Soggy Seattle Century

I’m mourning lost data again here, but this time it was totally user error. Oh well. (Last time it was because I didn’t delete old rides and ran out of memory on the machine. You’d think it would warn you of that!)

– New Sidi shoes rock, but when you get new shoes, remember to tighten the cleats after a few miles.
– The food on this ride was good and plentiful.
– The support was good – although not many support vehicles seen, there was a number you could call for pick up.
– The route markings (dan henrys and signage) weren’t so good – I talked to the ride officials about that.
– Maybe 1000 people rode? something like that.

Long story if anyone is interested:

I left the house at 5:50 – 5 minutes than I wanted, but it was because it had ran back in to get an extra pair of socks and my waterproof pants. There was a light rain when I left.

I got to Magnusson about 15 minutes later after going across 68th street and all those hills. I was impressed I started out that way.

At Magnusson I found out that I could have easily gotten my bib number there – instead of running to REI yesterday. They had a nice array of bananas, bagels, PB, Jelly, etc. And marshmellows for hot chocolate. I had just eaten and was ok, so grabbed 1/2 a banana. I left a bag (and my waterproof pants) in case I wanted to change clothes at the end and got on the road around 6:20.

It was kind of a lonely bit of trail – I saw a few other bikers, passed a few, but it was early. It was still rainy all the way up there, but the road didn’t have puddles yet. First stop – Bothell Landing (across the bridge) – the only reason to stop was to use the bathroom – 4 nicely cleaned port-a-potties. I grabbbed another 1/2 banana and 2 orange slices. Oh they also had hard boiled eggs.

Back on the road I kept up for a while with a guy who works at REI. It was coming down even harder now and the road was wet. My legs were a mess and my new shoes But at the next stop (Marymoor) – he took off quickly. I looked at the array of food options – which included Fried chicken. Somehow that just did NOT seem appealing at 7:45 am. I think I had a banana and peanut butter here.

Big problem was that it was so wet I didn’t drink hardly at all. In fact I don’t think I refilled a water bottle until Stop 4.

After you leave Marymoor you go east, across a housing development to 202, then down the historic brick road (annoying) and across to Duvall. The hill climb here was gradual and nice. At some point a guy named Andre commented about my music, so we chatted ab it. He was with another guy (Chris) – and they were a bit faster than me. Andre was a monster on the hills – I was very impressed. Chris (as I later had found out) had run 5 miles in the Torchlight parade the night before. They’d go on ahead, then I’d catch up, etc. I was taking downhills slower because of all the water on the roadway.

We crossed the valley into “backwards” from the Flying Wheels route, then UP the hill to stop 3 at Cherry Hill Elementary. I saw Andre and Chris here, had a few pretzels, and a 1/2 a PB&J – and topped off my hardly drunken water bottle.

Shortly after I left Andre and Chris caught up again, and we wound up riding the rest of the ride together. The rollers through the back part of Cherry Hill were nice – and the only thing to note here was that we think some trickster was switching signs around on us. Not cool. We put them back.

Down 203 (not my favorite stretch) to Carnation (almost though about stopping at a coffee shop) and tucked in behind Andre who was behind a few other folks. Really nice pace line going until Remlinger farms. Fortunately the rain had stopped so pace lines were an option (the rain was kind of stop and go all day).

There I couldn’t get my left cleat out. Turns out I now knew why I wansn’t getting a lot of pull on that side – one of my screws came out of one that cleat! Andre kindly helped me tighten things up (and Chris helped me stay upright) – then we got PIE ala mode! AWESOME! MMMMM. I wanted two or three, but kept myself to 1. Filled my water bottles (I was finally drinking), I changed my socks (and only teased them a little bit) and we headed on the road.

It took us a second to realize we needed to cross 203 on Tolt Hill Road, but then we followed W. Snoqualmie River Road – one of my favorite stretches. We wound up following the Flying Wheels route, but cutting off on Issaquah Fall City road. (There were other folks doing another ride on the same route – the Tour De Peaks) This we took to Preston where Chris’ wife was a DOLL and brought us each a latte. The folks at Gregg’s greenlake (including a repair guy I recognized) very very very kindly gave me a new screw for my cleat (I heart Gregg’s) and they had pasta salad. I had 2 cookies and a fruit bar thing here.

