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Messages - zzzz

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General Discussion / Re: Food storage in the Arctic
« on: October 10, 2016, 02:39:45 pm »
also....(and seemingly off topic)

I was coming up the Alaska Hywy on my trip and I saw a couple of people that had come down the Dalton Hywy (aka the Haul Rd). Apparently they spray calcium chloride on the road in the summer to keep the dust down and it gets on everything and hardens up and is very tough on chains and derailleurs particularly. One guy I talked to went thru 2 chains in the 450 miles and if he had a 3rd he would have used it. I was talking to a couple who I saw a 2  days later who also came down the Dalton and they said you can prevent the worst of the problems by pre-spraying all your stuff with WD-40. In any case, take an extra chain & cables and do everything you can to keep the rear derailleur clean or you'll be replacing that, too.

Also, if you get to Fairbanks and decide you want your bike professionally cleaned go see Fred:

It's a hole in the wall shop in an industrial park that doesn't look like much and won't show up in a google search for bike shops. I was steered there by an old friend who's lived in Fairbanks for 35 years and is one of the top racing cyclists in the state. Fred has a reputation as the best mechanic in town and he took good care of me at the end of my trip.


General Discussion / Re: Food storage in the Arctic
« on: October 10, 2016, 01:59:35 pm »

I can't answer your specific question but this year I rode from Banff to Fairbanks and did some research that might be helpful to you. There is a company called Bearikade that makes CF bear proof food canisters is several sizes. The smallest one holds 3 to 4 days worth of food and weighs a little under 2 pounds. Like all things that are very light for what they are, it is pricey.

Because I overwhelmingly stay in hotels, in the end I just bought a box of odor proof plastic zip lock bags from REI and put my food in them and moved them away from where I was staying on the couple nights I camped.


Routes / Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« on: October 03, 2016, 11:19:21 pm »
I will start by saying I loved this ride and if you do it you are in for a treat.

I started from the north in Sumas on 9/1/14 and finished my ride in LA on 9/28 some 300 miles short of Mexico. I think since you're starting from the south and you're asking about the latest you can go I would count backward from a 9/30 finish date at the canadian border as you do hear of the higher passes up north getting snow in the middle of October. I think it's going to be pretty hot at the start whenever you leave if it's anytime in the summer so Bclaydens strategy of leaving early in the am and wrapping early is the way to deal with that.

A few things to consider;

1) Are you going to want to stop along the way? Most obviously, you're going thru Yosemite and Kings Canyon, will you want to take some time off to hike around?

2) Realize that the later you leave the more into fire season you will be. I had extraordinary luck just missing several fires on my trip but they were all around me. Except for huffing some smoke from the "King" fire that was burning in Sacramento at the time I had no trouble, but if things were a little different it would have really affected my trip.

3) Lots of tough days so I'd base your milage expectations on what you were doing on your TransAm trip when you were in eastern Kentucky and that first 50-75 mile into Va. The hills are steeper in Appalachia but not much, and they're pretty relentless and longer on this whole route and it does wear you down.

4) Get the addenda right before you leave and always carry enough water and food that if the next rural store you were counting on is no longer open you are not screwed.. There was at least 2 stores on the map in California that I was expecting to be open that were closed and there was large stretches of the route that did not look like it was doing well economically.

That's what I got for you,


Routes / Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 30, 2016, 11:38:20 am »
I'm won't argue the point that the willamette valley is the preferred option. I would say that I think it's still early enough that if you keep your eye on the weather you still have some options.

It all depends on what kind of milage your capable of, right? If you use your current route as a base line your map has 4200k noted on it or to put it another way 42 days at a 100k a day which puts you in San Diego 11/15. That's early enough to clear the winter weather most years. As suggested you could cut over around Portland and pick up the Willamette Valley and if Makenzie Pass is still open you could cut over a little further east for the 2nd best pass in the country, then you could test your luck a little more and see if Crater Lake is still an option. Maybe at that point you want to head back to the coast for awhile and see the redwoods. In my opinion Lassen and Shasta etc were nice but not that great and can be skipped. I would cut back inland a little further south than you're showing (nearer SF) and make your way to 395 and if Tioga Pass is still open (about 50/50 at the beginning of November) go see Yosemite.

I don't think these suggestions are viable unless you can put in a minimum of 100k a day and it would be better w more. The weather in any given year is fickle but at least this way you would have a chance to see some of the truly iconic stuff you'll be passing near. And if we have early snow than you hole up for a day or two, wait for the road to get plowed and make a line back to the coast.

