Rookie Rider: Gearing up to Ride Seattle to Portland July 17 & 18
by Sasha Aslanian
The 202 miles are a raincheck. Two years ago, my little brother missed our ride across Norway so he invited me to ride Seattle to Portland this year. Together with our spouses, we’ll ride 202 miles in 2 days. I should explain: I’m not a stellar cyclist. I’m a 42-year-old public radio producer and a mom. I signed up for STP because I believe setting impossible goals is the only way to get things done.
I’ve been training on the Paul Bunyan Trail in Minnesota where I live. July 3rd I made it 85 miles to Bemidji in 89 degree heat. I’m hoping that means I’ll be ready for 100 miles in lower temps, with a vehicle carrying my camping gear.
I have visions of the other 9,000 riders on STP being hollow-cheeked, balloon-calved Seattle bike messengers. 74% of the riders are men. Some riders do it one day because 100 miles a day is “”too boring.”" The party begins in Portland at 3:00 p.m. on day 1 for the speediest riders. I’m hoping I beat the street sweepers cleaning up Portland on day 2.
I want to keep this blog to spur me on. The shame of failure in public is a powerful motivator. I kept going across Norway because I had given family members commemorative magnets of the trip. Quitting wasn’t an option.
My top fears on this ride:
–Tingling and numbness in my hands becoming unbearable
–Annoying my riding mates by going too slowly
–Getting bored inside my own head
What do you think about on long rides? I met a woman yesterday who’s planning to do STP in 1 day. She’s a scientist and she works out scientific problems in her head, and turns numbers she sees on signs into math problems. She also sings songs to set the tempo for her legs.
How do you get into the zone? What keeps you going?