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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The STP Recap - Day One: All Day!

Where to start on this epic story of epic proportions. It all began as a seedling of an idea a few month ago. Then it quickly spiraled out of control climaxing to the morning of July 11th when the alarm rang at 4:30. The day of reckoning had arrived. I was about to embark on a 202 mile journey, via bicycle, from Seattle to Portland. Now, because I’m a Virgo, and Virgos manifest their angst via their digestive systems, I had been nauseated the night before and the pre-dawn breakfast was not sounding delicious. But, whatevs, I knew my nerves would calm and I would be ravishingly hungry later in the day. My stomach as aching, the 4 hours of sleep was not nearly enough, and my sense of enthusiasm was lacking.

I stumbled out of bed showered and squeezed into my riding gear. Comfortable, I was not, but ready to ride? Absolutely. After picking up Davie and heading toward Husky stadium we unloaded at the QFC to avoid traffic and made out way to the start line. After long wait in the port-a-potty line and a quick stop at the mechanic station, we were OFF!

6:37 am and moving a whooping 9 mph…jammed up with several hundred other riders, we eventually thinned out. The morning was beautiful. Sunrise, Mt. Rainier poised in the background over the calm lake, boats quietly docked in their slips and the trees stood still. After reading the course notes, I knew if I could make it out of the first 10 miles without incident, that would be a good sign.

Before you knew it, we were 23 miles in and the REI rest stop was party central. The course had been pretty fast and flat and I was feeling pretty good. I think I may have even been smiling. After refueling, rehydrating and taking a little break, we headed out again for Spanaway Junior High, the official lunch stop. I knew the Puyallup hill was on this section so most of the time my thoughts wandered along the lines of, “Really, how steep can it be?” to “If that guy can make it up, I better make it.” To “I’m going to do that hill not matter how long I have to granny gear it.” To, “is it just me, or it starting to get a little warm out.” To, “Mmmmm….biker boys…..mmmmm.” Sorry, I digress.

Sure enough you turn the corner and you start the climb. The hill was smooth, recently asphalted with “helpful” signs the indicated how far along you were. When I saw the first sign that said, “1/4 of the was there!” I resolved to stare straight ahead and not read another sign. Once reaching the top I thought, “Hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad.” We hit some rolling hills afterwards which were a bit of a bugger but lunch was just up on ahead. Thank goodness for perfect timing.

At this point, I was starving, almost ready to eat the leather off my shoes. Lunch was packed with long lines for food, water and port-a-potties but we found ourselves a shaded area to cool off and enjoy our lunch. Food was exactly what I needed and after a large amount of carbs and some protein, I was ready to roll out again to get jump on our next section. The hill had been conquered and we were half way done by 11:30.

The road was long and straight for this stretch which meant lots of people passing this house on wheels. I felt pretty good about actually keeping up with groups and passing some people. At this point just getting to the next stop was the overall goal. We pulled into Yelm and the weather reader board read 91 degrees. It didn’t feel that hot but the wind generated by riding keeps you cooler. Only when you stop do you notice the temperature really cooking.

The stretch from Yelm to Centralia was a God-send. Mostly trail riding which is what I usually do and I had trained 75% on. I was comfortable here. It was shaded. We were clocking a good speed and we seemed to be scooting by lots of riders. Plus, we were in the home stretch so really, can’t complain.

We pulled into Centralia, I felt good, tired, hot, arms were weak and was all around at a loss of what to do next. So we sat for a moment, enjoyed the world’s best orangesicle and reveled in the completing our first 99 miles without incident. That’s really all I was hoping for.

Mom loaded us up, we went on a mission for food, consumed large amounts of calories, drove to the hotel, which was probably the smarts decision of the whole trip, and after several pain killers and sleep aides, collapsed into bed.

Day 2 is where it gets interesting. Stay Tuned. In the mean time, enjoy these pictures of the first day.


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