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  1. #1
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    A Cyde and the STP 200 miles...A Report!

    Some 4 months ago I started the following thread about my intentions to try and complete the Seattle to Portland, 200 mile, 2-day bike ride:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ghlight=magohn

    Well, this weekend the big day arrived and my wife and I found ourselves on the start line at 5:30AM. What a ride ! Here are a few snippets that come to mind as I sit with aching limbs:

    1. We did it ! At 290lbs I completed back to back centuries for a total of 202 miles. We may have had a slow pace (approx average 10mph - we focused on endurance) with numerous stoppages, but we kept going and going and going...

    2. Its a heck of a long ride and seems to go on forever. My usual distance before starting the ride was 50 - 60 mile rides with no second day ride. I also performed approx another 50 miles a week commuting etc.

    3. The STP is NOT "flat" as reported. Numerous forum posts chat about the only hill being in Puyallup - not true. The first day is a breeze compared to the second day. The second day has close to 40 miles of rolling hills that drain you after an hour or two. You seem to be always climbing for hour after hour. The hardest thing about the second day is forcing yourself onto that saddle at 5AM.

    4. Physically, I found myself stronger on the hills than I expected, and didnt really bonk until around the 180 mile point - the last 20 miles were brutal and I was crawling but determined not to stop. I sprained my ankle around the 150 mile mark but decided to just bite the bullet and keep going.

    5. Though I was OK with walking the hills if I needed to, I did not walk or stop on one hill. As the day went on I found myself refusing to give in to the hills. My ride, Spec Roubaix was awesome, completely stock, and not even a puncture! Super pleased with the bike.

    6. Very well run and executed ride by the Cascade bike club - lots of stops and watering holes along the way.

    7. I NEVER want to see a bottle of Perpetuem or GelShot again - I was so done with them by the end of day two . I now have the training time to test other fuels before I sign up for another ride. Though I must admit, they kept me running.


    All in all, a great ride and I was so thrilled to finally cross the finish line. Would I do it again?
    Hmmmm - a full year to train to get faster is very tempting
    Last edited by magohn; 07-19-10 at 04:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    You're an animal!!!! Great job!! Now you have a full year to train for one-day! (Did you think we were going to rest on your laurels?!)

  3. #3
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    That is an accomplishment of truly Clydenormous proportions. Congrats!
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Congrats on the finish! Kamala's right; you'll be ready for 1-day next year.

    While it's not "flat", it is one of the flattest doubles I can think of with around 3000' of climbing total. Heck, that's even considered lightweight for a single century around here. They do manage to backload all of the hills, though! That third quarter was the worst for me when I did it in 2007; mile 100 to 150 (Centralia to Oregon border).

    I felt the same about Clif Bars and Accel Gels as you do about Perpetuem and GelShots. After 12 hours I could barely stomach the things, and still had another 2h 45m before I finished.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  5. #5
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your kind words.

    I realize the STP is one of the flattest 200 mile routes but hardly "flat"as mentioned in various places. I cant tell you the amount of threads I read that guaranteed the 200 miles to being close to a bike path in climbing - its not! I know its only around 3000ft of climbing but over 100+ miles and any hill seems like a mountain to a heavy guy. Im just saying that "The Hill" in Puyallup is not the worry for a newbie (IMHO), its the 40 miles of rolling hills at the 100+ mark. I was not expecting them and they were a challenge after already riding 100 miles the day before.

    Kamala - I may take you up on the offer - once my creaking ankle heals.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Congratulations on a great ride. I think what you are feeling is the difference between "rollers" and long climbs. They require different techniques and it's very easy to be good at one and die on the others. Hope to see a 1-day report next year!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  7. #7
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    Congratulations!!! Nice work, and it's amazing that you finished with a sprained ankle(?!). Good show!
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

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    Wow, what an accomplishment! Great job.

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Great job, magohn. You are one tough so and so.

    Cliftongk1, Kamala, magohn, and any other veterans of this ride: do you have any advice for people who want to tackle it next year?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I'm jealous

    Congratulations on an epic accomplishment. Lots of people enter the STP, and many finish, but I've never heard of anyone doing it on a sprained ankle before...!

    It's pretty monumental to ride a bike from Seattle to Portland.

