Did the STP: Feel so happy about it.

July 14, 2009 at 1:01 am (Uncategorized)

STP (Seattle to Portland) is an annual event where people bike 200 miles (320 km) from Seattle to Portland. Some good bikers do it over 1 day, while most of the rest do it over 2 days. This is a major biking event in North Western US, with over 10000 people taking part in the challenge. I wanted to do this ever since I moved to Seattle in 2006. This year I finally got to do it.

This year the event was on July 11-12 (2009)

Here is the approximate route.

The full US map with the ride markedSTP route 1

Preparation: The ride requires a bit of preparation (200 miles over a lot of small hills is no joke). I had a few 40 mile+ practice rides into Corey Is loop, Lake Washington loop and Flying Wheel 70 mile ride before the trip. Still, I felt I was grossly unpreapred because I was not using my bike daily. You must ride daily for atleast 60 days before the trip. Have atleast 5+ rides over 50 miles. Let your ass, back, shoulder, calf and thighs get used to long rides.

The trip is organised by Cascade Club, Washington and the registration closes pretty fast. It is limited to only 10000 riders normally. You can register for the trip here: http://www.cascade.org/EandR/stp/index.cfm. I spent around $250 bucks which included the trip, a cycling jacket, the return bus ride from Portland to Seattle and the accomdation in a dorm.

Day 1:

Parked the car in a friend’s place in Seattle Downtown and biked 4 miles from there to University of Washington Campus. We started the ride at around 7am. It was a hot, brutal day and I didnt bike the previous month. It was pretty hard for me. By the time I reached the central point – Centralia at 6pm, the 100mi biking took too much of my energy. I went and rested for a while. Inspite of the tiredness, I managed to walk 0.6 miles to the nearest mall to eat a Denny’s dinner, instead of taking a inspid food. The whole day I ate so many sugars (burnt nearly 12000 calories in 2 days) that my tongue needed somethign nice and spicy.

Day 2:

It started ominously with thunder and lightening that scared hell out of us. We started at around 5:30am on an overcast day. But, this time i was more energised. The cool weather definitely had a part and previous day of cycling had my muscles going. I didnt use any pain killer or cream and let the natural healing process to go on. The second day had a lot more rolling hills than the first day, which just had one bad, steep hill. The thing I learnt about hills is, if you lose your momentum and slow down too much you get sucked in. Before reachin the hill pick up a lot of momentum in your high gear and slowly reduce the gears as you climb up is what I did on second day and it was now lot more easy. Previously, I used to directly switch to lowest gear before the start of mountain and without momentum I would stuck in about 100 yards. I finally reached Portland at 3:30pm. Not bad, I woudl say for a first timer considering that they allow riders to return till 7pm.

I then called up my cousin who lives up there and asked her to take me to some good, spicy restaurant to get the antidote to all the sugars in my system. We went to a Mexican place and I had more Jalapeno sauce in my Taco salad than even taco, and it was awesome. I finally got in the bus at 6:30. Instead of being tired, I felt pretty energised and excited. So, I kept on talkign the whole time with my neighbors in the bus not allowing anybody to go to sleep in the 3.5 hours bus ride to Seattle. We reached Seattle by 10pm. It was so dark and a bit wet that I decided not to bike to my friend’s place. So, I called up another friend to pick me up and finally reached home at around midnight.

On the whole it was a great process and if I were to do it over next weekend too, I will do it. I was a bit slower than the average (particularly on the first day) and that allowed my body to space out energy distribution a lot more. So, while I was diasppointed that everybody was whizzing past me, I was not as tired as some of my friends. (Ok, this was my lame excuse for biking so slow). My average for the entire trip was around 12-13Miles/Hour or 19 Kmph while my bike buddies were at 15-18MPH. NExt time I will do it lot more faster with some more preparation.

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