I rolled out again for the 2012 Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic with Cascade Bike Club on Saturday and Sunday, July 14,15.
I rode a little over 100 miles each day to complete the 204 miles of the course as a 2 day rider on my Coker “Big One” unicycle.
Saturday I left and told myself that all I had to do was roll out and have a good time and only think about making it to the next stop, and then make it to the next stop, and so on. Saturday was a “Chamber Of Commerce” bike event, the weather was perfect (for me anyway), the bike trail at Tenino was 14 miles of pleasure… really Saturday was everything I hoped for in an event this size. I had a 40 minute siesta at the last stop and still rolled into Centralia by 5 PM.
Sunday I left at 3 AM and it was a struggle. Fresh blacktop over broken roadway made some really undulating and choppy trail to negotiate. There was no depth perception looking down at the pitch black network of fresh tar patches in the roadway and I had many UPD s. Re-mounting after riding a little more than 100 miles the day before was taking a toll and I was’nt even the first 10 miles out of Centralia/Chehalis.
The UPD s were hard on the confidence to launch full speed down the road and of course slowing down meant that some of the medium bumps that I would normally roll over were a frustrating new UPD and freemount. Two of the worst UPD s I almost out ran but tripped in the uneven roadway, which at one point left me wondering if I would get out of town without some injury that might impact reaching Portland. My thought process was making me more tentative and thus more vulnerable, an odd vicious circle for the first hour.
I had my first flat tire about 20 miles into Sunday. I had 4 flats on Sunday which took a good amount of energy and used all the new inner tubes and CO2 cylinders I carried. Fortunately I always carry my pump (a Road Morph) G ). My last inner tube started losing pressure near the valve stem. Fortunately two doctors from the Major Taylor Project hooked me up with some Slime, which slowed the leak to manageable intervals of pumping my tire up like a crazy person when I should be taking a short rest and then cranking forward to Portland. Short story: Sunday was a hard day for the “Unicycle” Division of the 2012 STP.
I bought this unicycle 4 years ago at Serious Juggling in Portland and Ben and Yvette volunteered to escort me the last few miles into Portland. As the owners of Serious Juggling , Ben and Yvette don’t just “stand behind” their unicycles and juggling equipment… they also ride along quite nicely on unicycle and bike. They were the perfect escort into the city of Portland and crossed over with me at the Finish Line about 7:15 PM.
Bruce Dawson and Joe Meyers should update their stats to add another UBI. (Unicyclist Batted In) for inspiration and advice.
Quite a few people knew my name on the ride this year apparently from an article in Journal : here is a link btw.
My kids and I were set up in Chehalis with cowbells and speakers blasting out “Rocky” all day while shouting out words of encouragement to the riders. Mid afternoon, I started asking riders over the mic if they saw a unicycle. Oh yea!
I was excited because I have just started trying to learn to ride one over the past few weeks. Then I was asking at 6:00 pm and nobody saw you.
We were set back up at 5:00 am playing YMCA and I watched for you but you got a way early start!!
Congrats, Kevin! How many centuries is that now? 10? With the last two back to back. Very impressive, especially considering the conditions you describe. I know that after the two centuries that I’ve ridden, I was happy to be able to walk the next day, never mind riding another hundred miles, in the dark, on a bumpy road.
Maybe I’ll see you there next year. Just maybe.
Harper: Thanks for the “attaboy”. It felt good to cross over again, though I hardly took Portland by storm. I think a child could have tipped me over with a blade of grass when I finished, regardless, I am giddy as a school girl to finish another STP.
TMason: Thanks for supporting the ride, sorry I missed the music and hoopla, all good stuff and always appreciated. Good luck on your quest to uni.
naturequack: I think you would find the STP a life experience worthy of the effort. The other cyclists will treat you like a “Rock Star”. It is a unique couple of days filled with thousands of random people shouting every possible combination of “ego fluffing” superlatives your direction. I have yet to hear a negative comment on the STP.
Terry: I think you have a very good chance at a 24 Hour distance record. I know I would not bet against you at any endeavor. The STP seems tailor made for you and I think you would feel the empathy and warm embrace the other riders would extend to you.
UniBrier: Thanks. Incredible to pedal anything over 200 miles, congrats back at ya.
AspenMike: Thanks. I met quite a few people that did different bike events in “Rado” and asked if I knew you, or if I was the guy at certain rides there. I’m flattered.
Hey Kenny. Little of everything. The route is posted at Cascade Bike Club, so you can have a gander. Never goes down I-5 but there is plenty of Highway and spots that feel like you are “running the gauntlet” with certain doom wooshing past. There is plenty of adrenaline fixes to be had on the STP. Lots of bike pileups. One guy pulled up staring at the “Uni” while I was sitting at a stop and he forgot to unclip and fell on top of me while trying to step off the bike last minute.
OMG! That is amazing! Total congrats! I’ve done the one-day a few times on a regular bike, so I’m very familiar with that l-o-n-g and somewhat boring route.
Now you gotta do the RAMROD. I wonder if it’s ever been done on a uni…hmmm.
Terry, I have driven support car for bungeejoe for many, many years. We have talked about it and have agreed that I can drive 204 for YOU! You name the time and, I’ll do it. The STP route is well marked and easy to follow. We are will to help you make your goal.
Great job doesn’t say it enough.
I passed you around the 75 mile area and you were striding along looking pretty casual. It was a flat stretch and maybe, if possible, a time to relax.
I’ve been looking to get a 36er and hear all sorts of speeds. Figure you’ve put in enough miles to be past any hype. What would you think is a normal cruising speed average on a single speed 36er with 150ish cranks? What crank length did you run? Thanks for any info and concrats on a fine run this year.
Thanks Jona and back to you. I remember you if we talked about “Wind Energy” companies.
I have 3-hole cranks by DaVinci. I run everything in the 130mm pedal position except “The Hill” in Puyallup, which i use the 150 mm pedal position for more leverage. I tried to get to Portland on 150 mm and it was a mistake. It takes a huge amount of energy to make that bigger circle in the 150 mm position and it becomes cummulative after many thousands of revolutions. I have about 60% strength left in the left leg after radiation, so I was weak as a kitten when I moved to 125 mm for riding in general, but it was for me a necessity to bridge the available time and energy issue to reach Portland.
For general riding with lots of control and strength, handling obstacles like hills, pedestrians, all that, go with 150mm but try to transition to 125mm and even shorter for speed that you will need to ride in bike events and finish with time constraints.
150mm I roll comfortably 7-10 mph and 125mm 9-13mph depending on terrain
I will PM you contact info and be happy to tell you a lot of ideas and opinions and pick and choose freely what you will because there is no one size fits all. Some people like air saddles, certain pedals, certain cranks, but I think I could be helpful and that is my default setting.
Joe Meyers and Bruce Dawson would help in a heartbeat as well
Amazing ride, and amazing story Kevin. Your Sunday ride ranks up there with any epic one-day story of challenge faced and overcome. All those flats? I can’t imagine. In 10K miles, I still haven’t had a single one, knock on my wooden head.
I love how as time goes by I continue to accumulate successful STP riders that I can be mistaken for on my own puny local rides. Hey, are you that guy that I saw on STP this year? Why yes, yes I am…
Do you think a 75-100 mile pre-ride is enough, or should I do a greater percentage of the 204 as training? My first and only century was back in 2010. The STP will be a whole new experience since I want to complete it in 24 hours or less, which means no sleep for all that time! :o