Seattle to Portland – STP 2013* (the ride with the asterisk)

For my third year, I had the pleasure to ride with 9,999 of my fellow bicycle riding buddies in the 2013 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. The ride was approximately 203 miles this year, and I completed in a single day.

WP_20130713_013Why the Asterisk? Well:

  • I made amazing time for the first half of the ride, arriving at the half-way point (Centralia, Washington) at 11:45am, 6 hours and 45 minutes after departing the UW parking lot starting point. As it’s about 100 miles, averaging 14.81 mph (with stops).
  • I had a tire blow out (not to be confused with a flat) 1,000 feet short of the Napavine mini-stop (the top of a nicely challenging hill .. see the route map for details). Not knowing any better, I attempted to repair the blown tube, and then trying a new tube. Note that a blowout looks a lot like the results of the scene in ‘Alien’, where the innards become ‘out-ards’. While I didn’t know this at the time, a hole that size will simply destroy the tube within. I know better now.
  • The first repair (including patching the original tube) took 30 minutes; the second, 15 (putting in a new tube). Upon inflating the tire and heading up the hill, the new tube gave way, and I was pushing the bike up the hill.

My hope was there would be a mechanic at the Napavine site .. unhappily, the nearest was 13 miles back and 14 miles forward. At that point, I made the call. The ride is fully-supported .. that is, there are supplies and mechanics at nearly every stop .. except for this one. I made the call to the support number, and the truck arrived to collect me. after that, a 14-mile ride in the truck and I was on my way .. losing over three hours in the process.

As you know, figures lie and liars figure .. but some math is in order. For the back half of the ride (my trip computer reset while my bicycle was upside down .. argh). Napavine is mile marker 112, Vader at 126, 77 miles from the end of the ride. I rode for just short of 6 hours (including stops), arriving just before 10pm. So, the breakdown:

  • 6.75 hours for the first 99 miles (5am to 11:45am .. including stops).
  • 1 hour at Centralia (insane long lines for one-day riders).
  • 1 hour until the blow out .. 3 hours lost / 14 miles in the truck.
  • 6 hours for the last 77 miles (4pm to 10pm).

So, I got to enjoy the ride so much more than my fellow one-day riders .. 17 hours, all told .. but just under 13 hours pedaling / taking breaks, a respectable (for me 15.6 mph overall. Would have beaten a personal record, if not for the snafus.

All that .. an amazing day. Please check out the ride on my Endomondo feed.

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

3 Responses to Seattle to Portland – STP 2013* (the ride with the asterisk)

  1. as always I am in awe! I can barely manage to get my bike out of the garage yet you pop down to Portland for a beer like it was nothing.

  2. Micah says:

    Good job! I rode the STP in one day, total moving time was just under 12 hours. This was my first time riding STP or anything this long. I found the rolling hills part to be my favorite and the slight elevation increase 20 miles prior to the mid-point. Our group had to start the hill at a stand still since the intersection turned red. The hill as what everyone claims to be steep and painful really wasn’t all that bad… Next year I would like to do it in 2 days instead of 1 just to enjoy the ride a bit more and not feel so rushed.

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