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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Seattle to Portland

Old 01-22-15, 01:46 AM
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mwarddoc
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Seattle to Portland

Searching online for some experienced with the Seattle to Portland ride, specifically riding it in one day. I've ridden it twice before, in 1992 with a Burley Tandem, and 2014 on my 30 year old 14 speed bike.

I found it great fun both times, but enjoyed last year even more, it was reasonably hot, and I love riding in the heat. Despite having no time to train and the furthest I'd ridden in many years was about 45 miles, and only 4-5 times at that distance since 1992, I did great, felt great (I not only felt great but my two of my kids rode it and they were f'ing beat at the end despite both having ridden way more than I had and being a lot younger - less than half my age, having modern bikes and equipment, and I ended up being the one to drive the two hours home).

Well, I up and signed up again, and would like to do it in one day, which distance I've never done in a day. I'm not worried about the distance, as the time is plenty, and the pace is sustainable, and I like pain and suffering because it reminds me of working for my parents. But, as I'm reading, I'm thinking I may have gotten myself into something that may not be as much fun as riding at the back of the pack.

For those of you who have ridden this in the single day, in the last 10 years, what was the road like for the first hundred? I didn't realize that so many people were doing this in one day now (I read around 2700-3000). I had kind of thought that the leading edge of the pack, being the one day riders set loose around 04:45 a.m., would be thinner, but I'm reading about it being just absolutely socked in with riders all the way to Centralia as one day riders are caught and passed by pacelines and others doing the two day, and lots of people riding in pacelines.

I rode in the midst of the pack in 1992, and as we were on the tandem we flew along, and worked with some folks in pacelines off and on. But this year I don't want to work with a paceline, in 1992 we almost crashed when a guy made a mistake and hit the guy in front of us, and I need to play it safer than before (job, kids, wife, two dogs, bills to pay...dogs need their food and comfortable beds). This last year, I rode at the tail end, leaving really at the very last moment both days, and enjoyed the ride more than before.

Is it really all that socked in with the early riders, and I do mean the very earliest takeoff time, does that continue all the way to the halfway stopover?

Any advice?

I already ordered my timing chip and now I'm questioning that need....of course, I could just start at 0830 like last year, and finish at 12 Midnight and still be finished in one day, a thought I'm giving serious consideration to from what I've been reading.
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Old 01-22-15, 09:24 AM
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Rick@OCRR
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I think you worry too much. As double centuries go, STP is one of the easy ones, quite enjoyable, not much climbing and an excellent course. The Cascade club does an excellent job with every aspect of this event.

Yes, there are a lot of riders at the early start but they are mostly experienced long-distance cyclists (with a few exceptions, I would guess) so the fact that there are so many of us is not a problem. Plus, after the first few miles, riders string out so the congestion at the very start doesn't last too long.

Most STP pace lines are safe but you do have to be particular picking which ones you join. It's usually easy to tell within a few minutes if a pace line is a good one or if you should get out. It sounds like you are experienced enough to know what to look for in that regard.

If you do the early start and keep a steady pace you will most likely finish in daylight. Have a great ride!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 01-22-15, 08:48 PM
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mwarddoc
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Thanks for the response.

"I think you worry too much."

Yes, I do worry, a lot, I'm the sole breadwinner in the family and if I have a bad accident we end up going bankrupt unless I get killed.

I actually live near the STP route, and know about some of the crashes. But, it is an fun ride, although Rte. 20 over the North Cascades is much more awesomer.

OTOH, while if I get killed I'll have enough money to buy a really amazing bike, but from my spot in Hell I may be so busy that I won't have time to ride it.

So, I just want to finish up the ride.

I'll plan on it then, and in any case, if it turns out to be a cluster, I'll just drop back and ride with my son who is riding again this year in two days.
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Old 01-22-15, 08:57 PM
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timvan_78
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I did it in 2013, in 2 days. I did day 1 at the same pace as the 1-day crew. (i.e. one of the first ones to Centralia that was actually overnighting there.) I rode by myself.

The first 50 or 60 miles were busy, but not terrible. When it got too busy I would just pass the entire group until it thinned out a bit. I passed a LOT of people in that first 50-60 miles.

I wouldn't let "fear of a crash" deter your plans, if I were you, though.
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Old 01-23-15, 12:56 AM
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Thanks again, timvan_78, you and Rick have allayed my concerns. I'd read posts elsewhere that made me wonder about it. It was nice being in the back of the pack last year, very pleasant ride.

It's not so much crashing that I'm worried about, it's the riders immediately behind me after I crash that concern me. It's only funny watching other people get run over by bikes, not watching the bike as it goes over you.
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