Rider spotlight: 30-year-old youngest person to complete 20 consecutive STPs
The first time Adrienne Kleven rode the Group Health Seattle to Portland Classic, she was on a tandem captained by her dad, Ron, and entertained by a big, bulky boom box playing 20 cassettes on rotation. It was 1994 and Adrienne was 10.
This year, Adrienne and Ron will once again be riding together on one bike, as they’ve done for the past 20 years.
“I generally tell people I ride my bike once a year,” said Adrienne. “It just happens to be 200 miles! But STP has become a tradition in our family. And we both have such a fun time doing it,” said Adrienne, the youngest STP rider to complete 20 consecutive STPs.
“As Adrienne has grown she has found her own activities, but we still enjoy biking, hiking and downhill skiing together. And Mom is always the sag wagon,” said Ron.
What started this family tradition, is Ron’s joy of bicycling. A long-time bike commuter and rec rider, in 1994, Ron had already completed eight STPs and thought it would be fun to bring along some company for his ninth event.
“My dad has biked as long as I can remember,” said Adrienne. “He thought it would be fun to try STP together. So, our first year, we rented a tandem, and away we went.”
“There were many cold and rainy rides those first years,” recalls Ron. “We remember hanging out in the port o potties in Spanaway just to warm up but the first ride was a huge success so the next year, 1995, we bought a 10 year old Santana tandem and rode it every year till 2009.”
2009 marked Ron’s 25th STP and he decided to make it special.
“We had a custom purple and gold "Husky" triple made to go with our Husky jerseys,” said Ron. “We were flat out fast.”
So why do the same ride for 20 consecutive years?
“STP is so festive it never gets old,” said Ron. “Even though we have every turn and view point memorized and we have our favorites that we look forward to.”
“I don't normally like to ride my bike, but there's something about STP that just entices me,” added Adrienne. “People are happy and excited and the adrenaline just keeps you going.”
Since 2009, Ron and Adrienne have switched between the triple and the tandem, depending on the availability of a third rider. But this year, for Adrienne’s 20th, they’ve found a new captain.
“We've found a new captain who said he's felt strong on the training rides so watch out!” said Ron.
The bike isn’t the only thing that’s been upgraded over the years. Ron and Adrienne now have an Ipod-driven choreographed musical score for the entire STP route. From the Rocky theme song up the Puyallup hill to "We're half way there" in Centralia, Ron and Adrienne are keeping themselves and everyone around them motivated.
“Sometimes we play Name That Tune or take requests. If you name that tune, we often give out Starbuck gift cards. It's all part of our tradition,” said Ron.
In the future, Ron and Adrienne might consider doing a one-day STP in the future, but first they’re looking into becoming medical riders as Adrienne is a nurse. One thing stays the same though: you can count on seeing them at the STP start line, year in, year out.
“Just like the Seahawks, [Adrienne] has gotten bigger, better, stronger, faster. We really look forward to this event every year,” said Ron, who will be celebrating his 30th STP event next year.
Look for Adrienne and Ron in their Husky jerseys with bib numbers 212 and 951, and congratulate them on their STP achievements!