Isn't it interesting how two people can look at the same facts and come to opposite conclusions? We went E-W because:
Yeah, it can be spun any number of ways depending on individual wants, needs, and preferences.
BTW, do you still think the Appalachians were harder than the Rockies? Some east-bounders were in such good shape by the time they got to Kentucky that they didn't think they were hard at all. I thought the Appalachians were about twice as hard as the Rockies. Appalachians were 3x as steep in places, but not as high, and after 30 minutes, what difference does the length of the climb make?.
On the TA, yes I still think the Appalachians were harder than the Cascades or Rockies. On a different route maybe not.
After the TA, I thought that western climbs were just generally easier, other than being long, since they were typically better designed and graded. We spent very little time in the west climbing at more than 6-8% on the TA. Then I rode the southern part of the Sierra Cascades route and realized that there were some very hard climbs in the west. That trip was quite difficult for me and I now have a new respect the climbs out west in general.