as I do recall coming into the end point one year in the dark! In any case I'm extremely grateful to New Belgium for sponsorship (Jason and Steve Wood, thanks again) because this ride might not have happened had it not been for them. The Fat Tire crew was a great mental boost for everyone on that ride, on those big classic cruisers. I only hope I can connect with some of them again because at the chaotic beer garden ending, we managed to miss each other and never really got to trade contact info. One thing about STP is you have to seize and enjoy the moments you spend with others because "well see you at the finish line!" has about a .001 chance of happening with this size of crowd.
Beer garden was WAY off the hook this year, as I walked in with a cheeseburger in my hand and skateboard in the other to sit down, the group at my table started clapping. Then that spread to another table, and within a few seconds the entire place was applauding. That was so unexpected and left me literally speechless, not to mention delirious from scaling the hill in the afternoon heat, right before the finish line. Yes, the "rockstar" element does occur on this ride sometimes, this was by far the wildest reception I'd seen to date. And in quintessential nerd-form, all I could really do was just take a bow and then I tried to sit down and blend in quickly in order to whoof down the cheeseburger and beer and keep from passing out. On a skateboard, this ride is admittedly tough, but over the years I have met and seen many inspirational others who deserve this kind of applause and even more of it -- amputees using specially crafted bikes, people who've dropped hundreds of pounds, recovered addicts, and a good number of folks well into their 70's or 80's that have biked the ride for many years. There's always some awesome stories along the way.
Many other thanks are in order, and I'll add to this later when I'm not rushing off to work!
Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:12 pm Post subject: 2010 STP Seattle to Portland Bike Ride
I just did STP on my bike for the first time and I was so stoked to see you riding. You are my hero. If you heard someone yell, "Nice pump!" it was me. I'm just working up to pumping for 1 mile and now that I'm not training on my bike, I can switch to my mermaid. You are an inspiration. Thanks.
Nice to see you here Tiff! Maybe will catch you on the trail. I just hooked up with a 10-time STP guy for the first time this afternoon, it's cool to see the many bikers who have a skateboard in their garage begging to get out
Jo, it was major boost to hear from you via text during the trip... actually it was 3 a.m. Sunday when like a dodo I woke up and turned on my phone to check the time... then got your message! The sound of Verizon's bootup DING DONG DONG DING DONG DONG DING DONGGGGGG briefly woke up my neighbor. Not sure if I ever explained it but I usually crash out in a sleeping bag on the floor of a high school gymnasium for these, packed in pretty closely with people that are already snoring by the time I roll in the evening. Anyway, your message got me motivated to get an early start.
This ride I went with pink Gumballs that are nicely shredded and chunking a little, and held up really well. They're just a little rougher ride than the Avilas, but I wanted the harder duro and extra bounce since a lot of the surface is pumpable. The rough stuff sucked, but that's the tradeoff.
I do wear wrist guards and pads on my forward side only, since that's where I would normally take the brunt of any crash or collapse of gear. This is because of BOTH the high speed hills, and the somewhat unlikely event of gear breakage. Mentally the biggest shift in paradigm of this ride is that even though you're out there with so many people, all that bike support won't do anything for you in case of failure with the skate gear -- so I also reluctantly pack an extra kingpin, extra axle, extra pair of bearings, axle nut, extra bushings, and skate tool... for the cases where a wheel spins off, bearings seize up, or pins / axles break. So far I've never had a crash nor a gear failure (knock knock knock). You do have to watch the grams and go minimal, but balance it with getting literally stuck out in the middle of the state with the worst option being taking the Ride of Shame Van back to the start or finish. On the positive side, there are official Cascade stops where you can refuel on snack foods and of course you pass many gas stations and grocery stores, so you really don't need to pack that much food, and that's something I still need to learn ... to not over-pack.
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