Author Topic: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST  (Read 1772 times)

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Offline Gif4445

Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« on: February 03, 2013, 04:32:03 pm »
Starting to make plans for doing the Southern Tier a year from now.  I need to start around the first of February.  I assume an east to west direction is the choice of most?  To those of you who have done the ST in that time frame, what direction is the best as far as temps,wind and the like?  Or those that have done extensive research.  I'm a mid 50's, 4000 mile/year male, with shorter (1000 m) tour experience.   Farmer by trade.  Hence, I need to be back home in Nebraska by the first part of April.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 06:37:31 pm »
I am not sure how much direction of travel matters on this route, but I thought most folks went W-E.  I started Feb 12 in the West and it was fine.  I met quite a few who were going W-E and don't remember seeing any going the other way.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 10:51:38 am »
As a curious bystander, I wonder if it wouldn't be preferable to go west?  That would give you a few weeks near the Gulf, keeping temperatures moderate, before you head into the interior of Texas and the mountains further west, which might be a bit further toward spring by the time you got there.  It would also get you out of the way of (most of the) severe storms happening later in the March/April timeframe.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:54:58 am by pdlamb »

Offline Gif4445

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 11:36:30 pm »
From the random sampling of ST journals on Crazyguyonabike, most were east-to-west.   Maybe just the luck of my search.   I did not find many with a Feb. 1 start date however.  And I think the one that I found was E-W and complaining about headwinds.  Doesn't mean they had more head than tail, just the theme of the ride I think.  Did you journal your ride staehpj?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 06:09:26 am »
Yes my journal is at:
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ScrapingBottom
It isn't a complete ST since I stopped at Pensacola, but probably close enough to give a good idea of what the route is like.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 10:11:39 am »
From the random sampling of ST journals on Crazyguyonabike, most were east-to-west. Maybe just the luck of my search.
No random sampling necessary. Crazyguyonabike will tell you this information directly. Here's the current journal count for the ST:

    East to West (125)
    West to East (211)

Offline irc

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 04:31:02 pm »
One of the weather issues for the ST seems to be temps in California/Arizona during the first week of W-E tours. In mid March 95-100f temps are not uncommon. In this case would starting a Feb/March St from the west to do this section the first week in Feb rather than the last week in March might be an idea. So I'd say go west - east.

   

Offline rabbitoh

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 09:47:12 pm »
Gif4445

I cycled most of the ST last year E-W, but started mid-March. I encountered very little headwind riding this direction during that time frame, and I also had good weather along the way. Starting in Florida was also a good way of getting miles into my legs on relatively flat terrain, and building up endurance before the tougher hillier sections.

I kept a journal on CGOAB.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=9886&v=r8

And here is another link to a CGOAB journal of a W-E rider who I met up with in Alabama. This particular rider started out on 1st March 2012.

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1&doc_id=9857&v=RG

Whichever way you ride, I know you will love it. It is spectacular country.

Good luck.

Good Cycling
Dennis

Offline Gif4445

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 02:40:21 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I can see the pluses and minuses of going either way.  I like the idea of starting in the East to get your legs worthy of the challenges in the west.  Seems like the temps might get you either way in the West.   Cold at start in higher elevations, or hot at the end in the lower.  Thanks John for the sampling info from CGOAB.  I wasn't aware of that.   I'm curious though, if it could be broken down into a start date range closer to my tentative departure?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Directional recomendation for Feb 1 start on ST
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 05:15:00 am »
East to west is fine. You will encounter headwinds no matter which direction you go. In the panhandle of Florida there are three good routes. One is highway ninety which is quite hilly is some stretches. You can expect sidewinds from the north which will be parried by the many stands of pine trees. South of 90 is highway 20. It too is hilly but perhaps less so than 90, and maybe less interesting and historic. Highway 98 runs you right along at the water's edge. It is mostly level the way I remember it. A downside is that stiff sidewinds off the gulf are normal daytime events, and they will slow you down. Also, the distance is longer adding perhaps an entire day to your journey. I measured the difference once off maps. I think it is about 60 miles longer than 20 or 90 because it follows the contours of the very uneven, unstraight coastline. 90 is the suggested route. I have used it a few times by bicycle. It is a very good ride. There are plenty of places to camp, free camp, and to eat and buy food. Probably 90 is your best bet. I took other routes because I was already familiar with 90. 90, 20, and 98 will get you to the same general destination for going into Alabama.

There is no all encompassing, comprehensive information on W to E versus E to W. Just go. The wind is there. You cannot escape it. It's part of long distance cycling just like rain and storms. I have done the ST several times. I went E to W. Very often it was a quarter wind from the SE that gave a push. In winter there are northwinds full of cold. Out west getting into west Texas and nearer California there are west winds that will put you off your bike for days. I have not run into those on a bike.  I have been in them in a car. Those do not come regularly all the time. They happen. I am 63. My last ST run was in the winter of 2009-10. I got from near West Palm Beach, FL to San Diego in 54 days total with 43 days actually pedaling long distances over the road, and that was with deliberately holding back for two days to make sure I would get into downtown San Diego early in the day.

Don't sweat the wind. Just go.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 05:14:30 am by Westinghouse »