The next stretch was kind of cool – some people didn’t like it but I thought it was a hoot. We rode on I-90! One exit only, but it was COOL! I hadn’t done that before. We got off and wound up in Issaquah, then went up the killer hill for the day: Sunset Way. OUCH! Many people were getting off and walking here. Chris stopped, so I did too to take off my jacket. Andre powered up once again.

We were supposed to go up by the Issaquah Zoo and the kill “Lakemont” hill that Ruben was a little excited I was going to go on. But the folks at the Preston stop said they had to cut it out because of construction, so we went “straight” to Factoria, then over to Luther Burbank park.

First, Chris’ wife also met us there (more coffee, but a hot chocolate for me). I had to fill my bottle so we went over and there was strawberry shortcake! MMMMMMMMMMMM Happy Happy!

This is where I must have hit my pause button. Oh well. WE left there and crossed I-90 back to Seattle, and I realized that I was missing data by Madison Park. At this point we were passing many 50 milers.

They had us not follow the standard bike route through the twisty turnies- instead we went “straight” to Madison Park and up Madison – then caught up with the bike route.

At Marymoor they had a ton of bike racks set up, they had a whole dinner with roles, salad, grilled asparagus, chicken, salmon and brownies. Oh and an ice sculpture. 🙂 We ate at the ampitheatre, got our goodie bags which included coffee and 2 beers (I skipped the beer garden). Andre said his good byes, then Chris and I rode back to U Village (turns out we live about a mile from each other – Andre lives in Alaska but comes down here to visit the in-laws and get in all his yearly outdoor riding in about a month.)

Flats, Point-Per-Lap 7/22

Been off from racing for a bit, so back at it with a fun points-per-lap race. Quick reminder, this format is that every lap the leaders get points; most points at the end wins – not necessarily first guy to cross on the last lap. So it tends to be sprint after sprint, and fairly tough!
Well, it was as eventful as ever. Few teams were there in force, so lots of quick attacks and sprints at the end, followed by sprints after the line to try and break away. The most excitement for me was about lap 11, when a small attack formed. I bridged up to it, thinking I was towing the pack, then realized that five of us were alone. We made it to the drag strip, then 2 people peeled off. End of the strip, a third peeled off, shouting that the two of us had it. We went as hard as we could, and I was leading as we rounded the turn for the finish, but the pack reeled us in a hundred yards from the finish. Alas! I think if the 3 had stayed with us another rotation or two, we would have had it easily, but it was just not happening for the two of us for half a mile.
Finished the race uneventfully; I was fairly spent after that, so didn’t push for much afterwards.

STP 2008, half on a tandem.

I’m totally mourning lost data here. The data on my Garmin and in the Garmin Training center says 216 miles, Ascent: 4397, total BIKE time 15:51 hours. Average speed day 1: 12.5. Average speed 13.5mph overall (meaning we were probably averaging 15.5 day 2) and total calories burned on 2 days: 10461.

However, it appears that if you try to do something SO large and cumulative, you run out of memory on the device, so without telling you, it just drops old data – like the latitude and longitude. So according to Motion based: I’m missing about 50 miles! It only recorded from Spanaway to the end: missing “THE hill” in Puyallup.

Pictures are here

Ruben and I used twitter to keep track of where we were and when. Examples:

brickware frantically trying to get everything done and get to sleep early. 09:43 PM July 11, 2008

rubeneortega trying to do “one more thing” before going to sleep and riding STP tomorrow. 09:29 PM July 11, 2008 from web

Day 1: Amazingly got up just minutes before the alarm at 4 and started to dress after a restless night sleep. Ruben said he was up every 7 minutes all night. It’s still dark and we get into gear: Sunscreen, Chamois Butter, clothes (Pastry Powered Jersey and arm warmers, short pants). Amazingly we got Elias up and dressed. So Challenge Number 1 was tackled.

