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Old 05-03-08, 05:52 PM   #1
quester
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Climbs/Distance on Pacific Coast Tour

I'm thinking of doing the Adventure Cycling pacific coast tour this summer. Their self-contained tour page, however doesn't discuss mileage or climbs, though their other tour pages list mileage.

For those of you have done this route, what is a heavy climbing day? 3k ft? 5k ft? more? Anyone have aggregate climbing totals from Bellingham all the way to San Diego?

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Old 05-03-08, 06:46 PM   #2
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I'm planning on doing part of this tour from Monterey to Imperial Beach. That ends up being about 475 miles or so. From my memory of driving up and down the coast there are some pretty significant climbs but I don't know elevations or distances.

I am very interested in knowing the answers here also.
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Old 05-03-08, 07:09 PM   #3
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Oregon DOT puts out an excellent brochure for the 101 route. Take a look:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEP..._route_map.pdf

California DOT is not so great, but they too have a map.
I'm not sure about Washington DOT. Maybe here: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/bike/

Google Maps also has an add-on that will map out the profile given the route. It's a little fussy sometimes, but the results are nice.

Anyways, you might as well print out the Oregon one, it's tops. Hope this helps.

Regards from beautiful Astoria (hint, hint),
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Old 05-03-08, 11:18 PM   #4
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I've only done the Oregon portion, so my knowledge is not complete, but as my memory serves me, there were only one or two climbs of 1k feet or more. None were as much as 2k. They were steep, but blessedly short, and usually in Oregon, the sun is not too hot.
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Old 05-03-08, 11:32 PM   #5
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Do you mean you are going with the organized A.C. Group? If so, that's hard to answer w/o knowing where they stay each night. There are tons of options for how to break it up. You could ask them, I'm sure they could provide that info.

If you are not in a group with a schedule, there are so many places to stay that you don't have to do huge climbing days if you don't want to, as long as you camp.

I did WA/OR with a friend, and CA south of SF alone a few times, and my recollection is a hard day on the coast is in the 3000-4000 foot range, but many are much lighter. The hilly bits are: most of Oregon, California's Crescent City hills, Leggett Hill (couple thousand feet in a couple of big hills), the stretch just north of SF is hilly (steep short climbs), Big Sur is hilly - several 1000-2000 foot climbs plus tons of rollers, the section between SLO and Santa Barbara has some 1000 foot climbs, but not steep.
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Old 05-04-08, 12:19 AM   #6
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I just drove the Oregon coast a couple of weeks ago....as I have a bike ride down the coast on my "to do" list, I was watching the road carefully.

Rollers. Lots of rollers. As posters above say, a few longer climbs, but lots of rollers.

I have the Adventure Cycling Association map for the Oregon coast, and it clearly shows the elevation for each segment so you can plan your stays/stops around the hills.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by trimacian View Post
Oregon DOT puts out an excellent brochure for the 101 route. Take a look:
http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEP..._route_map.pdf
Yes, this is a good resource.

Hmm...interesting. Y'all are talking about 1000-2000 ft climbs? One of my training rides has a total of 2300 ft of climbing, but no single climb is more than 100-200 ft. So, straightforward extrapolation would predict a day on the coast at 23,000 ft .... AAAAGGGGHHH!!!

Okay, I'm hoping Valygrl's recollection of max 3k-4k is correct. Given all day to do it, this should not be an issue.

But clearly there are other approaches. Someone has evidently mapped out a 10-day trip from Blaine, WA to Brookings, OR on veloroutes. Search for "Pacific Coast Day 7": 96.4 miles and 11,211 ft. Clearly I wouldn't be doing this, as I'll be w/ the ACA tour, and I think they average on the order of 55 miles/day. Nonetheless, I'm tired just thinking about it...
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Old 05-04-08, 06:26 AM   #8
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I have the Adventure Cycling Association map for the Oregon coast, and it clearly shows the elevation for each segment so you can plan your stays/stops around the hills.
BengeBoy, where is this indicated? I don't (yet) have the west coast maps, but I have east coast maps and don't see anything clearly labeled as altitude or elevation.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:34 AM   #9
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Also see "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Spring and Kirkendall. This book has elevation views of the whole route. If you want numbers it would be pretty easy to use http://www.bikely.com/ or http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

The parts I have seen or ridden do not have extremely long climbs, but it does go up and down a good bit I don't think you ever get much above 1000 feet above sea level. The riding was pleasant on the parts we saw, but there is some climbing.

Edit: I just looked closer at the book and there is one spot where you get to 2000 feet. And yes you start at pretty much sea level and climb to there. There is also a spot with back to back ~1000 foot climbs. This is all in northern California so you will have some miles under your belt before you are faced with these particular climbs.

Edit again! I was looking at the map wrong the climb to 2000 feet actually starts at about 600 feet or so, so the longest climb is probably a bit less than 1400 feet. I was looking at it as if headed northbound, sorry for the confusion.

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Old 05-04-08, 06:37 AM   #10
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BengeBoy, where is this indicated? I don't (yet) have the west coast maps, but I have east coast maps and don't see anything clearly labeled as altitude or elevation.
If they are like the AC TransAmerica maps for the western mountains there will be a separate elevation view on each map.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:43 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by quester View Post
Yes, this is a good resource.

Someone has evidently mapped out a 10-day trip from Blaine, WA to Brookings, OR on veloroutes. Search for "Pacific Coast Day 7": 96.4 miles and 11,211 ft. Clearly I wouldn't be doing this, as I'll be w/ the ACA tour, and I think they average on the order of 55 miles/day. Nonetheless, I'm tired just thinking about it...
One needs to treat total elevation figures with care. If you peruse the elevation profile you'll notice that the biggest hill is less than 900' and that there are very few significant cilmbs for this day. Most of the elevation gain is derived from very small ups and downs that one will barely notice. For the day in question (7) I'd say the actual climbing - what your body will feel - will be around 3000' which is approximately what valygrl mentioned as the maximum climbs one will find along the OR coast.

I rode the Oregon coast a few years ago and none of the climbs are significant - max of 8% or so in a few spots. As others have noted the maximum climb is about 1000' and the climbs, at best, are a mile or two.

The OR coast is beautiful. Enjoy the ride. I may see y'all out there this summer since I'm planning to wend my way down the coast too.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:48 AM   #12
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BengeBoy, where is this indicated? I don't (yet) have the west coast maps, but I have east coast maps and don't see anything clearly labeled as altitude or elevation.
There's a chart across the back called "Route Elevation Profile." It's not super-detailed (it has the entire coast in one long strip) but it definitely has enough to show you where the most significant hills are. One would definitely know from this whether there is a significant grade ahead, or whether most of the climbing is done for the day.

To reiterate what the posts above are saying -- lots of short, medium-intensity hills.
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Old 05-04-08, 06:54 AM   #13
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Also see "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Spring and Kirkendall. This book has elevation views of the whole route.
I forgot to mention that either the book or the AC maps are probably adequate by them selves, but the book is a good read and I am sure the AC maps are too if they are like their other maps. So if the budget is tight get the cheaper of the two, but if you want to read and get psyched up for the trip spring for both if finances aren't tight.

Oh and enjoy the trip. It is is a beautiful route with lots to see and do. Eat some good seafood for me
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Old 05-04-08, 06:55 AM   #14
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There's a chart across the back called "Route Elevation Profile." It's not super-detailed (it has the entire coast in one long strip) but it definitely has enough to show you where the most significant hills are. One would definitely know from this whether there is a significant grade ahead, or whether most of the climbing is done for the day.

To reiterate what the posts above are saying -- lots of short, medium-intensity hills.
Maybe this is just not on the east coast maps, which, after all, cover very flat terrain.
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Old 05-04-08, 11:00 AM   #15
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Also see "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Spring and Kirkendall. This book has elevation views of the whole route. If you want numbers it would be pretty easy to use.
In 1992 I rode from Seattle to Santa Cruz. I knew my way from Seattle through Bremerton and southwest along Hood Canal. I joined the route described in this book at the end of Hood Canal and then I followed it all the way, staying at all the recommended campsites along the way. The climbs weren't epic, there were just a lot of them. The "big hill" everyone talked about fearfully along the way was the one from Highway 101 to 1. It was a push, but not that bad, especially in the shape I was in after all those miles. I ended up averaging about 55 miles per day for the whole route. I have no idea about elevation gains, but it's in the book.

