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  1. #26
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    I think it can be done. Not fast, not painlessly, but done. I had and missed my chance to do this when I was 19, and 30 years later I still wish I had done it. I hope you do it, and that I get to read about it.
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  2. #27
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    I think it can be done. Not fast, not painlessly, but done. I had and missed my chance to do this when I was 19, and 30 years later I still wish I had done it. I hope you do it, and that I get to read about it.
    I'd rather you do it and SFGary read about it, Peter C.

  3. #28
    Member Perigee's Avatar
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    I did a long tour back in '79. I was only 28 at the time and did an 8500 mile, 6 month tour. Doing the ride solo was no problem for me but I have met touring riders that could ride all day solo with no problems and then were depressingly lonely camping by themselves. I think a practice overnighter is a good suggestion. My weight didn't change much during the ride and since I started out in Miami I was able to increase my strength by the time I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the worst parts of my ride was the Black Flies in eastern Canada in the early summer. The toughest climb of my trip was visiting my cousin in NYC, it was a fifth floor walk-up and my bike weighed 100 lbs loaded.

    Now I'm an over 60's Clyde and just started riding again last year with hopes of being able to do some of it again.

  4. #29
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    Hi Rona

    Very valuable information, thank you. I'll test out the 50 mile ride in a couple or three weeks with a full load, rest up for the night and ride back. If I do a north of the Golden Gate bridge trip I can go up to the wine country in Sonoma or Napa, two birds with one stone

    Gary

  5. #30
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    BTW, another book worth reading is the novel The Memory of Running. There's more than a whiff of Winston Groome's Forrest Gump in the protagonist, a middle aged fat guy who starts riding his bike across the US while drunk and keeps at it when sober. Life isn't a bicycle, or a box of chocolates, but you can't help but like a world in which a man can say of his old Raleigh "It was the best bike ever" and mean it.
    Thanks, Neil - I just ordered this one from the library, too. I'm really trying to get pumped up by April. Though, I have to say, I'm pretty pumped up now. And, if things keep on the way they're going now, I'll be 20 lbs lighter by then. That's more than twice as much as my folding Wald baskets...
    L'asino di Buridano...

  6. #31
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    Hi Pat

    Thanks for your suggestions. 35 pounds lost sounds good to me. When you did your training before the ride, how did you know you were fit enough to take it on? Did you, like others have suggested do a lot of weekend and multi-day rides or did you follow a plan for "X" number of days? One other person in the ACA forum said the rolling hills of Missouri/VA are tough, can you give more details? I will check out your blog, thanks.

    Gary

  7. #32
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFGary View Post
    Homeyba, you are my new Guru !! Just looking at some of the RAAM race reporting/writing make me tired and you were over 50 when you did it, wow! Your post has given me new hope after that 19 year old's blog that Neil_B sent scared the heck out of me. I will ask you for pointers when I get more set and focused if you can indulge me. The main thing I am doing now is try to follow as much of Joe Friel's "Cycling past 50" and Edmund Burke/ Ed Pavelka's Long Distance Cycling training books. I am fairly strong for my age since I do some strength training but I am trying to get my "cycling legs" as quickly as possible. My feeling is that if I can get to about 25-30 miles in 2 hours w/o any load by the end of February I would be able to do it.

    Glad to know that the wind is more likely to favor the West to East riding, the minimal wind on the Great Highway here in SF slows me down a lot. If you have done any riding in the Central Valley, CA/AZ it would be good to know if I can get from SF to Socal (via the Central valley) to Phoenix - rejoin the ACA Trans AM route at Pueblo? I am sure there's a route I just need to get details and make sure there are towns every 50 - 60 miles or so. Thanks again.

    Gary
    Feel free to PM me when/if you have questions. I haven't read Joe Friel's book but I rode with him once. Both those books should be very useful. As far as getting to 25-30miles in 2hrs, where are you now, how much are you training and what kind of route are you using? I'd start by making sure you have a specific course laid out that you can measure your effort on. Using the same route makes gauging your performance easier. If you really want to get fancy you can have one course for climbing and a flat one.

    Where are you thinking of heading east into the desert? Up through Tehachapi or all the way down through San Diego? I live not too far from Paso Robles and have ridden a lot in the valley. The advantage of going that way is the wind "usually" blows south. The disadvantage is that it's flat and very boring! If I were you, I'd head down Hwy 1. It's an established touring route and the scenery is unbeatable. It is hillier though so it'll help you get your touring legs right off the bat. Near Santa Maria you can cut east on hwy 166 which can take you over towards Bakersfield then up to Mojave or you can head down the coast to LA or San Diego. I think it's going to be tough finding towns 50 miles apart on this side of Phoenix. There is a whole lot of nothing out there. When I did it we went east from San Diego through Borrego Springs, SE to Brawley , NE to Blythe, Prescott and Flagstaff. That might still be too cold for you in early March.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  8. #33
    I am the Snail~! Peter_C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    I'd rather you do it and SFGary read about it, Peter C.
    Honestly, I think I missed my chance. My health is no longer good enough to safely try a coast-to-coast, and I have a wife that would frown if I were gone that long.

    But, I do have goals~! They are certainly not as grand as a multi-month tour over thousands of miles, but for a guy that couldn't walk 100 yards 2.5yrs ago, I think they will be reasonable. Anyhow, I hear you, and thank you, but this is SFGary's thread, and I for one hope to see it happen
    Peter_C
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  9. #34
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    Honestly, I think I missed my chance. My health is no longer good enough to safely try a coast-to-coast, and I have a wife that would frown if I were gone that long.

    But, I do have goals~! They are certainly not as grand as a multi-month tour over thousands of miles, but for a guy that couldn't walk 100 yards 2.5yrs ago, I think they will be reasonable. Anyhow, I hear you, and thank you, but this is SFGary's thread, and I for one hope to see it happen
    I want SFGary to ride as well. But, as you know, I'm going to prod you to raise your expectations, Peter. Don't ever set "reasonable" goals. Goals should never be reasonable. You don't achieve that way. To borrow a phrase from writer Donald Miller, if your life was a movie, would you want to watch it? Do you want to see a movie about a man who spent his entire life saving for a Volvo?

    I recall a man who was super-obese, an ex-smoker, and who had a knee replacement. That guy drove 500 miles to do a 40 mile ride, and he did that 40 mile ride despite telling himself he couldn't. Be like that guy, Peter C. :-)

  10. #35
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    This thread has put me in the planning stages of a long tour. I'll be finishing my Ph.D. in early summer and won't really have anywhere to be until the end of August. My fiancÚ would also like a vacation so we're planning on going from Vancouver to San Diego along the Pacific Coast route from the Adventure Cycling Association. She's not real into bikes, so she'll be driving/doing her own thing during the day and then we'll be staying together at night. I'm really excited!

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFGary View Post
    Hi TrojanHorse

    Thanks for the suggestion, I'll track down Homeyba for some advice. The trip is all by my lonesome. A few people have managed the 50-60 miles a day and moteling it. In my case, because of the winter conditions, I might gown down to Southern California via the Central Valley, lots of towns, then cross over to Phoenix and then manage it somehow to Pueblo, CO. I have maps from ACA from Pueblo to Yorktown but I can easily hack a trip from some town in VA and do my own thing to DC. I need some insight from people who have done these routes.

    If all all fails, I'll do the Western Express but Amtrak/rent a pickup truck/hitch a ride over snowed in areas. Gary
    In 2 months? The TA from Pueblo to Yorktown is nearly 2,200 miles. Let's say 2,000 to D.C. At an average of 50 miles/day, that's 40 days of riding. Using Google bike directions as a rough guide, Phoenix to Pueblo is between 717 and 769 miles depending on the route. Let's use the higher number because that route goes through more developed areas. Another 15 days of riding. We are now up to 55 days with no rest/off days built in. SF to Phoenix is how far?

    Re: Amtrak: Aside from coast trains that have roll on bike service, you can only ship a bike between stations with checked baggage service, and the origin station will need to have a bike box for you.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFGary View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions. 35 pounds lost sounds good to me. When you did your training before the ride, how did you know you were fit enough to take it on? Did you, like others have suggested do a lot of weekend and multi-day rides or did you follow a plan for "X" number of days? One other person in the ACA forum said the rolling hills of Missouri/VA are tough, can you give more details? I will check out your blog, thanks.
    Know? Heck, I didn't KNOW I could do it until we topped Rainy Pass, and had 60 miles of downhill and a bit of flat riding to go! There was an undercurrent of worry until somewhere in southern Montana that we'd run out of time and have to rent a car or something to get back to civilization.

    I did it all wrong. I got to the point I could routinely do a 50-mile ride every Saturday if the weather wasn't too bad or I didn't have something else to take precedence. Rode some centuries, and struggled with the mountain ones (3-states, 3-mountains, for instance). Loaded the bike for the first time in Yorktown. Sent stuff home (but never enough stuff) all the way across the country. Had to walk more than once in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, and even once in Kansas.

    But I did it.

    Odds are you can too. If you want it bad enough. And if you don't psych yourself out.

  13. #38
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You can go thru Luxembourg rather quickly, even the long way..

  14. #39
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    Know? Heck, I didn't KNOW I could do it until we topped Rainy Pass, and had 60 miles of downhill and a bit of flat riding to go! There was an undercurrent of worry until somewhere in southern Montana that we'd run out of time and have to rent a car or something to get back to civilization.

    I did it all wrong. I got to the point I could routinely do a 50-mile ride every Saturday if the weather wasn't too bad or I didn't have something else to take precedence. Rode some centuries, and struggled with the mountain ones (3-states, 3-mountains, for instance). Loaded the bike for the first time in Yorktown. Sent stuff home (but never enough stuff) all the way across the country. Had to walk more than once in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, and even once in Kansas.

    But I did it.

    Odds are you can too. If you want it bad enough. And if you don't psych yourself out.
    +1.

  15. #40
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    Hi Indyfabz

    A sobering post and I may not be able to do 50 miles/day in heavy rain, snow, headwind (these much younger guys couldn't handle it in Nevada: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=264058&v=47) or a major bike breakdown. When you say you rode the TransAM during Summer, which part of summer?

    The question I asked on the ACA forum was whether I could go from SF - DC without climbing major mountains, avoiding the desert and not camping. Turns out its impossible so now I am only holding on to "no camping" and this seems doable. Others here have said that I would get stronger as the days go by and climbing hills, while it may still be hard, is possible.

    The problem with my start time, around April 10th is that the Western Express ACA route may be closed in some parts (Carson Pass, some areas in the Cedar Breaks and a few passes in the Rockies.) So I either have to Amtrak/Bus/Rent a pickup/hitch a ride over these problem areas, and I don't yet know if this is possible or find a new route to Pueblo, CO where I can join the Trans Am route. One ACA commenter said that because of the time of my start the desert riding in the South West may not be too hot and this made me think whether I can go from SF down to Phoenix via the Central Valley/Southern CA and then on to Pueblo. If I can do this route, that is if there is one, then I can bike it all the way.

    Unfortunately I am not in the best physical condition but I still have a couple of months to get fitter than I am today. I told myself that if I can do 25-30 miles in about 2 hours by the end of Feb. then I would attempt the trip. Boiling tar on the road, skeeters, cold, rain, winds...maybe I should do a Harley ride instead

  16. #41
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    Hi Roadhog

    Thanks for the links, the more I read the more I get enthused. Except for the problem parts which I sort of glossing over...

  17. #42
    Junior Member Road Hog's Avatar
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    Your'e welcome.

  18. #43
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFGary View Post
    Hi Indyfabz

    A sobering post and I may not be able to do 50 miles/day in heavy rain, snow, headwind (these much younger guys couldn't handle it in Nevada: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=264058&v=47) or a major bike breakdown. When you say you rode the TransAM during Summer, which part of summer?

    The question I asked on the ACA forum was whether I could go from SF - DC without climbing major mountains, avoiding the desert and not camping. Turns out its impossible so now I am only holding on to "no camping" and this seems doable. Others here have said that I would get stronger as the days go by and climbing hills, while it may still be hard, is possible.

    The problem with my start time, around April 10th is that the Western Express ACA route may be closed in some parts (Carson Pass, some areas in the Cedar Breaks and a few passes in the Rockies.) So I either have to Amtrak/Bus/Rent a pickup/hitch a ride over these problem areas, and I don't yet know if this is possible or find a new route to Pueblo, CO where I can join the Trans Am route. One ACA commenter said that because of the time of my start the desert riding in the South West may not be too hot and this made me think whether I can go from SF down to Phoenix via the Central Valley/Southern CA and then on to Pueblo. If I can do this route, that is if there is one, then I can bike it all the way.

    Unfortunately I am not in the best physical condition but I still have a couple of months to get fitter than I am today. I told myself that if I can do 25-30 miles in about 2 hours by the end of Feb. then I would attempt the trip. Boiling tar on the road, skeeters, cold, rain, winds...maybe I should do a Harley ride instead
    Forgive me if you've already mentioned this, but if your plan is to ride SF to DC and then (I presume) fly (or take other mode of transportation) back home, why not fly out to DC in April and ride back home? That would alleviate a few of your weather concerns.
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    An amusing journal of a fat, middle aged guy riding through Delaware and Maryland in 2009:
    Neil_B, you are an inspiration to us all and some great pix. How was it riding with a trailer? Since I don't plan to camp I thought I could avoid it.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    One reason I recommend the David Lamb book is that the author was completely untrained. For goodness sakes, he smoked during the ride! He didn't do a short overnight as practice, he didn't train, he didn't carry rain gear.... and it didn't matter.

