Saturday, July 13, 2013

The 1-day STP 2013 is now in the books!

Team Mang at QFC, all prepped and ready
Most of us were running late for the meet on Saturday, July 13, 2013.  The excitement of doing the 204 mile Seattle to Portland Ride again in one day had been building up all year and here we were, just a few minutes from the start. Team Mang was scheduled to roll out by 4:45 but by then, some of us were just arriving - traffic.  In spite of that, we managed to get our stuff loaded into the support vehicle and roll to the starting line at the University of Washington parking lot just shy of 5 AM, making our departure about 15 minutes later than last year's.
Regrouping at the Kent REI stop, mile 25
We missed Joel at the start line - he eventually caught up (via SAG wagon) at Puyallup.  Amor joined us at Seward park and Marissa met up with us at Kent. We weren't too far behind schedule at the REI stop on mile 25 and we somehow still managed to stick together, just a few minutes apart all the way to Spanaway.  After that, the distances between the groups grew. 
We've got the best banner in STP!
Riding towards Centralia was uneventful as most of us had done the Team Mang 140 a couple of weeks earlier and were familiar with the roads through Tenino.  That familiarity actually provided a psychological boost, albeit a tiny one.  Temperatures were still manageable - in fact the stretch from Spanaway to Roy on Highway 7 was actually cool, thanks to the fact that it wasn't even mid-morning and most of the highway was still in the shade.  A quick stop in Tenino allowed us to regroup but we all got back on our saddles quickly.  The mid-point break at Centralia brought us all back together, of course, and forced us all to start the second leg of the ride in one group. The riders who arrived there first took about a 45 minute break and hung out for lunch, stretching and taking pictures. Those of us who arrived just a tad later had a shorter break, of course, leaving Centralia around noon.
Tenino stop - mile 85

The ride towards Chehalis was probably the only time we were able to ride as one big group.  After that, the open roads, headwinds and the hill towards Napavine would slow down a few of us, just enough to break the train into at least 3 groups. The lonely stretch towards Vader took its toll on a few of the Mangs as all the STP riders had to contend with a headwind on the rolling highway through Winlock.

At the Vader stop, mile 126, Team Mangs are still all smiles!
It was a good thing we decided to have the support vehicle meet us at Vader - it was a much needed stop to recover psychologically (the miles between Chehalis and Vader are usually where I question the sanity of doing this ride in  one day).  After another unexpected long break joking around, we were off, knowing we could do this.

Probably the hardest part of the ride was to follow - the rolling hills between Vader and Lexington (skipping the Castle Rock stop) combined with headwinds and the heat approaching its peak around 3PM.  The one consoling thing is that most of those roads go through forests and provide shade.  By the time we got to Lexington, mile 145, the heat was at its peak - probably somewhere in the upper 70's to lower 80's.  It was still manageable, though, and having ridden in over 90 degree weather a couple of weeks ago gave the added assurance that this wasn't too uncomfortable. We left Lexington around 4:30.

Team Mang/Aling at Mile 145, the Lexington stop
Hydration was still key - which is the reason many of us had to keep stopping to go to the bathroom.  By 5:00 PM, we were on the other side of the Lewis and Clark bridge, making our way past Rainier, Oregon.  Some Mangers stopped right after the bridge to relieve themselves while others tried to get some momentum from the bridge descent towards the slight uphill climb onto the Goble rest stop.  We were at the St Helen stop, mile 175, by 6:30 - a half hour off from last year's time.  But last year, we took our time at that stop and ate some more - this time, the first group didn't even wait for the second group and the second group barely took a break to try to catch up. A quick refill, some watermelon, a small bite and off they were to try to make it into the finish line before 9PM.

Everyone had stories of how that last 20 miles were probably the hardest.  Highway 30's big rolling hills provided the last bit of challenge to the day's ride.  The Team Mang/Aling train grew long by this time - with riders separated from one another by quite a few minutes. 

Some of the Mangers at the Finish Line
The driving group, made up of Cris, Eric, Jay and Amor arrived at the finish line right around 8:15 or so.  The second group of riders eventually collected themselves into one batch as they stopped and went through Portland's traffic lights.  Consisting of Dondi & Arlene (tandem), Veronica, Edgar, Fatima, Raf, Efren, and Harry V, they finished maybe 10 minutes later.  While we were all still taking pictures, Ron rolled in with Marissa and eventually Joel made it through, all of us checking in before the closing time of 9PM.
All in all, we either matched or did just a little over our time from last year - not bad - specially for the first timers.  The day would not have been complete without the help of our support people, Anne and Cosme.  Even though a big ride like STP is fully supported, there's added comfort in knowing you have a vehicle there looking out for you, carrying your stuff, serving water and food and just making sure you're safe among the 10,000 other riders.

Enjoying some steak after the ride!
As with most Team Mang rides, it's not over until that steak is gone. As with last year's tradition, Stanford's Restaurant, right across from the finish line, played host once again to Team Mang's celebration dinner.

Here's to another successful STP ride for Team Mang!  Maybe we'll do this again next year or not (we're still feeling our legs as we write this).  If we do, you can be sure, it will be another enjoyable, memorable team event!
In one day, we might add...

N.B. Congratulations also go out to the rest of the team who did it in two days - special mention to Harry P and his kids, Carlo and Gisela, with Mel and his kids, Abbie and Arielle who trained hard all year, occassionally with the team, to complete the STP ride.  A word of encouragement to 3 Mangers who were not able to complete this event because of a crash on Saturday - Rudy (get well soon), Aldwin (you, too) and Eugene (who didn't crash but gave up his STP to help the two out) - there will be more rides to enjoy.

Thanks to Eric for the Garmin Statistics on the ride.

And here's the video: