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  1. #1
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    best time of the year for east to west transamerica/western express route?

    I plan to start the transamerica route in Christiansburg, VA on 4/15/13 and cycle it to Pueblo, there following the western express route to San Francisco. I should be able to cover 80 miles per day. Is this a good timeframe for decent weather?

  2. #2
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    No.

  3. #3
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    Why not? What sorts of weather conditions will I encounter?

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    That's a good time to leave. Although you might want to start a few weeks earlier to try to avoid mid-summer heat on the WE, you probably don't care to see how late it can get cold in the southern Appalachians, like the first of May cold freeze that killed all the trees back some 10 years ago.

    Also, beware: there are these things called either mountains or hills that will slow you down. 80 miles per day on flat ground may turn out to be 30-40 miles in Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri.

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    Thanks for the information PDLAMB

  6. #6
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    AD -
    You offer very little info about your plans -
    and there are dozens of similar threads.
    Do a little homework.

    Not sure where PD is from, but I'm from Wyoming.
    Early/mid May is early for the Rockies.
    Nothing quite like getting caught overnight in a blizzard by morning.

  7. #7
    Older I get, Better I was velonomad's Avatar
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    If you get through the spring storms in the midwest, Pueblo is certainly do-able that early. The problem can be between Salida and Telluride CO. I spent 2 years in that vicinity and some of the passes would still get snow the first week of June. They clear US 50 pretty quickly but you still may have a situation where you have to sit out a storm for a couple of days in a motel or your tent. When I last rode across the country(west to east) we rode US 160 from Cortez(just south of Delores) to Walsenberg(sp) Co. Then we followed SR 10 and 167 to Fowler CO missing Pueblo altogether. Still a few mountain passes on that route but less of a chance of snow in late May.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velonomad View Post
    If you get through the spring storms in the midwest, Pueblo is certainly do-able that early. The problem can be between Salida and Telluride CO. I spent 2 years in that vicinity and some of the passes would still get snow the first week of June. They clear US 50 pretty quickly but you still may have a situation where you have to sit out a storm for a couple of days in a motel or your tent. When I last rode across the country(west to east) we rode US 160 from Cortez(just south of Delores) to Walsenberg(sp) Co. Then we followed SR 10 and 167 to Fowler CO missing Pueblo altogether. Still a few mountain passes on that route but less of a chance of snow in late May.
    Thanks for your great advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    AD -
    Not sure where PD is from, but I'm from Wyoming.
    Early/mid May is early for the Rockies.
    Nothing quite like getting caught overnight in a blizzard by morning.
    You may have missed the part where I implied 80 miles a day was going to be difficult through the Appalachians and Ozards...

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    You may have missed the part where I implied 80 miles a day was going to be difficult through the Appalachians and Ozards...
    Not to mention the strong, persistant headwinds you're sure to encounter heading west. I'd recommend aerobars.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Not to mention the strong, persistant headwinds you're sure to encounter heading west. I'd recommend aerobars.
    I've read much on this, and as far as I can tell this is a rumor. The winds close to the ground are very different than the winds controlling fronts. I am no meteorologist, but I've read many a blog that say it makes no difference.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    I've read much on this, and as far as I can tell this is a rumor. The winds close to the ground are very different than the winds controlling fronts. I am no meteorologist, but I've read many a blog that say it makes no difference.
    Hah!

    Just try riding west from Casper, Wyoming in the afternoon.
    Or for that matter, west from Jeffrey City on the TransAm.
    Southwest from La Junta, Colorado or from Four Corners ... same.
    And then there's the Columbia Gorge.
    Why do they wind surf there??

  13. #13
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Just try riding west from Casper, Wyoming in the afternoon.
    And in the morning?

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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    And in the morning?
    All day - twice as strong in the afternoon.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    We'll see. I'm not going to judge my trip based on the wind that one person experiences in one location or even state.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggleaddict View Post
    I've read much on this, and as far as I can tell this is a rumor. The winds close to the ground are very different than the winds controlling fronts. I am no meteorologist, but I've read many a blog that say it makes no difference.
    Yeah, I've read the same. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Westerly winds tend to be much stronger than easterlies, especially the further west you get. Sure, there will be exceptions. Always are. But as a general rule, west to east is best for winds. East to west for morning sun and anticipation of scenic wonders. I do agree that on a x-country, expected winds should not be the deciding factor. Start early, end early is a pretty good plan for dealing with unfavorable winds. Usually.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  17. #17
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I left Bardstown Kentucky on May 15th going west. You can look it up on the ACA maps and judge how long you think it would take to get there from Virginia. I felt that I could have left at least a week, maybe 2 sooner. (I averaged about 55 miles / day) I had some bad winds in Kansas, not western winds but super strong southern winds. I had no more head winds than the folks I passed going east, at least on the year I did the trip. But in my opinion there are much better reasons to go west. The east is hot and HUMID in the summer and the west is just hot, and in the mountains cool. So I would rather be out west in July that east of the Mississippi. Second and most important is the light! The best time to ride (at least for me anyway) is early morning, nice and cool and you beat most of the winds, with the sun at your back, lighting up the scenery and no glare. No matter which way you go, you'll get headwinds, but going west gives you the best light and temp. / humidity riding conditions. Anyway, just another way to look at it.
    I'm making plans for the Northern tier and will most definitely be going west. Hope this helped.

