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Old 12-18-13, 11:04 AM   #1
budfan08
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Realistic or no?

Hey guys and gals, been looking at planning a tour next fall(end of september). Building up a Specialized Awol w/Sram Rival components at the moment for the trip as well as commuting around town. I am wondering if this is even a feasable idea. I plan on driving the galfriend out to Oregon for grad school and cycling back to eastern North Dakota. The jaunt is roughly 1600 miles with 2 mountain passes, otherwise it is a relatively flat trip. I am wondering what the feasability of doing this trip in 2 weeks is? I'm 23 and in pretty good shape and also have about 9 months to build up my threshold for the trip but I am wondering if I am stretching it a bit by trying to get it done in 2 weeks?
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Old 12-18-13, 11:11 AM   #2
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Will you be carrying your own gear? Camping?
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Old 12-18-13, 11:16 AM   #3
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FWIW the Columbia River (Gorge) cuts through the Cascade Mountains , so one less pass to climb.

Follow the Amtrak rails route, and if time comes short you can always take the train..

It passes thru N Dakota, though turns north as Columbia crosses the OR border, to Spokane,WA and thru Montana on the way.. you can meet it again in Bozeman.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-18-13 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 12-18-13, 11:31 AM   #4
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Will you be carrying your own gear? Camping?
Yea I plan on carrying my own gear and making it a self supported tour. I am thinking I will probably have to go the ultralight route to make the trip work in two weeks. As far as camping goes, I plan on doing it the entire trip as long as I am able to find places to set up, probably going to have to stealth camp quite a bit I'm thinking.
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Old 12-18-13, 01:57 PM   #5
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Route details?
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Old 12-18-13, 01:59 PM   #6
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Yes, it is possible, but there would be no room for unexpected conditions. In Wyoming we had to pedal hard going downhill to get up to 8 mph because of the headwinds. Averaging 116 miles a day for 14 days could be a real challenge. You also won't be taking any time to "smell the roses".

When I was in my early 30's, and in pretty good racing shape, I did an 1100 mile combined tour/training ride in 11 days. I was lightly loaded, but had camping and cooking gear. I averaged 100 miles a day, but it took an 169 mile day to do it. I was probably averaging 250-300 mile training weeks for a couple of months before this venture. There is a difference in being in good shape, and being in good cycling shape. Get a good saddle that fits

Depending on your route, you have a good chance of encountering headwinds, and there are a couple of hills between Oregon and North Dakota.

Give it try, but have a bail out plan just in case things don't go as planned.

Last edited by Doug64; 12-18-13 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 12-18-13, 04:42 PM   #7
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That is definitely pushing it compared to "average" and you can anticipate spending a lot of your daylight hours on the bike. Before then you should be able to get some shorter mini-tours done to see how well you feel with similar distances.

Back in 1992, I did a cross-USA ride from Astoria OR to Portland ME. The first night was just 12 miles to arrive at Fort Stevens Point, but over the next 16 days I made the following daily stops: Portland/Arlington/Dayton/Lewiston/Lowell+/Missoula/Helena/White Sulpher Springs/Roundup/Miles City/Baker/Mobridge/Aberdeen/Ortonville/Hector/St Paul or 1830 miles in 16 days. I spent some long days in the saddle and had benefit of wonderful tailwinds on the day cycling from Baker MT to Mobridge SD and more tailwinds than headwinds.

I don't think I'd be able to do the same ride now - I still cycle roughly the same speed but my body reacts differently if I try spending 14 hours in the saddle...or try back-to-back-to-back extra long distances.

If I were doing it now, I'd think in advance what my backup plan might be in case of mechanical issues or less favorable weather. For example:
- just taking some extra days to complete the trip
- checking out the Amtrak stations with baggage service so could take train if needed
- checking out airports that might allow 1-way car rentals to use these if needed
I wouldn't necessarily activate the backup plan - but keep it in the back pocket as well as having trained enough for extended time riding and having worked my way up to shakedown ride with equivalent distances.

An additional consideration that makes your challenge tougher than mine is that by end of September the days will be getting shorter.

