That was great having you drop in at Puyallup Sheldon! And for one of the toughest parts of the course no less.
It may be too simple to say that this STP was "the best" of the three, as each ride has its own merits, but hands down, having Ted join for the full ride made this one of the most incredible experiences. And I would not have made it through the new chipsealed 10 mile portion nearly as well without having a bro like Ted to help push each other on.
It added a whole new perspective to see someone go through many of the same trials, hills, bike and car traffic negotiation, and a LOT more humor on the road.
Ted and I both were wearing doo-rags under our helmets, and in the 95-degree heat, he'd occasionally pour water from the squeeze bottle into the top hole in his helmet...freaking genius!!! So I started doing the same using my camelbak, squeezing cold drops of water on my head. I think that really helped stave off any overheating, and we made the Finish line on Sunday just before 2 p.m., feeling strong.
Lot more to share, and will soon, gotta get to work!
Never really got around to doing a full write up on this, but recently posted some notes to NWLB about the philosophy on doing the STP.
Will repost that here and with some other pics that came from friendly folks along the way...
The question came up over there "Are you allowed to do STP on a board?" and this was my response:
The first two years, I asked permission, and asked again for the RSVP ride this year. This is the first year another longboarder (Ted) joined along, and it was awesome to have him to ride with!!
Cascade.org didn't exactly encourage it -- they basically said "there is nothing explicitly stating longboards can NOT be used." And this is exactly why I don't actively encourage people to do this unless they're really willing to ride along "like a biker" and have been training for it.
First, I think it's imperative to register like any other biker, get the official bib number/sticker and take advantage of the fact they provide traffic control, and stops, first aid stations and amenities along the way. Although I never count on their food stops to take care of me, I carry everything I need to eat, and stuff that I know will work without giving me digestion problems. It's not a day you want to experiment with too many unfamiliar sugary electrolyte drinks. But those stops are crucial for hydration and you DO appreciate things like fresh watermelon, cold water sprays, and just the overall vibe from the bikers -- for most of them it's a pretty casual joy ride and they can afford to take long breaks. Overall prepare for a weekend budget of about $200, for the registration, the return bus, food, and the overnight stop.
On the road, it takes an extra degree of awareness to always stay to the right and stay aware of who's behind you at all times. The stream of bikes passing you throughout the day is constant. There's a few particularly bad areas where the shoulder width is minimal and the traffic to your left is fast and busy. You have to make sure to give bikers room on your left at all times to pass. The most wicked part of the ride is definitely the Lewis and Clark bridge, wicked cool and interesting to figure out logistically, because you have to negotiate expansion gaps, chunks of bark from logging trucks, bikes, and cars -- and on a fast hill. This year there was also a new 10-mile stretch of chipseal just north of Centralia that sucked balls, we did that in 95-degree weather and I swear you could taste the tar bubbling up off the road -- I'm hoping it smooths out a little by next year, but honestly that 10 miles of the ride almost made me rethink the entire trip.
Some of that may sound a bit negative, but I just like to be pragmatic about this ride. Bailing half way has never been an option in my mind, you gotta commit and do it. Going past 100 miles and then being ready to do it again the next morning was probably the biggest mental hurdle. The ride is a freaking BLAST of an adventure and the minute it finishes, you might be thinking "whats next"? It's strangely addicting that way.
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