Saturday, July 11, 2015

2015_07_11 STP "Escort Service"" Ride (Various Perspectives)

Author:  Mark Delrosario

Hey STP riders,

It was a blast playing domestique for a small part of your Saturday ride.

 I saw a couple of mentions of Cyclopaths on Strava comments and I heard from my coworker this morning. He said he saw the group passing in the opposite direction. Before he knew it everyone was hitching onto Cyclopaths as you guys pulled Les, Dwaine and Scott on West Valley Highway. He said people were in the red trying to hold on. Lit a few of his matches earlier than expected.

When Kurt and I came down Jovita and connected with West Valley there was a pace-line trucking along at 23-27 mph. Was somewhat scared thinking of how to veer off at Sumner since the pace kept on picking up more steam with no sign of slowing. Normally you want to find a way to get into the pace-line not find an exit strategy!

I found the Puyallup Hill rather fun. Could see Mike and Rob ahead since they are tall enough to stand out of the masses. Even being sub-par in my climbing this season, I felt like a go cart weaving in and out of traffic. It is a local road to us so we would hope to show our colors (on a hill of course).

Look forward to hearing about the rest of your STP adventure.

Author:  Mike Hassur

Les, Dwaine, and Scott were planning to do the 2015 version of STP (Seattle To Portland).   A number of us thought that it would be fun to ride north from Puyallup on the morning of STP, meet them around Kent, and “escort them” to the entrance of Fort Lewis.  This year’s route went through Fort Lewis, and only registered riders could enter the gate.

Our plan was to meet in front of my house and be ready to go by 5:15 AM.  We were hoping to ride north and meet up with Les, Dwaine, and Scott close to the first rest stop (the REI Building in Kent) which was approximately 17 miles north of Puyallup. 

I was up and ready to go by 5:05 AM.  All I had to do was to make sure that my tires were properly inflated, walk out of my garage, and meet whoever showed up.  Unfortunately for me, the stem on my rear tire started leaking as soon as I removed the pump chuck.  Instead of having a few minutes to spare, I found myself rushing to change wheels.  I still made it out of my garage by 5:15 AM and found Leon, Kevin, Rob, Rex, and Conor waiting for me.

We rode north along the STP Route until we saw the guys heading toward us.  We were less than two miles from the REI rest stop, so our calculations had been pretty good.  There was a median in the center of the road, so it took us a minute to get turned around.  By that time, we were a couple of hundred yards behind the pace line that contained our STP comrades.  We took off after them and, almost immediately, had to stop for a red light – DRAT!!  The light changed, we took off again – AND WERE STOPPED BY A SECOND RED LIGHT.  By the time this light finally turned green, our adrenaline levels were pretty high.  We took off in hot pursuit, but the pace line that LSD (Les, Scot, & Dwaine) were in was moving pretty fast; and it took awhile to catch them.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but the next thing I knew – Rob, Rex, Dwaine, and Conor were up the road with Les, Kevin, Leon, Scott, and me in our own group.  It was crazy – everyone was going pretty fast, and there was no organization to the melee.  People were passing on the right or left, moving in and out on the road – it was a miracle that we didn’t see (or participate in) a few crashes.  Our group decided that we would slow things down a little.  We took it down to about 20-23 mph and just rode in our own pace line.  There may have been people falling in behind us.  I don’t really know, because Leon and I just kept trading off leading to try to minimize the amount of work that Les and Scott had to do.  Unfortunately, Kevin had a flat and had to stop to fix it; so it was just our foursome heading down the West Valley Highway toward Puyallup. 

Just before reaching the Cannery Furniture Store outside of Sumner; we saw Connor, Rob, Rex, and Dwaine.  They had slowed their pace to wait for us.  As we passed the Cannery, we saw Nick standing with his bike at the side of the road.  We yelled to make sure that he saw us (not really necessary with all of us wearing our Cyclopath gear), and he soon joined us.  About 100 yards past Nick were Mark and Kurt – they too joined us.  Now we had 12 guys in the group – our own mini-peloton!! 

We rode through Puyallup together which I really enjoyed.  After that, it was up the big hill just to the west of Puyallup which split us up a bit.  We re-grouped on Canyon Road.  Not long thereafter, Dwaine asked if I would stop with him as he had to make a bathroom stop.  I got Rob and Rex to stop as well which was a wonderful idea.  With them leading the way, we caught back up with the rest of the guys in no time – and I had a blast just riding along in their slipstream!! 

Before I knew it, we were at the Fort Lewis Gate, bidding the STP portion of our group adieu.  Those of us in the “Puyallup Cyclopath STP Escort Service” turned around and starting heading home.  We were only a short distance from the gate when we saw Kevin (flat tire) who turned around and rode back with us. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t see Nick, Mark, or Kurt on our return trip.  I would have liked to have seen Nick – in particular – as he was going all the way to Portland (from Puyallup), and I was hoping to wish him well. 

One by one our riders peeled off on the ride home.  In the end; it was just Leon, Rob, and me (we all live close to one another).  I thought that this was a really fun ride.  We got to surprise our STP buddies who didn’t know that the group was coming.  The weather was perfect.  The ride was pretty easy (only about 60 miles), and I enjoyed seeing all of the people out doing STP.

Can’t wait for this next weekend’s “Sunrise Double/Triple Ride”.

1 comment: