Crossing the Rocky Mtns

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Offline dreitman

Southern tier
« on: November 25, 2011, 09:12:36 am »
Would thevSouthern Tier be the least challenging cross country route across the Rocky Mtn?  Would Trans America or Nothern Tier be any easier?  When is best time of year to start in San Diego?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Southern tier
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 12:26:46 pm »
There are hills everywhere. The Rockies are not usually the biggest challenge on a cross-country trip.

March and September are good months to start the ST from SD. This avoids the heat of summer and the snows and short days of winter.

Offline dreitman

Re: Southern tier
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 01:44:53 pm »
John- what would be the biggest challenge?  I have biked from Key West to Ny, but it was mostly flat.  Have done some hills in New England, but concerned with long steep inclines in the Rockies.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Southern tier
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 01:58:32 pm »
Depending on what direction you are headed, I would think you could handle the NT if going west bound.  There are a few noteworthy hills in New England then relatively flat until Glacier National Park in Montana.  From there, you get the typical western Rocky topography, i.e. long ups and downs.  If going westbound, you should be in pretty strong shape by then but you will have battled some headwinds during the trek.  I did this east bound and only thought western OR and Glacier were the more difficult areas.  Perhaps you could do a "warm up" tour on the San Juan Islands before heading east???

The TransAm is a great route (my favorite ACA route).  However, this route has more sections of noteworthy hills.  I personally think the Ozarks are harder than the Rockies since the hills tend to go over versus around the hills.  The Rockies are overall pretty steady slopes whether going up or down.  Then eastern KY/Western Va is at times a bit of a struggle.  The Rockies in Colorado really aren't that much trouble but the altitude might slow you down.

I have not done the Southern Tier (I plan on doing 1/3 this spring).  The entire eastern half (Austin, TX east) is flat.

I would suggest you look at several journals over on CrazyGuy to see what you think.  I would also suggest that if you did the Atlantic Coast route without difficulty, you would most likely be fine on any of the route IF you were in shape prior to starting.

No matter which route you choose, hope you have a great trip!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Southern tier
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 02:07:17 pm »
The hills in the Rockies are typically long, but not so steep (no worse than 6% in most places).

The hills in the Appalachians and Ozarks are typically shorter and (significantly) steeper.

The winds of Wyoming if westbound often feel like a never-ending steep hill.

One big hill or 30 short hills can both make for good exercise. Pick your poison.

Major highways almost always have gentler hills than back-country roads. If avoiding hills is high on your list, then I'd suggest that ACA routes are probably not for you. ACA routes are perfectly willing to accept hills and distance in exchange for traffic. Personally, I'd rather have hills than traffic, but everyone is different.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Southern tier
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 08:11:21 am »
Hi I would give more consideration to wind direction than worrying about hills.  There is no shame in walking if they get too hard.  Just plan and research where they are and allow extra time - get off and look around, generally the views are spectacular in mountainous regions.  Then what an achievement when you've done them plus a nice ride down.

I don't remember any on ST in the Rockies/Sierra Nevada that where all that hard.

If you want tough hills try Devon & Cornwall in UK short but steep with no time to recover before the next one.

But in the end I still,for me, think head winds are the hardest part about touring.  On hard days I remember Lance who said something like "pain is temporary giving up is forever" always inspires me when I start whinging to myself  ;)
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com