Challenge #2: Getting the cars all moved around and getting us down to the start line. Ruben left just after 4:30, Ericka and Tristan arrived shortly there after. Lupe woke up just to say goodbye and we were off. My skinny go fast bike was in the van, along with the rest of the gear. The only things I feel like I forgot (but weren’t critical) were a sleeping bag for Elias and some books on tape on an iPod for him.

rubeneortega Watching the first wave of riders roll out towards Portland 04:51 AM July 12, 2008

brickware Leaving home 04:52 AM July 12, 2008

1 cold mile down the hill we were at the starting line looking for Ruben by the espresso stand. He claims he looked for me, but left after they “Shut” the starting line at 5 (to start the waves). Anthony with Dylan showed up, then Joanna and Rich. Erik forgot his bib and had to go back – we knew he could catch up. We left on the next wave. I was feeling pretty good and chugged along with most of the group. Anthony said he was a little slower to start out, so he and Dylan were a bit behind.

Challenge #3: Getting up the hill in Seward Park. STEEP hill. LOWEST gear. Elias actually kicked in and helped. Made it up the steep part and just chugged along on the shallower park on Seward Park Drive. Just keep spinning just keep spinning. I couldn’t believe made it up there. The rest of the route was a matter of chugging along to REI. I was being passed by a LOT Of people though – that was hard to see. But I was maxing out at about 144 bpm at 14 mph or so on the flats. Erik caught up and passed us at this point. I got a text message when he got to the REI stop.

Elias was REALLY cold on this stretch – my first indication he wasn’t working that hard. He had his shirt, and a jacket. Then I pulled off my arm warmers (losing my livestrong bracelet in the process) and he put them on his arms over the jacket. He already had the other pair of arm warmers on his legs. Finally I had to stop so he could put my other jacket on.

rubeneortega 25 miles in at rei food stop downing superfood and thinkg. about 175 to go. 06:35 AM July 12, 2008

brickware At the REI food stop 07:29 AM July 12, 2008

REI was great – LOADS of food (we were early – Odwalla, peanut butter on whole wheat tortillas, oranges, bananas and clif bars) and the port a potties were relatively good still. I saw Brandy there! We also found Anthony and Dylan, took some pictures. Elias loved the volunteer T-shirts the REI folks were wearing: What happens on STP, stays on STP. Total Vegas themed stop. It was great. Elias started to warm up after kidding around with Dylan for a while. Onward:

My Grad school advisor (Steve Tanimoto) passed me on the next stretch along the Kent Valley. We chatted for a while. I told Elias what an advisor was – how he helped me get a PhD. I told Steve a few tips about what was to come, etc. Elias said that I was giving him a PhD in biking. Somewhere in here I also got passed by Scott Neilson, who had started over an hour later than us.

rubeneortega Flat tire repair. 9am is a fine time to start a 150 mile bike ride 09:01 AM July 12, 2008

brickware Puyallup 09:03 AM July 12, 2008

I texted the latter AS I WAS BIKING (bad cyclist) – hence the brevity. But if you note, I was NOT that far behind Ruben at this point. His flat happened 2/3 of the way UP the hill.

Challenge #4: The hill. I MADE IT UP THE HILL with Elias on the back of the tandem. My fear was having to get off and walk. I wanted to be able to do it and I did. WOOT!.

brickware Mile 44 and made it to the top of puyallup hill 09:33 AM July 12, 2008

We regrouped at the gas station at the top of the hill, and Elias and Dylan went off to the shop and bought some treats (ice cream and such). I couldn’t really eat much – Tristan finished the cone that Elias kindly bought for me.

I had forgotten Spanaway was 10 miles down the road and was bummed when I realized this. But we trudged on.

rubeneortega Mile 73, making up time, legs feel great. 10:10 AM July 12, 2008

Challenge #5: Seeing a head on collision and having to carry our bikes over broken glass etc. (I *think* this was before Spanaway). We think someone tried to pass a group of cyclists and hit someone else head on. Not a pretty sight. The big challenge for me was lifting the heavy tandem over the glass.

brickware Eating lunch in spanaway 10:58 AM July 12, 2008

Spanaway was good (at mile 50 ish): Grapes, Bagels, REALLY fantastic nectarines and vitamin water. Still in the wave of folks. Here I filled up my water bottles and noted Elias wasn’t drinking enough. I started nagging him about drinking and eating after that.

