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STP One-Day for a first-timer?

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STP One-Day for a first-timer?

Old 12-20-18, 06:46 PM
  #1  
cormacf
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STP One-Day for a first-timer?

Fairly new to the area. Done several centuries and one two-day double (RSVP in 2016), and I commute 14 or 15 miles each way. I'd like to try STP One-Day this year. The course looks pretty flat. Any issues with one-daying it on my first shot, assuming I put in the miles through winter and summer? I don't want to miss the fun of the ride, but I'd also like to have an extra day in Portland to get drunk with my wife.

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Old 12-21-18, 10:34 AM
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woodway
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I did it in one day my first time with no issues. You are already getting good base miles, you'll want to do some long rides leading up to STP. My training for the ride was my daily commute (about 36 miles RT at the time) and several weekend rides in the 50 to 80 miles range and then I did the Cascade Flying Wheels century plus I added another 30 miles on my own (basically ride to the start and home from the finish), and one other hilly ride of about 120 miles on my own.

I was tired at the STP finish but there was never a question in my mind that I would be able to finish.

The course is flat and if you are riding around Newcastle as your profile indicates, you are no stranger to hills. Some people do it every year. I'm happy I did it, but once was enough. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 12-21-18, 10:40 AM
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@woodway I love the Flying Wheels ride. Definitely one of my favourites in the area.
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Old 12-21-18, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
@woodway I love the Flying Wheels ride. Definitely one of my favourites in the area.
The course is great, the ride, not so much. My gripe is mainly with my fellow riders and the really bad behavior I observed the last two years I did the ride. I just don't care to be associated with it.
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Old 12-21-18, 11:01 AM
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Theres no real surprises. There is an "iconic" hill in Puyallup, but it isn't really worth mention in my opinion. The only people I saw wishing for better days had 53/39 rings and 12/25 cassettes. I suspect they were 2 day riders.

Both times I rode it I rode from my house, adding about 18 miles or so. The last bit in Oregon (everything from the Lewis & Clark bridge, onward) is rollers with no real payoff in terms of scenery or downhill.

On day 1 the Lewis & Clark bridge isn't closed to traffic, so you are climbing with cars in close proximity with many tired riders in clumps. There is a mill nearby so there are plenty of logging trucks, bark & debris as the bridge isn't swept. Be careful of the expansion joints on the descent; you might lose a water bottle. The pavement markings at the bridge are for 2 day riders where they stage & go in groups. If you are a 1 day rider & follow the markings and you'll wonder what the route planners were thinking.

Generally, I have avoided the "official" rest stops. Providing for cyclists is a niche industry. I'd rather buy a drink & a donut from a PTA or senior center card table. The official stops are crowded & time consuming IMO.

Do ask if you can join a group, ride responsible, conserve your energy with smart strategy.

2018 STP

Last edited by base2; 12-21-18 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 12-22-18, 06:21 AM
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Totally doable. Never rode anything more than 80 miles before I did it in one day this year. It's a super flat course. Don't go out too hard in the beginning and stay hydrated/fed - it can get pretty hot down in SW WA/NW OR.
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Old 12-23-18, 09:33 PM
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With the miles you're already putting in, there's nothing for you to worry about.
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Old 12-24-18, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by woodway View Post
The course is great, the ride, not so much. My gripe is mainly with my fellow riders and the really bad behavior I observed the last two years I did the ride. I just don't care to be associated with it.
Yes, I misspoke. The course is great, the riders not as much. I've done the ride for the past six years and I agree with your observation. Rider behaviour has been on the decline each successive year it seems
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Old 12-24-18, 01:02 PM
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The Flying Wheels ride in June is a great way to see how the training is going. The Longview bridge and Highway 30 in Oregon is the worst part of the ride. Bring dollar bills to support the other volunteer ride stops. Make it a long weekend and drive back on Monday. It can be a traffic jam on I-5 from Portland to Seattle on Sunday.
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Old 12-24-18, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by woodway View Post
The course is great, the ride, not so much. My gripe is mainly with my fellow riders and the really bad behavior I observed the last two years I did the ride. I just don't care to be associated with it.
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Yes, I misspoke. The course is great, the riders not as much. I've done the ride for the past six years and I agree with your observation. Rider behaviour has been on the decline each successive year it seems
I'm curious as to what the other riders are doing that is so awful. I'm not questioning whether or not there is horrid behavior since I've never done the ride, I just wonder what sort of bad riding behavior people are up to these days.
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Old 12-25-18, 11:36 AM
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It's just the usual thing you would expect when 10,000 people show up to anything. Someone crosses a wheel and goes down, causing a chain reaction. Someone else hits a post, somebody doesn't signal intent or stops in the middle of the road causing others to require evasive action. The official rest areas are the worst for this kind of thing...another reason to avoid them.

