Saturday, July 12, 2008

The STP That Wasn't

Last year was our first every STP -- two days, but just barely. We were not exactly well prepared for this event. Before STP, our longest ever single-day ride was about 108 miles, a self-organized century completed exactly one week before STP. Also, we were riding mountain bikes. Granted, they had nice Mavic SpeedCity 700C wheels and 700x25 road tires, but still, mountain bike geometry is not exactly optimal for 100+ mile rides.

Oh, I also developed a stress fracture in a bone in my right foot during our self-supported century the week before, but I did the STP anyway. This was not one of the more intelligent things I've ever done in my life.

Anyway, after we finished last year's STP, we promised ourselves two things:
  1. We would buy "real" road bikes.
  2. We would be better trained for the next STP.
This past March checked #1 off the list by ordering two Co-Motion Nor'Westers. The bikes were delivered a couple of weeks ago, and they rock. I'll write much more about the new bikes Real Soon Now.

#2 has been an on-going process, but I think we've made great progress. We've completed multiple centuries this year, and our endurance is much better than before. We've learned a lot about semi-long distance riding, especially how and when to eat, how to stay hydrated, etc. We felt more than ready for another two-day STP.

Until this past (Fourth of July) weekend.

We planned a car-lite vacation: Truck the bikes to the Cedar Falls trail head of the Iron Horse Trail in North Bend, WA, bike 50 miles along the dirt/gravel trail to the little hamlet of Cle Elum, WA, spend two nights in the Iron Horse Inn, then return to North Bend.

Friday morning we packed our backpacks, packed the truck, and drove to the trail head, only to find rain, some wind, and colder-than-forecast temperatures. The thought of biking 4 or 5 hours on dirt/mud/gravel in rain showers with temperatures around 60F wasn't exactly appealing. It's not like we avoid biking in the rain, but this just didn't sound like fun.

After sitting in the truck at the trail head for a while, watching the showers come and go, and looking at the ominous clouds hugging Snoqualmie Pass, we decided to be lame and drive to Cle Elum.

I'm glad we did. The next day (Saturday) Kasia started getting sick. Coughing, chest pain, ear ache, sore throat -- she was a walking, wheezing final project for E.N.T. medical students.

If we had biked to Cle Elum, we would be faced with a choice on Sunday: both bike back together (unlikely), or I bike back alone, get the truck, and drive back to Cle Elum to pick up Kasia.

She saw a doctor on Monday, who proclaimed her condition "probably asthma, probably not an infection", despite the facts that a) she hasn't had an asthma attack in 5 or 6 years, b) she knows what an asthma attack feels like (and this wasn't it), and c) she obviously had ear and throat infections as well. He gave her an inhaler and an antibiotic prescription to be filled "only if she's not better in 4 or 5 days".

Well, it's been 4 or 5 days now, she's not getting better, I see antibiotics in her near future, and STP is out of the question.

As I write this, it's 3:00am on Saturday morning. The first waves of (one-day) riders will depart the University of Washington parking area in about 90 minutes or so.

For everyone participating in STP 2008: I wish you a safe ride, blue skies, moderate temperatures, and tailwinds all the way to Portland.

For the two of us: We have 365 days to prepare for STP 2009.


tessa said...

missed you on stp! i'm accustomed to finding you on rides :(
I'll be on the seattle century (just doing a half) and then ramrod in the next week-will i see you and your wife there?

keithmo said...

Hi Tessa, great to hear from you!

No, we're not doing RAMROD this year, too many "irons in the fire" -- next year, for sure! Same goes for the Seattle Century.

Did you do Flying Wheels? We kept an eye out for you.

Good luck on RAMROD and the Seattle Century. I hope we run into you (figuratively) soon.