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  1. #1
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Seattle to Portland

    Who has done it and what bike would you suggest for it. I don't think my hybrid is gonna do the trick. I have tried a Specialized Allez and another bike model Roubaix and then an Italian bike that I thought was the best of the bunch but they are really different than my Specialized hybrid that rides so smooth, they all had shimano 105 in some variation front and rear or front only. Do I want two front rings or 3? Do I really need all those gears? I'd like to stay under 1500.00 and I think my wife and I are going to do the STP in 08 cause we both want to get into better condition and do some 50 and 80 mile rides to see how we do next summer and then train for the STP for 08 and suggestions and ideas are greatly appreciated.For all of those that have done the STP how difficult is it on a scale of 1 to 10

  2. #2
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    I have done STP four times, three times on the two-day plan and once on the one day plan. I think that just about any good road bike is a fine choice. Although I have seen many people on hybrids, recumbents, mountain bikes and flat bar road bikes. I think that the aerodynamic advantage offered by a drop bar road bike come in very handy for long rides like the STP. I have a bias towards traditional geometry, which fits me and my riding style better.

    The biggest secret to success for the STP is proper bike fit and to find a saddle and shorts combination that will allow you to sit on the bike for hours without severe discomfort. On long rides with the sort of largely flat terrain as the STP, my average speed is in the 18-21 MPH range and I can keep that up for hours at a time.

    In terms of finding the right bike, your best move is to find a large LBS that carries a number of brands, and tell the sales rep exactly what you want to do with the bike. Knowing that you are looking for a road bike suitable for long rides will narrow the field considerably and allow the rep to make some good recommendations.

    PS: I forgot to mention: have you and your wife considered a tandem? I have seen road tandems on the STP and some of my club rides. Once they get up to speed, I have seen them cruising along in the mid to high 20's. Absolutely amazing.
    Last edited by MillCreek; 09-09-06 at 01:42 PM.
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  3. #3
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    It's not a difficult ride at all. It's mostly flat, with only a couple hills and some rolling hills on the last half.

    I bought a road bike in April 2005 and did my first STP that summer. You probably don't need to wait until 2008 to do it.

  4. #4
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    I did it in '05 in one day, on a half hour of sleep(I was working swing shift the night before). It took me just over 16 hours with 13 of that actual riding and 3 hours for breaks and 15 minute naps.

    I road a 1974 Schwinn Le Tour road bike, with some parts upgrades from the swap meet and e-bay. It weights 28 pounds after I stripped it of the fenders and racks that I normally use for commuting. Total cost was about $150. I had 1 1/4" tires on it(1.25= 32mm) and I passed a guy leading a paceline on an Orbea while in the rolling hills.(Ha! See, steel is real.)
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  5. #5
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    Capsicum You rock man. You could probably do the STP on my old Schwinn single speed I'm looking at new bikes and think I have it narrowed down to a Raleigh Cadent. Just took it for a test ride about an hour ago nice stuff all around. Carbon forks and I think the seat post is too but it really felt right for me and thats what its all about so I think I'm gonna get it. I think I'm gonna like this forum.

  6. #6
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Ha ha ha. I probably could do it, in two days, on your Schwinn single speed if it is tuned up. (I totally overhauled mine repacking bearings and whatnot before the STP, never have I seen such free turning wheels with zero slop.)

    I was using my STP story as an example of how do-able the STP is and that any well kept road bike will do fine(if it's the right size), not as an atta boy for myself. Two of my uncles beat me by a couple hours, and one had some kind of weird muscle cramps for the first hundred. The only reason I was able to do it on a half hour of sleep is because I am used to doing things with out enough sleep, do to a weird schedule and some other stuff.(I still get tired but I've figured out how to deal with it.)

    I started training Feb. of '05. and used a Cross country MTB race series as part of my training. I joined the intermediate class because they did two laps, begginers only one.(6-9 mile laps/45min-75min per lap for the beg-inter classes) I was dead last every race, but I finished every race that I entered.(I was beat by over 15 min at Leavenworth by a 17 year old girl.) The longest training ride(or any ride ever) that I did before the STP was about 90miles in mid June '05

    Start training now and by the '07 STP you'll be like greased lightening.

    As far gearing of the bike goes, two rings will be fine unless you want three for other uses or rides, I use two- 42t and 52teeth, new bikes are mostly 39t and 53t.
    The only real big hill is in Puyallup, 72nd street from West Pioneer to Canyon road. Ely hill would be a good training equivalent (410 from Sumner to Bonney Lake, the shoulder is quite wide.)
    I use a 42t/24t(front/rear) gear to climb it for my commute, 42/21 with a burst of 42/19 here or there if I'm really going for it. Most of the STP I used 52/17, in one very fast paceline I used 52/15 with bursts of 13(on level ground).

    Chainrings and cog sets are an easy change though, if you have the parts.

