This is a little late but I was at the mercy of others for some, well any pictures, to attach and finish an even brief recap.

I rolled out for the 2013 STP from the official UW Start Line on Saturday around 3:45 AM and crossed the finish in Portland about 5:30 PM. A little over 200 miles.

It felt really good just to roll out that morning and it felt really good to roll across the Finish line Sunday evening. All the awkwardness of riding as a lone unicyclist with 10,000 bicyclists is mostly a non issue for me now and the bicyclist even included me into a couple big group crashes. So I really did have some skin in the game…and some blood and sweat on the course of the STP too.

I rode to the first stop with a woman who has some neuro disability. I had met her during training and it was great to have the company the fist 20 + miles.

I ride on the Crush Kid’s Cancer Team with Children’s Hospital but interaction on the STP course with groups on the CKC Team is always short lived and soon I see them vanish on the horizon like a herd of impala pronking into the sunset on their glorious gleaming sleek bicycles.

Riding the STP on a unicycle is far from a lonely venture. Thousands of people everyday will encourage and make conversations. I have yet to hear a single negative comment yet from any bicyclist on the STP.

The “Big Hill” is around 42 miles or so and it was still sort of early when I hit the base of the “Big Hill“, so I went up it in a cluster of about 30 fairly strong riders. We reached the top of the hill and I commented to the group that in another hundred yards they will all be “over the hill”, which made most of them laugh or smile. We reached the top of the “Big HILL” as a group with another group already waiting at the light . I was trying to quietly pass everyone on the side and catch the light without having to remount when a very tall rider looked back and shouted to me “ Did you just ride up the hill on a unicycle?” I said “Yeah, I just rode a wheelie up the whole thing!” I high-fived the guy as I passed to make the light and pretty much everyone was smiling or laughing. There were so many good moments like that to displace the difficulties.

I remind myself that the only thing I have to do is ride and have a good time and somehow I will make it to the next rest stop and try not to think past that. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the distance and both days were 80-90 degrees so by 85 miles each day I was struggling and resting and hydrating more than the official STP stops with my only focus being to retake the wheel, move forward, and make it to the next stop. Nothing beyond that. I made it to Centralia the fist 100 miles and tried not to think about the next 100 miles.

I had 4 flats on the last day of the 2012 STP. So I bought 3 Foss inner tubes and it helped my confidence. Riding a unicycle with John Foss is a great thing so I figured having a Foss inner tube had to be pretty good too. I thought at the time that the Foss inner tube was somehow connected to John Foss and I liked to think he got an up tick in his personal fortune when I spent $38.00 on each inner tube. I had two spoke nipples fail and pull through on the first day, right before a stop, and one of the designated STP bike techs slipped in new nipples and reconnected and trued my wheel like a Nascar pro. All that without fully removing the tire or inner tube. I was glad not to be tubeless with a tire full of clabbered milk or synthetic oatmeal.

I also experimented flattening my seat even more and that was a big help . So thanks again to Ken Looi for his observations that led to better seats, and “aracer” for his thread about seat flattening with helpful technical input by “Byc” and “NurseBen” and others on that thread. I tend to adapt to things and go forward, but starting with a thinner flatter seat is giving yourself an advantage. I could probably adapt to a “brick” for a seat, but it’s not a good choice when a person applies critical thinking. Air seats and extra padding will ultimately lead to a border incursion into the sovereign territory of “Twig and Berries” and cause crippling civil unrest in those nether regions : )

I was tempted to ride with fairly new riding shorts and change out my shoes and put different pedals on but I remember John Foss’s advice about going to war with unproven gear from another thread. Good advice and every STP brings up something new to contend with that I didn’t need a new blister or some corresponding anatomical tweak that changing my ride geometry would bring up to the mix.

A lot of good info on this site for sure.

I’m always thankful to Bruce Dawson for his write up from 2005 and Joe Meyers for the inspiration and help. They should both get more credit on their STP stats for another RBI. (Rider Batted In)

There is, of course, so many things that happen every ride of the STP that I could ramble even more about and I forget an exponential amount more than I remember. Here are some pictures



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Here is a link to an interview right before the 2013 STP. The interview got parsed down by her editor and a lot got omitted. She really tried to convey more than is in print and even sat on the 36’r for perspective before the interview was over.

