Author Topic: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?  (Read 6386 times)

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Offline sanuk

Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« on: May 29, 2010, 09:32:21 am »
For the return part of my West Coast trip I'm thinking of perhaps trying the Sierra Cascades route.  Sounds interesting and perhaps I could link up with it north of SF. and take it back up north of Seattle.  Better than riding some highway, but depends how hilly it is.  Gotta be some big ones up there and after doing the coast I might be tired.   I'm also not so young anymore.  Anyone done that route yet? What are the gradients like?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 11:29:23 am »
For the return part of my West Coast trip I'm thinking of perhaps trying the Sierra Cascades route.  Sounds interesting and perhaps I could link up with it north of SF. and take it back up north of Seattle.  Better than riding some highway, but depends how hilly it is.  Gotta be some big ones up there and after doing the coast I might be tired.   I'm also not so young anymore.  Anyone done that route yet? What are the gradients like?
I will know in 6 weeks or so since we start it this Friday.

Looking at the maps it looks pretty tough, especially for the part south of the Yosemite area.  It looks tough enough that I am nervous about starting in the south with my pitiful amount of mileage for the year.

That said you should be fairly road hardened by the time you get there and heading over from Sand Francisco you will miss the southern part which is probably the hardest part.

You could use the Western Express to connect to the Sierra Cascades.

Offline sanuk

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2010, 04:16:50 am »
Sorry to sound so ignorant, but as a non US resident with no maps until I get there I'm guessing the 'Western Express' must be a highway.  If so, I'd be interested to know where it starts and at which point it connects with the SC trail.  Thanks for the info anyway. 

FredHiltz

  • Guest
Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2010, 08:11:02 am »
It is one of the Adventure Cycling bike routes. You can see its general course at http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/network.cfm, heading east from San Francisco. Hover your mouse pointer over the blue line to see its name.

Fred

Offline tsteven4

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2010, 09:08:51 am »
You can see all the adventure cycling routes on my web site at
http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/

The western express is a beautiful route but deserves significant respect due to remoteness and temperatures.

Offline sanuk

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2010, 12:19:35 am »
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm getting a picture.  If I have the strength left for a part of it - maybe cutting inland from SF, maybe a bit further north -  it'd make a great return loop after coming down on the coast.  But I'll still need some maps and I'm not sure what'll be available when I get to Seattle.  I'm not going to order in advance as anyway these ACA maps are expensive and I'd need several!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2010, 08:16:43 am »
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm getting a picture.  If I have the strength left for a part of it - maybe cutting inland from SF, maybe a bit further north -  it'd make a great return loop after coming down on the coast.  But I'll still need some maps and I'm not sure what'll be available when I get to Seattle.  I'm not going to order in advance as anyway these ACA maps are expensive and I'd need several!
I bet Adventure Cycling would be willing to ship them to you on the route via general delivery if you called them.  You could buy them one at a time if unsure how far you were going to go with them.

Offline cgarch

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2010, 01:13:16 pm »
Here's two suggestions for you. The first is indeed the connection to the Western Express route. This would take you east from SF (includes ferry trip $$) through Sacramento and over to CA 88 to Carson Pass, shortly after which you would turn north on CA 89 on the SC route. This route north would take you around the west side of Lake Tahoe. This route involves a fair bit of climbing, which by the time you reach SF you should be used to.

A second suggestion is, in Ft. Bragg consider take CA 20 east. Ft. Bragg -> Willits -> Ukiah -> Clear Lake -> Williams. Once in the valley you could take CA 45 north, connect to CA 162 to continue east and thence to CA 70. You could then take advantage of the easy grades and the spectacular scenery in the Feather River Canyon, rejoining the Sierra Cascades route at CA 89 north of Quincy to continue north to Greenville and Lake Almanor and beyond.

You better not be worried about climbing. All of CA coast is steeper than most coastal routes in WA or OR. Those states have generally consistent grades around 6% max.. Once in CA you will see that number go up. The CA coast will beat your legs up with its constant up and downs. Once you turn inland you again will see many long climbs as well.

I'm not sure I understand the complaint about the cost of the ACA maps. You certainly could do your own research and perhaps get by without the maps. Seems to me that when you look at the complete cost of the trip, the maps are an incidental cost and cheaper than being lost.

Craig
Santa Rosa, CA


Offline sanuk

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2010, 04:30:28 am »
Thanks again.  Good suggestions.  I already had a look on Google at the route via Fort Bragg.  Could be an alternative, or failing that, and if I really cannot cope with Californian hills there seems to be a route via Eugene Oregon that links with the northern part of the Sierra Cascades.  Yes, I do worry about hills.  I'm not a masochist by nature and I hear Lance Armstrong himself trains on the Californian coastal hills, so I might be outclassed.  But I've done some pretty big hills here in northern Laos - up around 1,800 meters - and survived.  This time I intend to switch to cleats with a different pedal, although that won't help increase my muscles.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2010, 09:30:34 pm by sanuk »

Offline JHamelman

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2010, 08:59:14 am »
Hi,

As for the ACA maps, each of the routes I'm contemplating has about five different maps and each map costs $60 according to what I saw on the website.

The cost you've quoted above is for an entire route, in this case -- Sierra Cascades -- meaning 5 map sections. Each map section costs $11.75 for members and $14.75 for non-members when purchased individually. Each map section covers from 300-500 miles and includes information like services and points of interest. You can see more details of where sections begin and end by choosing those specific sections in the online store or downloading the pdf from below.

http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/RouteNetwork.pdf

I hope this helps.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer Hamelman

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline sanuk

Re: Sierra Cascades - how tough a route?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 09:21:12 pm »
That helps a lot.  My mistake.