    Does anybody reading this have a GPX track log of the ride, by the way? I might do a solo or small group ride this fall to check out the route.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Thanks all!

    My ankle is still sore today and makes a weird "crunching" sound when I walk on it. Its actually more the tendon at the back of the heel. It DOES feel a little less painful but I will keep the weight off it for a few days. Im so happy I was riding with clipped in shoes. I was able to compensate with the good leg to help out the bad one.


  12. #12
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Congratulations on an epic accomplishment. Lots of people enter the STP, and many finish, but I've never heard of anyone doing it on a sprained ankle before...!
    Read this account from the Cascade 1200. Chris rode up Washington Pass (5477') and Rainy Pass (4855') with his ankle immobilized with duct tape because they couldn't find any real first aid supplies to work with. People do some nutty stuff to complete a long distance goal. I've told a few people before... when you start riding over 200 miles in a single day, you're not necessarily doing it because it's healthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Cliftongk1, Kamala, magohn, and any other veterans of this ride: do you have any advice for people who want to tackle it next year?
    My preparation for a year previous was to do a bunch of century rides, then work my way up to a 200k. Aside from just putting in the base miles, I made sure to pick century rides that had hills, so when I got to doing STP the course would seem much easier than the terrain I trained on.
    You do a lot of touring, so you're probably in tune with your nutrition and what works/what doesn't, and that is usually the biggest problem for anyone starting into LD riding.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  13. #13
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Great job, magohn. You are one tough so and so.

    Cliftongk1, Kamala, magohn, and any other veterans of this ride: do you have any advice for people who want to tackle it next year?
    First things first, logistics. STP is the 2nd or 3rd week in July and sold out in mid-April this year. If you want in, commit and register early. You do not have to designate one or two day when you register, so you have plenty of time to make that choice.
    If you're planning on the two-day STP, give serious consideration to going further than the Centralia midpoint on day 1. Here's the route services map. You can have your baggage sent as far as Kelso (mile 150) on Day 1 (or Portland obviously). I stayed in Chehalis (Mile 107) for two-day last year and it was a good time, not too rowdy, and nice to wake up to less than half the ride to go. However, the Centralia College mid-way point does look like a rocking party if you want the full scene. There are tents set-up on every square inch of the campus and the beer garden opened just after I rolled in at noon on Saturday.

    Camping vs. Indoor overnight on 2 day: If you want to camp out at Centralia or Chehalis, no problem. Throw your gear on the truck with your destination and camping space is first come, first served. If you want to spend the night indoors, there are a wide variety of options here: http://www.cascade.org/EandR/stp/stp_centralia.cfm. Plus hotels and motels in all the towns. I would highly recommend working on indoor accommodations IMMEDIATELY after the 2011 date is announced. For 2009 I payed beaucoup money for a crappy smoking room in a nasty little motel because I was very late to the game. I think I paid $150 for something that I'm guessing costs $29 every other day of the year. But I don't like mixing my camping and biking, so that's me. You can find something much better and more reasonable than that, but you need to plan ahead.

    Ditto on bike transport, getting back to Seattle, etc. If you take care of those things soon after registration opens, you will have little problem. Wait and you will have issues. Here is the main STP Page with links on how all those things work.

    The actual riding: Cascade Bike Club has a recommended training regimen. Last year I followed it pretty decently, commuting most days of the week and riding longer on both weekend days to ensure I wasn't going to have problems with two long days in a row. If you're riding regularly and can handle 50 mile rides, you'll have no problem spinning up to 100. In particular, I would recommend making sure that the second-half of your Sunday rides is tough, not just coasting through some flats. The last 50 miles has some rollers and usually a good chance of headwinds along the Columbia River. You'll have much more fun if you can finish strong rather than just eke it out.

    For two-day especially, be prepared for lines at rest stops and riding in a crowd for much of both days. People are plenty happy to chat and it's quite the rolling party, but you can easily "lose" time at the rest stops. I say "lose" because for some people that's part of the experience and why they enjoy it, for others (like me) I get cranky if I'm standing around too long waiting on my orange slices. Different strokes, etc.