    I think it would be great to be 'in shape' for a long tour. But its an endurance contest, not a race. Don't get caught up in being able to ride 15 MPH by February. If you can ride your first day's mileage two days in a row and still want to get on the bike for the third, you are as ready as you need to be.
    While I don't smoke, I am partial to good wine I guess the mileage number I threw out came from the training books I am reading and a fear of my body giving out somewhere along the way. I'll test your two days in a row model this week and get back to you.

    Gary

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    I think it can be done. Not fast, not painlessly, but done. I had and missed my chance to do this when I was 19, and 30 years later I still wish I had done it. I hope you do it, and that I get to read about it.
    Peter_C, My motivation level is high and unless something radical happens to change my plan I am doing it. I can take some level of pain based on previous sports injuries, I have a problematic left hip (rowing injury from my 30s) and a baddish left knee (motorcycle fall from my 20s) so I am doing strength training to make the muscles around them stronger. I'll also stock up on a lot of Aspirin and Ibuprofen, they have never failed me so far.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perigee View Post
    I did a long tour back in '79. I was only 28 at the time and did an 8500 mile, 6 month tour.,<cut> I think a practice overnighter is a good suggestion. My weight didn't change much during the ride and since I started out in Miami I was able to increase my strength by the time I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. <cut> The toughest climb of my trip was visiting my cousin in NYC, it was a fifth floor walk-up and my bike weighed 100 lbs loaded.

    Now I'm an over 60's Clyde and just started riding again last year with hopes of being able to do some of it again.
    Hi Perigee, I hope you do more trips. How you managed to ride 8500 miles and not lose weight is amazing! I do plan on doing a few practice rides when I buy my touring bike, I don't know if I want to do 50 miles on a hybrid. Do you remember any of your ride on the Blue Ridge Pkway? It is part of my trip and I am curious how it is riding in the Appalachians. A lot of people are cautioning me that it would be tough. I am hopeful the cross country ride till I hit the Appalachians would get me prepared.

    Gary

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
    <cut> Anyhow, I hear you, and thank you, but this is SFGary's thread, and I for one hope to see it happen
    Peter_C, Comment on whatever you feel like. I am trying to gather any and all info relevant to touring.

    Gary

  24. #49
    Member Perigee's Avatar
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    Gary, when I started my trip I weighed 190 lbs at 6'-4" and when I finished I was at the same although my weight probably fluctuated during the ride. I ate everything that didn't move out of my way. I don't remember the BRP climbs being all that difficult. A tougher climb was the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia with winds so strong that I had to pedal down some steep mountains.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    In 2 months? The TA from Pueblo to Yorktown is nearly 2,200 miles. Let's say 2,000 to D.C. At an average of 50 miles/day, that's 40 days of riding. Using Google bike directions as a rough guide, Phoenix to Pueblo is between 717 and 769 miles depending on the route. Let's use the higher number because that route goes through more developed areas. Another 15 days of riding. We are now up to 55 days with no rest/off days built in. SF to Phoenix is how far?

    Re: Amtrak: Aside from coast trains that have roll on bike service, you can only ship a bike between stations with checked baggage service, and the origin station will need to have a bike box for you.
    Hi indyfabz

    You have raised a couple of hard problems. I had calculated 3086 miles based on the Google bike map before I got the ACA maps which is how I got the approximately 50 miles a day plan. So even with 1 day rest/week it may have been 68 days.

    What I have as of today:

    SF - Phoenix = 755 mi + Phoenix - Pueblo, CO = 753 ( rough estimate - not a bike approved route). Total: 1508 miles
    ( ACA Western Express route: SF - Pueblo: 1589 miles)

    Pueblo, CO to Christianburg, VA (ACA route) - 1816 miles
    Christianburg, VA to Washington, DC via Charlottesville, VA (Google maps)- 265 miles

    Total Pueblo to Washington, DC: 2081 miles
    Grand Total: 3589 miles

    If I need to complete it in 60 days then I have to ride 60 miles a day. If I add 10 extra days for rest/breakdowns etc then I get 70 days. Can I do it? having never attempted any endurance event except on a rowing shell I don't know the answer. Maybe someone can comment.

    If I do the Western Express and now I am thinking, "Probably not!" I still have to figure out a way of getting over the problem areas by other means of transport.

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