If you're worried about steep hills, don't take the route out of Tillamook that goes around the bay, then up to the lighthouse. It was a killer! I did this route a second time three years ago. Some people I met who were also veterans of the route were telling us (the informal group of riders that had formed) about how great this route was. We all took it and suffered. It turned out the two who recommended it had opted for a bypass that didn't climb much at all. Aargh!

I've also ridden south from Bellingham to Seattle a couple of times via Whidbey Island. It's like the rest of the coast - lots of ups and downs but nothing major.

Last summer I climbed over the Cascades on the Northern Tier route - via the North Cascades Highway. Now, to me, that was epic! There's nothing like that on the coast route.
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Old 05-04-08, 11:29 AM   #16
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I forgot to mention that either the book or the AC maps are probably adequate by them selves, but the book is a good read and I am sure the AC maps are too if they are like their other maps. So if the budget is tight get the cheaper of the two, but if you want to read and get psyched up for the trip spring for both if finances aren't tight.
I'm looking at a copy of the book right now. For instance, pg 25: Cape Lookout to Beverly Beach State Park. Start YOUR day w/ a 900' climb :-)

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Oh and enjoy the trip. It is is a beautiful route with lots to see and do. Eat some good seafood for me
I definitely intend to! I've done most of the coast by car, but I think this will be very different. Been looking forward to this for quite some time.
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Old 05-04-08, 12:14 PM   #17
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Check out mapmyride's website. They have elevation profiles.

http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...isco/283252034
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Old 05-04-08, 03:36 PM   #18
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If you're worried about steep hills, don't take the route out of Tillamook that goes around the bay, then up to the lighthouse. It was a killer! I did this route a second time three years ago. Some people I met who were also veterans of the route were telling us (the informal group of riders that had formed) about how great this route was. We all took it and suffered. It turned out the two who recommended it had opted for a bypass that didn't climb much at all. Aargh!
This was the biggest hill we saw when we drove it.
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Old 05-06-08, 12:31 AM   #19
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From Monterey,CA to Morrow Bay, CA it's 124 miles and 8300 feet of climbing.
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Old 05-06-08, 07:02 AM   #20
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I rode Florence, OR to Eureka, CA. OR was mostly roling hills, nothing too bad. Heading into the Redwoods we hit two 1K ft. climbs back to back. Don't worry about the hills. It's a great ride.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:07 AM   #21
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I hope this works. here are the elevation maps for Oregon & Northern California from the Adventure Cycling maps:













It is a great ride. Of course there are the big steep hills such as Crescent City & Leggett, but it seems like it is all of the others you don't know are coming that really whip on you.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:58 AM   #22
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I hope this works. here are the elevation maps for Oregon & Northern California from the Adventure Cycling maps:

Graphics deleted...

It is a great ride. Of course there are the big steep hills such as Crescent City & Leggett, but it seems like it is all of the others you don't know are coming that really whip on you.
FWIW: Those contours make it look MUCH worse than it is.

BTW: Adventure Cycling may consider posting those as infringement on their copyright.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:26 AM   #23
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Thanks, Tom, that really helps. The distortion is pretty funny. It looks like one could topple off some of the hills if you aren't careful.

Last edited by quester; 05-06-08 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 06-09-08, 05:24 PM   #24
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....my recollection is a hard day on the coast is in the 3000-4000 foot range,
Unfortunately, no. Just got the detailed itinerary. The days average nearly 4,000 feet of climbing per day, and max out at over 9,800 feet (Big Sur). The ride into california is around 7,500 feet.

Sigh, time to go on a diet.
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Old 06-09-08, 06:00 PM   #25
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The guy that mentioned the climb from Tillamook to Ocean Side ( Ocean City?) was right about a very steep & surprising hill! As well, I would add the climb that follows the Leggett hill. I had heard of the Leggett hill, and treated it like the boogy man. But it is followed by another hill that is just as steep & long, but not as high. BUT, it is all still worth it! It is almost as if there is too much stunning beauty to appreciate; you become somewhat numbed by it all.

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