An interview with the man who will ride with a special number on his back.
In cycling races, the #1 bib number signals the leading cyclist. At RAMROD, the bib numbers reflect "experience" with the most senior rider receiving #1 and numbers ascending in order by birth date. RCC caught up with this year's #1 to share his story with the cycling commmunity.
Stanley Eugene Harris is a retired family physician who was born in Spokane WA in 1934. At 79 years young, Stan is our most experienced rider this year. If you see Stan out on the course, give Stan an "Atta boy!". For Stan and all of our experienced riders who amaze us with their fitness and accomplishments, Chapeau!
Let's meet Stan...
When did you start riding?
I retired 15 years ago and started riding then. I've always been active outdoors and I used to run a lot so to continue my aerobic fitness I started riding an old Cannondale that I picked up at a swap meet. I joined a couple of friends who were riding regularly and learned how to ride.
How did you go from a swap meet to RAMROD?
Oh that was quite a bit of development there. I remember learning the basics with a little bicycle club in Normandy Park. I started doing local events and gradually did more and more. I had heard about RAMROD from other club members. It's kind of like the ultimate test so of course I wanted to do it.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I have a carbon bike made from a tiny outfit in Bremerton called Siegler that no longer exists. My favorite is a steel Pinarello that is my second bike.
How many RAMRODs have you completed?
I've done four RAMRODs and my first ride must have been 10 years ago and I was #212. My second ride I was #2, my third ride I was #1 which was the year Bud Hunt couldn't go and my last ride I was #2 when Bud was back in there. Bud and I belong to a sub-group within Cascade called the Old Geezers and we've done a bunch of tours together and I know him as a friend and fellow club member. He's an institution.
Is there any friendly competition between you and Bud?
No - see I'm younger than Bud and I'm a little better hill climber than Bud and a little tiny bit faster so it's no competition.
What's your favorite RAMROD training ride?
I enjoy going up the Chinook Pass and back. My favorite of all is to go over Paradise to Packwood and back up over Skate Creek - I really like that route a lot.
How many miles will you ride this year?
I don't use a computer so I don't know for sure but based on estimating three rides at 50 miles per week - I will probably do over 5k this year.
Why do you ride RAMROD?
RAMROD is a real endurance test - I think it's in a whole different league. It's an honor to wear #1 but I think the main reason is that it's an outstanding objective to stimulate your continued training. You absolutely must put in the miles in the hills before you enter RAMROD so it's highly motivational to keep you going and keep you fit. You're not going to finish it if you're not in condition.
Who do you ride with on RAMROD?
I believe all of us cyclists have our own tempo and on a 154 mile ride you're going to get separated if you follow your own tempo so on RAMROD where the objective is to finish and complete successfully, I kind of listen to my own body and ride by myself.
Do you have any strategies to tackle RAMROD?
I think the key strategy that I have that you must do on RAMROD is to supply electrolytes and fluids consistently so I rely heavily on my double-strength Poweraide to prevent cramps. I also know from my profession that you're not going to go very far unless you have some glucose to burn so I don't worry about a little sugar.
What's it like to ride as #2 or #1?
You get a lot of attention but I'm still surprised after completing four RAMRODs that the number of people who don't know the age numbering system so I always tell them "Your number is related to your age". A lot of people come up and ask "How did you get that number?". You get a lot of recognition and "atta boys" which is a feel good.
What's you favorite story riding with a low number?
I have one fun story. I guess it was a few years ago when I was #1. After that RAMROD we went to an after-bicycling party and there were two fellows there that I had actually passed going up to Paradise and we had quite a conversation while we were pedaling up. So these two had showed up at the party and they were talking about their RAMROD and they realized it was me who has passed them on the road to Paradise.
What advice would you give the younger riders?
Leading up to RAMROD, make sure you pursue progressive training on distance and hills. During the ride, have adequate fluids and electrolytes. To get to #1, you'll have to have inherited some pretty good genes to be fit and strong enough!
Author's Note: We would like to thank Stan for sharing his story with us. Atta' Boy Stan! Have a great ride this year!