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Messages - mathieu

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Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades - total elevation gain?
« on: February 29, 2016, 06:31:05 pm »
I have to correct my previous comment that the crude mapping in the linked reference would likely overestimate the elevation gain. I remapped Map-5 as best as I could using the 'follow roads' tool, but without access to the ACA maps.  See
The estimated distance for Map-5 is 487 miles, which agrees very well with Adventure Cycling's 486 miles. The elevation gain amounts to 45493 ft, which is a lot more than the 33303 ft in the other link.
It's a significant upward correction. However, in no way will you get near to your initial estimate for the total route.

As I said before, you will learn a lot about the grades you will face, by mapping the complete route yourself on RideWithGPS. Map-5 took me about 20 minutes.

Routes / Re: Utah Cliffs Route
« on: February 24, 2016, 01:52:50 pm »
If you mean the Utah Cliffs Loop, you can find several journals and lots of pics in

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades - total elevation gain?
« on: February 17, 2016, 09:33:20 am »
Looks like someone mapped the route in RideWithGPS. See
His total elevation gain for maps 1-5 is 40509 meter/133,000 ft.

PS. Looking to the maps, the route is drawn rather sketchy with a lot of straight-line interpolations. This may accumulate to rather large errors. However, those errors do probably lead to an overestimation of the elevation gain, since road makers try to level the grades whereas the interpolations will strike many bumps and shallows.
It would probably take you only 1-2 hours for the whole route to improve the road drawing (using 'follow roads'). You will find the tool very convenient and informative about the main climbs and their gradients.

Gear Talk / Re: Water Filtration
« on: October 14, 2015, 12:23:09 pm »
I had a Katadyn Mini, but since I use the Platypus GravityWorks filter I find all pumping systems totally obsolete. Pumping filters typically require more active hands than one human has. The gravity filter is utter simplicity and a nice example of divide-and-rule. You fill a 'dirty' bag with the surface water and hang the bag at a high point, e.g. in a tree. Connect the filter and a collecting 'pure' bag at a lower point. Under gravity the water flows via the filter into the lower bag. Usually I have a liter of filtered water in about one minute. There are other brands than Platypus using the same principle, e.g. Miniwell.

Does this reroute bypass the Brush Mountain Lodge?
One more question. Is this reroute going to be permanent? It makes sense.

Going southbound, the reroute joins the old route near Slater, just below the WY/CO state line. From there you have the option to take either the main route through Routt N.F., which passes Brush Mountain Lodge, or the Columbine Alternate.

Permanent? That probably depends on the developments south of Rawlins, i.e. wind energy parks and gas & oil exploitation. The less quiet dirt road remains, the more sensible to make the reroute permanent. Obviously Rawlins has more services than Wamsutter. The Adventure Cycling map makers will decide..

If you listen to ,  Billy Rice's is rapturing about a new section of double track that he calls the Basin Rim trail and describes as super-rocky, super-slow. I guess it refers to the miles 40-47 from Atlantic City and his description implies that it is technical.
If you look carefully to the local map (see ) there is a bypass of this rim trail over the Bison-Basin Rd  (TD racers will be relegated for taking this bypass).

I would prefer the reroute over the old route with a long wait at the construction site south of Rawlins. Aspen Alley is a rather overrated 0.5 mile. It is more a traditional photo opportunity.

The full TD2015 route is very long. Maybe that overloads the system. Try your trick with the GD Basin Reroute to see if it works.

For the record: zooming in in satellite view on Wamsutter, I saw a Sagebrush Motel on McCormick Rd. So full marks for lodging too! And I saw a Subway. However, be aware that Wamsutter is experiencing a gas boom. Wikipedia says the town is struggling with this rapid growth, particularly due to the lack of available housing . So bring your tent , just in case.

My guess is that you have to register at Ride-with-GPS. It is free of charge. Then create your personal settings, with English as preferred language, metric or imperial, etc. If you then search for the TD2015 route (or search mathieu) you will probably get the cues in English. If not, mail the site support desk for help. I found them very responsive. You start paying when you want to download the GPS files.