Elias was getting a LOT of attention from people who were passing him. They’d kid him about making sure he wasn’t doing all the work (being the stoker), or say “good job buddy!” or some such. When they did that, he’d actually kick in a bit more which was nice!

rubeneortega 85 miles. Glorious tailwind, hope it keeps up until portland 11:05 AM July 12, 2008

rubeneortega Creamsicle! 100 miles down 100 to go. 11:53 AM July 12, 2008

So obviously by this time the hills were getting to me and Ruben was really finding his legs. I got a text message from Erik that he had arrived in Centralia just after noon – just missing Ruben. So Erik basically did the 100 miles in 4:45. Amazing.

This was the year I was going to (finally) stop for the free chocolate milk in Roy – Wilcox dairy would always set up a chocolate milk stand. Well this year they closed their milk dairy and are focusing on eggs. So I didn’t see any chocolate milk. Oh well.

brickware Pit stop in McKenna 12:36 PM July 12, 2008

I always forget McKenna is an unofficial mini stop (aka, you have to pay for goodies) just before Yelm. We stopped, used the INDOOR toilets (long line), got advil for all those who needed it (including Dr. Advil, Rich – who was having problems with his right leg and me, who was having problems with my left toe pinching already). We took a couple of pictures by a tree. Onward:

Elias loved the fact that there was an “Unofficial mini stop” along the road where someone was spraying us with water. I don’t think we stopped in Yelm after all. We did, however note that both Elias and Dylan had just beaten their record 70 mile rides at this point.

rubeneortega Winlock. 120 miles 80 to go 01:41 PM July 12, 2008

rubeneortega Afternoon iced mocha and head under the faucett 01:54 PM July 12, 2008

The trail from Yelm to Tenino was really nice – slight up hill grade for a while, then down. . We started playing the game where someone in the front would call out “Marco!” and we’d all say “POLO” – to mark where the posts (or Poles) were in the middle of the trail. For a little bit I let Elias clip out and found (again) it was easier for a while to pedal without him – meaning he wasn’t working much. After a while I couldn’t keep up with the group, particularly since my toe was really hurting. One of the problems with the tandem is that you can’t really stop pedaling unless you get a good head of steam up first – our tandem looses speed very quickly. Occasionally we do this when we need “butt breaks” but that doesn’t help with the toe problem. I need new shoes for long rides.

Oh we also saw the two skateboarders on this stretch. I can’t believe they keep doing this ride. I didn’t see the unicyclist this year, although heard he was on the ride. I didn’t hear if the guy on the big wheel was there – I suspect not.

Getting weary from the ride, I noticed a couple of places where the river is right next to the trail. I lamented that I would love to stick my foot in there and cool it down – maybe get the swelling down so it wouldn’t hurt so much. But I didn’t want to hold up the group – and Elias was getting tired and just wanted to get to Tenino. (I did keep reminding him to eat and drink). Someday I’d like to go on a bike ride where there is no rush to get someplace and I could stop and stick my feet in the water. We caught up to the rest of the group at the end of the trail in Tenino. (somewhere in here Erik gave up waiting for us and went onto the hotel).

brickware Resting our toes and eating really awesome cookies in tenino 02:38 PM July 12, 2008

I remembered this from last year: whoever sponsors the Tenino mini stop makes cookies. I filled up 3 water bottles (so we were drinking- I’m not sure if it was enough though). I got 3 cookies, gave a donation and gave one or two to Elias. We chowed them down and he had chocolate all over his face. He and Dylan played like mad (again). It was weird to let Elias wander around a bit on his own – I kept thinking he’d get lost but he just kept coming back.

Tenino is the last stop at mile 86 before Centralia at mile 98.85. We started back on our way at 2:56, I got the Centralia at 3:50. Meanwhile

rubeneortega Castle Rock. 60 miles to go 03:09 PM July 12, 2008
rubeneortega Lexington. 55 miles to portland 03:57 PM July 12, 2008
rubeneortega Best tortilla hummus sandwich ever 03:57 PM July 12, 2008

brickware In centralia eating the two best creamsicles ever. (Actually posted at 4:03 pm – twitter has the time wrong).

