Recap: Seattle to Portland by bike (Part 2)

Hope you all had an awesome weekend! I didn’t think this would happen, but I hopped back on my bike less than a week after STP. The soreness in my legs was pretty much non-existent after Wednesday of last week, so it felt good to get back on the bike a few days after that! :)

If you read the STP day 1 recap, there’s a whole extra 100 miles that haven’t yet been covered in the recap. Day 2 of STP started off bright and early at 4:30am. The goal was to be back on the road by 6am, so we woke up at 4:30, cleaned up, packed up our tents, and threw our backpacks onto the truck, and sat down for a full breakfast. The same folks who had put together dinner the previous night woke up at 4am to start prepping plates full of pancakes, sausage patties, and scrambled eggs.

We were back on our bikes just before 6am and headed out full speed ahead! After day 1, my right hip was hurting quite a bit (I’m guessing it was from continuously clipping in/out of my pedals) so I had to take a couple ibuprofen pills before jumping back on. The pain induced from the constant riding was not exactly something I had even considered when signing up for STP, but I knew I would only have to tough it out for a few hours before the finish line. And by a few, I mean 9. haha!

Here’s the scenery from the halfway point of day 2:

stp 150miles

Beautiful bikes littered all over the (dried out) grass as we all raced to the food and water refill tents. Looking back at these photos, I’m amazed that I didn’t lose my bike. Imagine trying to navigate through 12,000 riders and bikes that start to look the same after you’re delirious from little sleep…

Day 2 was full of fun road challenges! I took way less photos on the second day since there were long stretches of rolling hills that made me a bit grumpy. haha! I know this ride isn’t supposed to be a walk in the park, but I also didn’t think the trail would be 20 miles of oscillating hill climbing! A really fun challenge, but also one that made me super tired and not want to take my phone out of my pockets.

One of the most interesting things to witness was the logistics behind directing traffic. There were police officers helping to push the sea of cyclists through lights and major intersections. In the photo below, a few hundred of us are waiting to get onto the Portland Lewis and Clark bridge. Having just missed the last pack of riders on the bridge, I was at the front of the line for the next batch. We baked in the sun for about 20 minutes, waiting for a few hundred more riders to join us before we were allowed, as a group, to stop car traffic and get on the bridge as a single unit.

stp-bridgewaiting

Looking back on this whole experience, I am so grateful for the love and support from my friends who had to put up with a lot of my whining during the training days leading up to the ride. I whined A LOT whenever there were hills, or when we’d ride for longer than 50 miles in the heat. In retrospect, they whipped my butt into shape and made STP a lot more enjoyable than it could’ve been had they been easier on me in training.

Long story short: YAY! 206 miles later and we made it to Portland safe & sound.

Quick stats from the trip
Total distance traveled: 206 miles
Average speed: 14.975 mph
Average break time: 20 minutes every 20-25 miles
Ibuprofen pills taken: 8
# plates of pasta consumed: 3
# cake slices consumed: 2
# bottles of water consumed: 6/day
Total riding time: 14h 20m

0

Recap: Seattle to Portland 2015 by bike (Part 1)

Real life was pretty much put on hold last week as I tried to squeeze in a bunch of last minute training before the big ride on the weekend (200+ miles from Seattle to Portland!!)! I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to ride on Saturday morning because of a handful of poorly timed things that happened during the week. On Monday, I had a pinched nerve in my upper back which lead to an inflamed rib on Wednesday. Went to go see a few medical professionals between Wednesday and Thursday and made sure to get okay-ed to ride before Saturday. On top of the medical stuff, I had ordered a couple of jerseys online to wear for the weekend (I only had one jersey previously) and the package never showed up! According to UPS, it was delivered but there was no package in sight at my apartment… riding topless wasn’t really an option either and REI’s jersey section had been pretty much cleaned out by Thursday night. Had to make a last minute pit stop to Velo Bikes and paid a few very pretty pennies for jerseys that I ordered online for more than 50% of the retail price.

On Friday night, one of my friends also doing the ride hosted a sleepover at his place so we could all head to the starting point together as a group (instead of trying to navigate through a crowd of 12,000 people to find each other). With my streak of luck, my back tire went flat as I was about to head out to the sleepover and another friend came over to help change out the inner-tube.