    When you pack for the West Coast (notice I said when, we're not giving you a choice about riding next year!), make sure you have a variety of bike layers. You'll get a serviceable tyvek rain jacket with your registration, but you'll want some other options in terms of warmth/layers. Recent STP weather has been perfect (this year), broiling (two years ago), and pretty frigid (last year). This isn't necessarily to bring on the bike with you, but it would suck to drop $$$ on things you already have because you didn't pack them. Worst case, you leave them in your luggage and don't need them.

    See you next July!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Great job, magohn. You are one tough so and so.

    Cliftongk1, Kamala, magohn, and any other veterans of this ride: do you have any advice for people who want to tackle it next year?
    Kamala and Cliftongk1 makes some very valid points. My contribution is to NOT camp at the Centralia mid-point if you want to sleep. We got to bed at 10pm and really needed sleep (we were in a camping trailer) - we had to listen to drunks shouting and were treated to the loudest train engine horn you can imagine, it went on all through the nigh. I did sleep from 10PM to 2AM but it was sporadic and when I woke at 2AM to the sound of the diesel train, that was it - I was awake till 5AM.

    I too would strive for 100+ miles on the first day. it gets you away from the crowds and more options in nicer locals if your camping.

    These are all minor complaints though - I loved it! What an experience. Very nice bunch of people and excellent support on the ride.

    As for training, I did small rides after or to work (approx 11 miles each time) and one 50-60 mile ride on the weekends. I have a young daughter and I love biking, but not as much as spending time with her.
    Two days of weekend riding just were'nt going to fly...
    Last edited by magohn; 07-20-10 at 02:39 PM. Reason: addition

  15. #15
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    ...I have a young daughter and I love biking, but not as much as spending time with her.
    Two days of weekend riding just were'nt going to fly...
    Looks like it's time to get the daughter out on a bike!!! When my son was young, 7-11yrs old I used to take all the neighborhood kids out on rides two or three days a week. They loved it and they could go a lot further than you'd think they could go. We'd go 6-7 miles then I'd go out and do 20 more. Worked great and my son was able to do RAGBRAI on his own bike (including the century day) when he was 9yrs old. Riding is even more fun when you can do it with your family!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  16. #16
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    See you next July!!
    Perhaps. I have no doubt I could complete the ride if I condition properly before hand. Getting me and my bike Notung to the Left Coast from Philadelphia will be work. Also, the meeting of my Tea Party conservatism with the Left Coast bike 'culture' would produce an explosion that would make the eruption of Mt. Rainer look like a Mentos dropped in a Pepsi. :-)

  17. #17
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    So many people ride bikes here that there are a lot of kinds of people represented. I should say a lot of kinds of WHITE people represented, because at every organized bike event I've taken part in or witnessed, almost everyone there was white. And way more men than women. But within that, lots of diversity. heh. Although there are more of some types than others! Most people just wear bike jerseys and shorts and look pretty much alike, though, so if you wanted an eruption you'd have to dig for it. Dinner-table rules!


    STP has been my goal for a long time, but without a date stamp. I am going to try really hard to do it next year, and follow after magohn's training method. (Thanks magohn!) It's hard to ride here in winter because it gets dark so early and country roads without street lights are awfully scary after dark. But I'll figure something out. I need to set up a google calendar alert to remind me to sign up so early in the year.
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by wild animals View Post
    So many people ride bikes here that there are a lot of kinds of people represented. I should say a lot of kinds of WHITE people represented, because at every organized bike event I've taken part in or witnessed, almost everyone there was white. And way more men than women. But within that, lots of diversity. heh. Although there are more of some types than others! Most people just wear bike jerseys and shorts and look pretty much alike, though, so if you wanted an eruption you'd have to dig for it. Dinner-table rules!


    STP has been my goal for a long time, but without a date stamp. I am going to try really hard to do it next year, and follow after magohn's training method. (Thanks magohn!) It's hard to ride here in winter because it gets dark so early and country roads without street lights are awfully scary after dark. But I'll figure something out. I need to set up a google calendar alert to remind me to sign up so early in the year.
    I was only partially joking with the eruption part. My manners are pretty good. Lefties, however, have no qualms about calling me unspeakable things.

    You, Kamala, Cliftongk1, and magohn should come to PA and ride Crush the Commonwealth. Current record for Philadelphia to Pittsburgh is 36 hours for the 300 miles.