I had been telling Elias about the mister and the creamsicles. Then we saw the Centralia sign. That gave him a boost. Then we saw Lupe waiting on a corner and called to her. Then we went under the misters… OH DID THAT FEEL GOOD. I was so happy – Elias had made 100 miles (if you include the 1 mile down hill to get to the starting line). I had 2 creamsicles, Elias had 1 and immediately started playing his gameboy which I had lugged in the pack. Dylan looked on. Ericka was grinning ear to ear- no crashes! Rich’s leg had made it. Joanna – who had only trained up to a 40 mile ride was all smiles. Tristan – quiet, but also all smiles.

We did some coordinating: Tristan’s folks came to take him up to Olympia for the night. Anthony and Dylan rode 1 more mile down the road to their hotel. The rest of us went to my car, where Joanna, Lupe and Elias hopped in, and I switched bikes. Joanna wanted to get up to see the kids at the hotel and give the babysitter a break. Rich, Ericka and I rode the 6+ miles to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound.

I got on my skinny go fast bike and I couldn’t control it! It was too light! I wiggled all around and couldn’t help but take off! The route along old highway 99 was nice – a headwind, but a large shoulder and not too many cars. The legs suddenly felt strong! However we did hit a patch of glass. Rich said “I’m stopping to check my tires!!!!” I was thinking “oh foo, I don’t need to, I have puncture resistant tires and haven’t gotten a flat yet!” But I stopped – because Ericka HAD gotten a flat by going over glass on one of our rides. Lo and behold, of the three of us, I had a small shard of glass wedged in my tire. Rich claimed that was a flat in 5 miles. Ericka had a great pair of tweezers (tiny! – I have to get one for each bike now!) and I got the glass out. So yeah! for Rich and Ericka.

brickware At great wolf lodge in grand mound where the air conditioning alone is worth the cost (posted out of order, actual time 5:52pm)

rubeneortega 175 miles done, 25 to go. Portland at 91 degrees looks good. Should I have this much salt on clothes and skin? 06:34 PM July 12, 2008

brickware Great wolf lodge is surreal. After a not so bad buffet, now I’m going in an indoor water park wit elias 08:10 PM July 12, 2008

Then I got this!

rubeneortega 205 miles. Moving average 18.5 welcome to Portland 08:30 PM July 12, 2008

It was right about what he expected! After a shower and a nap, he also go to see/hear the last 1 day rider come in around 12:30 am and that Portland was having some kind of Night Ride (15 mile ride at dark).

All the families went to dinner at the buffet. Ericka and Lupe found a quieter bar to eat in … I think I would have to under their circumstances. Anthony and his family (who had come up to the lodge to pick up our tandem and have dinner with us) left around 7:15. Ericka and Lupe went to bed early. I picked up some food at a cafe (banana bread, a croissant and a banana) and got into bed. Sleep was a little hard to come by, and getting up at 5 was a bit hard. We were out the door at 5:45 – Elias never stirred. He slept until 9am, had breakfast and played with Lupe at the water park.

I missed posting about our leaving with Ericka and Rich, but according to the GPS it was at 6:05 from the hotel. We hooked right back up with the ride route (gathering other cyclists along the way). Joanna had left MUCH earlier and we knew Erik would have a chance to sleep in and catch up. We met Anthony at his hotel. Tristan’s dad dropped Tristan off there and we left around 6:50 am. I texted this while cycling

brickware Leaving chahalis 07:11 AM July 13, 2008

The small breakfast I had started to catch up with me and I was very hungry by the first of the rollers, just north of Napavine. The first hill of the day is just north of Napavine and as we’re chugging up the hill we see this one guy go by, then eventually another girl barely calling out “Dad!??!?!” He screamed back holding his hand to his ear “Speak to me” but kept going. She pulled to the shoulder and had to stop. Someone else on the hill called to “Dad” to tell him that his daughter had stopped. Eventually someone (Anthony?) called out the color of his shirt and told him that his daughter was having real trouble and was by the side of the road. FINALLY he went back for her.

brickware Napavine and free banana bread. riding with Tristan, anthony , rich and ericka. Joanna leftearly, erik is leaving late and will catch up 07:47 AM July 13, 2008

I put $5 in the pot for the school who was doing the fundraiser and bought some REALLY good banana bread for us. Onto Winlock! This part of the ride is BEAUTIFUL…

On this part of the ride we saw “Dad” changing a flat tire with his daughter. They had apparently not stopped at Napavine and leapfrogged us. Karma is a bitch.

