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Messages - zzzz

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Gear Talk / Re: saddles and sores
« on: Today at 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: Today at 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,


General Discussion / Re: Aggressive Drivers During Transamerica?
« on: May 25, 2016, 08:33:07 pm »
You have my empathy. I frequently wonder if my practiced indiffirence to traffic could survive after getting tagged by a car. That said, going for a ride, whether it's near home or on a tour is always an act of faith. Today is not the day I will be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I will warn you about one place though, and it's really a shame, Yellowstone. The fact that one of the most iconic of the national parks is such an awful place to ride should be considered a scandal. The roads are narrow, not much shoulder, frequently 3-4' drop offs right where the pavement ends, and RV after RV after RV. I'm not telling you to skip it but you may want to make a point of getting your riding done early in the day before traffic builds.


I should have been more careful. I originally read your tour as starting in SLC.

To give you some help on your specific questions:

• Many places you will be passing thru do not have houses dotting the landscape between towns so knocking on someone's door to see if you can pitch a tent is frequently not an option. And when your in town there's frequently camping available.

• You may want to download an app on your phone called "AllStays" as it seams to list every campground in the US.

• Encounters with dangerous wildlife (bears) once you're south of the Tetons are pretty unlikely. And actually pretty unlikely when you're there as well. Take the normal precautions and then put it out of your mind.

• The route on your last post makes the most directional sense to me. Go due south from SLC to Zion (via Cedar Breaks/ Cedar City?) then Bryce, Grand Staircase, Capital Reef, Moab all  lay out in succession. Rent a car in Moab and go south from there to the Arizona stuff.

As for the Grand Canyon and particularly the South Rim, you will be a spec in part of a teaming mass of humanity. I still found it to be worth it. And if you decide to hike to the bottom you will be almost all by yourself until you get within a mile of the top. It's about 10 miles down and 4500' so a 20 mile day with 9000' of elevation change. And as they say "going down is optional, coming back up is mandatory".



You've picked a beautiful route. I road down from Spokane,Wa last September and wrapped up in Flagstaff, Az so I covered the route you're taking almost exactly I believe. If you haven't already I would pick up the ACA maps Western Express #3 and the Grand Canyon connector. You'll have to fudge it in some places but 400 or 500 miles will be an exact match and it will be a real help to have them.

I wish I could give you a great way to get from SLC to Moab but I can't. I will leave that section of your trip for someone else to comment on. I know the way that I came down (191) was the worst part of my 2500 mile trip. Busy highway but it did have a decent shoulder (at least until the Green River to Moab section). It would be your baptism by fire.

There is an alternate thru Dinosaur (a very cool place) and down western Colorado but I have not ridden it myself. Or you can start your bike trip with a car rental and drop off the car in Moab.

Moab is a very cool town and a destination in and of itself. Both Arches and Canyonlands are big climbs up to the sights. I'm sure you've seen the photos of Arches and so no need to explain further why it's a worthwhile stop. If you're just going to Canyonlands for the the day you probably want to go to Dead Horse State Park. It's what you'll hit first on the road and the vistas are similar and just as spectacular.

From Moab you go back on 191 north to 70 (I-70 is not bad here), go west two exits and then drop down to Hanksville. In Hanksville you pick up the Western Express route which is like no place else on earth for the next few hundred miles. Through Capital Reef and Grand Staircase you will have 1 extraordinary vista after another. If you block off a day to hike at Bryce Canyon I think you will have seen much of what it has to offer.

Then a big downhill and get off the WE route and make a left on 89S and head down to Zion. Zion was the highlight of my trip. I considered that place magic. I would block off 3 days and do the 3 iconic hikes there. Observation Point, Angel's Landing, and The Narrows. The Narrows Hike is highly dependent on the river level and in fact it was too high when I was there to do anything other than hike in a mile or so. Hopefully you will have more luck. Also, you say you want to hike down to the river when you get to the Grand Canyon. That hike is unique but these hikes in Zion are pretty stout & will tell you if you're capable of the big GC hike.

Go back out of Zion the way you came and get back on 89S and down to the North Rim. It is nominally nicer than the South Rim and nominally less crowded so it is worth going up the 90 mile round trip dead end road. It is still really crowded. Then over to the South Rim, 230 miles on the road to go 20 miles if you hiked it but it's not wasted time. After the big descent from the North Rim you'll be riding by Vermillion Cliffs and surrounded by buttes for miles.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon will be Very Crowded. And the park service will warn you that if you hike down to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day you will die. Here's the strategy for doing it safely. Leave very early, first bus to the South Kaibob Trailhead was at 5:30 in the morning when I was there, be on it. The trail is wide and easy to follow, even in the dark with a head lamp. Stop at "ooh/ahh" point on your way down and soak up the sunrise lighting up the canyon. You should be down at the river by 9, load up with water and go back up Bright Angel Trail which unlike S. Kaibob has water along the way at least one place, maybe two. You do not want to be at the bottom of the canyon hiking out in the heat of the day. That's when people get in serious trouble.

