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Messages - John Nelson

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Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: May 25, 2014, 01:08:16 pm »
If I can outrun the dog, which is usually only possible on a downhill, I do so. Otherwise I stop. Most other things you can do from a moving bike are either dangerous or ineffective (at least against some dogs).

Routes / Re: Bozeman to Boulder!
« on: May 24, 2014, 05:42:12 pm »
there are lots of ways down from the peak to peak highway (7/72/119).  recommended choices would include south st vrain (7) or left hand canyon (which has very light traffic).  be aware that the more direct route from estes park to lyons, 36, may still be closed to cyclists for flood repairs, and in any event is very busy.
Left Hand Canyon is normally an extremely popular cycling road, but is pretty torn up now and for the foreseeable future. It's currently more dirt than pavement and will likely still be that way for quite some time. US36 from Estes Park to Lyons is iffy on a good day, but this isn't a good day. It is not only usually closed to cyclists, but often closed to everybody. The construction project on that road is massive and will continue for a long time yet.

The floods of last September drastically changed the cycling landscape in this part of Colorado. It will take years to recover.

Routes / Re: Bozeman to Boulder!
« on: May 23, 2014, 10:58:44 am »
Bozeman isn't far off the TransAm, so if you work your way over to the TransAm (maybe at Ennis), you can take the TransAm to Granby, CO, and then take Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park, CO7 to Lyons, and US36 to Boulder. Yes, there are some RVs in Yellowstone NP and Rocky Mountain NP, but the scenery will make it worth it.

Routes / Re: Virginia
« on: May 22, 2014, 10:30:13 pm »
Good of you to share your experiences. Now I'll share one of mine. If you think the dogs are bad on the TransAm in Virginia, wait until you get to Kentucky--you ain't seen nothing yet! Have fun!! I wish I was there again.

General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 21, 2014, 12:10:32 am »
I think you should reconsider too. Riding over Logan Pass was the single most magnificent ride of my life. I might go all the way back to Glacier some day just to do it again.

General Discussion / Re: equipment & route
« on: May 20, 2014, 03:21:33 pm »
May 31 is a reasonable time to start the NT from Seattle, although a week or two later will reduce your chances of wet weather. However, I would adjust my schedule so as to not get to Glacier NP before Going To The Sun Road opens. Depending on the route you take and your daily mileage, it will take you about two weeks to get to Glacier. So, for me personally, I wouldn't leave more than two weeks prior to June 20. Furthermore, if GTTS Road is still closed when you get there but looks to open soon, I'd sit there in Avalanche Campground and wait for it.

One problem with a 15-20 degree bag is that it will be way too warm for a lot of your trip. I would prefer to go with a lighter bag and take a liner and sleep in my warm clothes when necessary. That gives you more latitude. But, as Pete says, it depends on your personal preferences and whether your greatest fear is being too cold or too hot. If you're circumnavigating the U.S., however, you better plan on being both.

It'll take you longer, but you'll make it if you have the time.

Routes / Re: Hi bemidji to denver
« on: May 16, 2014, 06:06:27 pm »
Last time I looked, Bemidji was in Minnesota.

Bemidji to Denver is about 980 miles with the avoid highways option. You said you have 30 days, which is a generous time for 980 miles, but presumably that 30 days also has to cover your route from somewhere in Canada to Bemidji. I'm trying to judge how much room you have for an indirect route (e.g., following some combination of ACA routes). You can get from Bemidji to Pueblo or Boulder on a combination of ACA routes. You might (or might not) have time for that, but it's pretty indirect.

Routes / Re: Hi bemidji to denver
« on: May 16, 2014, 05:22:53 pm »
Give us more guidance before we spend a lot of time giving you a route that you tell us you can't use (happens a lot).

How much time do you have? Are you looking for a direct route? A safe route? A flat route? Do you prefer busy roads with good shoulders or quiet roads with no shoulders? How many miles a day will you be doing?

