After getting my bike last January, I immediately started looking for biking events. My friend’s uncles suggested on signing up for the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic and joining their group since they along with their other friends are also interested in trying out the event. I went online, checked out the details an signed up on the spot.
February, March, April, May and June went by and I only had one 50 mile bike ride. I was focused on my marathons (Vancouver and Seattle Rock and Roll) that I had forgotten about my bike and riding with my group. I heard that you need to do at least 100 mile bike ride and do back to back rides to be prepared for STP. July came and I know I need to cram. A week after the Seattle marathon I biked for 30 miles and a week after that I biked another 50 miles. 50 miles is just 1/4 of STP. Bahala na. I have to rely on my training runs and marathons to help me finish.
July 16 day before STP, I couldn’t sleep because of too much excitement. I only had 3 hours of sleep and was already awake at 3AM. I biked to the starting line (that’s a 2 mile warm-up) and met up with my biking group. We left the starting line around 6AM and the first 25 miles was easy. There are several stops along the course and you have the option of stop at all of them or a select few. Our group has decided to just stop and rest on the major ones where our support vehicles will be waiting for us. Our support vehicles have everything – medicine, air pumps, tubes, wrenches, water and being typical pinoys – a lot of food!
The next 25 miles was a test. We have to climb the dreaded “Hill” – a one mile climb. They say it is a rite of passage which we must conquer. “THE HILL” was intimidating at first but then your pride kicks in. Seeing that everybody was pushing the pedal and nobody walking and giving up, I set the gear to the lowest and endured the burn on my legs. I made it to the top without getting down my bike! My victory was short-lived as we climbed 2 more hills before calling it a day. I also made it to those hills without walking. We stayed and camped out for the night at Napavine which is 115 miles from the starting line. That gives us 80+ miles to bike on day 2.
We started biking on day 2 around 7AM. The highlight for day 2 was crossing the Columbia River which divides Washington state and Oregon. Again the Lewis and Clark Bridge was intimidating. Bikers are allowed to cross the bridge in batches (around 500 bikers per batch) and we were told not to stop once we start climbing the bridge! I know that I can cross the bridge but I fear I might hit and crash into other bikers or other bikers might hit me. Although the road was wide, it seemed crowded. I tried to climb as fast as I could on the lowest gear but at the same time maintain distance to other bikers. Soon enough I found myself going 27 miles per hour going down the bridge. We reached Oregon and it’s only less than 50 miles to Portland!
The remaining 50 miles was mostly flat and it started to get a bit boring (i miss the hills! hehehe). At this time I can now feel my butt and legs hurting. I forgot the pain seeing the big crowd and finish line at Holladay Park. I made it! 200+ miles, 2 days, 16 hours total of biking!