STP 2011: it all boils down to this

I suppose I'll ride a couple hundred miles tomorrow.

When you boil things down you get an intensified flavour; a high concentration of the good stuff if you will. STP was definitely a concentration of our good stuff. The ride was, without question, our strongest and best effort of the season!

Our travel to Seattle on Friday was ideal. We had no traffic, minimal border wait, a good little lunch at Trader Joe’s and mini shop at REI in Bellingham. On to Seattle where we off-loaded at the hotel with military precision.

Scram Jet getting his shit together
We had plenty of afternoon left to walk to a nearby bike shop and prep all our kit for Saturday’s ride. Krista had made reservations at an Italian restaurant near the start so we could drop the car Friday night and walk back to the hotel whilst digesting. Dinner was great and gave us an opportunity to connect with Mark and Doug before the ride. Doug was going to ride a one day and Mark was doing the two day – it was STP number 2 for both of them. Good food with friends allowed us all to share our pre-ride jitters.

This just screams VIRGO!!!!!

Back to the hotel to relax, put back some melatonin and attempt sleep.

0330 Saturday.
Here we go again!
In a semi-conscious state we fumbled on our kit and arranged our gear. Down to the hotel breakfast buffet at 0400 for as many carbs, fruit and coffee as we could stomach at such an unfamiliar hour. At 0430 we saddled up for the short ride to the start line. Grabbed our bags out of the car and dropped them at the Portland bound trucks. We lined up just as the first wave of riders blasted off. Cool air and nervous twitching blew through the pack as we waited our turn. Ten minutes later we were sent on our merry way. Just the clicking of shifters and whirring of chains filled the air as blinking bike lights perforated the slowly fading darkness. We managed to stay close together despite the dozens of riders eagerly riding together.
"Why am I doing this?"

I think it was somewhere around the 30-35km point that we noted a shiny carbon Helios go blazing by us – it was Doug! We called out to say hi but were sure he was going way too fast for us to ride any distance with him. He pulled back and joined up with us anyway. This would be to my good fortune later in the day and really all of our benefit. We stayed together as the miles rolled by and were soon at the “HILL.” This is the only place I like to show off a bit on the whole ride. I like hills and am pretty good at them. I stood on the 7% grade and rocketed past almost everyone – just cuz I could. Doug was right there with me and we all regrouped at the top. Spanaway Food Stop was calling to us.

Feelin' fresh!
When we got to Spanaway it was time to ditch the jackets and turn off lights. The glorious sun was lighting our way beautifully so it was time to load up on sunscreen, food and liquids. Doug decided at that point, he would join us for the rest of the day – excellent!

From that point on we were holding a pace line clinic swapping out pulls every 3 min at a pretty steady 32-40km/h! Plenty of folks hung on our back for stretches but then came Tom and Theresa. They jumped right in on the rotation and made our four a six. Not a bad deal to pull for 3min and basically rest for 15min. They hung with us all the way to Centralia and said we were the first sensible pace line they saw that day. I was amazed to look at my computer and see that we had ridden the first Century in under 5 hours! Our average speed was high and so were our spirits. We were working well together with our new team member and eager to have lunch. It wasn’t even 1100 yet!
There's nowhere else I'd rather be at this point

To be continued…

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