Seattle to Portland: Sasha’s Reports from the Road (Day 1)
By Sasha Aslanian
The Night Before:
There will be 7 of doing the ride together–3 women and 4 men all in our 40s. One of the guys, Jim, did the ride last year. I take it as a good sign that he’s returning.
Over a dinner of fish tacos on by brother and sister-in-law’s deck in Seattle, the team agreed to a few things:
1) We’ll stick together the first 25 miles or so. It will be crowded, so faster riders won’t be able to zoom ahead anyway, and the slower ones will be powered by adrenalin.
2) We debated circumventing the chaos of the opening line and joining a half-mile in but a bunch of us felt we had to do the true start to feel good about it.
3) We went over pace line etiquette–no overlapping wheels, signal danger to the person behind you, i.e. point out potholes and be extremely careful swerving or stopping.
We are still unsure if my sister-in-law Sandy who’s had a low-grade fever for 4 days will join us but she packed her gear and wants to try.
Hitting the road at 6:00 a.m.
Over the Hump
The legendary mile-long climb comes at mile 43 so you have that hanging over you as the ride winds out of Seattle. Fortunately the route planners somehow managed to craft a path with relatively few climbs. ‘The Big Hill’ is pretty hyped, but it actually has a few level patches to break the climb. We’re at mile 53 in Spanaway and our team is still together. Keeps usbusy keeping track of each other. Polite riders, cheering children and amplesnacks. Long biffy line gives me a chance to write this post.
The photo is of my teammate Allison’s Rollergirl biking outfit and the little bunny she’s carrying for her daughter Kate.
Onward to Centralia!
Blood on the Road
The ride got very quiet outside Roy as we were asked to dismount our bikes and walk by the scene if the accident. I stepped over fresh blood on the pavement. Does anyone know if the guy hurt in Roy is OK?
On a brighter note, we are finally off the shoulder of the road and riding a beautiful trail from Yelm to Tenino.
We’re 3/4 of the way there. Our team split so the ‘sprinters’ could reserve tent space in Centralia. It tooke 20 miles to realize the ‘advance team’ includes everyone but me. It’s OK, the day has turned stunning.
The attached photo is of the Parrot Team, a family from Seattle that’s done STP for 5 years. It makes it easier to find each other, they say. I like how when they pass me the parrots wave their wings at me.