Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Routes => Topic started by: ddukler on September 12, 2010, 07:43:40 pm

 
Title: Route Advice
Post by: ddukler on September 12, 2010, 07:43:40 pm
I am planning a W-E ride starting in April from California/San Francisco area.  I am seeking advice on route planning for the western part.  I was planning to hook-up with the T-A route in Colorado.  It would seem to me that coming through the Sierras at that time of year could be messy and that a more southern start out of California would be preferable.  Any and all advice regarding this topic would be greatly appreciated.

David
Title: Re: Route Advice
Post by: Pat Lamb on September 12, 2010, 10:01:51 pm
You've got a couple of choices with AC maps.  The Western Express shoots east from San Francisco to Canon City, CO, where is meets up with the TransAm.  As some of the Sierra passes don't open until May/June, depending on the year and the snowpack, that might be an issue.  (Or maybe not.)

Alternatively, you could start on the Southern Tier from San Diego, pick up the Grand Canyon connector to the Western Express in Utah, and continue east from there.

You'll have to check for local knowledge about when the Utah and Colorado passes open.

(Sure you don't want go E-W?  Snow's kind of rare in the Virginia and Kentucky mountains after March!)
Title: Re: Route Advice
Post by: John Nelson on September 13, 2010, 02:26:33 pm
Agreed. Unless you have other constraints, go east-to-west. That direction has everything in its favor and nothing against (not even wind).
Title: Re: Route Advice
Post by: staehpj1 on September 13, 2010, 06:30:41 pm
Agreed. Unless you have other constraints, go east-to-west. That direction has everything in its favor and nothing against (not even wind).
Weather can be much better E-W and there is generally a lot in favor of that direction.

Also I agree that prevailing winds are not a good reason to go W-E.  On the route the OP is proposing it is probably a wash.  On the TA I think E-W has an advantage.  On the NT I suspect W-E might have an edge wind wise.  In any case I don't think that wind should be a major factor in choosing direction of travel for a summer XC tour.

That said I can't agree that there is nothing in favor of W-E.  There are quite a few reasons why someone might choose W-E (like we did in 2007).  Here are a few reasons why we did:

There are lots of reasons why someone might choose one way or the other. 

BTW, I personally would much rather start or finish in the PNW than in San Francisco.
Title: Re: Route Advice
Post by: Pat Lamb on September 16, 2010, 12:09:35 pm
That said I can't agree that there is nothing in favor of W-E.  There are quite a few reasons why someone might choose W-E (like we did in 2007).  Here are a few reasons why we did:
  • We wanted the air travel out of the way up front.
  • We think that the Appalachians are the hardest part and wanted to do them when we were a bit road hardened.
  • We thought that starting far from home made bailing out harder.
  • It was awesome that we finished close to home and were greeted by friends and family at the end.

Isn't it interesting how two people can look at the same facts and come to opposite conclusions?  We went E-W because:

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?.
Title: Re: Route Advice
Post by: staehpj1 on September 16, 2010, 02:21:46 pm
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.