By Carolyn Price
You can safely say that the STP feeds its riders well. The 11,000 fig bars and 35,000 sandwiches are only part of the food being prepared for the 10,000 bike riders who will tackle the 34th annual, 200-mile STP (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic) July 13-14.
A quick look at the facts at the Northwest’s largest multi-day bike ride this weekend reveals that these calorie-demanding cyclists will additionally consume 17,000 freshly baked cookies, 35,000 snack bars, 17,200 servings of bananas, and over 10,000 servings of both oranges and grapes!
Riders will cycle the course in either one day (!) or two, starting from the University of Washington in Seattle and ending at Holladay Park across the street from Lloyd Center in Portland, Ore. Of the 10,000 riders, nearly 2,500 make the entire trip on Saturday. Most of the remaining participants spend the night near Centralia, Wash., host of the midpoint festival – and one of the biggest camping parties of the year.
If you are 50 or older and thinking 200 miles is too big of a stretch for you, swallow your pride … this year’s oldest rider is 90. And talk about consistency – Seattle’s Jerry Baker, 72, has ridden in ALL 34 rides. There are 62 other riders who have participated 20 or more times and 309 riders will have ridden 10+ times.
Chances are if you’re from Washington, you might see a few friends along the way as about 20 percent of the riders are from Seattle and 80 percent from Washington; 1,216 riders are from Oregon (578 from Portland) – which means they’ll be home a lot sooner after their ride than their Washington counterparts!
The ride also offers riders the opportunity to brush up on their foreign language skills or learn some new geography. There are riders from 45 states and five other countries including Canada, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Malaysia.
And what’s this all about, women? The Cascade Bicycle Club, who puts on this hefty-mileage event, reports that just 25 percent of the riders are female.
Named “one of the best cycling events in the nation” by Bicycling Magazine, the event is very popular. If you want to get in on all the fun for the 2014 event, better pre-plan: This year’s ride sold out on Valentine’s Day last February.
If you’re riding, or supporting a rider, be sure and stop by the Outdoors NW/Sweet Spot Skirts booths at the finish line at Portland’s Halladay Park. You’ll have a chance to pick up a lot of swag, get the latest Hiking edition of Outdoors NW and sign up to win a Sweet Spot Skirt!
Kudos to the Cascade Bicycle Club. The STP is the 15,000-member club’s largest fundraising event of the year which benefits bicycle education, advocacy, commuting and riding programs.
(TIP: If you’re even close to I-5 between Seattle and Portland this weekend, make sure to do a little pre-route planning at http://cascade.org/eandr/stp/pdf/2013-STP-route-map.pdf)