Sunday, April 22, 2007

Getting Ready for a One-Day STP...

I've started training to ride the Seattle-to-Portland, a two-day double-century that goes from (you guessed it...) Seattle to Portland. About 9,000 people start the ride, about 90% finish. Somewhere around 20% do it in just one day. Actually, make that 16 hours or less because the official start time at the University of Washington's parking lot is 5 am on Saturday morning and the finish line checkpoint in Portland's Halliday Park closes at 9 pm.

I've ridden it for the past three years, but now I've been dared to do it in one day, so I've started to train in earnest. First, I realized that the bike I'd ridden for the three previous rides, a RANS V-Rex with a Rohloff Speedhub (a 14-speed internally-geared hub), just wasn't the bike to do this in one day. The V-Rex, especially one set up the way mine is, weighs around 31 lbs. The new bike to get was obvious: a Bacchetta Aero.Why was it obvious? The Aero started the high racer recumbent craze, it weighs 22 lbs, has a titanium frame, and is one of the lightest and fastest recumbents out there. After dithering over 24" or 650c wheels, I went with the latter (better tire choices, lower rolling resistance) despite worries over seat height (I'm 5'6"), and I'm perfectly happy with my choice.

I've had the Aero since early March and have found that it is easily 20% faster than the V-Rex on the flats and perhaps twice as fast climbing. I should have bought one of these when they first came out.

I went on a quick 30-mile training ride tonight. Here's the details, courtesy of my Garmin Edge 305 GPS/Cyclecomputer (ah... gadgets!) and

If you want to follow my ride, click on the 'View Activity' link above, then select the orange 'Player' tab at the top far right, then select 'Satellite' and set the speed to '0.5x', and hit the Play button.

Note the elevation graph, at the lower right. I live at the south end of one of a series north-south ridges (a result of glacial activity during the last Ice Age), and I have to descend almost 400 feet to get to the valley below (near sea level). Of course, there's lots of ridges in this neck of the woods, so I have to climb back up a 500' high ridge, then descend down the other side, ride in the Sammamish Valley for a while, and then climb back up the ridge I live on. If the hills don't kill you, they make you wish you were dead. Any wonder why I miss south Louisiana, where the highest hill is a highway overpass?

Why am I writing about this? Because now that I've put this goal in writing, I'm obligated to do it. Ouch.