On Saturday, Sept. 16, the island will host the 13th annual Passport2Pain (P2P) bicycle ride.
This distinctive and fun event tops the fall calendar for Northwest riders as a tough but spectacularly well-supported ride. Started as a fundraiser for the Vashon Island Rowing Club by a group of the island’s masters rowers and some of their bike-riding friends, the event has matured into one that supports a broader set of island charities.
This year, the charities that will receive proceeds from the event are the Vashon Food Bank, Vashon’s Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness, and Vashon Youth & Family Services.
The ride offers four options to suit the pain appetite of all participants.
The headline course, the “Idiot,” is an 80-mile tour of both Maury and Vashon Islands, with a total elevation gain of 10,000 feet (and, of course, the same amount of descent).
The 60-mile “Weasel” and 33-mile “Weenie” courses traverse a portion of the full course. For those less into miles and hill climbs, the “Tourist” is a 12-mile route from Jensen Point to the event’s“Sandwich Stop” in town, at Windermere Vashon, and then back again.
The options cater to a range of experiences for newbies to hard-core cyclists. The ride is open to all and is guaranteed to create many memories.
As P2P enters its thirteenth year, we have chosen to celebrate that milestone by changing the course a bit, as teenagers tend to change their course a bit at that age. Riders will head out to Maury Island first this year, riding the normal route clockwise around that island. Then riders will ride Vashon in a counterclockwise direction; opposite from the previous years’ course design.
Don’t worry. No hills have been sacrificed, but a few have been added.
In addition to a barbeque meal at the finish line and the Sandwich Stop, riders will be supported at passport checkpoint stations every few miles along the course. These stations, as usual, will be staffed by enthusiastic volunteers in costumes, with props and music relating to a theme (perhaps a movie, a musical, or a popular ad). Each station will provide riders with fluids, food, and a stamp for their passports. The passport stations are what make the event the best-supported ride in the Northwest.
How can you get involved? We were waiting for you to ask!
Finding enough volunteers is the most difficult aspect of organizing this event. There are 18 passport checkpoints, the “Sandwich Stop” in town, a finish line area, a barbeque event, course signage, and, of course, take-down. About 150 people are needed for this enormous undertaking, in order to pull off the event.
We need your help. Especially if you are a supporter of one of the island charities that receive funds from this event, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Delany Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. There are lots of jobs, and not all of them are on the day of the ride. If you aren’t going to be here on Sept. 16, you can still get in on the fun.
This is one of those events that shines a positive light on Vashon and has a big return on investment for our vibrant island community.
Pat Call is co-chair of 2023’s Passport2Pain, sharing the office with Lindsay Tracy.