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  1. #1
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    Juanita Hill vs. Puyallup Hill

    I'm trying to gauge the challenges on the STP route. Puyallup is "THE HILL" according to everything I read, but looking at elevation data it appears no worse and possibly easier than Juanita Hill on the Lake Washington Loop. Am I missing something?

  2. #2
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    They are pretty similar. The only thing that makes them a bit difficult is the 50 miles that you ride before climbing the hill.

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    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    I think the Puyallup hill is easier - although you won't generally be playing dodge-bike on Juanita...

    Be careful, folks tend to be pretty unpredictable on the Puyallup Hill. A few years ago I was passing folks in the leftish side of the lane when the person in front of me literally hit the brakes and stopped dead right in front of me (left side of the lane).

    I managed to stop and get my foot unclipped in time. Several others were not so lucky...

    For my money, the toughest hill on the STP is the little short hill by the hospital coming into Portland. It's short and steep, and folks are tired and *very* unpredictable...

    Have fun - this is my year to load trucks...

  4. #4
    Clyde - Grinder Kamala's Avatar
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    Haven't decided to do it yet for sure despite booking a Chehalis hotel room earlier today. Am way behind on the training schedule, but am handling 3-4 hour rides with no problem. Will probably register and do Flying Wheels with a shorter ride the next day to see if I am even in the neighborhood. My friend is banging on me to do STP but she has terrible judgment and isn't thinking about my need to keep exercising after STP to keep up on my weight loss program.

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    I only remember two hills on the STP. I remember the Puyallup Hill because it was surprisingly easy and also very crowded. And I remember one of the last hills in Portland because everyone is so tired when they get to it. The guy in front of me stopped abruptly right before the hill (as we just got sight of it) for no reason that I could tell, I was able to stop before hitting him but the guy behind me ran into me. It's just a mess because everyone is tired and ready to be at the finish line.

    I can't speak for everyone, but the things that bothered me the most were having to pee and my butt getting sore. If you're just smart about using energy (not using much) you shouldn't have any problems. Haven't done Juanita Hill, though, so I can't compare them. The Puyallup hill is not that steep, just kind of long.

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    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    Where can I find the profile of Puyallup Hill?

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    The Puyallup hill is really nothing. It is only mentioned because it is the ONLY hill. It is short and not very steep. You encounter much bigger hills just riding around Seattle. What I remember about Juanita hill is that there was no shoulder at all, just car lanes, but that was 20+ years ago. I only once attempted it and swore I'd never do it again, and never did.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    yeah, the short hill at the end (by the hospital) is a tough one.

    Also, the hill into Napavine and the longish hill in Vader can be tough in the afternoon.

    None of the hills on STP are difficult really, just take it slow and you'll be fine.

    (the Puyallup hill comes and goes before you know it.)

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    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    Thanks all:
    Seems like a very flat ride compared to the hills that are available to you and me. looking forward to my first STP ride.

  10. #10
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    Here is a link to Jim Carson's 2004 data showing the profile (and, in orange, the temperature that year) for the STP route.

    The hill is a mile long, more or less, and according to survey data for monuments in the intersections at the bottom and top of the hill (findable on-line from Pierce County Public Works), the elevation at point "2201" at the bottom is 30 feet ("scaled") and at the top, 338.826 feet. That would calculate at about 308 feet of elevation change.
    5.83% grade, but there is a false-flat part in the middle.

    The Napavine hill, starting from the corner at Rush Road, is about 1.25 miles long (up to the school/park, a block short of the banana bread). Starts out gentle and then steepens up, total climb maybe 300 feet.

  11. #11
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Yeah "the hill" isn't all that much, unless you've never ridden up a grade before. For somebody from FL, it might seem like a lot, but climbs like Juanita, and just about any of the city hills (QA, Cap, etc) are about the same length.

    Just go out and do Cougar Mtn some time, and the hill will be put in perspective.

    I think Juanita's a little less steep, and maybe longer than 'the hill' but it isn't that bad, as others have noted. Btw Juanita does have shoulders now, it's not too scary.

    There are some "rolling" hills in the last 50 miles on STP that I noticed.. but they weren't bad. TAnd the hospital hill at the end seems to get a bad rap, but that thing is about 30 feet long! You could walk up it if it comes down to it.

    Anyway, have fun out there! I might do the one day.
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    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Which side of Juanita Hill are we talking about? The north side is steeper and shorter than the south side.

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    Climbing and Biking octopuswithafez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleShaun View Post
    I think the Puyallup hill is easier - although you won't generally be playing dodge-bike on Juanita...

    Be careful, folks tend to be pretty unpredictable on the Puyallup Hill. A few years ago I was passing folks in the leftish side of the lane when the person in front of me literally hit the brakes and stopped dead right in front of me (left side of the lane).

    I managed to stop and get my foot unclipped in time. Several others were not so lucky...

    For my money, the toughest hill on the STP is the little short hill by the hospital coming into Portland. It's short and steep, and folks are tired and *very* unpredictable...

    Have fun - this is my year to load trucks...
    yes, that last hill in PDX is an eye-opener, especially after 200 miles ;-)

  14. #14
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swc7916 View Post
    Which side of Juanita Hill are we talking about? The north side is steeper and shorter than the south side.
    Good point - I was thinking of the south side approach. Indeed coming the other way is a little tougher, probably closer to "the hill."
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  15. #15
    Raptobike Rider djwid's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear that Juanita hill is a good estimate for the harder hills of the STP. I have ridden the north to south version of Juanita Dr at the tail end of a century so don't expect any issues on the STP.
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  16. #16
    Cheers! 2wheeled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
    Here is a link to Jim Carson's 2004 data showing the profile (and, in orange, the temperature that year) for the STP route.

    The hill is a mile long, more or less, and according to survey data for monuments in the intersections at the bottom and top of the hill (findable on-line from Pierce County Public Works), the elevation at point "2201" at the bottom is 30 feet ("scaled") and at the top, 338.826 feet. That would calculate at about 308 feet of elevation change.
    5.83% grade, but there is a false-flat part in the middle.

    The Napavine hill, starting from the corner at Rush Road, is about 1.25 miles long (up to the school/park, a block short of the banana bread). Starts out gentle and then steepens up, total climb maybe 300 feet.
    Great link to show the profile, puts things into perspective.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Breadpudding's Avatar
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    I've never done STP and I'm planning to do it this next year... guess I'm kind of at a benefit because I live on Puyallup Hill? I'll be honest though, at this point I avoid going down it because I know there's no way back up without hitting that hill or one of the 2 others that are just as bad if not worse. (one I can't remember the name, the other is Shaw Road from Pioneer to 128th, it's hell.)
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