I think this was where we saw the first Mile marker that said mile 1 on it. Rich commented something about Ground Hog day and that we’d keep seeing Mile Markers with a 1 on them….

I saw this one rider from behind and guessed it was an old employee Adrianne – and I was right! We said our hellos in Winlock – apparently her husband was up ahead someplace, he a racer now and she just goes at her own pace. The did RSVP last year, but I had seen her on STP two years ago.

brickware Taking a picture by the world largest egg 09:45 AM July 13, 2008

I never told Ericka or Tristan about the Hill We Don’t Talk About – in Vader. That’s the hill the first year on the ride that I yelled at Rich and Joanna – “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME ABOUT THIS HILL!” It’s the secret hill.

But Ericka powered up it and we turned onto the next road: West Side Highway – and there it was… another Mile marker that said ‘1’. I almost died!

I got a text message from Mary Kaye (Erik’s wife) that Erik was leaving around 9:45, his phone was dead, but he expected to be in Scapoose at 1:30. Anthony did the math and thought we could get there averaging 15mph with a few breaks.

brickware Last post not sent at right time. Just did another 17 and having. Great smoothie at castle rock. Rollers as bad as last year 09:46 AM July 13, 2008 from txt

What I meant was “Rollers NOT as bad as last year” – First off I was better trained for hills having ridden to work all winter long. Secondly, I wasn’t trying to do 150 miles in one day. This was only mile 25 or so for the day – as opposed to 120! I think we stayed too long in Castle Rock though, particularly since the next stop was an official one with free food. But here my toe was really starting to hurt – I could do about 1/2 an hour of riding without pain, but then the numbness or pain would start…

brickware 10:30 at the free food stop in Lexington. Next stop Longview bridge 10:34 AM July 13, 2008

The bummer here was by this time I think we were behind the big wave of folks. Not sure why – I thought we were making good time. Average speeds were MUCH higher than day 1. We had our free food, but no oreos. I was bummed, but hopeful for my sandwich cookies in St. Helens.I got this from Ruben the show off 😉

rubeneortega Eating at Crush and trying not toinhale the food. I am not biking today. 10:35 AM July 13, 2008

I shouldn’t be so callous. He was being very supportive in private emails.

Lexington was also where we saw the guy on the really tall bike with the viking helmet. We passed him a few miles down the road on route 30…

We were off again and did the flat part through the industrial towns of Kelso and Longview.

brickware Got stopped at the front of the line for the longview bridge. Oregon in 1 mile 11:46 AM July 13, 2008

Anthony was funny here. We got caught by the light just before our left turn to the bridge. He could see we were not going to make the current wave of riders going over the bridge – and said he wasn’t going to be stopped. He blasted RIGHT through the flagger, but Ericka, Tristan, Rich and I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. We were the first in line for the next wave. It took them at least 15 minutes (probably longer) in the hot sun to let us go.

I tried SO hard to power up the bridge, but by this time I was getting tired. And hot. I was drinking and eating but I had no reserves. AT first I was hoping to be one of the first across, then a whole bunch of guys passed me. Then I hoped to be the first girl across. Nope, 2 girls passed me. Eh, I was still pretty close to the front. I didn’t see nearly as many bottles ont he sides of the road near the expansion joints as last year. I pulled off at the bottom and took pictures of my other fellow weary travelers.

brickware Rainier oregon 12:16 PM July 13, 2008

rubeneortega Getting a haurcut 01:15 PM July 13, 2008

Passed Rainier it started to get really hot and I was really starting to lose steam. After passing Rich and Ericka who had leap frogged me on the bridge, I tried catching up with Tristan – I felt a little like I kind of had to keep an eye out for him (since he’s 16). I’m pushing and pushing and still getting passed, no Tristan. I stopped briefly at Goble just to see if I could see Anthony, Joanna or Tristan, but no. I didn’t want to wait in the long water line – I figured I could get some down the road and headed off. Suddenly Tristan rides up next to me panting and says “I Caught you!”

