Monday, July 13, 2009

STP 2009 - a great ride.

I have now successfully completed my first STP. DKW and I started at 5:30 or so on day one. Here we are riding away from the start line.
STP 2009
Coming down some of the hills I hit some potholes at 30+ mph. I could feel the new dents in my rims when I tried my front brakes. I cursed but since the wheel was still true I just rode onward. Later at mile 20 or so, I turned a bit to the left to avoid hitting a women rider in front of me and down I went. A pinch flat took me out and I skidded to a stop on my left side. A nice rider named Tom was behind me and almost went down with me but managed to miss me. He stopped and helped. We didn't know why I went down until we saw the flat front tire. An STP support vehicle was helping us before I even managed to get the front wheel off. I switched modes as Larry took over the wheel, tire, tube maintenance. DKW borrowed the first aide kit from the support team and gave me an excellent field dressing.
STP 2009
After Larry bent my rim into shape with a pair of pliers and I sanded down the interior rim edges to prevent any more pinch flats we were back on the road. I did have to repair a double set of classic vampire bite holes in my tube. This patch job lasted over 130 miles.

We stopped at the next rest stop to use the port-a-potties and top off our water.
STP 2009
I unfortunately needed to help some one day riders who wrecked with directions for their support car to pick them up. They were through for the day.

As Day one progressed DKW and I both stuck mostly together and regrouped at mini-stops and/or hills. We made good time and averaged well over 16.5 mph for the first 100 miles. There was 13 miles of bike trails that were nice except for stop signs on the path yielding to driveways, which annoys me to no end. I am feeling good as we ride through here though I am keeping an eye out for potholes or bumps as I don't want to go down again.
STP 2009

We continued onward and left the trail about 13:30. Though it looks dark here it will soon be the hottest part of the day.
STP 2009

Later at the hills approaching Napavine on Rush Rd I started to feel clammy skin and I got cold instead of hot, these are signs of heat exhaustion. I stopped on the hill and dumped my spare water bottle all over my head and neck. I rested and waited for DKW to catch up. While recovering I snapped this shot of people climbing up Rush Rd.
STP 2009
A Gullwing rider stopped for us as well and gave us some bottled water which DKW and I both used to cool ourselves down. The temperature had spiked to the 90s here and we just weren't prepared. From this point onward I took the advice of a cyclist friend of mine (Willie) and kept dumping water on my head and neck any time I felt too dry. Another excellent example of the CBC support crew on this ride, I needed that extra water and I should have been keeping my skin wet with it well before the 110 mile mark.

DKW broke a spoke somewhere between here and Castle Rock. So we found an excellent stop at Castle Rock with a full bike repair crew setup. The repair team from Bothell Ski and Bike replaced DKW's spoke, trued his wheel and got him going again.
STP 2009

At this point the Broadus team caught up to us finally. They got a late start and it took them a hundred and twenty miles to catch up. One of the other riders took a picture of us all together at Castle Rock
STP 2009

At this point the Broadus team took off and DKW and I chugged along the final 35 miles for the day. I tried to keep up with the Broadus's for a bit but it was a fools game and I dropped back. I ended up following a pair of one day riders all the way to the bridge into Oregon. This was a bit too far and luckily DKW called me. I biked back to DKW and we went to the drop point to pick up our bags. I managed to hit another pothole at this point right in front of the drop point. I went down with the second bent rim and pinch flat of the day. I was not a happy camper but we walked to the drop point and then to our hotel. After dinner I bought a pair of pliers and DKW helped me get my rim back in shape. Even after all this abuse the wheel is still true. Only the rim bent which is amazing. I know the wheel is through though and after the STP I will need to get a new wheel built with my Rohloff hub in it. All of the accidents are due to reduced sightlines, I was following people too closely at mile 20 and at mile 155 I was just tired and my glasses were covered in sunscreen. I could barely see shapes let alone shadows.

Sunday morning we get on our bikes, ride back to the drop point with our bags and I start my computer again. Here we are riding off in the sun, happy to ride our final 55 miles to Portland.
STP 2009
STP 2009

Day 2 is nice but almost all of the riding is on RT 30 which is not the nicest experience. I am taking care not to hit any more bumps as there is no way my front rim will survive any more surgery. After 50 miles we finish the STP in Lloyd Center.
STP 2009
STP 2009

It was a great ride and I really had a blast.


Jim Artis said...

Congratulations Duncan. Sorry for your bike mishap [damaged wheel, and damaged James]. I think I know the heat you commented on. I did a one-day on my VK2. I had hot foot for the first time during the second century. I see you plan a dbl next year. It is a BLAST. Thanks for the pictures & your wonderful descriptions. --jim

Steve said...

Congratulations. There seemed to be a lot of crashes. Maybe it was just numbers (small % x large number of people = lots of crashes)... but I think just the sheer number of people increased the % of crashes and the collateral damage. When I went down I took at least 2 other people with me because we were packed in there so tight.

Duncan Watson said...

I was fortunate that I didn't take anyone down with me. I would not have been happy about that.

Next year is one day for me. A double century. I can do it, I am sure, in fact I was on track for doing a double when I arrived in Longview and I started at 5:30 am not 4:15am as one day riders would have started.

John Y. said...

Duncan, I'm sorry that I finally met you under the circumstances of your crash. Riding to Longview on your first STP is impressive. I'm thinking about doing a one-day next year, which would be my third STP.

Congrats on the finish

Dave Larson said...

HI, Duncan,
Sorry to hear about your crash and damage. And disappointed that I didn't get an opportunity to say hello. I started ~5:45 and stopped in Castle Rock, so we missed each other out there. You were the only one on my want-to-meet list that I didn't manage to find.
Maybe next time.

Duncan Watson said...


Too bad, I started only 20 minutes or so before you did. We (a friend and I) started within 5 minutes of them announcing the start for 2 day riders.

The crash wasn't bad, just annoying. The ride was more than good enough to make up for it. Next year I will do the one day ride, it should be fun. By then the raptobike should have a tailbox.