    I have a thing for REI's Novara Randonee but you need to check the stores as the website is out of them. It's fully a road bike but it has attachment points for fenders and racks, as well as extra tire clearance, and mountain bike style brakes all for commuting and light to med-weight touring use. http://www.rei.com/rei/gearshop/novara/reviews.html

    Have you tried the Cannondale synapse? It appears to be very similer to the Raleigh Cadent. The synapse 3.0 and 4.0 have provisions for fenders and racks.(1.0 is highest 4.0 is lowest spec., opposite of the Raleigh Cadent)http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/07/cusa/ (REI in Seattle and Old Town bicycle carry C'dale)
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  7. #7
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    I'm right down town Sumner so Elhi hill is a definite possibility maybe up the other direction from downtown Sumner up the hill to South Tapps drive. Thanks for the info on the cannondale but I'm pretty set on the Raleigh but I've been known to change my mind

  8. #8
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    The sumner-tapps road has no shoulder (even for a Mt. Bike). I've road it a few times but I'm not big on it. It is lightly traveled and two lanes going up, but a significant number of people are too arrogant to change lanes.

    For a real challenge try the road from 8th street/East valley(auburn) to the Lakeland Top Foods it has multi lanes, a sidewalk and lots of streetlights, fairly low traffic too, it's 10% grade. 410 is about 4.5-5% and Sumner-Tapps is inbetween(maybe 7%, just a guess)

    The big hill only makes up 1% of the STP though.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  9. #9
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    sounds like a good place to try, thats a good road too pretty new and not all knarly like a lot of the places around, have you ever ridden from Auburn to Blackdiamond and out that area at all. I'm thinking the roads may be a bit too narrow and curvy. We ride east to the Sumner Tapps and then turn south and out toward the BMX track then along that road to Mcalder. Isn't there a new road being built that starts in all those new houses on the ridge and ends in the valley? I guess we just need to go exploring a bit more.

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    As others have said, the STP is a fairly easy ride. There are a few spots where some new or unconditioned riders may run into difficulty (Hill in Puyallup, Hill at Napavine) but in general the course is either flat or short rolling hills. I've seen people do it on anything from old singlespeed BMX bikes to high-end CF rigs and one guy does it on a unicycle. Fit and comfort are the key thing. I see lots of comfort and hybrid bikes during the ride.
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  11. #11
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    There is a gravel/dirt road (oogals ford RD or something like that) that goes from the AM/PM-dairy queen intersection in Bonney Lake down to the straight away on the road that passes the BMX track. The people that live on it post a bunch of no trespassing signs but is is an old county right of way, so screw 'em. (don't go too fast on the way down, occationally there is a cable across the road, just go around it, the road does go through)

    Most of the development you refered to dumps out onto 410 next to Chevron in Bonney lake the other open outlet is on Angeline.(The rest is under construction)
    Then there is Rhodes Lake road going from McMillian or McAlder up to Victorfalls and crater road, (you can cut over to the Albertsons by going passed Bonney lake highschool) it passes by the south end of the development. I would not recommend riding up Rhodes lake road, it is very narrow and twisty, fun going down it though.

    Of course there is the South prairie to Bonney lake road if you ride the foothills trail all the way out, but the hill is fairly small on that side and broken into two steps (sprint up each of them).
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  12. #12
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    As others have said, the STP is a fairly easy ride. There are a few spots where some new or unconditioned riders may run into difficulty (Hill in Puyallup, Hill at Napavine) but in general the course is either flat or short rolling hills. I've seen people do it on anything from old singlespeed BMX bikes to high-end CF rigs and one guy does it on a unicycle. Fit and comfort are the key thing. I see lots of comfort and hybrid bikes during the ride.
    This year I also saw a guy on a big wheel, one on a scooter, and one on a skateboard!

  13. #13
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msviolin57
    This year I also saw a guy on a big wheel, one on a scooter, and one on a skateboard!
    They don't all finish.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
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  14. #14
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    got the Cadent 2.0 rode it for about 30 minutes after I got it home a couple hours ago feels good fits me like a glove and really gets movin quickly. I'm a little squirrely on it since its my first road bike but a few hours in the saddle I should be fine. I'm finding my stamina is really increasing since I started commuting this summer and my pants fit better, funny thing I really haven't lost any weight but about a half inch or so in the waist, feel better at 53 than I did at 45

  15. #15
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msviolin57
    This year I also saw a guy on a big wheel, one on a scooter, and one on a skateboard!
    The skateboard guy finished, I saw him not too far from Longview WA, he was moving right along!

    If you think you'll be slow, start riding early, it's plenty light to start riding at 5:30 AM. Just ride steady and make all the rest stops to re-fuel.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  16. #16
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty
    The skateboard guy finished, I saw him not too far from Longview WA, he was moving right along!
    I saw the skateboarder on Saturday night as he was going through Winlock. Then, I saw him Sunday at the last rest stop before Portland. Amazing!

  17. #17
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MillCreek
    The biggest secret to success for the STP is proper bike fit and to find a saddle and shorts combination that will allow you to sit on the bike for hours without severe discomfort.
    Bingo. As others have said it's not a very strenuous ride. It's all that time with your butt in the saddle that's the tough part.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon
    Bingo. As others have said it's not a very strenuous ride. It's all that time with your butt in the saddle that's the tough part.
    That's good to hear. Butt endurance is one thing I haven't tested myself for. I ride at least an hour a day, but seldom in more than 30 min chunks. I'm about to diverge to something probably better for another forum, but a coworker, long-distance/endurance freak, thought my commute plus another 1-2 hr uninterrupted ride per week should gear me up for most anything. I guess that's not quite the kind of training for a 200 mile butt on saddle jaunt, but maybe could add up to something.

