Saturday started rather early with the alarm going off at 3:45AM while I'm laying in a tent in my sister's back yard in Redmond, WA. Quickly get dressed, socks, shorts (choose my Recycle Shop Champion Systems shorts) jersey, short sleeve full zipper (also Recycle Shop CS brand), SmartWool arm warmers and my lightweight YJA. (Yellow Jacket of Authority= windbreaker). Loaded up the bikes, plugged the cellphone into my car charger so as to start with a full charge, then headed towards University of Washington stopping by Jack in the Box for a breakfast sandwich. Since I'm not from the area and I was winging it on finding UW I missed a turn and we, went a bit out of our way getting there. Parked about a half mile from the start line and got ready to ride. My son Richard was riding with me and my nephew Tim was driving my car back to his house so my wife did not have to get up so early with our 7 yo that came along. Filled water bottles and stuffed pockets with cliff shok blocks and Hot Shots. Sucked down a Cliff Hot Shot double espresso since there was no Starbucks to get my morning mojo at that time of the morning. Peddled to the start line where I just happened to meet up with one of my GF's from highschool, Kathy. Chatted with her and her husband Glen for a few minutes. Our plan was to be underway in the first group @ 4:45am but we missed that by a half hour and started at 5:14.
Off we go and right away I noticed that they changed the route and the new route had us starting uphill which was no problem. Somewhere after two miles but I think before five miles I rode over a 10" pipe opening and got a pinch flat, soon my son was telling me that I had a flat. So we stopped and I dug out the flat fixing stuff. Meanwhile along rides Kathy and Glen. The slice in the tube was about 3/16" long so it was hard to find but once found I proceeded to patch it. First patch did not hold, drats. Second patch seemed to be holding so off we go. Right away my son and I are passing more riders and groups of riders than are passing us. About mile 8 my rear tire was losing air already. It seems that old patch cement is a bad thing to use on a roadside repair. I no more than had the wheel off the bike and a SAG car pulled up asking if we wanted assistance. I asked if he had a floor pump that I could use. He installed my new tube for me and filled the tire to 120 psi. Sure beats using one of my CO2 cylinders. Off we go again only to stop at mile 10.5ish for Richard to hit a port-a-toliet, since we were there I decided to do so as well.
Back on the road. We made our way out of Seattle and into and through Renton, doing intervals from stop light to stop light. Somewhere in there I started chatting with a one of a couple of guys that were going about the same pace. He asked if we were going to hit all the stops, I replied no we were going to blow by the first because we were shooting for one day. We parted ways at the REI Kent stop, Richard and I traveling on. Crossing over SR516 from a stoplight I passed a rider, he and his group quickly passed me back. They were going at the same speed as we so I jumped on the tail of their pace-line. They stopped at a reststop in Puyallup and we kept going. Through Puyallup, up the "HILL" and onto the big food stop at 50 miles. We pulled in and re-filled bottles, used the porta-johns and grabbed a bite, a half sandwich and full bananna. While there I reached for my iPhone in my right jersey pocket and it was not there. Panic set in. I have a clear cover on mine and inside that was about $60 and my driver's license (Class A CDL, so harder to replace than normal). Had to wait for Richard to join me so I could call LOML. Gladly I had forgotten to grab my phone from the car. the time was about 9:30 and she was just leaving Redmond so I told her to start heading south and we'd be in touch on where to meet up mid-day. Off we go again. As we are passing mile 63 I look down and my Garmin 200 tells me our peddle time is right at 3:30, fastest metric century I've ever done!
We decided to meet at Centralia which just happened to be half way. Detoured off the route about 2 blocks to the car. Emptied my pockets of unnecessary gels , arm warmers, and YJA. Also traded out my punctured tube for a new one in case of need later in the ride. After a short visit we say our c-ya laters and head back to the mid-point reststop where I grab and eat another turkey sandwich such that it was..... one slice of turkey lunchmeat and one piece of cheese between two pieces of brown bread. Re filled water bottles.Off we go again. Next stop for me was at Winlock which sits on top of a hill and since it was warming up I stopped and purchased a bottle of Gatorade just in case. Richard needed more water just down the road where we had stopped last year at the end of our first day. So we stopped and filled water bottles, waiting in line to do so. Only to stop a few miles further down the road in Vader where the route does a left turn. He said he needed some electrolyte so I gave him money to buy a bottle of Gatorade. He filled a bottle with that and drank the rest. At this point I had a good feeling of accomplishment because every single foot farther was a PR for greatest one-day distance for both of us so no matter what happened the ride was a success. We continued on. Shortly, just outside of Lexington I called LOML to ask her to meet us in Longview so that I could change into my other shorts as I was getting some chafing on my butt. By the time we hit Longview my legs were getting heavy as well. 150 miles is a long ride!
Going into Longview Richard drops me at a stop light. I had just told him to be on the look out for his mom. He gets a bunch of blocks ahead of me when i stop and call LOML and see where she is; she was behind us. I give her directions to where I would be. She shows up and I changed into a fresh pair of shorts. First time I have needed chamois butter but I did not have any; fine for 119 miles but not more than 130. Feeling like I need to buy something at the mini-mart where I changed I bought a bottle of water and a large chocolate covered Rice Krispy cream eating 3/4 of it and giving the rest to Thomas, my 7yo. We consult the clock, I do the math and if we could average 16.1 mph for the rest of the way we would just make it before they closed the finish line at 9PM. Peddling over the Lewis and Clark Bridge was hard. A much harder climb than the "hill" in Puyallup from this morning but only because of where it is in the ride. Once over the top and with only 50 miles to go the Rice Krispy cookie kicked in. Richard had already told me that he was having a problem in setting the pace as well as me having a problem following. I was actually faster when I was in front. Anyway for the next 20 or there-abouts miles I set the pace going slightly uphill and into the wind at 18-20 mph. Once that wore off it was or seemed to be pure will power that drove me on. We stopped one last time with about 20 to go and bought more water.
Reaching Portland city limits, then over a beautiful bridge, St. John's Bridge, and then to Lloyd's Center and the finish line. The last 5 miles or so being another group of intervals from stop light to stop light. We crossed the finishline about 8:55 pm. Both of us dead tired, hungry and sore.
Lessons learned were several: With a patch kit costing less than $2 it was silly to not start with a fresh tube of patch cement for this ride. In fact I need to start changing them out with every tire change. I've not had any puncture flats since I switched to Armadillos but now have had one pinch flat. Think from now on on rides in heat or longer than 80 miles I'll start using chamois butter. Choclate Rice Krispy cookies are a great fast energy source. Printing out a map of where I have to drive to get to where I'm going would be helpful and a time saver, funny thing is I usually do just that or at least look at a map. The SAG driver left me with the surgical gloves he wore when he changed my flat, must keep a clean pair in my seat bag. Should also have found our motel on Google maps before having to drive there after an exhausting day.
All things considered this year's Group Health Seattle to Portland Cycling Classic(STP) was a huge success for me and my son Richard. It was for sure the hardest athletic thing I've ever done.