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Seattle to Portland (STP) Ride Report

Posted Sep 11 2009 11:33am
Day 1
  • Got up at 3:45am and put on gear: jersey, shorts, DZ Nuts, Jolly Rogers socks, and shoes.
  • Woke up oldest son and his friends who would be driving support vehicle for us
  • Packed last minute things in the car
  • Put address in the GPS (Renamed to Pam during the trip by son’s friends)
  • Drove to University of Washington Husky Stadium
  • Got out of car – felt kind of cold so put on jackets


  • Shoved off and took our first pedal strokes
  • Rode through Seattle and only missed one turn (good thing I was riding with others) not sure how I missed it with such good Dan Henry's.
  • Rode along Lake Washington and checked out rowers and fisherman as the sun came up


  • Climbed first hill and took jackets off
  • Tried to figure out where to put jackets. Ended up tying them to bikes. Shouldn't have brought them in hindsight.
  • 1st rest stop at convenience store – asked clerk with nose ring if we could fill up water bottles (Answer was yes)
  • Sat on curb in parking lot and ate baggies of trail mix
  • Pace lined, pace lined, pace lined
  • Watched squirrel attempt to run across the road only to run back and forth 4 or 5 times before he finally made it.
  • Climbed big hill outside of Puyallup
  • Stopped at convenience store at top of hill – asked grouchy guy behind counter if we could fill up water bottles and he said “Today, yes but tomorrow no way” I don’t think he liked STP riders but he didn’t realize we were STP cyclist riding a day early.
  • Took care of business, washed face, applied chamois butter
  • Fresh as a daisy
  • Last 40 miles of day had a great tail wind so rode very fast and made incredible time
Mt. Ranier in the background
  • Stopped at side of road with 10 miles left and Jenny almost sat in the lane – amazing what you will do when you’re tired
  • Rolled into Centrailia @ 100 miles for the day

Jenny celebrating the completion of her first century by laying on the ground
  • Took some photos in the front of the college


  • Rode around town looking for our motel
  • Took shower, took nap, ate pizza, tried to stay awake while watching a cheesy 90’s movie and nodded off for the night.

Day 2
  • Woke up at 6:30am with plans to leave at 8:00
  • Called son’s room to wake him up
  • Jenny drove to drug store to get a bandage for knee and got pulled over, she talked her way out of ticket and drove back to motel
  • Called son’s room again to hurry things along. Pretty sure he was still asleep
  • Went downstairs and gorged on free continental breakfast
  • Packed car and waited for son to get ready. Grrrrr......
  • Left at 8:30
  • Within the first 3 miles both Jenny and oldest son complained of knee pain but decided to push on
  • Rode side by side on some rural roads for a while. Very nice.
  • Someone set up a garden hose from their house to spray out on the road for all of the cyclist that would be passing on the day. Rode through it and it felt great. Probably 8,000 of the 10,000 cyclists would ride through that over the next two days. Very thoughtful!
  • Stopped and took a picture of Rush road. Couldn’t pass that one up. Rush has some great cycling music. Geddy Lee would be proud of this picture.
  • Climbed the first really good hill of the day. Sweat poured in eyes. That didn’t used to happen when I had more hair. Some days I miss it.
  • Stopped at organized rest stop to top off bottles and snapped picture by the worlds largest egg. Kind of weird
  • Rode through 30 miles of rolling hills
  • Challenged son to king of the mountains contest. He beat me to the top of more hills over all of the rollers. ;(
Oldest Son pointing out obstacle in road
  • Jenny and oldest son were in a lot of pain and out of gas but they kept plugging away
  • Stopped at midway rest stop. Had a wrap, PB&J, banana and some heed. Jenny iced her knee and got her cleats adjusted
  • Rode through Longview and approached Longview bridge which crosses over into Oregon.
  • Motioned to another rider at the bottom of the bridge climb to pass me. As he passed he asked if I wanted to race to be the first one into Oregon. I laughed a little and let him go. As I ground up the bridge which turned out to be pretty steep I decided to take him up on his offer. I stood up and pounded pedals until he was pretty far behind me. Lucky for me I was only at mile 55 for the day but he was on mile 155. I guess I had a pretty huge advantage.
  • The 2nd half of the bridge was a huge downhill section. There were expansion joints all over the place so the ride down was really bumpy. My blinky ended up flying off of my bike on the way down but I didn’t realize it until I was a couple of miles away. That’s my donation to the state of Oregon.
Oldest Son and Jenny riding into Oregon
  • The last 45 miles of the ride were on Highway 30 which is fairly busy.
  • We pace lined for a while but we were really riding slow
  • After a while another rider joined into our pace line and agreed to take some pulls
  • That increased our pace a little and it was really nice to have another person to help with the work
  • With 30 miles left we decided to take another break so we pulled into the parking lot of a dry ice factory. Jenny curled up into an exhausted ball and oldest son hung onto his handle bars. They were spent but after 10 minutes they got back on and plugged away
Oldest Son was ticked at me for taking this picture but I knew you would appreciate it.


  • With 25 miles left John met us to ride into Portland. I don’t have a picture of John but this is what he looked and rode like.
  • John pulled most of the way into Portland for us. What a masher and lifesaver.
  • With 15 miles left we pulled over and bought some cokes at a roadside stand to put on our water bottles.
  • I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything better than that. Holy cow they hit the spot. While we were enjoying our cokes I noticed some riders laying down in the dirt. Exhaustion was hitting everyone.
  • With the city of Portland off in the visible distance and sugar our system we all picked up the pace and actually started passing people. It was great.
  • The last stretch into Portland was really fun
Crossing a bridge into downtown Portland

  • As we pulled into the finish line party people were lining the streets cheering for all of the riders coming in.
  • When we arrived we met Jenny’s former roommate which we hadn’t seen in 7 or 8 years. It was great to see her.
  • As a finishing reward I presented Jenny with a stuffed loin and flowers because she was my maillot jaune winner of the STP


After it was all said and done with it was a great two days. Jenny and oldest son notched their first two centuries in consecutive days. The second day was a sufferfest for both of them but they showed incredible determination to stick it out and finish. They were amazing.

I'm seriously considering doing the STP in one day next year (all 204 miles of it). I'm either going to need some serious counseling or coaching to make the decision. I'll let you know what I decide after more thought.
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