Once we were all set up for the sleepover, we headed up to the kitchen and had a huge carb-loading party!! This was the best idea, ever. Not pictured: way too many chocolate chip cookies and mega-sized red velvet cupcakes. We take carb-loading seriously! ;)

stp dinner prep

We all went to bed around 10pm because we had an early morning wake-up call at 5:30am!! Our goal was to be packed up and ready to go at the starting line by 6am. This meant biking a couple miles over to the UW campus and trying to find a couple friends who opted out of the sleepover. The size of the crowd waiting to start the ride was HUGE! We were let through the starting line in batches of ~100 riders:

stp start line

The first few miles of the ride were really slow. With such a huge crowd of folks all trying to squish into a single traffic lane, it was hard to pick up the pace. Around the 10 mile mark, the crowd started to thin out a bit and we were able to start riding faster. It was really interesting to see all the different types of riders on the road. In our starting pack, there were a few couples on tandem bikes, someone dressed as a pirate (with an accompanying rider dressed as an octopus), and a group in tutus! Made me wish that the group I rode with had a cute matching uniform– maybe next time? ;)

After a couple hours on the road, we made it to our first pit stop at 25 miles. At every pit stop, there were some snacks (protein bars, sometimes fruits and/or cookies) and water. Since I have a handful of food allergies, I was carrying about a pound of extra weight in protein bars in case I was allergic to any of the snacks at the stops. If you’re following me on Instagram and also have peanut/almond/hazelnut allergies, I posted some of the bars that I carry for rides in this pic.

stp 25 miles

Around 11am, we made it to the 50 mile mark, which was located at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord base. There were bikes on the ground in every direction possible!! Never in my life have I seen so many bikes and so much spandex in a contained space! We stopped here for about an hour to fuel up on sandwiches (I avoided the PB&J like the plague), fruits, and lots of cookies, before heading back on the road for the last 56 miles of our day.

stp 50 mile mark

My friends always make fun of me because of how much grease is on my bike chain. I’ll admit that I had no idea what I was doing when I first started (trying to) maintaining my bike, so I may have gone a little overboard on the grease. Every time I ride, I end up with a “leg tattoo” from accidentally leaning my leg on the drive. Oops! Somehow, this leg grease made it up my calf to my thighs and eventually onto my elbows. How this happened is still a mystery to me…

stp-legtattoo

The second half of our ride wasn’t particularly challenging, but the distance was definitely starting to take a toll on my body. I could feel my legs starting to get cramped and my butt was sore from being on the seat for so long. It didn’t help that the last 10 miles of our ride was in the rain. I’d take rain over 95F heat any day, but rain was the last thing we wanted to set up camp in.

stp chehalis stop

There are a couple of options and locations to stop at for STP. Before even starting the ride, you have to pick a stop and commit to the distance between the starting point and the stopping location by dropping all of your camping and overnight gear into a semi-truck that unloads at the specific destination. My group picked Chehalis, which is 106 miles from the starting point as our stopping point for day 1. Welcome to our cute tent city… home for the night! We arrived here around 5:30pm, set up our tents, showered, and then headed to get dinner.

stp-spaghetti

This is going to sound insane, but this plate of spaghetti was the best thing I had tasted all week! After biking for 100+ miles, I was exhausted and super excited to hear that there was all-you-can-eat pasta at the Chehalis stop. I may or may not have had 3 plates of pasta and two slices of cake for dinner… which also meant I may or may not have eaten more than some of the guys in my group that night. Burning ~8000 calories in a single day apparently makes me food crazy!

It was around 8pm that we finished dinner and then called it a night. I don’t know when the last time I slept before the sun set, but I was so tired that as soon as my body was zipped into the sleeping bag, I was out like a light. Waking up at 4:30am the next morning was a good motivator to be in bed asap!

Day 2 of STP to come!

0

The final stretch… ~20 more days!

And so the countdown begins! There are just under 20 days left before the big Seattle to Portland ride and I’m so nervous!! Full transparency: I almost withdrew from the ride a couple weeks ago. While on a usual training route, I nearly passed out from heat exhaustion despite being fully hydrated and eating every few miles. It was was one of the scariest and most frustrating experiences I’ve had in a long time. Nothing could make me feel like more of a failure on that particular ride where I knew my body was physically capable of cycling those miles, only to have some external factor like the weather crippling my body from continuing on.

