I’m an experienced endurance cyclist and have completed this ride (in two relatively easy to moderate days) the last eight times it’s been held. I’ll likely be riding the 206 miles solo this year (mid-July). This will be a 1 day effort, leaving start at 4:45 am with a target of 11-12 hrs. to complete.
Suggestions and tips, especially the logistical differences, between a 2 and 1 day effort, that a first-time 1 day rider should be aware of will be appreciated.
Are you in the seattle area? attend the cascade CATS training series to meet a group to join for a one day effort, surfing wheels for the whole ride would be exhausting mentally. Follow the groups of tandems and triplets until you hit Renton/Puyallup. Skip the first renton stop and the midpoint centralia lunch and find somewhere just past there for an actual lunch. You can grab a snack and an ice cream but don’t wait in the huge line for shitty sandwiches. Stay on top of nutrition and make sure you enjoy the taste of gatorade which many of the stops had the last time I did the ride
I’ve done it 3 times, all in one day many years ago when it was in June. The weather was often sketchy, which is why they moved it to July. I found that trying to join groups on the road, even if you wanted to do the work pissed people off. Lots of folks don’t like you on their wheel. Agree with the other poster. If you do the training series, you have a built in group to ride with. I may try it again one of these years…
Oh, old CATS ride leader here for ‘vigorous’ group. Happy to see it recommended on the TR Forum. I hope they’re still doing it this year.
@Velotempo I did STP a few times. The hardest part for me is enduring the heat; a lot of the course is pretty exposed, especially near/in Oregon. I recommend training in the heat when you can. Get those electrolytes in. Nuun is (or at least used to be) a partner of the event; free Nuun-mixed water at every aid station. I’m sure a lot of this makes sense; even with the 2-day ride experience!
For one-day riders, I’d say you should also skip all the aid stations until you’re out of the Puget Sound area; like once you’re on the West Valley Highway and in/past Puyallup, then it’s time to think about aid stations. The first 30-40 miles are chaos and seem to be where all the crashes happen and that first 2 hours is going to fly by anyway! Save your self some time and stress and skip early aid.
As you probably know, this event is SUPER well supported by SAG. Travel light between checkpoints! Drink greedily! Keep tabs on your water and calorie intake as you mix in whatever’s free from the checkpoints. And keep the stop time short; 5-10 mins max, with a little extra for the free lunch.
A note about 200-mile day… the aid stations seem to fizzle out once Portland is within like 30 miles. It’s dreary being on highway 30 and it’s hot af. If you have music or podcasts, I’d start listening to music around then for a mood boost.
Have only done something similar (203 miles) once, but I would say energy conservation is key…so the previously mentioned suggestion of getting into a group and drafting as much as possible is probably the biggest thing outside of hydration and fueling. We had a group of 22 and knew we were heading into a huge storm, so the agreement was to hammer the first 100 without stopping (did that in ~4:20), then a 10 minute “lunch”, then back at it. I would also consider palette fatigue, so have some varied fuel options if possible. Good luck!
Hey, I have done the 1 day stp about 7 or 8 times. I’ve ridden it all by myself, with one other person, in a small group of 5, and a few times in larger groups. I have actually found that freelancing it and picking up groups along the way works pretty well as long as you are willing to take pulls. The last time I rode (2018 I think) I went into it solo, formed a group of 4 near Renton and we rode the whole thing together slingshotting other groups along the way. Finished around 10 hours total averaging just over 20 mph which was about 205np (I did the bulk of the pulling). If you need or want someone to ride it with this year let me know. I’d be willing to ride it with you. Shoot me a message if you’re interested.
Ridden 1-day 9 times (but haven’t done 2-day). My thoughts:
-Up until at least Centralia, you’ll be riding in groups of people whether you like it or not, so the first 100 miles can really fly by.
-A lot of the more nervous 2-day riders will start at the “1-day only” 4:45am time, or will join on the road, which creates a sketchy brew of inexperienced riders mixed in with over-amped 20-something guys for the first 30+ miles.
-Try to skip the first couple stops - if you can ride the first 50 miles through, you get yourself out of most of the sketchiness, and save a lot of time because of how crowded the first stops are.
-Keep all your stops as short as possible.
-Consider using non-STP stops, such as gas stations and fast food. They might come at better intervals for your riding plan, and are often less crowded. (For instance, fries, soft serve, and filling my bottles with ice and Coke at the St Helens McDonald’s will get me the remaining 30 miles to Portland. And the AC is a nice bonus on hot years.)
Since you’ve ridden STP before, you know that you’ll almost never be “solo”, especially for the first half of the ride. Make friends, join random groups, swap pulls with folks along the way.
Don’t psych yourself out thinking about how many more miles/kilometers it is to the finish. Instead, focus on the distance to the next rest area, or better yet, just focus on the people and the scenery around you.
Stay hydrated. Eat early and often. Make use of the food & water at the rest stops.
Travel light. Take your patch kit and enough food to fuel you between stops, but try to avoid packing for a cross-country trip, or worrying about every possible contingency. The ride is very well supported and you probably ain’t gonna need it. It may seem like that bar-bag full of stuff is only adding a small amount of weight and wind resistance, but a few watts over 200 miles equals a lot of kilojoules of work.
If it’s going to be hot in the afternoon don’t over dress in the morning.
Thanks - your advice reminds me of my 8 two day rides (except for the Burgerville :). I’d heard the one day riders are less likely to welcome solo riders to join. Maybe the stories I’ve heard are related to tag alongs who don’t do their share or group concerns about folks jumping on until they show their willing to pull… is this what you’ve observed? Pulls aren’t a problem as it’s part of my group rides, training, and it’s a small price to pay for the benefit of the drafting.
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