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  1. #1
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    Thinking about the southern tier

    Hello,

    We (5 coworkers and I) are considering going coast to coast on the southern tier route. We are hoping to to pack ultra-light and put most of the weight on our credit cards. We would plan on staying in motels every night. Who has done this? Do you have any advice for us?
    btw. We are all men ranging from 19-32 years old and are fairly strong riders. One of the requirment for going along, besides base miles is that each of us has to have at least 2 double centuries under our belt before we leave. We would hope to average around 100 miles a day.
    Thanks in advance for any advice or pointers you may have.

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Umm - when exactly are you planning to do this? It has been pushing 120 degrees in southern Arizona all week. Here's a website that give's you temps and precip for the entire West - very detailed, but very easy to use. http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/climsum.html

  3. #3
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    We do not have a date set. We thought maybe February would be good timing. We are still in the planning stages.

  4. #4
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    You might want to PM a fellow on BF named Will Denhue. He cycled on this trip. http://www.abbike.com/fastsouth.shtml It is a supported tour. I think an important part is to make sure you have heavier wheels (more spokes) than is standard with a regular road bike not geared for touring. Another factor I will whisper is that with all young guys on long mileage days, you will all be competing to keep up with the fastest rider and you will be very sore. An average cyclist without touring weight shouldn't have too much trouble with 100 mile days. Your body should adjust within the first ten days. Mentally, it gets hard to drive yourself for such a long time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sano
    Hello,

    We (5 coworkers and I) are considering going coast to coast on the southern tier route. We are hoping to to pack ultra-light and put most of the weight on our credit cards. We would plan on staying in motels every night. Who has done this? Do you have any advice for us?
    btw. We are all men ranging from 19-32 years old and are fairly strong riders. One of the requirment for going along, besides base miles is that each of us has to have at least 2 double centuries under our belt before we leave. We would hope to average around 100 miles a day.
    Thanks in advance for any advice or pointers you may have.
    Outashape made me aware of your Thread.
    We did the Fast across South tour in May at 100 to 150 miles/day. There were about 30 bikers (four female). There was SAG support and motels and the route was organized by America by Bicycle. (there is another tour operator called "Atlantic Pacific Cycling) We traveled ultra light as you say. The temperatures ranged from freezing to over 100 degrees. The SAG allowed change of clothes every 40 miles if needed.
    Flats were a BIG issue. Some had 20 flats over 3000 miles. Wheels were an issue. There were at least six wheel failures including me. The road surfaces were terrible in places. Again, the SAG rescued us/me with spare wheels.
    I found that my training for this trip was very appropriate. I used a CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer to get in shape over the Chicago winter. A good test is doing 100 miles in six hours riding time on this trainer.
    I am training for the next tour now and got my average trainer speed up to 17.5 MPH as of this weekend. I do ride also on roads and trails but find the trainer a good simulation to going uphill all day in the AZ Mountains.
    Nutrition was a big issue. If you are interested I can share some of that experience.
    BTW, some bikers had to go to a hospital and at least six got quite sick.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone this is good information.
    Will dehne, it sounds like we better think in terms of having a support vehicle.
    I would be interested in hearing about your nutrition experiences. When you say that six got sick, were they mostly from exhaustion?
    I am glad to hear about your training. We are also coming from a northern climate (Wisconsin). We are somewhat concerned about maintaining fitness over the winter till our tour. I am guessing that doing 100 miles on the trainer would also build mental strength.
    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  8. #8
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    Thanks Erick, that is a great link.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sano
    Thanks everyone this is good information.
    Will dehne, it sounds like we better think in terms of having a support vehicle.
    I would be interested in hearing about your nutrition experiences. When you say that six got sick, were they mostly from exhaustion?
    I am glad to hear about your training. We are also coming from a northern climate (Wisconsin). We are somewhat concerned about maintaining fitness over the winter till our tour. I am guessing that doing 100 miles on the trainer would also build mental strength.
    Thanks again!
    Our tour is called "Fast Across America South" at 100 to 150 miles/day.
    I would not try to do that unsupported. We needed all the help we could get.
    Some days were 150 miles in freezing rain, against a strong wind. Some days were brutally hot with Sun Block, Salt and Gatorade crucial for survival.
    (Did you know that there is water poisoning? I did that, it is no fun)
    My successful formula for nutrition was:
    Breakfast with double rations of Oatmeal plus eggs plus any carbohydrates I could get.
    SAG support at 40 miles with Gatorade, Sun-block, Water, Trail-mix, Energy Bars, Bananas.
    SAG support at 80 miles with Lunch, Pasta, Bagels, fresh fruit, Cheese, Cold Cuts, Peanut Butter, Jelly plus same as above.
    SAG support at 120 miles if going 150 miles. Same as first SAG.
    Upon arrival at motel: Recovery drink of 1000 calories Chocolate milkshake.
    One hour sleep.
    Dinner with Steak and potatoes or equivalent.
    I was one of few people who did not get sick and felt better toward the end of the tour.

    The bikers who got sick had Flu like symptoms. Could have been food poisoning, flu or exhaustion. My opinion: Probably all three.
    Some very strong bikers injured their knees. (Pushing to big a gear)
    Some did not tolerate the cold and I am sensitive to overheating.

    Going up to Mingus Mountain or Flagstaff is more difficult than 100 miles on a trainer.
    My trainer routine is 15 minutes at 17 MPH, stand up for three minutes at 18.5 MPH and repeat that for one hour. Rest for five minutes and repeat.

    Of course, this is all assuming that you want to go Fast. Some people take it easy and that is a different tour.

    BTW, I just did the Reedsburg to Elroy to Sparta to Onalaska to Trempelau Rail to Trail in Your State. That is 100 miles one way. (Return the next day)

  10. #10
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    Thanks will dehne,
    That is good information.
    I think I have done the Sparta/Elroy 8 or 10 times, but I haven't been down in the last 5 years or so. I always thought that trail was a great model for towns looking to attract tourist. Thanks again for all your good information.

  11. #11
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    sano:
    This Thread below was written while I was on the tour. Therefore it is free style and may give you guys an honest glimpse what it is like. There is also what bikes were used in there somewhere.
    Yo! Will Dehne...You Forgot a Camera?? !!

    Good luck and have fun.
    Will

  12. #12
    Florida to Oregon in 2007 lighthorse@eart's Avatar
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    I did the southern route solo unsupported without carrying camping gear and it worked out fine. The longest day that I rode was 93 miles and that was my choice, there were shorter options that day. If you do the route west to east as I did you need to leave the third or fourth week of March to get across the desert early but not hit snow in the mountains. I would be happy to share any additional details that would help.
    lighthorse
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