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81
Routes / Re: Seattle to Missoula
« Last post by Pat Lamb on April 21, 2014, 08:08:03 am »
One way is to head north and pick up the Northern Tier to Whitefish, MT. Then due south thru Seeley Lake.  Not the most direct, but very scenic.

If you take this route, spend the extra time to go to Glacier and spend at least one night.  It is so magnificent that you'll kick yourself for being that close and not seeing it if you pass it up.

I've wondered if it wouldn't have been smarter for us (going the other way) to head northwest from Yellowstone to the east side of Glacier.  The TA seems to spend a lot of time riding in "W"s down in SW Montana, and the scenery is good but not all that great (IMHO).
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Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« Last post by Pat Lamb on April 21, 2014, 08:01:17 am »
On a steep downhill I just couldn't stop by braking from the hoods, I had to reach round to the drops and squeeze like hell.

Being able to brake from the drops is a good skill to have for any brakes.
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Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Last post by Pat Lamb on April 21, 2014, 07:56:09 am »
It's always helpful when people use a common language to discuss things.  For road steepness, that's grade in percent.  Sure, it's technically possible to use centiradians from vertical, but it's not reasonable to expect other people to participate in a discussion when you use that kind of odd terminology.

The best I can figure, the Vesuvius grade averages 10% for 3 miles.  That's based on GPS, bike computer, and topographic maps.  It's built like most old mountain roads, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's stretches of 15% or more embedded in that 3 miles.

Lookout, KY was perhaps the worst grade going west.  I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but it was rough.  And we just had to laugh at the series of U-shaped dips southeast of Irvine, KY.

Back to the gearing question, pack light, gear low, and get a good running start on the flatter 8% sections to tackle the next 100 yards at 12%.  And there's no shame in walking.
84
Routes / Re: Seattle to Missoula
« Last post by indyfabz on April 21, 2014, 07:54:10 am »
One way is to head north and pick up the Northern Tier to Whitefish, MT. Then due south thru Seeley Lake.  Not the most direct, but very scenic.

+1. You can take a ferry out of Seattle to pick up the Pacific Coat route. That takes you to just east of Anacortes, where you can pick up the Northern Tier route. Great Parks will take you south from Whitefish/Columbia Falls to Missoula. As noted, it's not the most direct, but it's very scenic. Going this way also gives you few days of warm up before you cross the Cascade Mountains. Both times I rode Seattle to Whitefish at a liesurely pace is took about 17 days including rest days in Withrop, after the Cascades, and Sandpoint.

If time is not a factor, you could also keep on the NT to Glacier National Park, pitch camp for a few days, ride up and back down the west slope of Going to the Sun, then back track to Whitefish/Columbia Falls. That would add two days.

From Whitefish to Missoula is an easy three day ride. Depending on how much mileage you are willing to do, you might be able to pull it off in two days. I left Glacier, rode back to Whitefish then to Big Fork. The next day I camped at Lake Alva. Day three I was in Missoula. Don't recall any of those days being difficult.
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Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« Last post by Old Guy New Hobby on April 21, 2014, 07:33:58 am »
Quote
I've still got the old SD-5 on the rear and it seems plenty adequate so it's staying. I reckon you don't want too powerful braking at the back, locked wheel etc.

You never know about unfamiliar roads or braking in sketchy weather. I usually try to apply equal pressure front and back, and release if the rear wheel skids. It's easy to survive rear wheel skids. Front wheel skids, not so much. Of course, this works best if front and rear brakes have similar stopping power.
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Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Last post by John Nelson on April 21, 2014, 07:32:10 am »
I don't know abut John, but I missed the "degrees" and thought "%" automatically.  Degrees seems like an odd way to express the steepness only because "%" is pretty much universally used.
When I see someone give a road pitch in "degrees," I always assume they misspoke and mean "percent." Nobody, nobody, cites road pitch in degrees. So yes, I responded as if it said 8%.

With the exception of Kansas and eastern Colorado, the entire TransAm is hilly. There is no escape. Some of the hills in eastern Kentucky seemed insanely steep, perhaps only for 50 to 100 yards, but definitely made your legs work to maximum effort.

I don't place much stock in numbers to describe hills. On many 8% hills, there is at least one five-foot section that is 25%. Some people like to call that a 25% hill. The difficultly of a hill cannot be expressed by one number. In Colorado, you might climb at 6% for 30 straight miles. That's one kind of difficult. In eastern Kentucky, you might climb much, much steeper hills, each of which is fairly short, but there might be a hundred of them in a row. That kind of wears on you. That's another kind of difficult.