  19. #19
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
    That's good to hear. Butt endurance is one thing I haven't tested myself for. I ride at least an hour a day, but seldom in more than 30 min chunks. I'm about to diverge to something probably better for another forum, but a coworker, long-distance/endurance freak, thought my commute plus another 1-2 hr uninterrupted ride per week should gear me up for most anything. I guess that's not quite the kind of training for a 200 mile butt on saddle jaunt, but maybe could add up to something.
    The STP website has excellent advice and a training program that seems to work. You should take a look at it and give it a go next spring. I can tell you that you'll need some time in the saddle to build up to that kind of time on the road. I would think it would be difficult to get on the bike on day 2 if you were not really in shape for day 1.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  20. #20
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    At the Spanaway rest stop I was talking to a couple women. They asked me how much I'd trained for the ride. One of the women told me that the longest training ride she'd done was 32 miles! I think she did okay, considering.

  21. #21
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    I'm really pumped about doing the STP and so is my wife the reason we were going to wait till 08 is so she can get in shape too, she does less riding than me by virture of her workin hours and so mostly we get to ride together on the weekends and I do ride during the week to work so its gonna take her longer to get in to condition as far as seat time. She is a runner so her wind should be good but I don't want her to get discouraged and get hurt or drop out and feel bad about it or go farther than she should because of me I'd quit before I let that happen. We want it to be a fun experience for both of us and if we have to wait till 08 then thats ok. We can do some 30 and 50 milers together next year and do the training gig for the STP in 08 unless she feels like she can do it next year we will Thanks for all the good info you all are very helpful

  22. #22
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    I really do think you have plenty of time to prepare, especially for doing it in two days. My gf and I did together in 2005 in two days, and it was the first time doing the ride and day one was the longest ride to date for both of us.

    She got some very good advice to stay in Vader after the first day. There is very little to do in a small town anyway, and riding more miles the first day insures that you will sleep better. I was pretty much out light a light the minute I hit that wrestling mat on the gym floor. Even if you feel crappy the next day (I didn't) you have put more miles behind you the first day so the second day will be shorter.

    I did my second STP and first 1 day STP this year. I did quite a bit less training than I planned. My longest training ride was about 110 miles, and a lot of the rest of the training was doing a 4 mile loop near my house with one nasty hill and a stretch of flat with a wicked headwind. I'd do 5 or 10 repetitions a few times a week after work or on Sunday evenings, and go on one or two longer rides on the weekends.

    I found the hill repeats to be very helpful. The terrain in the last third of the ride is more rolling, and while the much touted Puyallup hill is no picnic it's those smaller hills later in the ride that can really get you down because you're more tired. I'm not talking about any kind of hard core fast climbing, but just learning your body and the gears and being able to get into a rhythm with it is important.

    The last aspect of it is the crowds. I definitely recommend doing a few organized group rides just to get used to the feeling of riding in a larger group.

  23. #23
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon
    I found the hill repeats to be very helpful. The terrain in the last third of the ride is more rolling, and while the much touted Puyallup hill is no picnic it's those smaller hills later in the ride that can really get you down because you're more tired. I'm not talking about any kind of hard core fast climbing, but just learning your body and the gears and being able to get into a rhythm with it is important.
    I think the headwinds coming at you constantly on some of the flatter parts of the course (right after the first day's lunch stop) are the worst part. The only other bad part of the ride is the high heat entering Portland via 30. For some reason, that was always a constant on every STP I've done. The Puyallup hill can pose a challenge if you're not conditioned but it's relatively short. Drop into a low gear and grind away while thinking of better moments. The tricky part is making sure you don't get taken down by people weaving back and forth on the climb. I recall seeing bits and pieces of a rear derailleur (jockey wheel, cage, spring) one year on the climb. I gather that person did not have the best of days.
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  24. #24
    fiddling with my bike msviolin57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon
    She got some very good advice to stay in Vader after the first day. There is very little to do in a small town anyway, and riding more miles the first day insures that you will sleep better. I was pretty much out light a light the minute I hit that wrestling mat on the gym floor. Even if you feel crappy the next day (I didn't) you have put more miles behind you the first day so the second day will be shorter.
    I stay in Winlock for that very reason. It's not much bigger than Vader, and once you eat dinner, it's time to sleep! The next day there are *only* 80-some miles to go!
    Last edited by msviolin57; 09-15-06 at 09:00 AM.

  25. #25
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    The tricky part is making sure you don't get taken down by people weaving back and forth on the climb.
    ...or in the first 10-15 miles for that matter. I didn't want to scare the original poster though. The climbs are definitely the worst though. That's why I placed on emphasis on climbing preparation. When you get the knack of it it's easier to spot and avoid sketchy riders because you're not distracted by trying to find the right gear/cadence combination.

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