- 105 miles
- ~7:45 riding time
- Two records broken - rode further then ever at one time which was 90 miles, rode over 100 miles at one time which just a year ago I thought I would never do.
Tim showed up, we lined up and rode off. We rode maybe a mile and saw someone with a flat. This continued for the rest of the ride about every 5 miles or so. No kidding, flats galore! I just know these people are buying thin, lightweight racing tires with no puncture resistance what so ever. Why do they do this? To save a few ounces. Why save the ounces on the bike when you could stand to loose 20 pounds of fat? And how much time did you save on the side of the road fixing all those flats? I haven't had a flat in like 5000 miles!
There was no coffee at the start line and about 4 miles into the ride we stopped at a Starbucks for some. Apparently several other riders were expecting to see coffee at the start line too because they were also stopped. At about 20 miles we'd left Seattle and the temperature started warming up. This is also close to where we saw our first accident scene; ambulance already there.
Mile post 24 was the REI food stop. This was probably the best food stop. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was just the fact that it was the first food stop but it sort of sticks out in my mind.
Forty three miles in, just past Puyallup, is "the hill" that everyone was talking about. Sure it is a long hill. Sure it's 7% grade but it didn't really seem as bad as they all made it up to be.
Somewhere between Spanaway and McKenna was the only accident I actually witnessed. Everyone was signaling for train tracks and then this guy about 100 feet ahead just went down. I'm not even sure he even tried to stop his fall. It looked like he just stayed in his cycling position all the way to the ground. I yelled crash, we all slowed down and stopped. The dude was out cold. Someone pulled his bike out from between his legs which didn't really seem like the thing to do at the moment to me; aren't you not supposed to move injured people. Someone was calling 911 and a car appeared from somewhere with some STP staff I think. There was bright red blood on the ground and more coming from the guys head. He started to moan, got on his hands and knees and then off his hands. He must have caught his eye brow or something because I really didn't see any damage to his helmet. Anyway, there was nothing more we could do that wasn't already being done so we moved on.
For a while then we did a nice long straight clip, into the warm afternoon drafting behind 3 or 4 other guys. At Yelm we jumped on the Yelm-Tenino bike trail. A couple tandems cruised past us and we jumped into their draft and what a sweet draft it was. We were doing 25 to 28 mph. Then the tandems sort of took a break and dropped down to 16 - 17 mph. After a few minutes we passed them but soon they were back at it calling out,"Here we go again guys." We passed a lot of people. I called it the Tandem Express. We lost them at the Tenino mini stop.
It was a pretty leisurely 12 miles from there to Centralia which is just what I expected Centralia to be. Crowds, music, parties but most importantly crowded camping. Just 8 more miles down the road was our quiet little camp in Chehalis. Recreation Park is where our baggage truck stopped and where we stayed for the night. There was plenty of room on the baseball field for our tent. In a building that must be rented out for events was a nice pasta, salad dinner and dessert. All you could eat for 7 bucks. There is a pool at the park with showers for 3 dollars. All the hot water was gone but it was refreshing. Afterwards we walked to the local Safeway and bought a couple pint size beers. We said only one and it's a good thing the grocery wasn't right next door because then we would likely have gone back. It was expected but a little surprising to see people turning in around sundown (9pm) and so we did the same. I don't remember this but Tim says that at about 2am someone drove past the park honking and yelling, "Welcome STP riders!" In the morning they had a nice breakfast; eggs, pancakes, sausage, coffee; this time all for only 6 bucks. Then we packed up our little camp, placed our bags on the truck and hit the road.
- 97 miles
- ~7:50 riding time
- 202.18 miles
- Max speed - 34.5mph
- Time - 15:22
- Average speed - 13.1mph
- Odometer - 243.8
Tim waited for me at the first food stop. He had already ate. The food lines were HUGE but at least they had food. Every stop today I'd get off the bike and limp over to the food. I could never stop for to long or I knew I wouldn't want to get back on the bike. We rode together, again for a while and then he drifted ahead. Finally we reached the Lewis and Clark Bridge; Oregon on the other side. There is hope. I will make it to Portland. They were escorting us across the bridge in large groups, I'm assuming because of the traffic. Now I heard people talking all day about this bridge. The gaps in the expansion joints, how dangerous it was to ride across, blah, blah, blah. I don't know where these people ride, or what type of weather they ride in but this bridge was nothing. Easy.
Mile 173. Last free food stop at the town of St. Helens. After this there was a nice long flat ride for miles and while I couldn't stand up and pedal I could still move pretty good in the saddle. I was passing a lot of people and then the sun came out. I let go of the bars, reached my arms out and embraced its warming rays. I felt empowered like Superman.
Coming into Portland was a bit annoying however. We zig zagged through neighborhoods and hit stoplight after stoplight. It was like, "Hey you're here . . . but you're not here." Even after rolling across the Steel Bridge it seemed to take forever although it was less then a mile. The last mile. The finish line was nice, however. There were lots of people ringing bells and cheering you in. Tim made it in only about an hour before me. This actually worked out in my favor because he rode to the hotel and was just heading back with his Dad and a Van to pick me and our bags up.
At the hotel I got checked in, showered, had a nice dinner with Tim's parents in the city, and the next ten hours were all mine. We got some nice hot rates at The Nines and I was never so happy to have a hotel room all to myself. No alarms in the morning, no cats meowing, no one else waking up early and disturbing me, no outside noise from open windows. "Tim what time is check out? Noon? I'll see ya then. Goodnight." Room temperature, perfect. Pillows in proper arrangement. Big thick comforter over my head. Phone, silent mode. I think I slept for about nine hours, woke up, rolled over and slept some more. I woke up around nine or ten, checked my phone. There were little icons all across the top. Email, missed phone call, text message, voice message. Nice while it lasted.
Some other statistics for the ride
- Uphill distance 30.87 miles
- Uphill altitude 1,951 feet
- Maximum altitude 463 feet
- One 3rd and final personal record - 238 miles in one week.
I continued to ride to work over the next week and my legs finally came back to me. The bike handled like a dream. It's what really got me through this. I got many comments and a lot of compliments on it. It's really a great looking bike and will only look better. Almost all the other bikes out there looked the same to me. Blah blah. This one's a classic.