Obviously I haven't run that reroute, probably only Matthew Lee has and knows the answers....

I guess that water availability is worse. Diagnus Well at 26 miles from Atlantic City is still on the route. On the old route you had Arapahoe Creek at 62 miles that had some water in June and the A&M Reservoir, slightly off-route, at 83 miles. Along the new route in satellite view I spot an off-route reservoir at 69 miles from Atlantic City, but it looks like private property. Wamsutter at 96 miles has several groceries and restaurants, but I didn't spot any lodging (Rawlins has many). After Wamsutter, near the cross with Hwy-789 there is a Muddy River, but no gas station - not very promising either. On the old route south of Rawlins, on entering Aspen Alley you crossed several lively creeks.

The reroute is because of construction south of Rawlins. There is almost no singletrack on the reroute, except a new 7 miles section in the Great Divide Basin (miles 40-47 from Atlantic City). Judging from the elevation profile the singletrack doesn't look technical : all gradients below 6%. See
There are also small changes near Union Pass. The total TD'15 route is on

Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: May 27, 2015, 04:58:40 am »
Did you visit Peter White's site?
The guy has an interest in selling headlight products but he certainly knows what he is talking about. The products he discusses and the pictures will sharpen your awareness of what you need.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Bike type and solo?
« on: April 29, 2015, 05:21:22 pm »
Last year in June I did only one stage, between Ketchum and Stanley. I was dismayed by several very soft double tracks milled up by ATVs, which are very popular in Idaho. I mailed this information to someone who I knew was in doubt whether to do the main route on a cross bike or MTB. Later I read in his blog that he was very glad to follow my advice to use an MTB with fat tires.
For more information I refer to several blogs on CrazyGuy : .

There is also an extensive topic on Bikepacking involving the route's main architect, Casey Greene, that you may find helpfull :

Solo or not? Last year I rode solo from Arizona to British Columbia on dirt roads and I don't see why you shouldn't do the main IHS route solo. From what I read in the blogs, the route is already quite popular.  You'll probably meet other riders about every day.  The singletracks are much more remote and wild, so that is a more serious commitment going solo.

Routes / Re: MAPS/ GUIDES WANTED: Netherlands, Belgium, France
« on: March 11, 2015, 03:11:11 pm »
There are at least half a dozen different cycle routes Amsterdam - Paris documented in guides. Refering to the map in
I can point to  :
1. The North Sea coast route following bike paths along the coast until Boulogne sur Mer (route 6 on the map) and then dropping to Paris.
2. A variant on this that leaves the coast by going over Gent (Ghent) or Brugge (Brueghes)  to Ieper (Ypres) and dropping to Paris
3. The so-called Van Gogh route passing over Antwerpen, Brussel(s) - route 1 on the map
4. A variant over Eindhoven (where I live), joining the Van Gogh route in Brussels
5. A route passing over Eindhoven and Maastricht and joining a route coming from Aachen (Aken in dutch) - route 7 on the map
Depending on what you want to see  and taste (cities, art, history, beers, quiet roads?), you should select one of these. I could probably assist you in finding guides including maps and stages and lodging information, probably in dutch but probably not difficult to decipher.

I don't believe there is urgency in booking rooms, possibly excepting Paris and Amsterdam. If your ride is in July, booking in May seems quite timely.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route, north of Ashton ID
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:31:58 pm »
The loose soil on this Idaho rail trail is cursed even by MTB riders with 50 mm wide tires. Fortunately most of it can be bypassed on a parallel dirt road in a distance of less than 1 mile from the rail trail,  that has a reasonably good surface. See the map at the bottom of my journal page for this stage : (zoom in for details; blue is rail trail).

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 22, 2015, 12:14:02 pm »
Instead of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, I would go for the the Schwalbe Marathon Racer. Take 700x30c if your bike can handle it. It is 395 gram per tire  instead of 750 gram. You feel this difference when you are speeding up. Don't be afraid of an occasional flat. It usually happens only every 1000 miles or so, unless you enjoy riding on interstate shoulders full of glass and steel debris.

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