Seattle To Portland On A Unicycle

On Sunday July 18, 2010 I crossed the finish line of the STP at 6 pm. 202.5 + miles in 2 days, my fourth and fifth unicycle centuries.

I “drafted” Joe Meyers and Bruce Dawson. Vicariously, they crossed over with me for their advice and inspiration as previous unicyclists of the STP to complete the course.

I made some good changes all around after managing 150 miles of the 2009 STP. Completing the 2010 STP never really felt like it was all that likely, but more than any single thing throughout the ride I felt hope. When I got within 15 miles of the finish line, my core went nuclear and there would be no stopping me from crossing over. The last 2 miles to the finish line were brutal. At least 25 free mounts in those two miles to the finish. The traffic and cyclists, missed lights, buses. It felt like a dream where I could not move forward…it was a brutal final 2 miles.

I left Saturday rolling @ 3 am and reached Centralia (100 miles or so)around 5pm and rode the first mile or so of the next mornings start while it was still light. Set up my tent right across from some friends in my community that have each summited Mount Rainier, John and Lynne. We made friends with another cyclist from Chicago, Dave. I had a great dinner with them all and I was feeling really strong when I went to sleep Saturday night.

I left Sunday rolling @ 3 am and crossed the finish of the STP right around 6pm. Lana Meyers had been updating me periodically about Joe’s progress on the course of the STP the previous day and I welcomed the notion of being “guilty by association” with Joe and Lana Meyer…The Unicycle “Dream Team” : ) True to form Joe and Lana Meyer were right at the finish line to greet me when I crossed over the finish line of the STP, along with John, Lynne, and Dave. I owe a lot to the Spin Class Instructors at the Y, I leaned on them and they delivered.

I like the STP as an event on the whole and I recommend it to any unicyclist. I never heard a single negative comment and two days of solid, positive life affirming encouragement by earnest people challenging themselves also to pedal 200+ miles.

I wrote this right after the 2009 STP :

“The Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic was Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12. I made it 150 miles on my 36 inch Coker unicycle and “bonked” around noon Sunday. I know I must be alive because it hurt not crossing the finish line in Portland more than I would have allowed even possible. A singular kind of pain, no way to “dress it up” or “put a spin on it”. It hurt. What fills the “void” that remains after throwing up Clif Bars, Gu, and warm water from a Camelbak on the side of the road while a dream dies? To be honest, for a while pain displaced everything else and if you are into pain this one was just exquisite. I knew what it would take to go 50 + more miles and I didn’t have it. I left it all out there and got my hat handed to me, big time. I got reduced to the lowest common denominator. Limping back to the last stop, in short increments, a better human being had begun to grow back in the “void“. Today the sun came out, I feel really good, stronger . The STP was humbling, absolutely, but very worthwhile.

The STP feels possible for me and I will roll out for it in 2010. I learned a lot and have faith I can bridge my personal challenges successfully in 2010.”

It was not so long ago that it was a struggle to even walk. When I left the last radiation therapy at Overlake in 2005 I had taken a solid hit to the core and it felt like I was really struggling just to stay even. During the previous STP, I was hoping for some sort of vindication for all that had been taken away. When I crossed over the finish line of the 2010 STP it felt more like a celebration of all that remains

What a tremendous effort! Congratulations in returning to face the demons of 2009, and reaping the rewards of doing so.
Thank you for sharing with us.


Great pictures, awesome writeup, fantastic job!
Way to rock!

Thanks EoinC. Really, really felt good.

Tak: I enjoyed riding with you and Natosha(tell her nice job on the marathon btw) when you were still in Florida. You guys are a world away from Florida now. Hope the 29’r is treating you good. Last Sunday was a pretty big day

Fantastic accomplishment! I want to do that ride as well sometime. You should start a new thread called, “Who has completed a double century!” :slight_smile:

Terry, Definitely pursue the STP. The bicyclists from Cascade Bike Club will treat you like a “Rock Star”…(or what I imagine it must be like for a “Rock Star”) It feels like a big rolling Bohemian festival of people challenging themselves. They love their “unicyclists”.

I hope to have the fortune of crossing over the finish line of another STP.

Since I missed the actual event, I assume that I could ride the course anytime? I know that I would definitely need car support, as riding in the dead of night I could be a sitting–er–riding duck, for a drunk driver!

And looking at your pics, your 36er was ungeared. What size cranks did you use, and what was your average riding speed?

Terry, I ran everything with 125’s except, I used 150’s to go up “The Hill” in Puyallup and 150’s over the Longview Kelso Bridge which crosses into Oregon over the Columbia River. Dual moment cranks would be sweet and Coker needs to make the option of at least a 125-150 square taper crank combination as well.

My average riding speed ranges from 12.5 mph to much slower. I was really conscious of being proactive with “hot spots” in my points of contact with the saddle and the Aero Bars made changing up my body geometry really effective to avoid over straining any region that developed an issue along the ride. When things start getting warm and start feeling “hot” a blister is not far off and a blister could be a game changer.

More than anything though I pay close attention to my left knee and try to manage that closely because although it is strong and sound it is only about 60% as strong as the right and makes the transition in the pedal rotation really tricky on a steep uphill, so I used 150’s for the two steepest grades.

Most hearty congratulations from the right coast!

Amazing Straightarrow! Congrats on a huge accomplishment!

Steveyo: Thanks very much from the left coast here

Super G: Thanks and keep up the silly walking

A friend fixed a finish photo also

Tsk, beat me to it.

Local News

I talked with the local online news and they ran a small story.

A few things are a little exaggerated but that was not my doing. I remember emphasizing the STP is not a race, it is a bicycle event.

I also don’t consider myself to be a cancer survivor anymore than I am a survivor of the “common cold”, “the Flu” or “paper cuts”. Thank goodness there was no lemon juice involved in any of the paper cuts I have sustained : )

Cascade Courier

Kevin: Your picture and a caption are in the “Cascade Courier” August 2010 / Vol. 40, No. 8 issue on page 6. I have not found an online link.

Where is the other picture?

I have a good face for “Radio”.

I know they took a picture that has both unicyclists that completed this years STP? I like that picture best, but an even better picture would be inclusive of a certain person named Lana. Teams win and when you know friends you will know success.

Apparently I am selling unicycles also.

Cascade Courier

Here is a pic from page 6. Not just a ‘radio face’. That’ a victory smile!

The “UNI” Way

It’s awesome how all of the “UNICYCLISTS” at the STP know and support each other…the BICYCLISTS can’t say that, can they?

One of 9998 on two or three make most of them blend in to one huge mass.

Yet one of two on one make us stand out and get noticed.

It also makes it easier for us to pulling together to reach common goals.