Go to Google maps and ask for driving directions with the "avoid highways" option. It's a starting point.

Routes / Re: Lewis and Clark and TransAmerica West East
« on: May 12, 2014, 03:27:35 pm »
Posting the same thing in more than one category is against the rules of this forum, and does not increase the visbility of your post. I suggest you delete your duplicate post in "General Discussion" to avoid confusion.

Good luck with your trip. You may encounter some cold and wet weather starting in May, but you should be fine. I'll look for your story on your web site. You might also consider creating a journal on for more visibility. A chef? That's a great luxury.

Gear Talk / Re: Cassette 11x32,34,36? With 50x34 crankset
« on: May 09, 2014, 11:28:55 pm »
Are you referring to the unnamed pass between Ennis and Virginia City? Yes, that's one of many, many tough climbs. But it's a great ride from there all the way down to Twin Bridges.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 09, 2014, 02:32:54 pm »
Wow, I see that the start is only one month away. I wish you the best of luck. This is quite an endeavor. I look forward to following your progress.

Gear Talk / Re: Cassette 11x32,34,36? With 50x34 crankset
« on: May 09, 2014, 09:57:23 am »
Rabbit Ears Pass from the south is a long but not particularly difficult climb. But if you've done it comfortably while fully loaded with the gearing you have, then you're probably good to go. Note however, that you will encounter significantly steeper stuff than what you see on Rabbit Ears Pass, although the climbs won't be as long. Luckily, Boulder to Seaside doesn't pass through the Appalachians or Ozarks or Green Mountains, but there will still be some steep climbs going up the Oregon coast and elsewhere.

Try riding up Sunshine Canyon and Lee Hill Road full loaded. If you're still okay, then I'd say you're fine. I would have also normally suggested you ride up Flagstaff (to the top, not just to the amphitheater), but I don't think Flagstaff is okay for cycling right now.

What gearing you need is a function of many factors, including your age and fitness level, and the weight of your load. Personally, I wouldn't ride with your gearing, but I'm not you.

Routes / Re: Route Check
« on: May 08, 2014, 04:57:02 pm »
From what I can see of your route in areas I know, it looks reasonable through Colorado. I've ridden Craig to Steamboat Springs, and Steamboat Springs to Granby. There are two ways to get from Steamboat Springs to Granby--I'd recommend the route through Walden over the route through Kremmling. It's 20 miles longer, but much more pleasant and much less traffic. Once you get to Granby, you might as well take Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park. From Estes Park to Lyons, take state highway 7 instead of US36. This section of US36 is suffered heavy damage in last September's floods and will still be under construction this summer. Of course, the last leg into a major city like Denver will be more of a challenge, and good routes typically involve dozens of turns that are difficult to describe.

I think your next task is going to be to study each segment, consult state bicycling maps and DOT average daily traffic volumes and shoulder widths, and pick individual roads. It's a very time-consuming job, but it should make your trip more safe and pleasant. As the ACA can tell you, picking a good route across the country takes a significant amount of work.

Gear Talk / Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
« on: May 08, 2014, 10:21:35 am »
In my experience, you can't really tell how well the saddle is working until after a month on tour. (If you can tell earlier than that, then you probably didn't use your saddle enough before the tour.) Your experiences training for a tour are useful, but the tour itself, with day after day of 60 miles or more, is much more demanding than your training will ever be.

My suggestion is to go with whatever saddle you have now if you have found it comfortable. If you start to develop problems, consider buying a new saddle en route. "Problems" can be anything from saddle sores to just a simple pain in the butt. On my first tour, I found the saddle getting progressively more uncomfortable after about two months on the road. I did finish the tour with that saddle, but found myself pedaling out of the saddle more and more frequently in the final weeks. I got a new saddle (a B-17) for the next tour, which was comfortable the whole way.

It's really hard to predict. Take all the standard precautions to avoid saddle sores, and then just be prepared to adjust as necessary.

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