For this entire trip I would make it a point to start early, like dawn. It will likely be very hot except when you are at elevation. In addition to the 2 water bottles on my bike I had two 2 liter poly bags that when I had a long way between stops I would fill up. There was 1 95 mile day where the wind was up and I went thru all 6 liters of water I was carrying. You will fortunately not be doing that particular stretch on your trip but there will be several 50-60 mile stretches between supplies. You do not want to run out of water out there.

Don't let any of what I've written above intimidate you. Be aware of your limits and respect them.You are going to have a trip that you will remember for a lifetime


I'm at work and I don't have my maps in front of me so I didn't know the intersection of the NT and SC was in Twisp.

It's 194 miles from Twisp to Yakima and I have 8354' of gain to 9054' of loss so it's still pretty much a wash.

The biggest mistake I made on my trip was not taking the turn off to see the Mt. St. Helen's blow down. I didn't realize that it was along the way and it was already a big milage day and I had hotel reservations I had to make. I've been kicking myself for missing it for the last 2 years.


Hi Erika:

Unless you are a beginner cyclist I would recommend you take the Sierra Cascades route. I rode from the northern terminous of it to LA 2 years ago. I looked up my Garmin traces for the section you will be on and you will be going more downhill than up since your leaving from the south.

For the 3 days between Yakima and Government Camp on my ride ;

Yakima to Packwood ; 98 miles (I took a wrong turn) there was 30' difference in up/down
Packwood to Cascade Locks ; 99 miles and I was + 900' of descent (you will be opposite)
Cascade Locks to Government Camp ; 75 miles and I had 7200'  of climbing vs 3500' of descent (again, you will be opposite)

And as was mentioned earlier, unlike the coastal route, the wind direction is a crapshoot.

You will find the hills are pretty constant but the grades aren't that difficult and except for a brief bit of interstate between Hood River & Cascade Locks and some small stretches of 97 that get pretty unpleasant, I found it to be a really nice route.

Good Luck,


General Discussion / Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« on: May 04, 2016, 11:27:26 am »

I won't disagree w/ both indyfabz or staehpj's answers, they're both good, but you said you can take the train to Flagstaff and that got my attention. Two weeks out of Flagstaff would allow you to ride up and thru the Grand Canyon, over to Moab for Arches and Canyonlands, up to Green River and then down to Hanksville to pick up the Western Express route which takes you thru Grand Staircase, Capital Reef, and Bryce Canyon, then drop down to Zion and back to Flagstaff. Your time slot is early August so it will likely be hot, maybe too hot, but it's an extraordinary loop.

As for meeting fellow riders I'll make a generic statement about the 4 solo 30 day trips I've taken. I like to ride alone but opinions on that vary and if one is more comfortable riding with others I make no judgement. But when I'm on a tour I never feel alone. Almost every time I go into a store or eat at a restaurant or check into a hotel or pull over at a rest stop somebody strikes up a conversation and many of these encounters have been among the most pleasant memories I take away from the trip. They have also led to invitations to spend the night at their place, or join them for dinner, or get a personal tour of their car museum (you never know who you're going to meet). I can't prove it but I believe this happens much more often when traveling alone that when you're in a group.


Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:38:46 am »
I lived in Houston for 7 years in the 80's. I am well familiar w the highway overpass as "climbing".

I'm glad you appreciated the intended humor. Too often when I write something I thought was clever.....

I''m guessing with a screen name like CyclingScientists you've spent plenty of time on a bike. Riding with weight is different but not that different. Chances are your biggest adjustment is going to be to life on the road. I have less experience than some (4 trips @ 30 days each) but I believe the secret to a good tour is how you deal with things when it's not going well. When the weather is fine and the scenery is stunning life feels easy. When it's raining or you got a big headwind all day or traffic, how much good humor, or resilience, (or last but not least) determination you bring to the situation makes the trip work or not.


Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: April 03, 2016, 09:52:52 pm »
oh. You're from South Florida. You've never toured before. You're taking the pooch.

In other words the biggest climb you're currently doing is highway overpasses. You're green. And you're going to be carrying at least 30 lbs. apiece.

Stick with the route you originally designed or Jamawani's variant. You will want to  get your legs under you during the coastal part of the trip before you start the big climbs on the SC. I didn't find them to be crazy steep but a bunch of the climbs are long. You can be going up a 5-7% grade for a couple of hours on some of the big passes. And you won't know how you'll react to the thin air at elevation until you're up there the first time.

Don't worry about what I said about 89. I didn't see any lumber trucks while I was on 89 on the weekend. Do yourself a favor and  the day before and the day after Quincy try to hit on a Saturday and a Sunday. There's a lumber mill there that all the trucks are heading to. Once you're a day out the concentration of trucks trails off and I found all the drivers gave me enough room to be comfortable. As always, do your part by being predictable in every thing you do on the road.

