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  1. #1
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    STP - What Bike?

    Hello,

    I live in Auburn and not too far from where the STP riders come by every year. Last year, after spectating, I decided I would like to take a crack at the 200 mile ride this year but in the 2 day option. Ive been biking on and off and use either my commuter Trek fx or my road bike. I don't bike a ton of miles per week but feel confident I could ride 40 miles right now if I had to. The road bike I have is light as a feather but the trek is so much more 'natural' for me. It has better gearing for climbing but is heavier and slower than the road bike. I'm 280lbs and 50 yrs of age.

    So, I would prefer to ride my trek (panniers, easier on my aging back etc), but is that sensible? I have no problem knocking out 30+ miles on either bike but 60,70,80,100 mile rides have not been attempted. I am noticeably slower on the trek - but not by much.

    What do you guys think?

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    I think it's a do-able proposition. Although the majority are road bikes I do see a few mountain bikes w/slicks (some w/knobbies!), and a bunch of hybrids. If you train with your Trek and can do the lake WA loop (~55mi) comfortably with no problems then I'd say why not. Logically/theoretically speaking the road bike will probably be more efficient, although it sounds like it may not be as comfortable for someone at your age and weight. I would at least try to see if you can get the road bike fitted to see if you can get comfortable on that, since if you can it means less energy spent for you.

    The bottom line is that for the 2 day option you can go with either bike, the only "skill" you need to have is to put in the training miles on your preferred bike prior to the event (comfortable doing ~80 mi/day). On STP you'll see grandmas, 10 year olds, a unicyclist, and everything in between. Go out and put in those miles and you'll have a great time!

  3. #3
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Thanks.
    I agree, from spectating, the popular bike is a road bike but they are traveling at15mph+. My rides are usually in the 12mph range. I LOVE to ride with a camera and will stop for taking pictures etc. Therefore, my avg drops to approx. 11mph. Another reason i would ride the trek is to use the panniers to carry a camera etc.

    I think Im talking myself into riding the trek. I checked my logs and the furthest I have ridden the trek is 50 miles. Im not a total newb and have upgrades such as 'pin' pedals and 5-10 shoes (stiff soles). I not a fan of 'clipping in' and trying to 'flip' cages annoy me.

    I guess I imagine myself riding the STP at my own pace and snapping pics as I go. The reality after 100 miles or so is probably very different
    Last edited by JackoDandy; 03-17-13 at 06:44 PM.

  4. #4
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I've only ridden STP once, and will do it again this year, so take this thought as just two cents' worth . . .

    You don't need to go fast, but there is some value to not dawdling too much. Each day is 100 miles if you stop in Centralia. The first day, if you ride at 12 mph and stop for pictures, plus the food and drink and pee stops, it will take you over 10 hours. Suppose you leave U of W at 8 am, you're not in Centralia until 6 pm. Then collect your bag from the truck, find a camping spot, set up (or get to your motel, etc) and you have maybe two hours to shower, eat and drink, before you conk out. That is not ideal in my view. I liked the Centralia stop, there are thousands of cyclists, lots to eat, beer, music, it is a fun place. Plus, 10 hours in the saddle is just a long time. IF you can, I would hold a faster pace. Similar with the second day.

    But, if you can only do 12 mph, or just strongly prefer the slow and steady pace, it will still work - as mentioned, 10,000 people do it including plenty of people riding very slowly. I talked with a guy doing it on a unicycle.

    I left U of W before 6 am, arrived at Centralia around [corrected] 12:30 am , and loved having the whole afternoon to walk around, lay in the sun, nap, etc. This year, I will ride slower as I'm going with a group including my wife and son.

    Which bike - either will do. I'd ride both in your training and take whichever one is most comfortable for you over a long distance, and if they are equally comfortable, then whichever one is faster. Get it checked over by a bike mechanic, or do that yourself, and be prepared to change a flat tube if needed.

    By July you should be doing training rides of at least 50 miles (no long stops) without any difficulty, still feeling pretty good at the end, both legs and rear end. Then you can do 100 miles on Sat with maybe a little difficulty, and the second 100 miles on Sun may be challenging but you'll be able to do it.

