STP - times two? It might be one of my rides for 2011. My past history indicates that I ride organized rides a couple of times and then move on. It’s not that they aren’t good, but after twice through you have had a chance to experience the ride, determine that you did better and find something new. Honestly with the large number of rides in this area, finding a new and interesting ride isn’t challenging. The exception to this may end up being the Cannonball (which I haven’t yet done) and the S2S (which I have not successfully completed yet). Like all good Seattlites I did the STP as my inaugural ride and went on to complete it twice.
So why look at it again? Simply put, I think with a little tweaking, it could prove to be an excellent training ride preparing me for one of the 24 hour qualifiers later on. It would be a little over 400 miles if completed as a there-and-back and would have the further benefit of being fully supported for about three quarters of the ride. It is also relatively flat and on relatively well lit roads.
If I can make the first two hundred miles in about twelve hours (which in entirely possible), I would be in Portland around 4 in the afternoon. Considering that much of the time I will be able to pick up pacelines by the time I arrive I should be fairly well rested. Then heading back I should be able to pick up a lot of the support stations to Centralia and hopefully get in there by about ten that night.
Centralia to home will be the long stretch. First it will be dark and I will have been on the bike for over sixteen hours at that point. That and I will more than likely need to employ my wonderful wife to drive support for me. I imagine that leap-frogging a cyclist who is moving under 20mph cannot be fun, especially if it’s the middle of the night. The other hard part will simply be not stopping and getting in the van to go home.
There won’t be any reason for me to continue expect because I want to and that it a tough mind game to play when you are tired and exhausted. Might be one of the first times that I consider running music of some sort, either as external speakers somehow or a single ear piece; or not. I just can’t wrap my head around that being ok at any point for any reason and more when I will already need my wits about me. I will figure something out here.
I am also considering just riding from my house. The additional mileage from the house plus the additional four or five miles over the prescribed two hundred to Portland means that I may only have to back track to Puyallup or Auburn before I cross over 400 miles. I obviously would like to get there before four in the morning, but even if I’m not I will continue until I get over 400 miles. If I miss the time, I need to see how much faster I need to be before aiming for one of the qualifiers.
The other part of this idea that is great is the chance to ride with my FIL, who initially got me back to bicycling. It is his influence that is to thank/blame (depending on how you look at it!) that got me back to riding three years ago and started down this path. Because of our schedules we rarely have the change to ride together any more so it would be fantastic to be able ride this with him again.