Interview with a Rider from the STP 2011 Bicycle Classic

This past weekend The Cascade Bicycle Club hosted the 30th annual Seattle To Portland Bicycle Race. It is a 202 mile ride that, like the title states, takes riders from Seattle, WA all the way to Portland, OR. For most, it is a 2 day ride. However, about 15% of the riders make the trip in one day. My older brother/ role model Jeffrey was one of the one-day riders. I decided to interview him about his diet and training methods to see how other athletes prepare for events.

Brandon: What was your training like in the 3 weeks leading up to your ride?

Jeffrey: Through the second week before the STP I was finishing up my last long distance rides, trying to put as many miles on my bike as my schedule would permit. The week before the race I took it pretty easy, I was on my bike everyday but only for short rides and I stopped all weight training with my legs. Stretching was my biggest focus that last week.

B: Did you have to modify your diet in any way the week before your ride? (Adding more calories, lowering macronutrients, etc…)

J: I don’t like to change up my diet too much right before races. Although, the one thing I’ve found that helps is an increase in my fruit intake, a few extra servings per day. Other than that I keep everything the same. If I do change my diet I will usually do it a month or so before so my body has time to adapt to the changes.

B: I heard that a truck dumped tacks along 4 miles of the bike road, is that true? Did it affect you?

J: I was told about a few crashes, one involving a really bad collision with a car where the bike was pinned beneath the vehicle and the paramedics had to take the rider to the hospital. I saw a few people being cared for on the side of the road with hear injuries but as for the tacks being dumper over a 4 mile stretch, I didn’t see or hear of that.

B: At any point did you want to pull over and take a nap?

J: I never wanted to take a nap during any of my brakes but an ice bath sounded amazing around mile 160. Everything started to ache and you get really hot when the sun is beating down on you all afternoon and ice baths are a great way to flush the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles.”

B: Were you listening to any music?

J: Headphone weren’t allowed during the STP because they want every biker to remain aware of their surroundings. We were sharing the road with cars so it’s not safe when you’re unable to hear a car approaching from behind or hear other bikers calling out they’re passing you. This means you have a lot of time to talk to yourself. I use this time to play duel roles in my head: coach and athlete. Long distance races are as much a mental challenge as they are physical, once your body has fought as long as it can that’s when the mental battle begins.

B: What did you eat and drink on the ride there?

J: I was extremely fortunate to have my parents meet me at designated stops where they gave me sandwiches and lots of fruit. Thanks mom and dad!! The race provides bikers with energy bars and other snacks but you can only eat so many energy bars and real food always has a way of lifting my spirits. In between stops I would eat a lot of Clif Shot Bloks and drink both water and water with Nuun electrolyte tablets. I remember laughing to myself at some of the pit stops, There were mountains of shot bloks stacked up and etiquette was just going out the window as people grabbed as many as they could to stuff their face get some calories in. The mountain of shot bloks disappeared pretty quickly!

B: What was your average pace( MPH)?

J: For the whole race I averaged 17.5mph. There were definitely 20 mile sections where I felt drained and unable to get a good pace going, but then there were times when I felt great and held 24mph. I’ve never been one who picks a speed and sticks with that pace the whole way. I just listen to my body and hold back when I need to regain a little energy and when I’m feeling good I put it all out there and really attack the road.”

B: How bad was your chafing after a 12 hour ride?

J: All I can say is use anti-chafing creams before you start hurting.”

B: What are you going to do now that you have accomplished this feat?

J: I’m talking a few days to relax and then I’m back to training for my next race, the Lake Stevens Half Ironman. After an event I always say “I’m never doing that again”, but the day after I’m ready for the next challenge. I love racing and don’t think I’ll ever get tired of trying to push the boundaries of my physical and mental abilities.

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