Both times I did the STP all the "terrible" behavior ended at the half-way point. From then on it was a quiet, consistant ride mostly single file, seasoned riders. Not to poo-poo on 2 day riders at all, but of the 2 groups (1 day vs 2 day) it seems 2 day is the group where the bulk of riders are not accustomed to riding in groups & thus have not developed good habits or proper ettiquette tend to congregate. Before anyone gets the wrong idea that I harbour bias...I know of 2 enthusiastic 1 day riders (one I work with) that almost took down the Cascade High Performance team paceline by failing to communicate a trail bollard. My work partner is still not inclined to learn good group riding technique and is unaware of the danger he posed to the group.

The thing that I think bugged me the most was the lack of communication between riders. Ask if it's ok to draft. If for no other reason than to announce your presence in case anything unexpected happens, but also so that you can take turns as lead. Sharing the load would be much appreciated by all involved. You'll find a group of a pace you can sustain for many miles this way.

Be on the look-out. People will suck your wheel with out saying a word, draft until you fatigue out, then as soon as you pull off to pick up the back of the line, they're fresh & rested so they ride away. It's just rude. When a situation like this occurs, and it will, the best thing to do is be aware of it, back off until they realize they can't use you & move on.
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Old 12-25-18, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I'm curious as to what the other riders are doing that is so awful. I'm not questioning whether or not there is horrid behavior since I've never done the ride, I just wonder what sort of bad riding behavior people are up to these days.
- Cyclists who refuse to share the road with motorists and fellow cyclists, riding 3-4 across the road, forcing anyone who wants to pass to the right or into the oncoming lane. Also holding up lines of cars.
- Cyclists who think it's OK to drop their garbage on the road.
- Cyclists who think it's OK to hop off and pee on the side of the road or in someones front yard.

I witnessed all of the above and more and decided it was time to ride alone or with a few close friends.
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Old 12-28-18, 10:25 AM
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@base2 and @woodway pretty much summed it all up and I don't have much to add. I think it is a consequence of the sport growing the way it has. There has been an explosion in the amount of people doing century rides (and just plain bike riding in general). More people = more problems.
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Old 12-31-18, 08:03 PM
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I also did the one-day on my first STP, in my late 50s. Good shorts are really important, as is staying hydrated. Make sure you pee at least every 3 hours. If you go that long and don't, guzzle water in a rest stop until you do. I never had any problem with other riders. I think negative perceptions are of the two-day riders, whom for the most part I never even saw. Get to the start early, try to have a last pee late, and try to get into an early release. Pedal pretty hard to start with, ease up to your LD pace about when you leave Seattle. It's important to be up with the better riders and not get mixed up with the two-day crowd. I usually skip the first rest stop, stopping only about every 50 miles. I use a Camelbak and eat on the bike. I think it's a very enjoyable ride, always had a good time. OTOH I never rode it in the rain.

Ride your own ride. If the folks you're riding with are going harder or easier than you want, leave. There's plenty more where they came from. Be careful of other riders in the first few miles through Seattle streets. People are a little nuts right at the start. Give them as much room as you can.
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Old 01-30-19, 12:22 AM
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This is the quietest of the two choices. More advanced riders and far less crowds. Also no need to try to find lodging half way which can be a challenge.

