Eight-Year-Old Girl Training for STP with Dad
Creekside Elementary School student Jaanya Teli recently completed Flying Wheels.
She is training with her STP-finisher dad, and raising money for education programs in India.
For Jaanya Teli, the hardest part of preparing for the Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland Presented by Alaska Airlines may be missing out on some birthday cake.
The eight-year-old Sammamish girl has had to skip some weekend birthday parties with friends while doing training rides with her father. But Jaanya is completely happy with the sacrifice.
“I like challenges,” Jaanya says when asked why she wants to complete STP. “It seems like it’s hard and fun, and I will be really proud of myself at the end.”
Jaanya was inspired to ride STP after seeing each of her parents complete the 206-mile, two-day ride. Her father, Parthik, rode STP in 2018. Her mother, Ankita, had so much fun watching her husband complete the event that she registered in 2019.
When her dad registered for STP this year, Jaanya told her parents that she wanted to ride it also.
Parthik and Ankita are proud of Jaanya’s determination and discipline, but they are protective. Parthik always rides behind Jaanya, lets her determine the pace, and carries her food, water and gear. He says that going slow is encouraged.
By all accounts, Jaanya is showing incredible endurance. On June 4, she and Parthik completed the 70-mile Flying Wheels route. They recently did a 73-mile ride followed by a 37-miler the next day–110 miles in two days. See their Ride With GPS profile here.
Parthik says he and Jaanya often finish group rides last, but that’s fine. “She goes slow on the hills, but she doesn’t stop and walk.”
Kids and Families Riding STP
Jaanya won’t be alone as a youngster on the STP route. We recently wrote about Cascade Board Member Kai Shih and his wife training to ride STP with their 11- and 9-year-old kids.
Aran Visweswaran, 13, pictured below, is training for STP with his mother, Sangeetha. They recently completed the Cascade Training Series.
“They have been delightful additions to the CTS red group (leisurely pace, 10-12 mph) and are serious about their training,” says CTS Ride Leader Nancy Helm. “I’ve been impressed, too, with how quickly Aran has caught on to group riding skills. He’s an extremely attentive and responsible rider, even by adult standards.”
Cascade doesn’t keep a record of young STP finishers. Ankita Teli wonders if Jaanya would be the youngest if she completes the two 100-mile days. As of early June, fewer than 100 kids aged 12 and younger were registered for STP.
Inspiring Girls and Raising Money for East Indian Children
Jaanya got her first bike at age 5, and her parents have bought her a new one every year as she has grown. She now rides a Co-Op Cycles carbon fiber road bike.
In addition to riding bikes, Jaanya is a competitive swimmer.
Everyone has a favorite ride snack. What does Jaanya like to eat on rides? “Gummies,” she says. “Or my sandwich.”
The Teli family began bicycling almost daily during the pandemic to get exercise and fresh air while schools were closed. The family frequently rode to the library from their home in Sammamish, and on weekends they did longer rides to the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
Jaanya is also riding STP to raise money for Asha for Education, a nonprofit that supports efforts to provide schooling for children in India. The Asha for Education Seattle chapter has created a team of several dozen riders who are training for STP and raising money for the organization.
Ankita will provide support for her daughter and husband during STP. Ankita is proud of her daughter’s determination and grit, adding that it’s important to show that “girls can do anything they set their minds to.” She hopes that Jaanya can inspire more kids to “come out of the digital world and explore the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.”
Watch the video of Jaanya talking about her preparation for STP, and her desire to become one of the youngest people to ride it.