Resuming where we left off, the gang got a good night’s rest and we started our morning with overnight oats I made the night before… and a lot of complimentary coffee provided by STP staff.
We started our day a bit later than the day before, but the extra sleep was totally necessary. By the time we hopped on our bikes, we were amped and ready to get to Portland!
Day Two – Find My Route Here
The second day started off more scenic, passing through Chehalis, Napavine, and Winlock. The long open roads were sprinkled with cheering residents and aid stations offering pickles and sweet potatoes – that’s my kind of trail food!
As the day wore on, I grew a deep appreciation for tiny treasures like the canned Starbucks coffee I found in the bottom of my bike bag, or the gooey chocolate fudge gels I ate to hold me over between aid stations.
We crossed two bridges, the first being the Lewis and Clark bridge, crossing us from Longview to Rainier, Oregon. They closed off the bridge entirely for cyclists, and the view was incredible! The second bridge was the St. John’s Bridge, which dropped us off 4 miles from the finish line.
The only downside to the second day route was the extended time we had to spend along Highway 30. Nearly 50 miles of consistent uphill with cars and cyclists passing by was… not my favorite way to spend an afternoon. We made sure to take lots of breaks, and we finally got some reprieve around mile 62 when we stopped for lunch.
Frank’s dad met us once again at the lunch spot – this time with tamales! This came at the perfect time… I was heading to a dark place by then.
After crossing the St. John’s Bridge, I summoned a lot of stored energy to get me to that damn finish line. Frank and I crossed together around 5PM, and we reconveined as a group once again.
We finished our ride with burgers, tacos, and beers. After a couple celebratory pictures in our new STP T-shirts, we parted ways as a group.
Frank and I, along with a couple friends, chose to stay the night at the McMenamins White Eagle Saloon, a great affordable choice close to lots of fun places.
Frank, myself, and our friends finished the evening with well-deserved pizza and beers from one of my favorite Portland breweries, Ex Novo Brewing.
Monday, Day After Race Day
The next morning, we met with our friends for breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. It was their recommendation – and I didn’t need to be convinced. I ordered the biscuits with mushroom gravy and over easy eggs. It was honestly life-changing.
After bidding adieu to our friends, Frank and I set off to kill some time before our train that evening. We parked at Wayfinder Brewery for some more beer and pretzels.
Following the brewery, we stumbled into the International District and got a coffee. After exploring some shops, we settled in at a winery just minutes from the Portland Union Station. The winery was called Battle Creek Cellars. We split a bottle of refreshing Chardonnay and a small charcuterie board.
Eventually, we had to peel ourselves away and catch the train. We made it home well after dark. I don’t know if it was because of the 200 mile bike ride, the celebrations afterwards, or a combination – but we were completely spent.
Overall, it was a spectacular weekend, made even better with friends, bikes, and beers!