Routes / Re: Road 395 south in USA?
« on: September 28, 2016, 11:12:41 am »
I have spent some limited time on 395 from where 89 intersects it south of Tahoe to where you turn off for Tioga Pass into Yosemite (Lee Vining), maybe a 100 miles. It's a very nice stretch, pretty flat with the Sierras immediately to your right, but I can't speak to the balance of it. I also saw on Wikipedia that Lee Vining gets an average of 93" of snow a winter and it's around 1300 miles south of where you are now (route figured as 95 south out of Banff to 2 to 395 in Spokane). You know what kind of milage/ pace you can keep and weather you can make that in a month.

I went over to "Crazy Guy on a Bike" and typed 395 into their journal's search function and it came back with an even 100 pages of hits. You can sift thru that and probably find some good info.


Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades - total elevation gain?
« on: September 09, 2016, 02:26:51 pm »
This is very interesting.

When I first saw your post I berated myself for not actually going back and re-adding up my elevations and relying on my memory to give you the 140,000-150,000 number I gave you.

Now that I had some egg on my face I went into Garmin Connect and added my elevation totals again. As I mentioned in my previous post I started up north at Sumas (+the milage from Bellingham), followed the route exactly except incorporating Mackenzie Pass and some extra at Crater Lake (both of which added several 1000' of elevation), and exited the route by taking 2 down to Pasadena & LA, 315 miles from Mexico. I have 139,745' of elevation gain.

Either my Garmin is off by almost 44% or both Ride w GPS & Map My Ride is off by that amount. Any theories out there?


Routes / Re: Northern Tier Alternate
« on: June 21, 2016, 09:08:16 am »
I live north of Philly and for many years I had a track car I used to run at Watkins Glen (Finger Lakes) and I would drive up there 5-10 times a year and I would always take 6 unless I was running really late. It's a pretty road to drive but I would be reluctant to ride it.

If you take it, on the plus side you won't have a bunch of turns to map out and I remember it having a shoulder most of the way. On the other hand it carries a lot of traffic, many of them trucks, and everybody will be going 70+. As far as topography, it's lots of rollers but you will have that everywhere. It's probably safely ridable but that doesn't mean it will be pleasant.

I find that whole area of the Pa northern tier/NY southern tier quite lovely, especially the Finger Lakes. There would be some work involved but it's an area thats been populated for a long time and there is quite a network of small roads so I think you would be best off getting state road maps w traffic counts and working out something for yourself. Get it loaded on a GPS device to give you turn by turn directions and you won't feel like 100% of your time is consumed with following the route.

Best of luck.


Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades, Primitive Camping, and Bears. Oh my!
« on: June 20, 2016, 02:03:18 pm »
I did this route in 2014. I was staying in hotels so I can't answer your questions on camping. FWIW I did not see any bears or heard any talk of bears while I was on route.

If your doing the tour this year I don't think you have a lot of choice than going North to South. I left September 1 from Sumas and I found it almost ideal weather-wise. It was fire season and I had some smoke and all the falls at Yosemite were dry but the temps were mostly mild, passes were clear and traffic at the NP's was down.

I would think if you left now from the south it would be brutally hot till you got to at least Giant Sequoia/ Kings Canyon and if you left later in the year you might run into snow when you got to the high passes further north. If your planning for next year you could thread the needle and leave from the south planning (guessing) on hitting Tioga Pass just after it gets plowed. Of course, everything Itinerant Harper wrote still holds true for the other reasons to go North to South.

I can't emphasize enough how the heat will beat you up on this ride. We all have our self-delusions and mine is that I'm pretty good at getting a bike uphill. And most of the climbs are the usual no more than 7% that you find in the western US but when you are doing your 3rd big climb of the day and it is a windy hot day, it can really be brutal. I once saw a list for the 20 toughest climbs in Colorado and I've done most of them as well as a slew of other big passes out west and I had never got off a bike mid pass to gather myself before, I did it twice on this trip.

This is not to discourage you, it's a fantastic route, but it's pretty tough. My advice is don't make it harder than it already is.


Routes / Re: Great Parks North tips
« on: June 14, 2016, 10:03:06 am »

I went from Jasper to Rawlins (then down to Colorado) 3 years ago is September. I was credit card touring so I can't comment on camping but I'll add a couple of things to tsteven4's sound advice.

While I went from north to south so it's all opposite of your route, I don't remember any of the descents being scary and none of the climbs were really steep so I don't think you need to worry about it being too difficult.

tsteven4's reference to cycling restrictions on Logan Pass (aka Going to the Sun Rd) is that it is closed to cyclists from 11-4. This is the coolest road I have ever ridden and people come from all over to drive it so you will want to beat the traffic on it anyway. Plan on starting at dawn on the ride up.