You will have a great time.


Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: April 03, 2016, 07:58:05 pm »

People choose their route for all kinds of reasons. But you seemed open to suggestions in your reply to Jamawani so I'll add something here.

The SC is a great route but not every mile is equally great. A good portion of the part you selected is 260 miles on 89. Lassen NP is in there which is very nice but a lot of the rest is fair to middlin' and the area around Quincy is pretty thick w loaded logging trucks.

This is a thought experiment on my part so feel free to ignore part or all of it but it cherry picks some of the better stuff on the SC.

I'm suggesting you start in Klamath Falls,Or. which has a Amtrack station so you have a way to get there. Head north and get on the SC. You'll be about a 100 miles south of Crater Lake. Stay on the SC until you get to Goverment Camp/Mt. Hood (detour to take in Makenzie Pass as previously noted) . Then head east to the coast and start your Pacific Coast section of your trip. Ride south to SF as planned and pick up the WE and follow that back to the SC also as per you original plan. But instead of going north, go south on the SC. You'll go thru Yosemite, Giant Sequoia , & Kings Canyon. From there you can stay on route to Lake Isabella.

You're fairly close to Bakersfield there so that might be the place to end your trip. It's a big enough town that you should be able to arrange your transport home. If you have the time you can keep going but the route gets pretty scrubby for the next  couple of hundred miles.

Food for thought.

Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 29, 2016, 09:19:16 pm »
Hi Andrew:

Your question appears to be to me but I'm going to have to punt on it because with my sissy 28mm tires I skipped the 2 roads in question. Hopefully someone who's ridden the Kings Canyon Rd & the Windigo Pass Rd will kick in here and tell you your 1.6" tires will be fine. I would hope so.


Routes / Re: El Nino impact on Sierra Cascade route this spring?
« on: March 28, 2016, 10:18:54 pm »
I propose that ACA add a feature to the forum for "Reply of the Year" for the most thorough and informative answer to a posted question. And even though we are not even thru March, I will nominate Jamawani's post here. Well done, sir!

It sounds like he has done the route, or parts of it repeatedly. I, on the other hand have only done it once, and I did it from north to south, and I did it in September, all of which means my observations are much less useful than previous posts but I did want to add a couple of things.

Andrew; no where that I see here do you mention what size tires you are riding. The reason I bring this up is there have been several people who were very unhappy riding the Windigo Pass Alternate. It's a gravel road and reportedly a pretty crappy gravel road. Since I ride 28mm road tires I wasn't even giving it a try. Maybe Jamawni or someone else would like to comment on the minimum tire size they would take on that road as well as the gravel road into King's Canyon he also mentioned. As for what you avoid by taking the alternate, highway 97 on that 20± mile stretch, I didn't find it that bad. And not nearly as bad as some of the stretches of 97 up in Washington.

It sounds like Jamawani's alternate to interstate (I-5) north of Shasta is probably preferable. But if you want to stay on route I found that part of the highway to have a very clean shoulder and not too much traffic. Of course, coming from the north meant I was going down a big grade for the entire 8 miles and you will be going steeply uphill that entire time which means you will be on it for an hour instead of 12 minutes, but I will stick w the premise that as interstates go, this isn't a bad stretch. This is unlike the other stretch of interstate you hit along the Columbia River Gorge (I-84) which came pretty close to being the most unpleasent 11 miles in my life.

Also, I will give a big +1 to incorporating Makenzie Pass outside of Sisters. It adds 40 miles and several thousand feet of climbing because not only is there the climb up the pass but at the western end of the pass there's a good bit of climbing back to where you get back on Hywy 20. That said, Mackenzie Pass was a top 5 of all of that I saw on my trip. The road going up & down is great and the scenery at the top is fantastic, lava fields as far as you can see. It also gets you off Hywy 20 which is no treat to be on. And there is several weeks in spring/early summer where the pass is only open to bicycles and your timing may be just right for that.

That's my 2 cents.


General Discussion / Re: Asking too Much?
« on: March 22, 2016, 05:49:29 pm »
+1 to Ron K. I also have a custom Ti bike (Tom Kellogg/Spectrum Cycles) that I tour with and it's fast and agile enough that if I still raced would not hesitate to use it for that. But to Indyfabz's point, I travel very light (15-18 lbs), I think the handling would get funky if I had the more typical 25-30lbs back there. The other thing is a decent custom Ti frame and components is around 7k. Thats a lot and you can certainly buy a purpose built tourer & a road bike for that much money.

Alternativly, I'd look at a good steel 'cross frame. The gearings not bad, plenty of room for a larger width tire, there must be some out there that come with rack mounts, and there's not that much diffence in the ride/handling between a cross frame and a road bike.


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