    See you there!
    Last edited by jyl; 03-18-13 at 12:26 PM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    I've only ridden STP once, and will do it again this year, so take this thought as just two cents' worth . . .

    You don't need to go fast, but there is some value to not dawdling too much. Each day is 100 miles if you stop in Centralia. The first day, if you ride at 12 mph and stop for pictures, plus the food and drink and pee stops, it will take you over 10 hours. Suppose you leave U of W at 8 am, you're not in Centralia until 6 pm. Then collect your bag from the truck, find a camping spot, set up (or get to your motel, etc) and you have maybe two hours to shower, eat and drink, before you conk out. That is not ideal in my view. I liked the Centralia stop, there are thousands of cyclists, lots to eat, beer, music, it is a fun place. Plus, 10 hours in the saddle is just a long time. IF you can, I would hold a faster pace. Similar with the second day.

    But, if you can only do 12 mph, or just strongly prefer the slow and steady pace, it will still work - as mentioned, 10,000 people do it including plenty of people riding very slowly. I talked with a guy doing it on a unicycle.

    I left U of W before 6 am, arrived at Centralia around 11:30 am, and loved having the whole afternoon to walk around, lay in the sun, nap, etc. This year, I will ride slower as I'm going with a group including my wife and son.

    Which bike - either will do. I'd ride both in your training and take whichever one is most comfortable for you over a long distance, and if they are equally comfortable, then whichever one is faster. Get it checked over by a bike mechanic, or do that yourself, and be prepared to change a flat tube if needed.

    By July you should be doing training rides of at least 50 miles (no long stops) without any difficulty, still feeling pretty good at the end, both legs and rear end. Then you can do 100 miles on Sat with maybe a little difficulty, and the second 100 miles on Sun may be challenging but you'll be able to do it.

    See you there!
    Thanks for all the information. I am lucky that my family is driving down as I ride down and by the time I get to Centralia, they will have our camp-trailer all setup and spaghetti and meatballs on the table . So all I have to do is get to Centralia and collapse . I agree that its a long way on the trek but I'm sure that I could handle a 50 mile ride right now on the trek - and on roads not bike path. I'm slow but determined. I plan on leaving the start line as close to 6AM as possible. I also rode 25 miles on the trek this weekend and will start doing short evening rides (every other night) to get my butt broken in and to build base miles. Regular 50 mile rides by July seems very doable. Its exciting - thanks! PS - you got to Centralia by 1130 ? Yikes - nice job
    Last edited by JackoDandy; 03-18-13 at 11:13 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    You might give riding the Redmond Flying Wheels metric century on your Trek as a training ride. If you can do that comfortably it is said by many that you are ready for the STP in two days. I agree that you should have a reputable shop fit you to your road bike, even if it has aggressive geometry often it can be tweaked to a more relaxed fit.


    Mark

  7. #7
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackoDandy View Post
    PS - you got to Centralia by 1130 ? Yikes - nice job
    Sorry! I was wrong - looked it up on the GPS app - I got to Centralia by 12:30. My apologies, I remembered the earlier time but it did seem too good to be true.

    Left 5:19 am (second group), 5h48m riding, 1h05m stopped (food/drink/pee stops), avg speed 17 mph, rode solo.

    Two other things.

    Everyone told me to eat as much as I could at every stop (stay fueled). I took this a little too literally and was stuffing my face at the stops and even took extra food and ate it after getting back on the bike. By the time I got to Centralia I was so full, practically bloated, and wasn't hungry until that evening. During my training rides I didn't eat, so I failed to learn a good eating pace, and that was a rookie mistake.

    Also, on the bike checkup - on day two, I lost nearly an hour fixing both a shifting problem and a braking problem on the road, and a week after the ride, I noticed that my rear wheel seemed loose, turned out the axle was broken! I had failed to really check out my bike before the ride, and that was another rookie mistake.
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  8. #8
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    Ride whichever bike you are most comfortable on. Your are going to be in the saddle for a lot of hours. Comfort is more important than speed.