I can't speak to traffic in the summer but there was a pretty substantial shoulder on all the highways it routes you on that I remember. I never felt unsafe.

+1 that you made the right choice. It will start out a little slow scenery wise, but once you get to Glacier it's one visual treat after another and the Icefields Parkway is fantastic. My only concern is that it may be too close in appearance to your native Switzerland for you to fully appreciate. If you went in the other direction you would see Yellowstone which is unique to this earth but way overcrowded in the summer and (I feel) kind of dangerous to ride and the Tetons but after that you got the long slog thru the wind river valley.


No NPS shuttle when I was there and when I inquired the Ranger did not give me the impression they could take me thru. That said, if there's a more conducive place to hitch a ride, I can't imagine where it would be. Even as a 58 y.o. guy who hadn't shaved recently and probably looked a little rough after 3 weeks on the road I had no trouble. With all those cars at a stop, if they have room for you and the bike it's harder to wave you off then to say yes.

Before I got there I was under the impression that they had traffic going both ways except when a large RV or tour bus came along and they would then make the tunnel one way for that vehicle to pass. That turned out not to be true and after seeing how narrow the tunnel is and how many large RVs and tour buses go thru, I didn't see any way that could ever be the case. And it was so regulated that even on the morning when I left and there was much more traffic leaving then entering the park, they still kept the tunnel open in either direction the same amount of time (say 15± minutes) each way instead of going to 10 minutes one direction and 20 minutes in the busier direction.

RE the article you linked to : I don't know where the park rangers were when these guys rolled up because they were standing sentry when I got there and they made sure to let me know in no uncertain terms to not even think about riding thru. Be that as it may, that was an exceptionally stupid move on the riders part to go in there w/o a proper front light.  There was several places in the tunnel where there was daylight but overwhelmingly it was Dark and not straight with a pretty good down hill slope.


If the hubby is along it makes it a little harder in that you need a vehicle that can fit you both but it doesn't change much, I'm sure the 2 of you are not going to look dangerous or threatening on the side of the road there and that's the important thing.

As to your question on the previous post about getting down to G.C., you only have 2 choices that I can see. You can go back the way you came in on 9 back out to 89 and head south. That's what I did. When you get to Kanab take 89A to Jacobs Lake and then turn right to go to the North Rim. Or you can go out west past Springdale and take 59 to 389 and meet up with 89A that way. I was planning on doing that but I was warned off it by a local. I can't remember whether he said it was dirt or just really broken up but he didn't thing it was a good road for a road bike.

btw: I looked this up the other day : 5m visitors per year to the South Rim versus 1m visitors per year to the North Rim. And it's not because the south rim is nicer, it's because it's much easier to get there. The road to the north rim is a 45 mile dead end so it might be tempting to skip but it will be a much nicer visit.



It will not be hard to hitch-hike at the tunnel. I got a ride immediately going into the park and going out it took about 10 minutes. As a woman traveling alone I would bet money that you will get a ride w/o even that delay.

Traffic is only allowed one-way in the tunnel at a time. What that means to you is that when you get there you will go up near the mouth of the tunnel and wait for them to hold traffic in the direction you're heading. Then all the cars back up for 20(?)± minutes and you walk down the line of cars at a stand still with your thumb out. A bunch of the cars & RV's in line will be loaded with all their gear and they will wave you off but there's always some locals coming thru with a empty pick-up truck. They'll signal you to get in and you take a ride in the back with your bike. After the tunnel they drop you off and you get a great downhill to the valley.

No need to sweat this one.


Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: May 30, 2016, 09:37:12 am »
You have good bacteria and bad bacteria on your body that are doing their thing all the time. The bad bacteria down there is from you know where. But there's good bacteria that works against fungus that also lives down there. Alcohol kills the good bacteria while leaving the fungus unharmed and unchecked. I learned this the hard way.

The way you worded your reply, you may have thought I was talking about cleaning up after but the most important thing is cleaning up before.

So now you have some new shorts and it will be interesting to see if they make a difference. I can't help but think in reading your reply that you have a bike position problem when you're in the drops or even on the hoods. I assume you're down pretty low when doing a TT. Maybe you sit while climbing and you're using too high a gear?   As for the ride with your mom, that would generally poke a hole in my theory or maybe mom is hell on wheels and it reinforces it. Is there someone in your area that does bike fitting? There is (unfortunately) no test or certification to say you're qualified to do a bike fit and there's a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there but to have a 3rd party go for a ride with you and look at what your position is might be useful.