  18. #18
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    You can't beat the wind, just gear down as low as needed to enjoy the ride and plan for the shorter mile day. If you have to go 5 mph, then so be it, just crawl along and smile. If your in a hurry on a trip like this, wind will be the least of your worries.

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    Sometimes the ignorance of the people posting here is stunning.
    A buddy of mine on search & rescue ended up quitting after recovery became as common as rescue.
    People from Atlanta or St. Louis who came out to hunt in Wyoming in the fall -
    Who left in 75-degree weather only to get caught unprepared in a blizzard.

    Same goes for wind - although the results aren't usually as deadly.
    One problem with the internet is that some want the info that they imagine -
    Even though there is tons of reliable data online -
    Such as wind data, such as temperatures.

    People such as these DESERVE getting slammed by headwinds.
    Fact is - there are patterns to wind - albeit norms - not constant.
    They are called "prevailing" winds for a reason.
    But be my guest - putz right along.

  20. #20
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Awful cranky today jamawani. I see opinions and direct experiences, no stunning ignorance, no one will need rescue regardless of timing on the low elevations of the transam. If you get into the mountains a little too early or too late, there's this thing called a weather forecast, that you check. If it's going to be 35 degrees and raining, looky, you get to sleep-in that day, maybe for a couple days. No big deal. Can you get caught in a freak storm, sure, been there done that. Put on all you clothes, with rain coat over top, take your front wheel off and use it waive down a car. Call the police if necessary, Your on a road, not Wind River Canyon.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    Sometimes the ignorance of the people posting here is stunning.
    A buddy of mine on search & rescue ended up quitting after recovery became as common as rescue.
    People from Atlanta or St. Louis who came out to hunt in Wyoming in the fall -
    Who left in 75-degree weather only to get caught unprepared in a blizzard.

    Same goes for wind - although the results aren't usually as deadly.
    One problem with the internet is that some want the info that they imagine -
    Even though there is tons of reliable data online -
    Such as wind data, such as temperatures.

    People such as these DESERVE getting slammed by headwinds.
    Fact is - there are patterns to wind - albeit norms - not constant.
    They are called "prevailing" winds for a reason.
    But be my guest - putz right along.

  21. #21
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Wind speeds and directions

    I always assumed that west winds were the most common here in Ohio. But south and southwest winds are actually more likely. weatherspark.com has selected city averages.

    Reposted from another thread: (And note that Ohio has a much higher percentage of days with no wind--the white portion of the Jan-Dec charts)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here in Ohio, I assumed that west winds were the most common. But it's a lot more complicated than that.

    I posted in another thread about the interesting yearly averages data from weatherspark.com. (And their weather radar is really great, too.) South winds are actually most common here in Ohio, and the wind speeds change over the year.

    From my post:



    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    Here's wind directions in Wichita, Kansas: (from it's weatherspark averages page, scroll all the way down)








    That's a lot different than SW Ohio:



    And the average wind speeds are lower here, too. Here, we normally ignore wind speeds and direction forecasts, unless it mentions an unusually strong wind.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 03-12-13 at 12:33 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that rm-rf, well that reflects my experience in Kansas exactly.

  23. #23
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    You can take the word of someone who had a few bad experiences with headwinds, and resorts to ad hominem attacks when his word is countered, or you can check out the historical records of winds at several towns along your route at http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/...mate/windrose/

    Note that most of the Wichita, Kansas "headwinds" come out of the south. East-west in Kansas occurs in the jet stream at 30,000 feet.

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    Actually, there is risk involved in riding against a constant headwind.
    It's called exhaustion and it can impact judgment.

    25 years ago a guy started riding with me in Wyoming who had little experience.
    He insisted that we ride into the wind even though I said it was futile - but I went along.
    (I should have let him go on his merry way alone.)
    3 or 4 exhausting hours out - he swerved into a car's path.
    Fortunately, all he had was a broken collar bone.
    The irony - we ended up at a hospital in the town where we started.

    <<<>>>

    Check the journals over at Crazyguy.
    In Kansas, southerly sidewinds predominate on the TransAm.
    But in Wyoming, westbound riders encounter far more headwinds.
    Same goes for the few who venture west in the Columbia Gorge on the L & C.
    And yes, the difference between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. is often 20mph+.

  25. #25
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    I just think jamawani is having a bad day or week, he is a very experienced touring cyclist and has helped out tons of folks on this forum, especially with routes out west. Everyone just lighten up a bit, it's just a bike ride.


    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    You can take the word of someone who had a few bad experiences with headwinds, and resorts to ad hominem attacks when his word is countered, or you can check out the historical records of winds at several towns along your route at http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/ftpref/...mate/windrose/

    Note that most of the Wichita, Kansas "headwinds" come out of the south. East-west in Kansas occurs in the jet stream at 30,000 feet.

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