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    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I do intend to ride the flying wheels ride. Probably the 60 mile route. Its not far of a drive to Redmond for me so it will be a nice practice. I was originally fitted for my road bike a few years ago. I have lots of miles on the bike but this last year I have developed back pain if 'hooched' over for too long. I switched to my summer-commuter, the trek, and though its heavier, its much less wear on the back. The question is can I propel the trek for as long as I can the road bike. As for 'jyl' arriving in Centralia at 1230, you'd still be half a day quicker than I would Were you not tempted to try the 1-day goal at that point? I have a buddy who finished the 1-day at 9pm at night so it sounds like it was doable for you!

  10. #10
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I was not tempted, as I wanted to enjoy the Centralia stop.

    Even in retrospect, I'm glad I didn't continue on. After a good night's sleep, I rode for 6h40m on Sunday with 2h07m stopped (there's that time lost to repairs!). So if I'd continued on, I would have probably arrived in Portland well after 10 pm. The long stretch on Highway 30 is not somewhere I'd want to be riding in the dark, tired and not alert, with just the one little red LED that I had on the bike. It would have been dangerous and unpleasant.

    To do it in one day solo, I'd want to be able to average at least 17 mph the whole way, with a lot less stopping. That would be a very tall order for me, I'm nowhere near that fitness.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Clarabelle's Avatar
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    I'd go with the bike you are most comfortable riding. Sore butts and aching muscles are more of a concern that pace.

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    You will have more time to take pictures if you can economize on time at the stops. For instance, if you pick up something to nibble on before you get in line for the porta-potties, you can eat while you wait your turn.

    The food is good, but shouldn't be the reason you spend time at one of the major stops. Have some ziplock bags along to stick a half-banana into to eat a ways down the road. Lines are usually shorter at the minor stops, too.

    Be sure your bike is in good shape, be sure you have a few spare tubes and tire patch kit and know how to use it. Especially before Puyallup, ride carefully due to the number of other riders sharing the road with you; keep your eyes open for potholes, etc.

    and you'll have a great time.

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    Yes, something I forgot mention was the food. As others have hinted getting your intake right prior to STP will be important and attribute just as much to your enjoyment of the ride as saddle time during training will. Also, especially for those enjoying the ride its a very social event so I'm sure you will pick up at least a few new friends along the way.

  14. #14
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yamsyamsyams View Post
    Yes, something I forgot mention was the food. As others have hinted getting your intake right prior to STP will be important and attribute just as much to your enjoyment of the ride as saddle time during training will. Also, especially for those enjoying the ride its a very social event so I'm sure you will pick up at least a few new friends along the way.
    Thank you all for the feedback. As luck would have it I busted a spoke on my super-reliable trek on Tuesday nights fun ride - first time Ive ever popped a spoke. I took the wheel to the local LBS and he still has it. So Ive been riding the road bike on the indoor trainer as its wet and wild out there.

    Thanks for the tips on food. A friend of mine said the lunch stop on both days was very impressive.

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    Last year we left late for a two day ride, and averaged 12.7 miles per hour in the pedals for the first day, 13.4 the second day (took more rest time). I settled on a bicycle to bring several months ago (Road Bike - 23 tires), and have been fine tuning the fit ever since.

    We spent close to two hours in Centralia eating warm pizza and toasting the first ever century by one of the Vegas riders, before climbing back in the pedals & charging down the road to Vader for a well deserved shower, large carb intake and a solid nights rest.

    Up quite early on the second day and discovered it does rain in Washington, or as the locals said, was only a wet Fog!!! The remainder of the ride was easy, and my legs, and ass were not a problem. But I had been riding 600+ miles for the last two month prior to the STP event last year.

    This is May and i have completed
    845 km or 525.059 miles this month, a few more than my April total. I have three more weeks of riding, as I have a trip scheduled for late June. I will have 5 days to practice when I return home, including a Wednesday ride up north in Beaverton to make certain I have reassembled the bicycle correctly. I am looking forward to a wonderful July cycling event again, escaping the July heat wave in Vegas.

    All I would suggest is decide upon a bicycle, and fit it for some long mile riding (do a century if possible), skinny tires (1.25), 11-34 cogs, with a standard double to increase your travel time/speeds when in the pedals with only a slight downhill. Work on a stair stepper when to wet to ride so you can easily ride out of the saddle every time you feel the need to shift down a gear to make the ride easier.