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Congratulations on your tremendous achievement! Nice write-up in the paper, too! + Great photos.

Wow! You did 202 miles in under 14 hours??? That would equate to almost 15mph average, not including breaks, so you must have averaged close to 16mph with breaks. And on an UNgeared 36er that Amazing. Congrats!


Wow, that’s a great achievement.
" pronking into the sunset " even learnt a new word!
Yes, definitely never change anything going into a big ride/event.

I noticed you had your shoe laces out in the breeze. Seems a bit risky.

That is a big bag you are carrying, better you than me.

Great write up and good luck next year!


Thanks LanceB.

krjames: Thanks and good point about the shoe laces which are double tied, but I could tuck in the laces and be that much safer

MuniAddict: I left out the word Sunday, wish I had seen that in proofreading. It was very much a two day ride for me. That second sentence should read:

“I rolled out for the 2013 STP from the official UW Start Line on Saturday around 3:45 AM and crossed the finish in Portland on Sunday about 5:30 PM. A little over 200 miles.”

I was happy to finish at all. Back to back 100 mile rides are really hard enough for me. The first day alone took about 14 hours for the first 100 miles. I’m in no hurry on Saturday and focus on conserving enough to finish on Sunday.

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Well done! I think I’ll stick with International Harper Day but I’m impressed by anyone who can do the STP, at all. :astonished:

Kevin carrying the torch again

Nice smiles in those pictures Kevin! Good to see you still had water at the finish line. I don’t like finishing trying to smile with dusty lips.

A few of us had committed to do the 2013 but backed out for one reason or another. I’m thinking of having a try at it again in 2014. It would need to be a single day attempt again. May depend on how my wife is doing. She’s nowhere near capable of providing any support yet after her accident in July 2013.


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Proof positive that you’re still the man. I’m honored to have the opportunity this year to say, “yeah, I’m Kevin Williams, the guy who rode the STP on a unicycle.” Great article as well with unsurprisingly selfless credits given to Dan Heaton, Jack Hughes, Bruce Dawson, and Joe Myers.

Thanks Kenny, If at all possible I would like to roll out again for the STP and of course a Harper Day Ride is a thing far to perfect to miss. Last years Harper Day Ride was like a chamber of commerce bonanza for Ragnar : )

For me it always feels like a balancing act trying to prepare for STP. Finding the time to prepare for something I just “want” to do and still keep my head in the game to effectively contribute to all the things I “have” to do.

I don’t forget what is was like trying to rehab my left leg after radiation therapy while still recovering from the cutting of my quad tendon and the manipulation of so much tissue to excise the tumor and all the uncertainty and lack of disclosure. It felt at times like just walking without issues was beyond hope. For years I had connectivity issues that would surface every 20- 30 steps and I would lose contact with that leg for brief moments due to the radiation frying nerve endings and baking the adjacent synovial system.

After the 2009 STP I never lost contact with that leg again but I know that leg is not even 50-60% as strong, and if I push too hard I may damage myself beyond the good fortune to surmount a big wheel and struggle across the finish line in Portland.

You can be sure I am aware of my weaknesses and I never felt very “impressive” when I got Portland. I always feel incredibly fortunate in so many ways to roll across that finish line with 10,000 other people that each have their own battle and somehow find a balance and hold it together to finish. There is no easy way to pedal anything from Seattle To Portland. Definitely plan to volunteer with Cascade Bicycle more in the future. So worthwhile on so many levels.

Here is a pic of some events I did with the STP being the “pearl of great price” at the top.

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Joe: Thanks again to you and Dawson of course. I hope Lana is well. I get out of the loop pretty easily here. I will have to call and get the story

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Harper: Thanks, I feel like I’'m kinda 50/50. I just look good at 50 feet at 50 miles an hour. Read the last 2 sentences from this article after last years STP


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2017 ??

Is anyone planning on riding the STP in 2017? Kevin, are you in again?


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Thanks, now this is on my bucket list


Nice! Looking forward to adding you to the short list of STP unicycle finishers. Will it be this year or a future year?

Joe Myers

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Bruce Dawson wrote the “guide book” of how to ride the Seattle to Portland on a unicycle…

STP story–long

A search will find commentary most of the other finishes and attempts.

PM me for any specifics not found after reading the search results.


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