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Messages - John Nettles

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1
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: May 11, 2021, 11:36:03 am »
Dan,
Are you just wanting to cross the country or what is your motivation?  As I said earlier, your 100+ miles per day is doable, but I would like to know what your motivation is.

Tailwinds, John

2
General Discussion / Re: Northern Tier 100+ miles a day
« on: May 10, 2021, 03:04:47 pm »
I personally would hate a ride like that.  I can't even call it a tour as you would have hardly anytime to stop and see stuff.

That said, it is doable.  On one of my tours, I met a guy in Grand Rapids as I was heading to Canada from Mexico.  He was on his return portion from riding from Seattle (or Portland) to Portland, ME, and then back to Seattle.  He was not having very much fun he said.  His overall average miles per day at that point was 126 miles per day which included a few rest days.  He looked to be in his early 30s and very strong, but very bored and disappointed.  He had very few "tales" from the road as he said he basically got up at sunrise and road until dinner time.  He was basically riding to try to forget a bad relationship breakup. 

I suggested he slow down and actually start to experience the areas he was riding past but he didn't seem to want to or get why it might change the flavor of the ride. 

Another story.  Back in '82, I did the TransAm.  I had an overall average of 57 miles per day.  In '86, I did a 3/4 perimeter tour of the USA (San Diego to Vancouver to Porland, ME, to Key West, and had an overall average of 68 miles per day.  I was in my early 20s, was quite strong (I did 32 centuries on that tour IIRC).  The tour was nice but I began to resent the extra hour of riding I had to do each day as I started late into the year and had to beat the winter coming down the east coast. Since then I really try not to have a tour exceed 55 miles per day overall (including rest/sight seeing days).  Fifty miles is even better.  I have enjoyed the vast majority of my tours since.

My point is, it is doable but be damn sure you WANT to do 100+ miles per day on average for the correct reason.  Are you doing this "tour" to ride or to tour?  If ride, then I guess the high miles are fine.  If you want to tour/experience the areas, then the high miles might not be the best way to do it unless you can average 17mph each day, day after day.

Just my 2 cents after 45 years of loaded touring.

Tailwinds, John

3
John - would you happen to know if there is a full gps set of this track (Eastern TransAm Express) somewehere? I have not bene able to find it yet.


I am unaware of a single set of data.  That said, he put the entire route, by map segments, on RidewithGPS so you could download from RWGPS each set and piece together or just use the many sets as written. 

Tailwinds, John

4
Did you call them???  If so, I am amazed.  If not, try doing so.

5
Dave,

I can somewhat relate.  I am a liver transplant recipient and was exhausted the first couple of years due to some post transplantation complications. 

That said, if your body is actually able to do it, i.e. no dialysis, then it is possible.  You just have to plan.  My first major post-transplant trip was 2 yeas afterwards from Tulsa (my home town) to Winnipeg.  Mostly tailwinds, relatively flat, and the bus transportation back to Tulsa was fairly well spaced out.  I had to carry a ton of meds due (29 pills a day, plus a really good water filter).  Took up about 1/3 a front pannier.  I buried the pills inside the sleeping bag so they would not melt in August.

To prepare for the trip, I rode for about a month before the start doing 30 mile days.  About 15 of those days I had loaded "gear" (water jugs) that equaled the weight of the gear I planned on taking.  I just put extra jugs in the panniers as the weight increased to my 25# estimate.  I started out easy and built up.  When I started on tour, I again started out easy (30 mile first day) and increased by 5-10 miles per day until I was doing about 55 in a week.  The tailwinds really helped as I now HATE headwinds since no longer have the torque I used to have.  One thing I noticed immediately post transplant and is still somewhat in place today is that I have very little "reserve", i.e., once my energy is gone, it takes at least overnight to recover so I careful not to go into the "red zone" too much when before it was just a long lunch break.  I used to climb hills with the best of them but now a centipede is faster than me. I takes lots of breaks, especially above 6k feet altitude. Above 10k, it is comical how slow I am.

