Yippee!! Bruce, Clint, and I finished the last fifty or so miles of the Seattle-to-Portland bike ride yesterday, completing just over 200 miles over two days. I'm thrilled and more than a little relieved. I honestly wasn't sure how this ride was going to go given the time and distance and the fact I didn't train as much as I'd hoped.
The amazing thing about the second day was the ride felt awesome. While my hands and butt were still a bit sore from the day before (although not nearly as much as people had warned me about), my legs and back felt great.
We left our hotel in Kelso around 9:20am and rode the few miles to the Lewis and Clark bridge that crosses the Columbia River into Oregon. We waited for a few minutes there to be escorted with hundreds of other STP riders across the bridge. It was pretty exciting to climb up the bridge, see the "Entering Oregon" sign, and then do a fast descent down the other side. (On one big expansion joint, you could see a dozen water bottles that had bounced off of peoples' bikes on the side of the road.)
Once we got going, Clint took off again. Bruce and I were also riding a lot faster than the day before, feeling very strong. We only made one stop early on to use the bathroom and then rode continuously all the way in. For a while, we rode with a older lady on a triathlon bike. As Bruce talked to her (I call him "Chatty Cathy" because he talks to everyone we bike past) we discovered that she's completed four Ironman races in the last two years, but is taking some time off since her grandson was born. Well, we couldn't get dropped by a grandmother, so the three of us bombed along at 21-22 miles an hour for a while in a nice pace line until she pulled off at a rest stop. Both Bruce and I breathed a sigh of relief and slowed down a bit after that.
I enjoyed riding into Portland. We had nice views of Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood plus the city as we pulled in. The only downer was that we seemed to hit every red light in Porland for the last few blocks. The worst was that we hit the red light across the street from the finish line. After 200 miles, we had to wait a minute for the light to change so we could go the last twenty feet. Bruce kindly let me finish first so the photographer could get a shot of just me. As I crossed the finish line, the announcer called out my name, which was kind of fun too.
In Halladay Park at the finish line, the organizers had set up a big party, so there were food booths, a beer garden, and bike equipment/clothes booths. We checked in our bikes and then looked around for Clint, who showed up about 15-20 minutes later. He had been waiting for us at one of the rest stops and missed us as we went by. So, as it turned out, I finished first...
Anyway, we hung out at the party for a while with Bruce's wife Theresa plus Kellie and Chase (who went shopping in Portland since we didn't need support for the shorter ride today). We then headed over to the Heathman Hotel (one of my favorites) where we were staying the night. I had a wonderful shower and then a great massage. More on rest of the afternoon and evening later.
Today I'm barely sore and am walking just fine. I was surprised how strong I felt through the finish. In total, I rode for 12:30 on the bike at an average speed of 16.1 miles per hour over the 200+ milles - faster than the 15 mph I'd expected. The second day was closer to 19 mph average. I think our overall elapsed time was about 15:20. (Note, my data isn't quite perfect because I left the GPS on for the mile+ from the trail to our hotel in Kelso and the mile back to the line, but then I forgot to turn the GPS back on as we crossed the bridge into Oregon. It's close, anyway).
I'll blog more about STP lessons, quotes, and stories later. For now, sufficed to say, I'm very happy.