I'll add one other thing. I had some seat problems some years ago and I went back to the guy who built my bike for advice. He's one of the most respected frame builders in the country and recently passed 5000 frames over 40 years and I take his word as gospel on all things bike related. He said when it comes to seat comfort, shape is 90% & padding is 10%, that when I found a seat the right shape for my anatomy I would be set. I am not familiar with the Romin, Regal or the Specialized saddles you've used and how their shape compares to the Brooks that you killed or the Sella (thats a lot of seats) but you may keep that advice in mind if you go out shopping for another seat.


Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: May 30, 2016, 08:19:41 am »
That sounds like a nasty problem to have.

It definitly is not a what is traditionally thought of as a saddle sore which is more like a pimple. That ugly little problem can be cured by a wash up before every ride with soap and water (do not use alcohol!).

There was 2 things that struck me in reading this, maybe they will help.

It's still relatively early in the riding season in most parts of the country. You said you recently rode 250 miles in 3 days and then a few days later you had a 100 mile day. Maybe you're in an area with year round riding and this comment is irrelevant but you should be building up gradually. This is true for sore sit bones but also because when you get really tired on a bike you start to use your butt as a fulcrum to push off of and that could be the cause of your problems.

The second thing is you mention a lot about seats and nothing about shorts. I've found really good riding shorts are worth the insane amount of money they charge for them. Assos has perhaps the most snob based campaign of any product I've ever seen and it pains me to give them this endorsement but their chamois is (at least for me) the best on the market. I don't wear bib shorts which is good because they charge 300+ for those but their 1/2 short is around $175. It's a stretch but you can make the good value argument for buying them. I have 2 pairs and I save them for long weekend rides and my tours where I put in 5-700 mile weeks for a month. They wear really well as my oldest pair is 6 or 7 years old and has still not worn thru despite probably being washed 50 times a year.

Good luck getting figured out.


Routes / Re: Durango to Grand Canyon, Utah, California
« on: May 26, 2016, 10:29:36 pm »
Hi Ex-Trackie:

I made a reply to a VERY SIMILAR question over at the General Discussion forum a couple of days ago to Allesandro and there is some more info there

You can do as you plan and go from Durango to Cortez get on 163 to 160 (I'm presuming) to the South Rim and you would get to see Monument Valley that way which if you take my suggestion you'll miss. You can then run what I'm reccommending below in the opposite direction with what time is availible to you.

Whatever you do, I suggest you buy ACA maps Western Express #3 and Grand Canyon Connector as they cover most of this route with all the food/stores/camping info that you can use.

But you asked for suggestions and here's mine:

You are on a MTB & many people consider Moab to have the best MTBing in the world (look up porcupine ridge trail on google). I would take 491 from Cortez  to Monticello and go north on 191 to Moab. I'd block off 2-3 days to ride the trails there and see the sights at Canyonlands/ Dead Horse State Park. There's 5 bike shops in Moab, they may all be great but the one I went to that I know is great is called Poison Spider. They will steer you to the best local MTB trails.

Leaving Moab go north on 191, the first 10 miles there is a really good bike path and then it's going to suck until you get to I-70, go west past Green River and take 24 south to Hanksville. From here you follow the ACA Western Express map #3 and you will have several hundred uninterupted miles of truly fantastic scenery. To see what you are in for look up Capital Reef NP, Grand Staircase, Kodachrome Basin, and Bryce Canyon.

Once you leave Bryce theres a long downhill and at 89 leave the WE route and go south. It's a highway w a fair amount of traffic but there's a shoulder and I didn't consider it dangerous. When you get to 9 make a right and go to Zion NP. There's 3 hikes there that you see on lists of most iconic hikes in the world, Angel's Landing, The Narrows, & Observation Point. I reccomend them all.

Go back out the way you came in and head south on 89 again. Once you hit the Arizona border 89 and 89A split (and you'll be able to get a drink at the bar again), you will take 89A and it will be more pleasent riding. You'll ride up the hill to Jacob Lake, make a right turn and go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Thats the less crowded and more scenic side. Then back out the way you came, get back on 89A and down, down, down till you cross the river at Marble Canyon. This area is very iconic old west, like it always looked in the movies. You are surrounded by purple and pink buttes. Once 89A merges back with 89 the road is less pleasant riding but there is a shoulder and it's not dangerous. At Cameron you get off the highway and head up the hill to the South Rim.

From there you can wrap up your trip in Vegas or Phoenix (I would think buses would be availible to both).

Good Luck,


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