Finish line is great with lots of activities and support!
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Old 07-04-19, 08:28 PM
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Super flat route, always someone to draft. Lots of support. If you put in the miles training you could not pick a more doable 200 miles
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Old 07-12-19, 06:22 PM
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T minus 9 hours & 39 minutes & counting.
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Old 07-16-19, 03:24 PM
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I rode it this past Saturday for my first STP and double imperial century. Really good weather conditions. Didn't see any egregiously bad behavior from riders or drivers (there was a road rage incident that I missed by a few minutes involving a pickup truck, heard the psycho driver ran over a rider and crushed his bike). I didn't see any incidents caused by riders attaching to pacelines; I think everyone expected it because on the ride was so big that there wasn't much room to be anywhere else. Everybody at the speeds we were going (20-22 mph) were either plenty strong and taking pulls or at least courteous enough to pay attention and point/relay obstacles. Even going through the Yelm-Tenino trail, which I read could be kind of a chokepoint, went smoothly.

The scenery was so-so. The best moments were in the middle, when I enjoyed the serene quietness of the countryside. Riding the 2-day would probably be more fun from an off-bike perspective, while the 1-day was a good endurance event. I didn't do much at the finish, but if I ride it again in the future, I'd want to have some fun in the area.
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Old 07-16-19, 04:58 PM
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I too completed the 1-day. 13 hours, 29 minutes moving time for the entire 221.75 miles to the finishline from my front door. I had a 16.5mph average, my wife had a 16.3. I would ride ahead for a mile or 2 then stop & wait for her to catch up.

We did roll out about 15 minutes early from the starting line. It was a matter of safety as far as I was concerned. I didn't think it was wise to be packed in like sardines on the broken & narrow Seattle streets until at least past Renton. As luck would have it, the first pacelines passed us as we were in Tukwila. From then on I did my best to keep us on pace for an 8pm finish with smart rest stop durations & constant nutrition/hydration reminders. My wife insisted we were on pace for an optimistic 4pm finish waned to, 5pm, then 6pm, then "I just want to finish" at 7pm. To "Can this just be over?" around 7:30.

This year, about 20(?) miles from town I ate a hamburger & it made a world of difference. I'm thinking a giant carne-asada burrito or double-bacon-fatburger & fries around Rainier/Scapoose-ish ought to be in the plans for next time.

This is my 3rd STP and in exchange for the extra hour in moving time caused by my partner, I definitely felt the best I ever have & outright enjoyed the experience...My wife? Not so much. Maybe she'll come around with more miles on her legs.

In any case we rode to our hotel after spending some time in the beer garden & walked to Voodoo Donuts for breakfast & a cuppa Joe.

All-in-all...Probably going to do it again next year.

STP 2019 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

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Old 07-16-19, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
We did roll out about 15 minutes early from the starting line. It was a matter of safety as far as I was concerned. I didn't think it was wise to be packed in like sardines on the broken & narrow Seattle streets until at least past Renton.
First off, you sure you didn't ride all the way to South America?

My group met up and rolled out from Husky Stadium at around 5am and it was definitely packed to the gills. There was a bad single-bicycle crash near the Ave as I rolled by in a huge pack that couldn't do anything but keep moving. It was really tense riding up through Capitol Hill until the short climbs and descents before Lake Washington Blvd thinned out the masses. Once past Rainier Ave, we got by most of the slower riders that were riding 2, 3, sometimes 4 across. It finally stretched out enough at the first rest stop that the rest was pretty smooth sailing.
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Old 07-17-19, 04:35 AM
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I was an STP first timer, doing the 2 day version. I did the mass start at 0530 - it wasn't that bad. I've done local (Maryland) century rides with large (10,000+) crowds that were pure carnage at the start. It was nice when things started to thin out, though. I didn't stop at the first (19 mile) rest stop and that made a big difference in the crowding.

I planned on stopping at Chehalis, where my my wife would pick me and the rental bike up but was feeling so good that I pushed told her to pick me up at Winlock at mile 122. If I had it to do over again I would have booked a hotel room in Kelso and done 150 miles the first day and had mostly just the Rt. 30 slog left on Sunday.

The rider behavior was pretty much average for large rides I've done around the country - just as many faster riders wearing coordinated outfits on expensive bikes doing stoopid things as there were slower riders in street clothes on low end bikes doing so. Must have been a lot of people not used to riding on roads with bumps - on every steep downhill you could look ahead and tell a bump was coming by the scattered water bottles and energy bars...

I had a lot of fun - very well supported and planned out ride. I did a Cycleblaze journal on the ride - writeup here.
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