Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seattle To Portland Bike Ride (Recap)

Here are a few photos from the Seattle To Portland (STP) Bike Ride last weekend. It was fun, difficult, tiring, and I'm glad it's over. But I'm also really proud of myself; I wasn't sure that I had 200 miles in me. Saturday morning started out at 5 am. Papa picked us up and we headed down to UW.Th start line was busy but we tagged on to a group that was heading out and off we went. The route took us along Lake Washington Boulevard and past the Boeing Renton plant. Our first stop was at the REI warehouse, south of Seattle. I managed to leave my sunglasses one of the many [hundreds] of porta potties but, by some small miracle, was able to recover them. This was one of the busiest rest stops. With 10,000 people requiring food, water, and bathrooms, the lines were unsurprisingly miles long.
This guy gets the award for the most awesome, incredible hair. Had my hair been that long and flowing freely, I would have probably chopped it off before we'd ridden 5 miles.

Nice. I'm liking the horn helmet.

Papa, at our lunch rest stop.

Hey! Are you twittering? During our bike ride?

I don't know about you, but I've yet to meet any folks that look particularly great wearing a giant puffy block of Styrofoam [aka a helmet] on their head. I know I sure don't.

Chris wears it better than I.

This dude? Rode 200 miles on a skateboard. I am very impressed. And did I mention the guy that rode the route on a unicycle? A tall unicycle? In the rain? With thunder and lightening and slick hills? Wow. [Of course, I failed to get pictures of the unicycle dude]

The halfway point (mile 100) was in Centralia. Cascade Bicycle takes over the community college campus and folks set up tents, take showers, and eat some grub. Here is Chris passing under the misters at the college. To the guy [or gal] that decided to hand out ice cream as we pulled into the college: you are brilliant. Thank you. By sheer, dumb luck, we managed to secure a hotel for the night in Centralia. Mattresses. They are heavenly. I went to bed at 7:30 pm and slept until 5:30 am. But I'm jumping ahead of myself here. Because we didn't have to set up camp in Centralia, we decided to put a few more miles under our belt to make the next day slightly less hectic/long. It was a wise decision and they turned out to be my favorite miles of the entire trip. It was beautiful, rolling countryside and we'd left the hordes of bicyclists that had accompanied us through the previous miles. It was nice. Well, it was nice until we hit mile 114.5. Unfortunately, someone decided to stick a massive hill into the route, right before the town of Winlock. After that hill, I was toast. So, with 115 miles down, we called it a day.

I lay down in the grass and took a nap while our sag wagon (aka Mom) drove the last few miles down from Seattle. After that, it was off to the hotel for a shower and then dinner. And then blissful sleep.

Dude. We had a monk! Riding the race! In all his monkish robes. How cool is that? On a side note: Do you suppose he is wearing anything under those robes? Chamois? You'd think he would get saddle sore rather quickly..

We had one flat tire. It was a group repair effort..

Well, Chris and Dad did most of the repair. Someone else might have been more interested in stopping to smell the roadside flowers..

ohh. Look at you with the fancy no-hands moves.

The course crossed the river in Longview and we lined up to wait before going over the bridge.

I was ready for a rest.

Oh, my dear little Fuji, you did so well! Not a single flat tire, loose screw, or squeaky brake.

Yes, Chris may have the fancy cool sunglasses, but check out my red safety glasses. You simply can't beat that awesomeness.

And we are still waiting for the bridge to clear. It started raining at the top which made the decent rather treacherous. We saw a few nasty crashes.

Once on the Oregon side, the route was rather unpleasant: a busy highway with lots of traffic and a small shoulder. My least favorite 40 miles of the race. We did find a nice truck scale that made for a good rest break.

Downtown Portland! We are sooooo close.

Yes. We made it! Please, can I go to bed now? I want to sleep forever...

Once at the park we ran into Rebecca and her entourage which was great fun. They're going for the one-day ride next year. Me? I'm not so sure.

We changed, wolfed down some grub, took a quick spin around the vendor booths, and climbed into the car for the ride home. Success.