Last edited by mev; 12-18-13 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 12-18-13, 06:36 PM   #8
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The more I have been thinking about it, the more I'm thinking I may try and extend the trip out another week just to give myself some extra room to make it back. As far as weather goes, I don't believe I will have snow in the mountains to worry about(hopefully). Still working on the route at the moment, once I get that figured out I will try and ask for some input as far as that goes. I think 3 weeks would definitely be more doable.
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Old 12-18-13, 06:48 PM   #9
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The more I have been thinking about it, the more I'm thinking I may try and extend the trip out another week just to give myself some extra room to make it back. As far as weather goes, I don't believe I will have snow in the mountains to worry about(hopefully). Still working on the route at the moment, once I get that figured out I will try and ask for some input as far as that goes. I think 3 weeks would definitely be more doable.
Great idea. The other plan was something like 115 miles a day if I did my math right, Does not leave much room for error.

Personally I still think 3 weeks is too short of time but it depends on your goals. For me it is more about the journey rather than the destination.

Average ride I am comfortable with about 60 miles a day. A little less if there are a number of steep climbs. But then again you are about 2.5 times younger than me.

You should go on a few weekend test runs before you commit. Mostly it will shake out the bugs in packing, planning routing etc. But it will also give you a good gauge if you can do the miles. Remember you will need to do that for three weeks straight.

I like to take a days break either once a week or mid trip. Gives time to relax and get things done like laundry and minor repairs and maintenance. Unless you extend your trip more, you won't have the time unless you really want to up your daily mileage.
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Old 12-18-13, 09:17 PM   #10
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"23 in pretty good shape" really doesn't describe your cycling condition. I did my largest bike ride when I was 24 from Ogden Utah to Boulder Co. I was in decent touring shape from numerous three and five day tours in Ca. as well as regular long rides but laying one 100mile day on another while sleeping in strange places every night was beyond my capacity. I knew enough how to ride without developing injury, rode plenty of centuries but by day four I had to rest a day. Turns out high altitude and mtns is tiring.

A lot of folks blow out their knees attempting to pile on miles without recovery time.

as far as training goes I would suggest scheduling a series of riding and rest days that approximate sequential riding where you learn to recover on the bike by riding at low effort. For example If 60miles is a comfortable distance for an average effort do two 60mile days back to back. Do an easy couple recovery days of whatever mileage, a speed/strength day, easy recovery day, off the bike day, then start over. After a month increase the miles on your recovery day until it becomes a regular long ride day. You may need a recovery week in the month or may not but you have to allow time to recover in order to get stronger. It takes time to build a base. A recovery week can be like the first week but easier or whatever is needed. It's quite a treat to discover the new base after a rest week.


Three weeks or 76mile AVERAGE means any rest day adds those miles on remaining days. 76 is more like 80 once you figure in back tracking to a grocery store or off the route for a more desirable campsite.

Just be realistic and like others suggest have bailout options.

Last edited by LeeG; 12-18-13 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 12-19-13, 08:29 AM   #11
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Another thing to keep in mind that eastern and central OR can still be crispy critter hot in early September. I did Cycle Oregon in '03. That year's route crossed the entire state, from Nyssa to Florence. Second week in September. There were four very hot days, including the day off in Sisters. Two of those days there was pretty much no shade. But it was a dry heat, And nights can be cold. The first night was sub-freezing.
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Old 12-20-13, 11:27 PM   #12
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Advice. Take your loaded bike completely loaded, go out on a 250 miles trip over the 2 days. At the end of the 2 days if you feel you can go another 125 miles, And don't do it when the weather is perfect, in fact, choose a day where it's going to be windy or rainy or both. Make sure you also choose some hills. Yes, your two day shakedown trip can't be in 70 degree weather with a tailwind, as that won't give you a true gauge.

I would say go for it, but if you only have 14 days, have a sure fire escape plan.
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Old 12-21-13, 01:52 AM   #13
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riding 100 miles in one day is very doable.

wake up the next morning and ride another 100 miles, ok.

day 3, 100 miles, getting pretty sore.

fast forward to day 8

11.

13.

14 days in a row of 100 + miles, I probably couldnt do it, not without training for it. I would need a day of recovery every few.
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