Since that ride, I’ve been trying to get acclimated to riding with the warmer weather by biking home 2-3 times a week after work, on top of the long weekend training days. The commute from work can be anywhere from 20-30 miles depending on the route. Since I can’t exactly show up to my day job in biking gear, I’ve had to poke around for alternatives. I have a few pieces from the Betabrand Bike to Work line as is, but these pants and shoes are my new favourites!

Biking Home
Biking Home
outfit details:
cocoon sweater: F21 via Kim‘s closet
racer-back tank top: H&M
Bike to Work pants: c/o Betabrand (exact)
FlipSlip shoes: c/o Betabrand (exact)
Reid backpack: Hershel Supply Co (exact)
elk antler necklace: Sticks & Stones (exact)

betabrand-bikeshoes3

On top of getting a new backpack (so that I don’t look like I’m going hiking/on my way home from college classes), these Betabrand FlipSlips have been a huge lifesaver! I usually wear heels to work, but I can’t exactly cycle properly in them. I got a chance to try out these FlipSlips, which roll up conveniently and lightweight and easy enough to stash in my backpack to tote to work and ride home in. Much like the Bike to Work Dresspants, these pair also have a reflective flat that folds out of the back pocket. Having the flag definitely helps put my mind at ease, especially some nights when my commute home from work is a bit later in the evening and the sun starts to set.

betabrand flipflips
torker-interurban-bike2

It’s been a little tough trying to balance real life with bike training (literally all of my hours can either be placed in buckets of: at work, on a bike, or in bed), but I owe it to myself to know that I trained as hard as I possibly could for STP! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and it won’t be scorching hot 3 weeks from now, but we’ll see what happens on the weekend of the ride!

0

Little gold riding hood

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been kicking the bike training into a higher gear. I’ll usually ride twice a week, with Sundays being the day for longer bike rides (woo! Hit my first 50 mile ride yesterday!). I’ve been nervous to ride after work because I don’t really know the trails very well (I usually follow a larger group when I ride) and have bad night vision which doesn’t help when trying to look ahead for trails and trying to avoid pot holes at the same time.

betabrand-discohoodie-a
betabrand-discohoodie-bike3
betabrand-discohoodie-bike-dual
outfit details:
v-neck t-shirt: American Apparel
bike to work pants: c/o Betabrand (exact)
gold disco hoodie: Betabrand (exact)
caged booties: Hinge via Nordstrom
aviator sunglasses: c/o Hobie

Last week, a friend and I ended up squeezing in a ride after work. He told me to make sure to wear something reflective, so naturally I thought about the disco hoodie. I bought this last winter so that the BFF and I could match and look ridiculous while trying to find each other in crowded cafes. haha! I ended up wearing this whole outfit to work (with the hoodie reversed and the gold on the inside) and then biking at night in it (swapped out the booties for some sneakers). I literally biked around looking like a giant reflector– definitely took comfort in knowing I wasn’t going to go unnoticed while night riding.

These pants are amazing! They look and feel exactly like you’d expect a pair of dress pants to feel like, but they function perfectly for biking. There’s a reflective flag that folds out of one of the back pockets that is perfect for visibility when riding at night. The flag seamlessly tucks back into the back pocket during so that no one at work knows you’re wearing reflective gear in the office. GENIUS!

betabrand-discohoodie-wall-a

Aaaaand because this hoodie seems to instill all sorts of overconfidence whenever wearing it, I’ll leave you with this ridiculous outtake! haha I call this my, I-can-really-ride-in-these-heels face ;)

betabrand-discohoodie-bike-outtake
2

The little things

This week has been a crazy one. Started a new job (more on this later) and got thrown in in the thick of things. It’s been a super fun and already rewarding first week, but it’s also been a very tiring one. I’ve definitely called it a night by 9:30pm more times than I should probably admit.

portland-dv8-buckledbooties

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might’ve read that I did my first 40+ mile bike ride last weekend. I clocked in 80 miles in total for the weekend, which is the current highest mileage I’ve been able to hit in the span of 2 days. The end goal is to hit 200 miles in 2 days, but even trying to hit 80 was a stretch. I thought I was going to pass out by the 20th mile on day two from exhaustion and am so grateful for friends who kept pushing and encouraging me to keep moving.

What a week! It’s been crazy but I’m looking forward to taking a day off of cycling on Saturday and picking it back up on Sunday. Instead of cycling, I signed up for a morning workshop at Fresh Tangerine for intro to calligraphy!

If you’re local to the Seattle area, come join! :)

0
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...