I don't know much about kidney transplants and their idiosyncrasies but will start to learn as the drugs I take now are very hard on the kidneys.  If the electrolyte issue is non-medicine related, I would suggest you eat potato chips or something salty at every break.  Really helped me out as I was washing the electrolytes out due to drinking a lot of water which I needed for the all the drugs I was taking to ease the stress on the kidneys.

As suggested, if you do start in Colorado and head east, consider the Katy Trail and maybe continue into Illinois and Indiana instead of Kentucky.  Then the tough hills won't start until Kentucky/Virginia except for a few possible detours on the Katy due to washed out sections.  For a flat route, consider reversing the Eastern TransAm Express, a non-ACA route that is mostly well done.  It uses a lot of rail trails like the Katy, the GAP, C&O, etc. to Washington.  From there use the Potomoc Tidelands route to get to the coast or just take a train back to Colorado.  Download the maps this year as the website is stopping at the end of 2021.

Get started early in the day and/or season so the heat doesn't sap your strength.

Regardless, your body will adjust, if the ride doesn't kill you  ;) .

Tailwinds, John

6
General Discussion / Re: Camping or not? Is the weight worth it?
« on: May 06, 2021, 01:11:46 pm »
It all depends on what you want and are able to do physically, the route, and what you can afford personally. 

Most people can not afford to hotel it every night that a WarmShowers is not available or they are not able to do the required distance. Sometimes, even if you could afford a hotel every night, there just are not any available.

I am fortunate enough to be able to get a hotel when I want one.  Some of my tours are strictly hotel only.  Others are camping only.  Most are a mix.  For me personally, it usually boils down to route.  For me, the camping gear offers a lot of flexibility for only about 6-8 additional pounds or less (assuming you have good, lightweight gear) for the tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad.

That said, you said you are obsessing about 20#.  My wife of 31 years pointed out that I could lose 20# of body fat (she put it nicer) and I would be healthier and it would not cost anything.  At first I blew that off until one day I lugged a 12# watermelon and am extra gallon of water (8#) to camp.  I was amazed how difficult it was with the 20 extra pounds.  That experience made me want to lose the weight.  However, it was the onset of diabetes that really kicked me into high gear and I have lost 25# to date.  I climb better, feel better, etc. 

As a friend says, brings what makes you smile.  In other words, if the extra work required to bring the stuff that makes you smile starts to take away the smile, re-evaluate what you bring.  Otherwise, don't obsess.

Tailwinds, John

7
Gear Talk / Re: handlebar bags for carbon handlebars
« on: May 06, 2021, 09:15:28 am »
Learn something new every day!  Thanks, John

8
Gear Talk / Re: handlebar bags for carbon handlebars
« on: May 06, 2021, 09:03:53 am »
I am not an expert on carbon bars but I have heard that any type of clamping can potentially fatally crack a bar.  Since most handlebar bags have a clamping system of some sort, I would personally not use a handlebar bag on a carbon fiber bar.

Hopefully, my info is out of date.

Tailwinds, John

9
General Discussion / Re: Lyme Disease Tick Spray Inquiry....
« on: May 06, 2021, 07:55:16 am »
I heard something the other day that made me hate ticks even more. 

In the USA, a small percentage of people who get bit by a Lone Star (ranges from South Central US to SE US) tick develop what is called "Alpha-gal syndrome".  This basically makes the human allergic to meat from mammals (beef, pork, lamb, etc.).  Bites from other types of ticks can lead to the condition in Europe, Australia and Asia. As a confirmed meat eater (sorry vegetarians), that would just suck.  At first I thought this was BS but sure enough, the Mayo Clinic has a blurb on it.

10
Maggie,
Based on your responses, I would suggest you buy a used higher end bike, i.e. a Co-Motion, LiteSpeed, or other touring model.  My guess is you have might be able to afford a decent bike based on credit card touring for up to 3 weeks (not super cheap) and you have been riding carbon fiber bikes since before the prices started to drop somewhat.  But you may not be sure where to start.  If you want a lighter bike, consider something in titanium, i.e. LiteSpeed or Van Nichols.  Regardless, again, I would suggest a used bike since then you won't spend relatively a lot to determine what works for you because as others said, if you like the feel of a road bike, then a steel road bike with mounts for a rack would work.  Racks for a carbon fiber bike is probably not a great idea.

