Surviving A One-Day STP

<img src=”http://kellidiane.smugmug.com/photos/random.mg?AlbumID=3160397&Size=Thumb&rand=2396” align=right”>After my half-assed approach to last year’s two-day ride, I wasn’t entirely convinced that the One Day Rider patch I coveted so much would actually be worth the time and training required. By the time spring came around, I had hung up my running shoes and decided that this was the year.

So how does one go about surviving two hundred miles on a bike? Glad you asked. Read on for the answers to the most common questions I’ve gotten throughout training and after the finish.

  • What distance did you train up to before the double?

    I leveraged the Cascade Training Series rides to get in most of my longer rides, working up from 40 miles and topping out at 130 before STP. The most difficult part of training long mileage is planning food and water stops without having to carry too much with you. And without knowing many of the back roads well, I relied heavily on the well planned CTS rides to get in my saddle time. While it’s important to train your legs for the distance, the real trouble comes in training the rest of your body. 12 hours is a very long time for your back and shoulders to be reaching, while your butt rests precariously upon a narrow seat and starts chafing in your bike shorts. Once one passes the 130-150 mile marks, the legs are the least of your worries.

  • What did you learn from last year’s ride?

    I learned that taking preventative pain killer can be the difference between a difficult ride and a horrible ride. On the route, I took some at the midpoint and again at mile 140 to keep my rear end in check.

  • What would you recommend for a first-time one-day rider?

    Learn to ride in a group. Really, that goes for any first-time STPer (one or two-day), but is extremely important for the one-day riders. 204 miles is a really long way and there’s little chance of making it completely on your own. Learn to leverage pacelines, start training with your own group that plans to ride together. Drafting is extremely helpful in keeping not only your pace, but also your spirits, up. I’ll be honest, this was difficult for me. Prior to STP I’ve only joined small pacelines and never really felt comfortable. But when I realized somewhere around mile 75 that I was keeping a 21 mph pace and only working at what felt to be a 14 mph pace…I was sold. Save your legs for the long haul, take your turn at the front and get comfortable being surrounded by other cyclists.

  • What was the worst part of the course?

    Highway 30. Long, monotonous, lonely and getting darker. As a one-day rider the crowd had thinned out long before crossing into Oregon and I was feeling the fatigue set in.

  • Would you do a one-day again?

    Definitely, though it’s a tough call. I missed the camaraderie and culture that comes with meeting fellow cyclists during the overnight. But the extra effort required to finish the one-day ride is well worth not having to get up the following day and ride another 100 miles on a sore butt.

Overall, the ride was great and the patch well worth the effort. I entered this year’s season in far better shape than last year and felt pretty well trained in the last couple of weeks before the ride. That said, this is absolutely an approachable ride. With some commitment, training and discipline, nearly anyone can finish a one-day STP. It’s perfectly alright to not ever want to finish a double-century in one day. But wanting it badly enough is enough to take you the rest of the way.



6 Comments

Great job on the one-day.  this year was my 2nd one-day STP.  Last year went great, with my riding buddy sharing the load with me.  Unfortunately, I started this year not feeling well and after not being able to eat, had to drop at Napavine - a horrible feeling after all the preparation.  Next year we may go back to two days - like you, we miss the Saturday evening with our fellow riders before the Sunday finish.
Nice Blog - thanks.
D

Congrats! I did my first STP last weekend and did the 1 day as well. Whew! Those last 40 miles were hell, but well worth it.

Great work on finishing the ride in one day.  I’ve never done STP (one or two days) but I plan on doing it in one at some point in the future.  Another thing I would add is to make sure that you get your biked well tuned before the ride.  The next thing, and this is IMPORTANT, if you have special gear, 650c wheels, special pedals (Speedplay, Bebop etc…), long valve tubes, etc. make sure to bring replacement parts with you (as much as is reasonable).  We (Gregg’s Cycle) did support at the halfway point in Centralia and were bummed when we didn’t have some this stuff for people.  We managed to get most everyone down the road but it was touch and go sometimes.

How was the “fred factor” and I don’t imply that as a diss, but as riders that don’t come prepared.

And, how did the whole ride referee thing work out?

Honestly, I was quite surprised by the lack of a “fred factor” throughout the ride.  In reading the post-ride chat rooms it seems that they were out there somewhere, I can only gather that our plan to stay ahead of the less experienced riders worked.  I didn’t see nearly as many accidents or otherwise newbie moves and was quite comfortable in very experienced pacelines.

Dare I say that I was probably one of the more inexperienced riders in the front half of the pack.  While I am comfortable in pacelines, I found myself struggling to hang on at times and caused the accordion effect more than I would have liked.

That said, there were a few riders that I passed a few times throughout the day that looked as though they’d hardly trained or otherwise were unprepared for the reality of a double-century.

Anyone else on the route see the back half of the pack?

Ride refs?  What ride refs?  Seriously, I saw one woman before the Lewis & Clark bridge.  For a moment I half thought about removing the earbud from my right ear (I’d left it out of my left ear the whole ride - compromise, right?) but decided I could take her out if she pushed the issue.

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