Wednesday, November 28, 2007

STP 2007 -- Day 1

What do you get when you combine over 200 miles of cycling in two days, three people who have spent a combined total of maybe 200 miles on their bikes in the last 6 months, and a whole lot of hills? Complaining, complaining, sore heineys, and lots of chaffing. Oh, and a big huge serving of humble pie. It wasn't pretty.

Ken, Nadine, Brian, and I left Vancouver on Friday afternoon to head to our hotel in Seattle. The traffic from Olympia to Seattle was dreadful and took several hours. At one point Brian's GPS logged an average speed of 15mph -- similar to our STP pace! We finally arrived at the hotel and after checking in we drove to where we would start our ride. Then began the search for a nice, hearty meal. We were in bed around 11pm, but I got little sleep due to 3 snoring people in my room. I won't mention names.

At 4am a chorus of alarms sounded and we methodically packed up, lubed up, aired up, and got to the starting point. Within seconds, pace-line upon pace-line breezed past us. We stopped at the REI Kent rest stop for bathrooms. I later regretted not taking some food, as it turned out to be the best stop of the weekend.

We rolled into Puyallup sooner than expected and came upon "The Hill" without any warning. It was just all of a sudden there, looming over us. It was more long than it was difficult, but I had already worked myself into a frenzy about it over the past several weeks and mentally wasn't up for the challenge. Shifting into granny gear mode too soon didn't help either. I walked pretty early on and received many looks of concern. I wanted to shout "Yeah everyone, I know! I'm an idiot! You don't have to look at me like I don't know that I'm an idiot!"

Ken and Nadine were at the top patiently waiting for me, we had our picture snapped (the photo didn't turn out), and continued on our way to the Day 1 half-way mark -- Spanaway. Somewhere around this time is when I reached the longest mileage I had ever gone on a bike! Where you not reading earlier when I said that I know I'm an idiot? We got to Spanaway early enough so the lines weren't bad, water was still available, and there was plenty of food. Oh...the food...AWFUL! PB&J sandwiches on stale bread with no PB&J. We choked it down anyway and got back on the bikes. Ouch! My butt hurt already!

I don't remember much more about day 1 other than the miserable bike trail in Tenino. The trail itself wouldn't be too bad (although quite boring) except for the root system growing up through the pavement. Every 10 feet or so, "ka-thunk-ka-thunk-ka-thunk" as you jarred over broken asphalt. I lost the sponge from my aerobottle several times. I bit my tongue too.

The best part of the day was arriving in Centralia to music, cheering, and the best orange cream cicles I have ever tasted. The iced coffee was nice, but not really what you crave after riding a century. Brian was a freakin awesome dude and had already set up our camp and unloaded the car. He then proceeded to pour us beer and cook dinner while I wandered down to the massage tent. Mmm.... I went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night with no one sleeping next to me. Well, the beer garden became free after a certain time and Ken just couldn't miss out! If you don't know Ken, he snores LOUDLY when he has been drinking. So much for catching up on my sleep that night...

104 down, 104 to go!

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