Tailwinds, John



11
My guess is you will have a temp range of 27*-100*F maybe even wider.  That said, once you get west of Pueblo, CO, the temps will be somewhat the same but slowly declining the rest of the trip.  The humidity will definitely increase though.

Have a great trip!  Tailwinds, John

12
I would contact ACA directly and get the official word. 

13
General Discussion / Re: Advice for sharing charity touring info
« on: May 02, 2021, 05:42:32 pm »
Without trying to sound mean, there a thousands of charity rides a year, at least normal years, so you have a lot of competition.  I would probably just hit up TV stations and newspapers and radio shows along the way.

Tailwinds, John

14
As far as planning for lodging, if you are following the ACA maps, I would say just the first day or two only.  The vast majority of campgrounds and hotels are shown on the maps unless if a city has lots of them then only a few may be listed.  Google is your friend when in bigger areas.

Who knows what will happen in 3 months with Covid.  IF you are able to come here and IF you have had your shots, you should be OK.  Certain states may have a higher or lower incidence of current cases but that is hard to forecast right now.  If you have not had your shots, I would definitely take precautions.  Heck, you may be able to get the shots over here.  I know my area is basically taking all, officially or not.  The issue for you is you are not a USA citizen so I don't know if that matters.  However, we are vaccinating the illegals so who knows. My guess is you would be required to have the test done within 72 hours of departure (or maybe landing) for the USA that shows you are Covid-free.  This is regardless if you have been vaccinated or not.  Also, this may change.

As far as wildlife, your greatest chance of being attacked (or at least your food) is by a chipmunk or a racoon. That said, NEVER EAT OR PUT FOOD IN YOUR TENT, especially in bear country.  Most public (government) campgrounds have bear lockers to store your food in.

All that said, leaving early August is a bit late for the TransAm, especially if you take your time.  Definitely plan on colder (and possibly snowy nights or days) in the higher elevations of Wyoming in early September. Check out WeatherSpark.com for detailed climate data.

Also, a lot of private and public campgrounds close after Labor Day weekend in early September.  Water may be shut off once freezing temps occur even if the campground is still open.  Plan accordingly.

Finally, be sure to have traveler's health insurance which I believe fairly easy to obtain in your country.  If for some reason you are hospitalized with Covid, you MAY incur huge ($100s of thousands) hospital bills since you are a non-USA citizen.  You WILL incur large to huge bills if it is for something else.  Healthcare in the USA is not cheap unfortunately.

Hope you have a great trip. Tailwinds, John

15
Routes / Re: Route from Santa Monica to VA
« on: April 26, 2021, 07:09:50 am »
Hello Jodi,

Welcome to the ACA Forums.  If I understand your question correctly, you would like to ride from Santa Monica to Virginia using both BR66 and the TransAm (TA).  While I am not doing that ride this summer, I can almost guarantee someone has.  The reason I say this is that I live in Tulsa and have had several WarmShower guests who have done something very similiar, i.e. started in NYC, dropped down to the TA near Richmond, VA, then dropped to the BR66 in Springfield, MO.

However, you mention Pueblo and the Western Express (WE).  Do you want to connect to the WE from BR66?  If so, approximately where do you want to connect and what do you want to do accomplish, i.e. avoid mountains, go to a specific town, shortest/fastest connector route, etc.?  Also, what time of year? Again, this has been done, i.e. connect to the Grand Canyon Connector (GCC)  in Williams, AZ, then the WE in Cedar City, UT, and then the TA in Pueblo.  However, this is a fairly mountainous route, though scenic.  Others have just broken off the GCC near Tuba City and reconnected to the WE at Blanding, UT, or in Delores, CO, though this is a lot of remote and unpopulated areas so may require stealth camping so plan accordingly. Finally, some have broken off BR66 at Gallup to head north to Delores.  This too is isolated but for only for about 2 days. Also, most of these routes may have closed sections from late Fall to late Spring due to snow.

However, if all you want to do is connect to the TA, I would just ride BR66 to Springfield and connect to the TA there.

Tailwinds, John

P.S. It is best if you post your question only in one place as the answers can get scattered and the post can be hard to follow.

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