WHAT WERE WE THINKING?
P2P started in the spring of 2011 with a test ride of 12 riders, "just to see if it would work". Unfortunately it did.
Most of us were competitive rowers who rode bikes hard on the Vashon hills for off-season training so that we could push harder when we got back in the boats and rowed. So we thought, What if we strung all those hills together into one epic circuit of our Island? What if everyone carried a passport to be stamped at the top of the worst hills to prove they got there?
The first official P2P in September 2011 had only 53 riders, and half of those were rowers (known for their troubling relationship with pain), and despite a paucity of food and water on the course that year, most of us wobbled home several hours later with a full passport. What a hoot! We all wanted more. We even made a few bucks for the Junior rowing program. Our fundraiser was born.
Naturally, we wanted "Pain" for everyone, so over coffee one morning we laughed about calling the full 80-mile P2P course "The Idiot", and including a new 30-mile version, "The Weenie", to get more participation, and even a 50-mile option lovingly named "The Weasel," for those who knew they weren't an Idiot but didn't want to be a Weenie. "Pain" for all! In 2012 the word was out: the Vashon Island Rowing Club had created something either very good, or very bad, and more than 120 riders showed up with the lightest bikes they could find. This time they got a lot more than a stamp at each of 18 checkpoints, which were now loaded with all kinds of home-made treats from the volunteers who staffed them. Plus, the finish line BBQ was established, and riders hung out for hours afterward,
It was obvious we'd created not only a tough ride, but a great party as well. In 2013 all kinds of new things happened. A Devil appeared on top of the worst hill and pitch-forked riders over the top. Someone actually tried to ride a fixie, last seen in pieces at checkpoint #14. Over 85 percent of the 220 riders finished the full Idiot ride, but 100% nailed the BBQ.
In 2014, more than 300 riders signed up, including a skateboarder (does he count?)! P2P is a fun ride ‒ it has never been a race. In fact the first rider back was awarded the "Hot Spatula" and had to flip burgers for a while. It's always been about a weird kind of fun, but our great volunteers got a bit competitive designing some of the weirdest checkpoints yet ‒ ask everyone who rode through the "Insane Asylum".
The next year had even more riders, but the real shock were some of the checkpoints. Everyone loved the Mimes and the Weird Green Men, but the slightly S&M themed checkpoint "Your pain is our pleasure" stole the show (checkout the photos). As always, this is the only ride where everyone finishes with a lei around their neck, and those who make it to checkpoint 18 get handle streamers! Hey, they don't even do that at the Tour de France!
Ridership has continued to climb in the ensuing years, and now we might be closing in on what we figure is the limit to our welcome on Vashon Island -- 500 riders. We're reaching out to the vintage bike crowd, to honor the roots of this sport and give them a venue to show off their preserved andrestored heritage cycles from yesteryear.
Speaking of heritage, here for your viewing pleasure are some of the past posters designed for P2P by the ride's founder and mentor, Bruce Morser. That's him next to the elephant in the first poster, having a nighmare in the 5th, and climbing the wall in the 7th one. If you'd like a copy of any of these for your own wall, stay tuned: we're going to get reprints and make them available on this site.We'll let you know when.
See you September 8th, 2018 at 7:30am for our 8th Annual Passport To Pain!
Passport2Pain (Reminder Notice)