How not to prepare for the STP (2007 edition)

I signed up for the annual Seattle-to-Portland bike ride, known to Seattle-area bicycling dorks as STP. My bicycle riding is mostly just commuting to and from work, nothing even approaching the 200-mile trek that STP entails, but one of my friends who recently started bicycle-commuting inspired our little bicycle commuting group to sign up.

One of my colleagues rode the STP last year, and when he returned, I asked him how it went. He conceded that he was riding with a group that wanted to go faster than he was prepared to ride, and the ride was not quite as enjoyable as it could have been.

"I should've trained better."

Oh? What was your training?

"I sat around and drank beer."

Comments (14)
  1. Nathan says:

    Has a great training regimen!

    I have to harass friends who are snooty about fitness.

    "Only a marathon ? You should come out for the XXX mile ULTRA marathon"

    "You rode a 50 miles today ? I do centuries every other day."

    etc. I’d rather drink beer, and run/bike to keep the fat off.

  2. Jeff Roe says:

    Hey!  I’m in training and I didn’t even know it!

  3. del says:

    That’s basically how we trained for the Whiskey Off-Road, a 50-mile mountain bike event in Prescott, AZ last month. Let’s just say that it didn’t end well. But we had a lot of fun while we were failing miserably! Heh heh.

  4. MS says:

    Hey, beer has essential, uh, carbohydrates.  And, uhm, stuff.  Stuff that every athlete needs.  Or something.

  5. JenK says:

    That also sounds like good training to recreate the "Bandit Run" from the movie Smokey & The Bandit.

  6. Bramster says:

    We just had about 25 people complete a tour from last Thursday to Sunday — with the posted distance more than 100 miles each day.  Some of the directionally challenged riders managed to turn some of the days into 150 milers.

    Much Canadian beer was consumed at the end of each leg.  

    The first two days were essentially flat; the second two fairly hilly.

  7. Ron Delzer says:

    I have a friend who has given up beer until he completes the STP. He’s drinking red wine instead and his diet seems to consist solely of hot wings and corn dogs. I’ll let him know that he’s on the right track!

  8. Michael Quinlan says:

    After riding to Portland, how do you get back to Seattle?

  9. How long is the distance from home to work for you? Do you use the bike evry day?

    I have 20km to work, and usually I doit every day with my bike. I drive a recumbend bike (HP-Streetmachine GT). Very fast and comfortable!

    Picture here:

  10. Tyler says:


    They bus you, and your bike, back to Seattle. It’s part of the package.

    [Actually, it’s a separate optional package. If you want to get home some other way (e.g., friends are picking you up, you live in Portland), then you don’t have to buy a bus ticket. -Raymond]
  11. KMukhar says:

    Ah good times. I did the STP with my wife several times in the early 90s. She is not athletic and was diabetic at the time, but with regular training rides (app 20 miles a day during the week and 50-70 mile rides on the weekend) we both survived.

    Some less fun times:

    • riding the first half in the pouring rain
    • some nitwit clipping into clipless pedals at a stop light and falling over onto my wife (hint: clip only one foot until you are moving, then clip the other foot)

    • finishing in Portland with a badly warped wheel after crashing somewhere in the last few miles

    Hope you have a good ride!

  12. John C. says:

    At least some Amtrak trains from Portland to Seattle offer the option of checking bicycles as baggage, for (if memory serves) a $10 surcharge. You can take your bike to the baggage car, hang it from a hook, and pick it up at the end of your journey. I’ve done this successfully when traveling from Seattle to Portland to visit friends for a weekend. I have no idea if there’d be sufficient capacity on the days following a major event like the STP, though.

  13. SvenGroot says:

    That’s similar to how my old Sea Scouting group prepared for the Harlingen-Terschelling rowing race: we generally didn’t.

    Our worst performance ever was when we didn’t even make it to the *start* line (we ran aground before reaching the start location).

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