Clinch Mountain, near Hayters Gap Virginia, is regarded by many as the hardest west-bound climb of the TransAm. It's not that it's all that steep, but it the combination of steepness and length. Since I went east-to-west, I got to descend to Vesuvius, the hill where most west-bounders complain of having to stop frequently and let their brakes cool down. The psychological problem with both these hills is that they are very twisty and hemmed in with heavy trees, making it impossible to guess how far away the top is.

And yes, I remember well those Missouri river valleys, especially the valley formed by the Current River between Ellington and Houston. The Ellington park manager told me, "You got some hellacious mountains ahead of you!" Well, being from Colorado, I don't call them "mountains" but they were certainly difficult.
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Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Last post by staehpj1 on April 21, 2014, 06:14:56 am »
Slopes of  8 degrees is about the maximum you will see on the TransAm.
I think you'll find a lot of people who would dispute that.

Did your remark take into account that I mentioned a slope of 8 degrees? More often slopes are expressed as the ratio of rise over run, which for an angle of 8 degrees amounts to a grade of 14%?
I don't know abut John, but I missed the "degrees" and thought "%" automatically.  Degrees seems like an odd way to express the steepness only because "%" is pretty much universally used.

Oh and based only on my impression of them...  The hills in Missouri climbing up out of the river valleys were pretty tough, but a few in the Appalachians definitely were harder for me so I'd assume they were steeper than the ones in Missouri.  Two that I remember were at Vesuvius and another that I think it was at Big A mountain.  Those were climbs for eastbound riders.  There were a least a couple others that seemed steeper to me than the ones in Missouri.

That said I don't have accurate numbers for any of them.  Furthermore I have decided that we seldom know the actual grades because the signs posted are often way off and even the maps can be pretty misleading.  Also the grades on smaller roads are generally extremely variable along their length.  So do you call the grade by a 100' section that is steepest, by the average from bottom to top, or something else?  In any case the numbers can be misleading wrt to the difficulty in riding them.
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Gear Talk / Re: Cateye time & average speed funky readings
« Last post by DaveB on April 21, 2014, 05:54:47 am »
:-[ Oh the embarrassment. Somehow I'd managed to turn off the Automatic Mode for the thing. i.e. the timer keeps running until you press the start/stop button. There should be a little AT on the display. When all else fails RTFM
Well, I'm glad it was that simple and maintains my faith in Cat-Eye cyclocomputers.  As I said above I've been using them for many years and never had a reliability problem.  Sometimes versatility (auto start vs manual start, odometer reset ability, etc.) leads to inadvertent changes and unwanted changes.  Thanks for the update.
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Gear Talk / Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Last post by mathieu on April 21, 2014, 05:54:36 am »
Slopes of  8 degrees is about the maximum you will see on the TransAm.
I think you'll find a lot of people who would dispute that.

John, there are probably few people who are more knowledgeable about the TransAm route than you, so I reverently give way. Still I tried to remember where those wickedly steep slopes occurred. Maybe in Kentucky, where the adrenalin from the many dogs in ambush drove me over the hills?

Did your remark take into account that I mentioned a slope of 8 degrees? More often slopes are expressed as the ratio of rise over run, which for an angle of 8 degrees amounts to a grade of 14%?
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Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« Last post by PeteJack on April 21, 2014, 05:06:03 am »
There are good rim squeezers and not so good rim squeezers. My 520 came with Single Digit SD-5 brakes and for years I put up with noise and poor performance. On a steep downhill I just couldn't stop by braking from the hoods, I had to reach round to the drops and squeeze like hell. And they were almost impossible to center, I'd use up all the adjustment on one side without it lifting off the rim. Eventually I sprang big bucks $111 for a Single Digit Ultimate as opposed to $17 for a replacement SD-5 on the front. It's like night and day: powerful, modulated braking from the hoods, silent, center perfectly. Everything a vee brake should be. While I was at it I replaced the brake levers with Tektro RH520s  I do believe the new levers are a help too i.e. they have better ergonomics.

I've still got the old SD-5 on the rear and it seems plenty adequate so it's staying. I reckon you don't want too powerful braking at the back, locked wheel etc.
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