  19. #19
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    I think maybe the problem is that people who have good manners don't bellow about politics and attack people, so people tend not to notice if our politics match up or not. I am a foamy-mouthed lefty wingnut but I am nice so it pretty much isn't an issue in any way for anyone who isn't insulting near me.

    I just thought about riding 300 miles, cried a little, and felt my arm starting to hurt (just for practice). Maybe someday .... haha
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  20. #20
    Senior Member timmythology's Avatar
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    Congratulation for this achievement. The part will be in telling others of the event, and watch their expression as they say, You Did STP.

    I did it last year and felt the same as you did about the flat parts. I wanted to do it again this year but it was not to be.

    Have a great recovery time that you have well earned.

  21. #21
    Member malcolm40's Avatar
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    This was my first STP too. Did it in two days. Took a little over 15 hours and I burned over 12000 calories. The worst thing for me was my wrists. They really started to hurt the first day on the Tenino trail. It was hard the second day. Started late (around 7:30am) and took about 40-50 miles before I loosened up. Rolled into Portland around 5:15pm and it really felt good to see my wife there cheering me on along with the gauntlet of other well wishers. Highway 30 wasn't as bad as everyone was saying and I say most (90%+) riders were great. But if I was to hear "on your left" or "passing on your left one more time" I was going to scream.
    The best and most interesting bike was that three seater with the girl and the two guys was the best. They really seemed to be having a great time and people like that made it even more enjoyable.
    The Kelso bridge crossing was a sight to behold. I always heard about it but hearing about it and actually seeing it and doing it are two totally different things. I wish I had my camera for such a site.
    Well those are some quick thoughts. Will I do it again?????????????? Only time will tell.
    Cheers to all.

  22. #22
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I was only partially joking with the eruption part. My manners are pretty good. Lefties, however, have no qualms about calling me unspeakable things.

    You, Kamala, Cliftongk1, and magohn should come to PA and ride Crush the Commonwealth. Current record for Philadelphia to Pittsburgh is 36 hours for the 300 miles.
    CtC is 400 miles from what I've read. This year's winners (Mike & Mark Tressler) pulled it off in 34h 38m.
    It's sort of like a brevet in that there's a set route, but it doesn't seem that there's any interim time stations or anything. It's an entirely self supported ride. Let me see how my 600k goes in September, and I might be up for it.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  23. #23
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    CtC is 400 miles from what I've read. This year's winners (Mike & Mark Tressler) pulled it off in 34h 38m.
    It's sort of like a brevet in that there's a set route, but it doesn't seem that there's any interim time stations or anything. It's an entirely self supported ride. Let me see how my 600k goes in September, and I might be up for it.
    You are correct, 400 miles. It's an 'unofficial' ride, a sort of long-distance alleycat.

    Next year is Pittsburgh to Philadelphia - same route, different direction. Start at Point State Park in da 'burgh, and end up at the Liberty Bell in Philly.

  24. #24
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    I almost forgot:

    STP tip of the day - Wear TWO pairs of chamois shorts on day two - boy, did i need them. My nether-regions were on fire from mile 80 onwards. The thing is, how can you forsee butt-pain unless you regularly ride 80-90 mile training rides? How many 300lb Clydes are doing that? This is actually a tip from my 180lb brother, and am I grateful that I threw an extra pair of shorts into the camper "just in case".

    Thanks again for your kind words. My body is beginning to feel a little more normal today

  25. #25
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magohn View Post
    I almost forgot:

    STP tip of the day - Wear TWO pairs of chamois shorts on day two - boy, did i need them. My nether-regions were on fire from mile 80 onwards. The thing is, how can you forsee butt-pain unless you regularly ride 80-90 mile training rides? How many 300lb Clydes are doing that? This is actually a tip from my 180lb brother, and am I grateful that I threw an extra pair of shorts into the camper "just in case".

    Thanks again for your kind words. My body is beginning to feel a little more normal today
    This is actually a common thing for multi-day LD riders. I've heard many brevet riders talk about wearing one pair inside out (lycra side against the skin) and another pair right side out over top on Day 3 of a 1000km, or Days 3 & 4 of a 1200km.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

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