I laughed and said that I was trying to catch him! Apparently he had stopped at the side of the road, I hadn’t seen him. Ericka and Rich told him I was going on to look for him so he tried to catch up. It was funny – like two years ago when Ruben though I was ahead of him and was catching up only to find I was way behind. Trudging on:

brickware Stopped in St. Helens where they have run out of Oreos. I am truly bummed.

Truly bummed. Particularly since I thought Anthony was probably already in Scapoose. I saw a message on the board from Joanna that she left St. Helens at 1pm… so we just sat and ate the popcorn and somehow lame sandwiches.

(Slow and steady undertrained Joanna does get the moral victory for beating all of us to Scapoose!)

Then I got the call from Anthony. He skipped the stop and found a cafe that had frozen yogurt. He had only gotten there a few minutes before! Apparently he had stopped a couple of places to get some food along the way, but said we must have been making some good time.

Still, it was already almost 2 and I thought Joanna and Erik were probably bored in Scapoose – not the nicest of rest stops.

We did get in touch with Rich and Ericka and had them come to us at the shop. SO MUCH NICER to have porcelain toilets! And espresso! over vanilla frozen yogurt! Ahhh!

brickware Found a most excellent air conditioned cafe near a bookstore in st helens. Having frozen yogurt with a shot of espresso. Mmmmmmm 02:06 PM July 13, 2008

Coordinating we estimated we’d bet at the finish around 3-4. We were off by a quite a bit.

brickware Over heating in Scapoose. 90+ degree heat on the open road 03:25 PM July 13, 2008

I started to feel really gross on this last section – very very little shade and it was over 90 degrees. Water bottles that we filled at the cafe with ice water were hot within 1/2 an hour. My toe was killing me. Even Anthony said he was feeling a bit puny. Was it the dairy? Or just the heat? I hate this section of the ride. The cars were well behaved though. I didn’t, however, find my really good chains of drafters like last year. Tristan and I took turns riding front just to keep going. I told him all about aerobic heart rates and VO2 max, and power output. He still doesn’t believe that true racers don’t really sit on their seats much.

rubeneortega Waiting at the finish line, cheering the bikers 03:03 PM July 13, 2008

Erik had arrived about 10 minutes before us. After taking our requisite pictures and regrouping, Joanna took off about 10 minutes before the rest of us. One high schooler was taking donations to be sprayed with a water hose from their yard. Best $2. spent.

No respite from the hot weather, Tristan and I tried to keep up with Anthony and Erik who took off. More hot weather, the water bottles getting really hot and hard to drink (particularly the ucky electrolytes). I warned Tristan about the “Rookie hill” – the last really big hill of the ride. We made it up, and I figured Rich would warn Ericka.

brickware At the top of the last hill 04:52 PM July 13, 2008

When Ericka and Rich showed up, she said she was very glad Rich had warned her and I had never mentioned that hill before she got there. More requisite pictures.

Anthony had to leave at this point to catch the Max to his friend’s house out in Hillsboro. He had another 15 miles from the end of the Max line to his friend’s house. Amazing.

We made it to the line at 5pm (although I posted this later).

brickware Made of in to the finish line with Rich, Joanna, Tristan, Erik, and Ericka. (Anthony had to leave early) 06:41 PM July 13, 2008

brickware We got in at 5, and now had a really fantastic shower! 06:42 PM July 13, 2008

I saw Elias, Ruben and Lupe with a sign made by Maryanne! (She had to leave early). Elias and Ruben were decked out in their Pastry Powered shirts, Tristan’s folks saw us too. We hung out in the finishing area for a while, I got my requisite SWAG (including a Whole Foods green bag), then Rich, Joanna, Erik and the babysitter had to head back north to the Great Wolf Lodge and their kids. Ericka and Shel went to their room, and we went to ours so I could shower. Tristan’s family had to leave (work in the morning adn we had gotten in later than expected) – so I think he showered in the STP shower van.

I totally started to fade on the walk to dinner. I told Ruben later that this was one of the hardest things physically I have ever done – harder than STP the first year, harder than my triathalon, etc. Dinner was at a nice Italian restaurant, and I even treated myself to a mojito. I totally passed out exhausted around 9:30… only to wake up at 5 to head back to Seattle.

