Author Topic: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?  (Read 2845 times)

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Offline planeguy5

Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« on: October 03, 2016, 07:54:57 am »
Hey folks,

As luck would have it, I will be moving from San Diego to the PNW next summer. What better way to get there than by bike? I´m strongly considering the Sierra Cascades route for many reasons, but have one lingering doubt. The earliest I could possible start is mid-June. Being from San Diego, I know that the southern portion of the trail (map 5), especially through Anza Borrego and Palmdale, could be brutally hot at that time. What would you consider the latest possible date I should start the Sierra Cascades route? Or should I find a different option? Ideally I´d like to go border-to-border.

Offline Bclayden

Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2016, 08:09:41 pm »
You don't say how many miles/hours you expect to be riding each day but June is a good time to get a very early start..begins to get light at 5am..and after 6-7 hours in the saddle it is only noon and your done!  Viola!  I used this technique crossing Nevada in June a couple of year ago and covered 100 miles each day but finished by early afternoon.  Hot?  Yes...but only for the last couple of hours.

Also, the early start can help to avoid the daily afternoon gusty desert winds and possible T-storms.

« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 08:12:30 pm by Bclayden »

Offline planeguy5

Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2016, 09:36:51 pm »
Thanks Bcladen for your reply. I didn´t say how many miles or hours I expect to me riding every day, largely because I´ve only just started to think about the trip. When I did the TransAm last year, I averaged ~70 miles/day (not counting rest days); even on the longer days in the saddle (100-135 miles), I still felt pretty good at the end of every day. Early starts were crucial, especially in the Midwest and Appalachians.

Ideally on this trip, I´d have a lighter setup, courtesy of actually knowing what I´m doing this time around. At the beginning of my TransAm trip, that most definitely wasn´t the case.

Offline zzzz

Re: Latest possible date to start northbound Sierra Cascades?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 11:19:21 pm »
I will start by saying I loved this ride and if you do it you are in for a treat.

I started from the north in Sumas on 9/1/14 and finished my ride in LA on 9/28 some 300 miles short of Mexico. I think since you're starting from the south and you're asking about the latest you can go I would count backward from a 9/30 finish date at the canadian border as you do hear of the higher passes up north getting snow in the middle of October. I think it's going to be pretty hot at the start whenever you leave if it's anytime in the summer so Bclaydens strategy of leaving early in the am and wrapping early is the way to deal with that.

A few things to consider;

1) Are you going to want to stop along the way? Most obviously, you're going thru Yosemite and Kings Canyon, will you want to take some time off to hike around?

2) Realize that the later you leave the more into fire season you will be. I had extraordinary luck just missing several fires on my trip but they were all around me. Except for huffing some smoke from the "King" fire that was burning in Sacramento at the time I had no trouble, but if things were a little different it would have really affected my trip.

3) Lots of tough days so I'd base your milage expectations on what you were doing on your TransAm trip when you were in eastern Kentucky and that first 50-75 mile into Va. The hills are steeper in Appalachia but not much, and they're pretty relentless and longer on this whole route and it does wear you down.

4) Get the addenda right before you leave and always carry enough water and food that if the next rural store you were counting on is no longer open you are not screwed.. There was at least 2 stores on the map in California that I was expecting to be open that were closed and there was large stretches of the route that did not look like it was doing well economically.

That's what I got for you,


Offline CDThomas

Sierra Cascades NOBO, starting ~May 15, 2023
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2023, 10:14:36 am »
Hey Friends,
I'd appreciate your thoughts on a mid-May start date from San Diego, so around May 15-19.  I have been tracking the temps, weather and snowpack/melt along the route. The latter two present some challenges that are a bit different than a typical year.  I am particularly interested in whether you know or surmise:

1. that the snowpack will make camping difficult for someone (me) who prefers to pitch a tent on bare ground.
2. that Yosemite, Kings Canyon and other marquis parks along the route will have limited access. 

I understand that this route is pretty challenging so I'm not setting any mileage goals.  Rather, I plan to listen to my body and carry enough food/water to stop when it tells me to stop. 

Thanks for any insight you might have.

Chris Thomas