Friday, July 17, 2015

Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic 2015 (mid-July)

Another year, another STP!

Since this post will cover several days, I'll do my best to jot down notable events from my journey and stay in Portland, rather than listing every last thing that happened. The tweets will have a lot of the details.

  1. STP Day 1
  2. STP Day 2
  3. Portland Day 1
  4. Portland Day 2
  5. Return Home

More after the break…

Throughout the entire trip, I was slowly raising my saddle straight up (correcting for the seat tube angle). I had a lot of foot and knee pain at the start, and it gradually became less. I more or less got it right during my first day of riding in Portland.

STP Day 1

Despite my rush to pack, I ended up leaving a half-hour later than I had hoped, but joined the wave only fifteen minutes after the one last year.

I rode with a front rando bag and a rear saddle bag, and left the panniers with my overnight stuff on the truck to Vader. I did have tools and a good amount of food for the ride, so I was able to at least skip some stops.

However, throughout the first part of the trip, I needed to use the restroom a lot.

I saw one of my coworkers on his bike with aero bars who was doing the ride in one day in southeast Seattle.

Unlike last year, we were routed through Joint Base Lewis McChord rather than along SR-507, as a lot of folks really hated the latter and someone got into a collision with a car last year.

A few folks still ended up being carried away in ambulances, unfortunately.

Similar to last year, there were folks riding unconventional vehicles such as skateboards and ElliptiGoes. There was also a dedicated group riding single-speed beach cruisers, who didn't walk the route at all. They stood on the pedals up the hills!

Unlike last year, however, we were routed on a new bike trail that took us along the other side of I-5 rather than along the highway between Centralia and Chehalis.

Folks started dropping off for their midpoint lodging starting at Centralia, and the cyclist crowds grew thinner and thinner. I, however, got a caffeinated soda after the big climb to Napavine to shove me the last of the way there.

After climbing out of the saddle a bunch to get to Vader, I made the left to where I was staying for the night.

Dinner for me was spaghetti, garlic bread, pie, a root beer float, and a couple brownies.

STP Day 2

Day 2 got off to a bad start:

The first rest stop at Lexington was also closed when I got there.

So I just kept at it until after crossing the river. I did pass the rando group after a while.

The local police gave us the entire southbound lane and shoulder on the Lewis and Clark Bridge in waves this year, which made passing everyone else on the uphill part much easier.

I stopped periodically for food when on US 30, as I hadn't eaten since breakfast.

I saw some of the same folks over and over, such as a guy on a beautiful-looking gold Soma Double Cross Disc (the disc version of my frame).

Just like last year, I stopped for a big triple mocha in Saint Helens, and ended up zipping along at high speed despite my saddle's less-than-ideal height at that point.

I ended up getting to the finish line at just before 13:00 and used the food and merchandise voucher to buy some stuff.

I grabbed my luggage and headed to the hostel where I would be spending the next few nights. My phone finally turned on when I got there.


I spent the evening chilling at the adjacent coffee shop for a while.

My aunt, my cousin, and my cousin's girlfriend took me out to dinner at one of their favorite places for some Mediterranean food.

Portland Day 1

The next morning, I headed out to ride for a while. Before that, though, I chatted with an older woman for a while in one of the common areas in the hostel.

I took the Broadway Bridge and the annoying switchbacks instead.

I ended up riding around quite a bit, dealing with detours and whatnot, but did eventually make it to Tigard to meet my aunt at one of her workplaces.

And then went back into town, stopping at Jamba Juice along the way.

I ate at a couple more places before heading over to Bike Gallery to see about doing something regarding my slipping seatpost. They used some carbon grit, as my post is aluminum and my frame is Steel.

While heading back to the other side of the river, I was coasting down in a lane to the right of the right turn lane and had to emergency brake as a driver who was sitting there started moving to make the turn. My front wheel locked and I went down a few feet away from her car, but I just got a scraped knee.

I made it back to the Springwater Corridor to return to the other side of the river.

I did stop by Splendid Cycles and chatted a bit, but one of the employees and I got into a minor argument over headlights: B&M (which spread the beam across the road) versus Supernova (which has a light that's not road-legal in Germany due to brightness, but has a very narrow beam). I left in a slightly sour mood.

When I got to the other side of the river, I headed up to the Fred Meyer near the hostel for fried chicken, fruit, beer, and a salad. My front back was so stuffed that I couldn't even fit my sweater in, so I had to wear it.

The chicken was good, but not special. Not sure why he wanted the recipe so badly.

Portland Day 2

I headed out early again on my second day in Portland.

I ended up riding out along the Springwater Corridor, which was rather nice.


I couldn't spend all day out riding, though, as I had plans to meet up with my aunt again. We first headed to the Pittock Mansion. You can see the large album for more photos of the rooms and interesting features like the ancestors of today's thermostats and mixer shower taps. It even had an old internal telephone system!

After that, she took me out for Greek food, a doughnut, and some ice cream. Of course, I'll have to treat her when she next visits Seattle.


After we parted ways for the last time on this trip, I headed out to Rivelo only to find it was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays like the other things around it.

As Grant Peterson, the founder of Rivendell, created and is a proponent of mustache bars, it would make sense that they are popular in a city with a Rivendell dealer.

Since it was closed, I just headed back to the hostel.

I was delighted to find that there was a live show that night.

Return Home

It was a quick jaunt to the train station that started my return home. It was painless and I only had to pay extra to box up some of my bags as only two would be free.

The ride itself was rather uneventful, aside from freight train delays.

There were some other folks leaving the train with their STP bikes (complete with bar numbers) at major stations along the way, including the end at Seattle.


I only stopped at my LBS and post office on the way home.

In the end, my saddle was nice and broken in, and it was mostly high enough!

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