Thursday, July 14, 2011

Seattle to Portland Bike Ride

This past weekend I rode in the Seattle to Portland bike ride for the third time. So far I've ridden it once every five years, and that's a good timeframe -- it's not so often that you're bored, but it's often enough to know you're still in okay shape. The ride consists of 204 miles and most people, including myself, do it in two days. I passed two guys doing it on skateboards and one on a unicycle along the way. The STP is generally pretty "easy" in that there aren't a lot of hills (the second day is definitely hillier though, and US-30 into Portland is a pretty unpleasant stretch as it's a major highway with lots of traffic) and I generally latched onto pacelines going about 20mph when I could. The first day was definitely easier in terms of finding a paceline to join since there are more people on the road (both the two day and one day riders) and everyone starts from Seattle in a 3-hour window. The second day, folks start whenever (though I suspect it's roughly the same 3-hour window of 5:30am to 8:30am) but the one-day riders (25% of the 10,000 riders) are no longer on the road, and since there are many different places to stop for the night, not everyone is starting from the same point (most folks seem to stop in Centralia and Chehalis, but I spent the night in Winlock; Napavine, Kelso, Castle Rock, and Vader all have folks overnight as well) so the group is both smaller and much more spread out on the second day, making it harder to find a group that's going the speed I want. The second day's hills also make it more challenging since I not only have to find a group that's going the speed I want on the flats, but a group that also goes the same speed I want to go downhill and (generally) a speed I can keep up with going up hill. Needless to say I think about a third of the second day I was on my own, while on the first day I hardly ever was on my own.

Ultimately I finished in 12 hours of riding (plus rests) with an average speed of 16.7mpg and a maximum speed of 39.6mph (hooray for drafting downhill!). The total odometer for the trip says I biked 215.60 miles.

You can see my GPS track below, and check out the captioned photos I took along the way.

STP 2011

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