Author Topic: anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?  (Read 5432 times)

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Offline Moneer81

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« on: January 07, 2006, 11:45:27 pm »
Hey guys,

 I am planning to bike from San Diego to Norfolk this coming spring of 2006. Due to limited time and budget, I am planning to pretty much race across as fast as I can. This is my first time and I was wondering if anyone has biked across this fast because I have a few questions and could use a lot of tips. Hope to hear back from ya

Thanks


Offline Fred Hiltz

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 08:12:43 am »
Yes, with vehicle support. Take a look at the Race Across America at http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/ and http://www.ultracycling.com/.

Fred


Offline Moneer81

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2006, 08:40:48 am »
I am already aware of those two races...some impressing times there!

anyone had a fast tour without any vehicle support?


Offline RussellSeaton

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2006, 04:56:20 pm »
There is an advertisement in each issue of Adventure Cycling for a recumbent manufacturer, Easy Racer.  In the ad they detail the accomplishments of a loaded tourer on an Easy Racer who has ridden many multi thousand mile loaded tours averaging 100-150 or so miles a day.  To me this does not sound like touring.  But I think the point of the ad is to brag about the comfort of the recumbent and how you can travel 100+ miles day after day.  Find a copy of Adventure Cycling and the company, Easy Racer I think, and see if you can contact the person in the advertisement.

But your plan of doing a 15 day crossing means about 233 miles per day on average.  Loaded.  Very lightly loaded hopefully.  If you are an ultra distance rider now and regularly complete double centuries, then you can maybe do it.  Basically it is riding 4 or 5 Paris Brest Paris rides consecutively.  The PBP riders I know, and I know several sub 60 hour riders, thought doing it once was enough and were not ready to turn around and do it again.  And again, and again, and again.


Offline wanderingwheel

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2006, 11:23:37 pm »
I have done some shorter tours and randonees at that pace, but it is hard to imagine doing 3,000 miles of it.  

A double century a day will keep you on the bike for a minimum of 12 hours.  This might be ok if you are staying in motels every night, but if you camping and carrying your gear, this will get very trying (and tiring) after 2 or 3 days.  Expect to get very little sleep on some nights.

Give a lot of though about how you will carry your gear.  I haven't found a solution that doesn't significantly slow me down or wear me out.  Backpacks are great for speed, but they become onerous after many  hours.  Panniers don't hurt, but I never seem to go as fast.  Transverse saddlebags (e.g. Carradice) are always in my way.

Also consider your food.  Eating along the road will take up more time than you realise, especially with the effort you will be putting in.  Going with a mostly liquid diet is much faster, but it will be very expensive and you will have to carefully plan your logistics or start your trip carrying a lot of powder.

If your still interested, Chris Kostman will (at last I heard) organize an unsupported cross-country race this summer.  http://www.transamracing.org/

Sean


Offline Moneer81

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2006, 04:29:37 am »
hey,

thanks for your valuable feedback.

I've given it a lot of thought and the more I think about it the more I get the motivation and desire to do it. I am planning to travel very light. I found the kind of backpack that would be perfect for such a trip. It is called speed-pac (www.speed-pac.com). Very aerodynamic and doesn't make your back sweat. Hopefully it won't slow me down much.

And I am not planning on camping or cooking. I am gonna try to stay in motels/churches/homeless shelters. As far as food, I will have to eat on the road and plan my route accordingly and carry some energy supplements. The only other things I might carry are extra shorts,pair of socks,extra t-shirt,and mischellaneous items like my phone and and iPod etc.

Thanks for the link you gave me, some interesting information there.

Regards


Offline wanderingwheel

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006, 12:57:07 pm »
I looked at the Speed-Pac once and my first thought was "it's a lot smaller inside than it looks."  Since it's a hard shell you can't overstuff it.  However, it may work for your small load.  I haven't tried wearing it on the bike.

A good option that I forgot is a seatpost rack with a small trunk, the new one from Arkel is particularly intriguing.  As long as it doesn't interefer with the back of your saddle as mine occasionally does it may be the best choice.

Sean


Offline wanderingwheel

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2006, 04:36:24 pm »
Just a few more thoughts.  I can't stress enough how important nutrition is on a trip like this.  If you fall behind, it will take many days, maybe the entire trip, to catch up.  Each day you are behind your pace will fall until you're struggling to do 15 on the flats.  Been there, done that.

