Get to Know the Winner of our STP Be Beast Challenge!
Jaclyn Parrott Shares Her Motivation, Inspiration and Lessons Learned From Riding in a 200 Mile Bike Race! Read more below.
Healthyroads: What motivated you to participate in the STP race?
Jaclyn: Being from Spokane, WA, I have heard about STP over the years, and it became something I wanted to cross off my bucket list. When my friend said she was doing it with her sister-in-law, I jumped at the chance to tag along. I love challenges and adventures! I have grown up riding bikes, but have always been more into mountain biking and cruising around town just for fun. Because of STP, I went out and bought a nice road bike so I could train and get serious about cycling and fitness. I started commuting to work, and loved training on Spokane’s Centennial Trail, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes, and the Palouse Loop. My main motivators were my love for cycling and wanting to stay in shape.
Healthyroads: What were the best, most inspirational moments for you?
Jaclyn: I was inspired by all of the people who came out for this ride (including the gals I did it with), and enjoyed checking out the variety of bikes and jerseys. Being surrounded by so much positive energy was uplifting! It is a thrill to see so many cyclists all riding with a purpose, whether for fitness, fun, or otherwise. Setting a goal to get from Seattle to Portland in one or two days, and accomplishing it feels good. This was my first experience doing STP and we opted to do it in one day. There was a beautiful sunrise to start the day off with in Seattle, and a serene moonrise to end it with in Portland. When participating in organized events, it helps so much when people are cheering you on from the sidelines. The cowbells were my favorite! Energy bars inspired me too, so thanks to all the people supporting riders during the breaks with food.
Healthyroads: What were the most challenging experiences of the race?
Jaclyn: The heat was by far the most challenging aspect of the ride since it zaps energy. Figuring out what to eat and drink proved difficult since my friend and I both puked along the way (but kept going). One has to stay hydrated and energized, but I still haven’t quite figured out what works best for me since I have multiple food allergies. Hills were also a challenge, especially during the second half. I have asthma so I was thankful I remembered my inhaler! At one point, it felt like my wrists wanted to break off. My arms were completely weak, numb and tingling (I have median, radial, and ulnar neuropathy), and that’s when it became a purely mental vs. physical challenge for me. You just tell yourself to hang on and keep going. Plus, while training for STP my friend and I crashed our bikes in the dark (my bike lights burned out), so as soon as the dark hit, I was filled with flashbacks and fear. Thankfully, I did not give up despite these challenges. I think you can overcome anything you set your mind to!
Healthyroads: What did you notice about the levels of fitness of the riders?
Jaclyn: I was surprised at some of the ages of riders. There were some young people, but I was impressed with how old a lot of the riders were. This ride is all about endurance, and I think it takes some years to build this type of stamina. For the most part, everyone seemed like they were in great shape, but I saw a variety of fitness levels out there, which proved to me that anyone can do this ride if they choose to.
Healthyroads: How did the STP race change your outlook on fitness and the importance of fitness?
Jaclyn: STP showed me that fitness is lifelong and for everyone. Despite all of my own health issues, I was able to ride and conquer. All sorts of people participated. It showed me that fitness fosters community and vice versa. We need each other, and we need to take care of ourselves.
Healthyroads: What would you tell someone who was on the fence about doing the STP race?
Jaclyn: I would say, just go for it! Why not? I had all sorts of reasons not to participate, but I am so glad I did. I would love to do it again. STP was fantastic, and I think everyone who is able to should experience it.
Way to go Jacyln!! Healthyroads thinks you rocked the STP!