STP 2010. Nikki and Me. Sore muscles, sore butts, awkward tan lines, but we got Finisher patches!
It occurred to me that I never wrote about how the STP went. Of course, that may be for the best that I’ve had some time to recover from it before writing! A few weeks out from it, the pain has faded, and now I’m looking forward to replacing the helmet so I can get back on my bike and keep riding! Not sure if I’ll be doing the STP next year or not, but it’s definitely in my future – Nikki and I may do the RSVP instead (Ride Seattle to Vancouver and Party).
I’ve learned a few lessons for the next ride. First – check the forecasts for lows as well as highs, and bring a jacket and shoe covers! It was great not having scorching heat for the majority of each day, but both mornings were so cold my feet went numb.
I think the numb feet was a contributing factor (along with brand new shoes/cleats) to crashing at 18 miles on day one. The pedals are the same ones I’ve got hundreds of miles on, but the cleats on the shoes were brand new and thus not as broken in as what I was used to. We’d stopped at a red light, and my feet were so cold I could hardly feel them. I tried to clip in going through the left turn, and thankfully the groups had thinned out significantly because I went down pretty spectacularly. I managed to land mostly on my back again, skinned my right elbow pretty good (would have been worse if the asphalt didn’t have an armwarmer to burn through first), and slammed the back of my head into the asphalt hard enough to crack my helmet straight up the back. Thank God for the helmet – I hardly had a headache afterwards, and that would have been my skull otherwise! I’m not really sure how it happened, but somehow after I was already on the ground, my bike sort of flipped over me… Thankfully I didn’t screw up any of my gear beyond a crack in my helmet or me beyond a skinned up elbow and a bruised up knee (bike landed on me again). I got patched back up at the first aid tent at the REI official food stop in Kent, and found out they’ve actually got real doctors and nurses working the tents, which makes sense since one of the major sponsors is Group Health.
Mom and Drew came down to see us in Auburn, where 37th Street meets West Valley, in a parking lot where a Teriyaki place is next door to a veterinarian (oh so wrong) to cheer us on and take pics.
We survived the oh-so-dreaded hill in Puyallup. Stopped to rest once on the way up, but we didn’t walk any of it! The rest of the ride day one went well – I had to walk a teensy bit of the Napavine hill, and we got a little lost at one point and overshot the baggage drop in Winlock by a few miles, but Liz (we stayed with her and her family in Winlock) came and picked us up, got our bags, her son made dinner for us, and we got to have a warm shower and sleep in real beds that night, unlike the people that stayed at the halfway point at Centralia Community College! Also bonus that in going 120 miles the first day, we didn’t hit that Napavine hill first thing in the morning – the “rolling hills” were brutal enough – and we only had 80 miles to go for day two!
The morning of day two was nearly as cold as day one, but our butts stopped protesting so much after 10 miles or so. Somehow, our legs felt better day two than day one, and we were able to keep up a faster pace, which was great. The Lewis and Clark Bridge was an experience – we got taken across in groups, with “no voluntary stopping on the bridge” and expanded expansion joints. Those you have to be careful of – the metal is slick for road tires, and the gaps in the joint are the right size to grab your tire. I managed to get across upright (though with aching legs from the arch of the bridge and pace of the group) and without losing either of my water bottles from the bumping over the joints (which is more than I can say for several others).
By the way, if anybody wants to start a waterbottle and sunglasses collection, drive the STP route that afternoon.
Nikki and I managed to cross the finish line in Portland a little after 3. It would have been earlier, but the traffic in Portland was horrendous! Due to construction, we didn’t come across the St. John’s Bridge as the route usually does, but across the pedestrian portion of the Steel Bridge… which was unfortunately not closed to pedestrians. It was a gorgeous view coming in though. No flat tires, no mechanical problems, no crashes or medical problems other than the one time I went down!
Nikki’s folks and Dad and Karen had all come down/up to Portland to watch us finish, and were waiting for us at the finish line. The wonders of cell phones 🙂 It was great having Dad and Karen drive up to watch me finish! I got to play around at the finish line festivities for a while – got two shirts, some lunch, chugged some free chocolate milk that Darigold was handing out, and Dad bought me a 20 minute massage before we headed back. Ye Gods, traffic heading out of Portland was worse than traffic heading back in.
We got back to my apartment around 11:30pm, and I’d managed to sleep a little of the ride home. Earlier in the week, I’d made up an air mattress in my spare room for Dad and Karen, so I got to show off my apartment and have them stay the night before they headed over to the cabin, and I joined them a week later. I was completely dead the next day, and Nikki and I enjoyed the leg massage that accompanied the pedicures!
Kitsap Color Classic, here I come, and we still have to decide if we’re doing the STP next year, or RSVP, or what!
Day One Stats:
9:17:15 moving time (total time guessed at around 12-13 hours)
13.38 mph average
29.70 max mph
I was too tired to remember that I could clear out average speed and not total distance, so the total at the end of day two was the total of the two days combined:
209.31 Miles total
15:27 total trip time
13.53 mph total average
35.52 max mph (woo-hoo!)