Take your time before hand to plot your route well.  Wrong turns and getting lost will cost you valuable time.  For this reason, try to keep it as simple as possible.  Route finding after dark is especially tough and will cost you more time, even if you make all the right turns.  This might be a good use for a GPS.

Speaking of night riding, it is my experience that your pace at night will fall at least a little, so be sure to allow extra time if caught out after dark.  A good, strong headlight can help keep you as close to your daytime speed as possible.  My preference is a generator light, but I have done fairly well with 1 watt LED headlights as well.  A helmet light is worth it's weight in gold for navigating after dark.  You will not have to slow down to read your route sheet, computer, or street signs.  My favorite of the moment is the Princeton Tec Eos with lithium batteries.

Sean


Offline Turk

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2006, 08:11:21 pm »
I remember an article in Bicycling magazine about a guy who had the speed record for many years. He rode a penny farthing bike on railroad tracks in the 1890's. I can't say for sure how long it took but the number that comes to mind is 10 days. Is that possible? The article I'm refering to appeared in the late 1970's or early '80's.


Offline Moneer81

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2006, 09:08:43 pm »
hey,

 you're right about nutrition. This is one major concern of mine. I already have a problem with nutrition, because I am very active and don't seem to get enough food no matter how much I eat. I am 5'10 and about 180 lbs, most people think of me as fit or even skinny (well, the overweight ones call me skinny) but I eat with an apetite of a 400 lb guy!

 So I know what you mean because in the past while doing strenuous activities I seemed to lose energy very quickly if I didn't have enough calories on that day.

 Are there any high-calorie snacks I can carry with me or any meal replacements that might be able to fit in my speed-pac?

Thanks


Offline wanderingwheel

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2006, 11:39:41 pm »
Nutrition has always been a problem for me.  I've tried to like the fancy meal replacement drinks like Perpetuem, Sustained Energy, and Extran, but they just never seem to work.  My latest theory is that the high protein drinks just sit and accumulate in my belly if I'm going much above a moderate pace.  I've since gone back to just Gatorade or Cytomax in my water bottle and been much happier, even in ultra-distance events.  I've been looking at InfinIT (www.infinitnutrition.com) and it's customizable drink mix, but the price is a bit high and I feel I could mix my own for a fraction of the price with a little research.

To make up the rest of my calories, I use the normal assortment of energy bars.  However, I have found that some types of candy work just as well, such as orange wedges and jelly beans.   I also like sweet fresh fruit such as strawberries, melons, and grapes when available.  Some ice cream or a shake at the end of the day also makes a great recovery food for me.

I guess the short answer is I haven't solved that problem yet and I'm still working on it.

Sean


Offline RussellSeaton

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2006, 11:45:16 pm »
To the person who posted the question of riding across the USA in 15 days:

1.  How many double centuries did you ride in 2005?
2.  Did you complete your local randonneur brevet series?  What were your times?  Did you complete one of the four 1200k brevets held in the US in 2005?
3.  Are you an active participant in UMCA events?

Unless you can answer yes and provide positive numbers to all of the above questions, you're not going to ride across the US in 15 days.

Get the long distance bicycling experience as described in the above three questions.  Then consider crossing the US in 15 days.  Or plan on taking 30 days.  Still too fast to enjoy it in my opinion.  But 30 days is very doable, and realistic.  Or just ride as far as you can/want in 15 days and stop.  Then start from that point the next summer.

I don't mean to discourage you, but talking about riding 200+ miles a day and doing it are very different.  Riding 100 miles a day does not prepare you for 200+ miles a day.  Riding 150 miles a day does not really prepare you for 200+ either.

If you have the motivation, Texas Hell Week is March 11-18 in Fredericksburg.  You can ride 8 straight days of 100+ miles.  And a double century option too.  There will be lots of long distance cyclists there to ask questions of.  A good way to decide if riding high mileage day after day is for you.


Offline fdonley

anyone biked across the US in 15 days or less?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2006, 03:24:22 am »
Food/water are probably the heaviest things that you will cary on a trip like that. When I did the Southern route there were times when I needed 3 2 liter bladers to get from one water stop to the next.