Passport2Pain takes a village — so thank you, Vashon

We are grateful for the increasingly broad participation of the whole community in making it happen each year.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, our islands will host the 13th annual Passport2Pain bicycle ride, which in its relatively short existence has become one of the Northwest’s premier road bike challenges.

In acknowledgement of the event’s achievement of adolescence, the course will run backwards this year: starting with a clockwise circuit of Maury Island (with scenic/exhausting descents to and then ascents from Pt. Robinson, Gold Beach, Sandy Shores and Manzanita).

Having polished off the Maury appetizer, riders then will proceed counterclockwise around the Vashon main course with perennial favorites — with (north-end) parking lot hill, Burma Road, Lisabeula and Shawnee on the menu.

For the full “Idiot” course there will be 19 checkpoint stations, where riders will receive sustenance in the form of (amongst many others): roasted salty potatoes, bananas with chocolate sauce, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, strawberries, grapes, oranges and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

At each station volunteers in costume will stamp the rider’s “passport” with a themed stamp — complete all 19 and you also get streamers taped to your handlebars for the last few miles of the ride.

Again this year, Windermere Realty will host a “sandwich stop” at mid-ride in downtown Vashon just north of Pandora’s Box and at the Jensen Point finish area. Island manufacturer Sawbones will sponsor a feast of Devil’s Tacos provided by caterer La Isla.

One challenge is to complete the 80-mile Idiot ride with 10,000 feet of elevation gain.

The other is to do it and not gain weight.

There are more moderate course challenges for the day called the “Weasel” (50-mile), the “Weenie” (30-mile) and the “Tourist” (10-mile) for those who are not complete Idiots. More details can be found on the P2P website, at

You may have noticed an increase in bicycle traffic in the last few weeks as riders have come to the island to train on the course. These training rides, plus the day of participation, bring real revenue to the island. We expect over 300 riders in this year’s event, and we work hard to make sure that traffic is least affected, by insisting that riders travel in single file and obey all traffic rules.

We will also have course monitors around the route at critical junctions.

Passport2Pain is a major fundraiser for the Vashon Island Rowing Club’s Junior Crew program on the island, and this year proceeds will also be shared with the Vashon Food Bank, Vashon Youth & Family Services and the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness.

With the need for well over 100 volunteers, P2P definitely takes a village and we are grateful for the increasingly broad participation of the whole community in making it happen each year.

Thank you so much.

Beyond direct participation in the event, the Rowing Club wants to thank the whole community for its patience, good humor and encouragement that we receive each year in putting on this event.

We know that it puts some stress on our neighbors but also know that the proceeds raised strengthen our whole community. When we recently visited the other big-name “tough” ride (RAMROD – Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day) — with its 800 entrants — it was astounding to see how much name recognition Passport2Pain had within that group. We are in rare company.

Comments and questions can be directed to

Pat Call is the co-chair of Passport2Pain.