One more Elias-ism. On the way home I was explaining how I saw a heavy set older woman who had just finished the ride. She was bawling her eyes out – obviously overwhelmed with exhaustion and emotion. Elias said “It’s like Dr. Pepper” – Ruben and I are completely confused and he continues “Dr. Pepper has 23 flavors.”

Makes total sense to me. 23 flavors. 23 emotions. Damn smart kid.

I got home and noticed my milk box on the front porch had moved. I was curious, because Tuesday (not Monday) is milk day. Elias found them first: a secret someone had left a package of Oreos with a note on the package but no name! So thank you to whoever that was (probably someone reading facebook or twitter ;)). So there’s where the Oreos come from if you have read this far!

STP 2008

So, 2008 marks my fourth STP. I’ve done it on El Destructo, a heavy Univega Alpina Uno mountain bike. I did it when I was in decent shape 2 years ago. I did one day last year.

This year, the 2 days of STP was probably the hardest ride I’ve ever done. Kudos to everyone who did it and finished!

I started a bit later than everyone – 5:15 AM, instead of 5:00 AM. I forgot my bib so I had to turn around to get it… not a big deal as I live a few blocks away from the start. I caught on to a fast moving train lead by Steve S., who raced for Wines of Washington about 4 years ago and was wearing the old kit of blue and yellow. Around the Arboritum, I caught up with everyone, chatted with Erika for a bit, and then seems to just break away from everyone. I caught back up with Steve and his crew at the REI food stop, and hung with them for a while. They were on a tear – averaging between 20 and 25 MPH, for an early 1-day finish. I suspect this was my downfall… I kept with, and around mile 70, the beginning of the trail section of STP, I was done. I called out and said I was dropping, mostly as my legs were beginning to hurt and I didn’t feel like speeding down the trail dodging root balls and bumps on my nice friendly bike. But I really haven’t trained at that pace for that distance… it seems as soon as I hit “road race max” – about 70 miles – my legs were done. Youch!

Anyway, I still made fantastic time to Centralia, as I was cruising at my own pace which was still 18 MPH or so. Got in at 11:30, hung out chatting with people for a bit (found some Winos and chatted with them), and then headed to Great Wolf Water Park about 12:30. Got there about 1, waited for quite a bit in checkout, and yay! our room was ready. Grabbed a shower and waited for the kids to arrive, which was about an hour later. All good.

Next day, I got up to a very late start. And I was still _tired_. I got out about 9:00 or so. I anticipated arriving at Scappoose about 1 PM.. heh. I was barely pushing 16 MPH to Centralia on flat road. I looked in, as I needed some sunscreen, and it was deserted. Wow. So I turned around, hit the Chevron for their last bottle of cheap crappy sunscreen, smeared it on for my lifeguard look, and headed out. Shortly after Centralia, I was picked up by three riders – Ryan, who had done STP in 1 day and was doing another 100 miles for fun, Rick, and Erik? or Eric? Luke. Ryan was gassed and not doing any hills quickly, so we kept dropping him. The three of us had a good pace and maintained about 19 MPH down to Scappoose, which I hit about 2:30, a few minutes after Joanna. Then perhaps 10 minutes later the rest of the crew arrived! Wow, timing worked after all. Here’s the Scappoose pic, from left to right: Lauren, Rich, Joanna, Tristan, Erika, Anthony, and Erik. Tristan, 16, rode a random bike he found on the street with a “free” sign that he fixed up. Old 12 speed with suicide brakes and as near as I can tell original components that are older than he is. Great job!


We rode the rest of the way more or less together. Joanna left Scappoose 5 minutes early, but Anthony and I caught her on the final hill into Portland. We waited at the top for everyone, and got the obligatory picture:


OK… so, doesn’t seem like anything all that bad, right? Well, the kicker was both days were HOT… and the second day was very hot – 90s, and I did next to no riding in the cool morning hours. That means I stopped at every rest stop and usually filled both bottles. I could feel the dehydration. When I arrived back in Seattle, I weighed myself… I was over 2 pounds lighter, and that’s with pigging out Saturday night and eating breads and other salty goodness during the day. Wow. Rain is annoying, but distance in the heat… just saps the energy.

As I said, my toughest ride ever… which makes finishing all the more worthwhile. Congrats to everyone who did it, as this was one tough STP!