Where Are the Hills?

Just realized that my Sunday bike ride had nearly the identical amount of elevation gain as the entire 204 mile Seattle-to-Portland course I'll be riding later this summer. By no means do I wish for it to double the "Blood, Sweat, and Gears" course I did in North Carolina a few years ago (11,000 feet of gain in 107 miles) but I am concerned that there might not be enough hills in STP. Sure, going uphill is a lot harder than riding on flat ground, but it does provide a nice change of pace, a chance to stretch and adjust your position. Not to mention, downhills are usually good for racking up some easy miles. STP barely averages over 100 ft of elevation per mile. It's barely worth mentioning.


Maarten said...

Is STP only 2300ish feet of elevation? I thought I remembered it being more around 3300ft. Either way, yeah, it's one of the easiest double centuries around, especially since the end is flat. (Caveat: I haven't looked at changes to the route in recent years.)

The hard parts are keeping your butt in the saddle for 10+ hours, keeping the breaks short, and keeping food intake at the right level.

I've had a tough year when I had a muscle cramp for the last 20+ miles (not for a lack of electrolytes, either), a good year when I felt very strong and pulled the train on the last 30 miles, and a nasty year when my stomach got upset by mile 80 and I rode the rest with stomach cramps and no appetite. (Note to self: do not start taking ibuprofen too early in the day.)

PS: sorry to hear about the dental adventure. Always annoying. I've got a minor one coming up...

Doug Walsh said...

Yeah, it's definitely going to be hard to stay comfortable in the saddle and, as you said, keep the body from cramping every which way. Even without the hills, it will still be difficult. Looks like I may be doing it with a guy my wife works with and some of his friends. They hope to average 20mph the whole way based on previous STP's, so hopefully I can stay in the pace line with them. So long as I don't end up out there alone for hours at a time.

Good luck with the dentist and thanks for writing.

PS: I haven't forgotten about testing the wiki ride descriptions you emailed me, just trying to find the time to get to it.

Maarten said...

Saw that you have a deadline coming up. Glad to hear the wiki is still on your radar.