    Take twice/three times as many digital photos you might want, but do not spend a lot of time taking them, you can cull or crop them on your computer late July and
    August after the ride...

    JR - My two cents -

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    Hope your training is going well.
    If you want to leave at 6 am, I strongly recommend having your family drop you off outside of the UW parking lot. At that time of the morning its a long wait to get into the start point for 10,000+ people. & you can get pretty antsy sitting in a car waiting for the traffic mess that is alas traditional.

    Also, traditionally for some reason 520 is usually closed.

    It is a staggered start & so several hundreds queue up to the start line & leave in herd like fashion. I avoid it. But embarrassedly I've done this thing 20 x's so some things are not worth it to me.

    As others mention correctly food is a big deal. Eating as you go is pretty mandatory. I bring my own electrolyte powder. Though the volunteers are great, Not all are experienced in making up the drinks. A sour stomach can be really hard on one when doing a double century.

    Expect the unexpected, especially around any place people are starting stopping & pulling out of like rest stops. Second people are tired & not as aware all the time as they should be.

    You probably will not sleep much the night B4, not to worry its part of the ride.

    Take a deep breath as you leave the house & stop & go thru your inventory of what you will need.
    If I don't ride to the start, I make sure & do all the loading myself. As nothing worse but getting to the start & realize that you don't have something you need.

    Main thing to remember have fun. By adding sometime to your helmet (safely) or bike (safely) that is humorous will draw comments from others & make the miles swing by that much easier.
    As Usual stay safe &
    Keep the Rubber Side Down & the Sunnier Side UP!

  17. #17
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RydeBig View Post
    Hope your training is going well.
    If you want to leave at 6 am, I strongly recommend having your family drop you off outside of the UW parking lot. At that time of the morning its a long wait to get into the start point for 10,000+ people. & you can get pretty antsy sitting in a car waiting for the traffic mess that is alas traditional.

    Also, traditionally for some reason 520 is usually closed.

    It is a staggered start & so several hundreds queue up to the start line & leave in herd like fashion. I avoid it. But embarrassedly I've done this thing 20 x's so some things are not worth it to me.

    As others mention correctly food is a big deal. Eating as you go is pretty mandatory. I bring my own electrolyte powder. Though the volunteers are great, Not all are experienced in making up the drinks. A sour stomach can be really hard on one when doing a double century.

    Expect the unexpected, especially around any place people are starting stopping & pulling out of like rest stops. Second people are tired & not as aware all the time as they should be.

    You probably will not sleep much the night B4, not to worry its part of the ride.

    Take a deep breath as you leave the house & stop & go thru your inventory of what you will need.
    If I don't ride to the start, I make sure & do all the loading myself. As nothing worse but getting to the start & realize that you don't have something you need.

    Main thing to remember have fun. By adding sometime to your helmet (safely) or bike (safely) that is humorous will draw comments from others & make the miles swing by that much easier.
    I wish I had better news but I had to pull out of training due to slipping a disk in my back. Ive been relegated to small, local rides for the last few months.

    There's always next year I guess...

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    Sorry to hear that.
    I've had a lot of back problems & strangely riding has been my therapy over the years. But as your finding out everything in moderation. Next year is a good goal.
    As Usual stay safe &
    Keep the Rubber Side Down & the Sunnier Side UP!

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    Sorry to hear that,I hope you feel better, back problems is no joke on long bike rides. I had experienced both 1 and 2 day STP and it was a blast, recover and next year you will experience it too.

  20. #20
    Senior Member JackoDandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m1gel View Post
    Sorry to hear that,I hope you feel better, back problems is no joke on long bike rides. I had experienced both 1 and 2 day STP and it was a blast, recover and next year you will experience it too.
    Thank you for the kind words

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackoDandy View Post
    I wish I had better news but I had to pull out of training due to slipping a disk in my back. Ive been relegated to small, local rides for the last few months.

    There's always next year I guess...
    JackoDandy,

    I am visiting Japan, but still training. I was unable to ride in the first event I entered 2011, and discovered I was to late to cancel for a refund. Made me more determined to be in better condition for the next year event 2012.

    I wish you a quick recovery and as they say here in Japan "Gunbatte" (do your best).

    JR

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