Diana Finishes STP
On the three days prior to the STP ride, July 14 - 16, Diana and I were working "packet pickup" at REI where riders come to pick up their bib and bike numbers that they display during the ride. This is also where riders are able to pick up parking tickets for their vehicles at the start line and where they can pick up bus tickets for their transportation back from Portland. These were exhausting days as Diana was responsible for coordinating all the volunteers needed for this and I was greeting all the riders at they arrived and insuring that they were being taken care of properly. After packet pickup on Friday night, about 8pm, Diana headed for the Bicycle Club where our motor home was parked and drove it to the starting line. She then helped coordinate volunteers for setting up of the start line and then settled in for some rest at about midnight. I had also left REI at about 8pm and headed for Chehalis, WA where I would participate in helping out at Operations headquarters during the ride the next day.
Diana was then up by 3am on Saturday morning, had a quick bite to eat, moved the motor home from the security area of the start line to a back lot location and then prepared to get herself and the bicycle ready for the ride. She had some concern about her readiness for the ride, not having eaten well the previous evening (there was no "carbo-loading" as is normally done), and not having much rest in the last few days. Never the less, she was anxious and confident about the ride that she was about to start. She got on the road at about 4:40 am, just a few minutes before the official start.
I received a call from her when she was near Sumner and she indicated that she was feeling strong and making good time. I received another call from her just after she had passed the Spanaway food stop and she indicated that she had just come upon several piles of tacks in the road. She was attempting to brush the tacks off the road with her feet and trying to warn other cyclists of the danger. I told her that I would get the Goldwing motorcyclists notified (these are the major support personnel on the ride, besides the eight Subaru cars). Soon, several Goldwings arrived with brooms, which they had purchased at the local store, and began brushing away the tacks. Luckily, Diana was one of the first cyclists to come upon the tacks and she helped to avert a major situation that resulted in only a few flat tires. Of course, we condemn those types of people who get a thrill out of doing these kinds of bad deeds, but it is now something we have come to expect and have learned to deal with. Diana had been averaging more than 16 miles an hour and it was only about 9 in the morning at this point.
In Chehalis, I started noticing riders passing by before 11am. I started to wonder when Diana might show up, but knew it would be awhile longer. Just before 1pm she arrived and stayed for about a half hour. During that time she loaded up on some food and drink and then was off on her way again. Daughter Melissa was also now with her, following in her car to lend support.
At about 4:30pm I received a call from Diana who was at the Riverside Park food stop, just north of Kelso. She indicated that her energy had run out and she could not visualize climbing up another hill. The next hill would have been the Longview Bridge across the Columbia River. Her distance traveled at the point was about 155 miles with another 50 miles to go to Portland. I told her that she was very smart to recognize her limit and that it was wise to consider saving herself for another time. She then packed her bicycle into Melissa's car and they proceeded to Portland. When they were a few miles from the finish, Diana unloaded the bike and then completed the last few miles, crossing the finish just after 5pm in the evening.
Even though Diana felt disappointed that she did not actually complete all 206 miles on her bike that day, she did have a sense of accomplishment. She knew that she had done the best that she could considering the lack of sleep in the preceding days and the lack of adequate carbo-loading. These factors definitely played a role in being unable to ride the distance, but she knows there will be another time to accomplish her goal.