I flew in to Seattle Thursday and we spent Friday putting a bike together for me. She borrowed a friend's bike and I brought my seat and pedals. We put those on and wrestled the fenders off with colorful language and a few slivers of flesh. Then we went to the cycling studio and let a pro replace the stem and move stuff around. Issaquah brewhouse is around the corner so that day was a pretty good one already, but then we went to a thing at the zoo and saw baby sloth bears clambering up logs and baby jaguars playing with a big rock. We finished the evening at the velodrome watching Friday racing. Chatting in the beer garden after that, we were informed that the STP ride was a pimple on the ass of cycling, a mass of clueless humanity wobbling southward on wheels. I'm not sure if the ride always coincides with Derby Days in Redmond, but that's apparently where we would have been this weekend had we been actual cyclists. My sister agreed later that she hangs out with a bunch of bike snobs.
But they were kinda right: put 10K+ regular people on bikes and give them each a map and access to bananas and Clif bars and you get a special kind of chaos. There was some unsafe behavior, but I didn't see anyone being especially awful. It was just a matter of way more bikes than usual on typical car-friendly roads. The route was pleasant and the stops were well-managed. We got lots of comments on our jerseys, which was fun.
We didn't stop in Centralia, the mid-point where most people camp after the first day. There were designated camping spots after that, so we rode on to Castle Rock High School and stayed next to the soccer field. That meant we had fewer than 70 miles to cover on Sunday, so we lingered a bit that morning and almost missed getting our gear on the truck. Oops. Both days were beautiful: sunny and not too windy.
It's a good thing we got to Portland early in the afternoon because the ride back (we took a bus) was really slow. When we finally got back to Seattle, we met my niece and nephew and ate heartily until the weary waitstaff of Maggiano's convinced us that reasonable people should go home and get some rest. We did that and then I spent the next day flying back.
I'm glad we went, I had a great time!