I’ve finalized the b2b route on Ride with GPS. You can look at it on that site here [linkie]. This means I now have an official length: 4,129.7 miles/6,646.1 kilometers and fixed mileposts. So, when you drill down far enough into the Ride with GPS map, the mileposts will show up.
During the ride, then, when I say I’m at Milepost so-and-so, you’ll be able to spot exactly where I am.
Bear in mind that the finalized route is only based on the best information I have at hand right now. Roads or bridges may be closed during the actual ride due to construction or for other reasons. A levee top in Louisiana might be newly graveled and not reasonably rideable. Or Google and the other mapping engines might just have a road or a biketrail wrong, and I’ll have to find an alternate. But I will plan to stick as close to the route I have mapped as possible and will base my official progress on its mileposts. I am guessing by the time this is all over I will have ridden between five and ten percent more than the 4129.7 miles, even if there are no necessary diversions. Campsites and motels may be off the planned route. I may have to go out of my way to stop at a bicycle shop for repairs. I’ll make sure I keep you posted on those things, though.
Finalizing the route allows me to develop some map products that I will be using on the blog to illustrate different things. For example, a while back I divided the route into four 1,000 mile/1,600 kilometer stages and a fifth short remainder stage [linkie]. This was nice and uniform, but the stages were hard to grasp because by and large they began and ended nowhere in particular.
So I’m taking a different approach now. I’ll still divide the route into stages, but there will be four of them of varying length and they are based upon the dominating characteristic of that portion of the ride. HenceUnfortunately, the Ride with GPS screen is a bit confusing because I am riding across the map from right (East) to left (West) and the elevation profile reads from left (start) to right (finish). Oh well.
The four stages are, then:
Stage 1: The Long Warm-Up – Atlantic Beach, FL (mile 0) to Little Rock, AR (mile 1,380)
Stage 2: The Fifteen-Hundred Mile Hill – Little Rock, AR (mile 1,380) to Togwotee Pass, WY (mile 2,922)
Stage 3: Down the Roller Coaster – Togwotee Pass, WY (mile 2,9220 to the Columbia River, WA (mile 3,714)
Stage 4: The Road to the Sea – the Columbia River, WA (mile 3,714) to Pacific Beach, WA (mile 4,129.7)
The name of each stage is pretty self-explanatory. I only gain 250 feet/76 meters in elevation above sea level-the aggregate climb is 19,500 feet/5,945 meters or so- in the first third of the ride. No hill is over 150 feet by itself and grades are relatively gentle in The Long Warm-Up. The second stage immediately becomes more challenging on leaving Little Rock, Arkansas. The Fifteen-Hundred Mile Hill is pretty much just that- a long, long climb over the Great Plains of North America up to the spine of the Rocky Mountains at the Continental Divide at 9,659 foot/2,944 meter high Togwotee Pass, Wyoming. This is a gain of just under 9,400 feet/2,865 meters, with an aggregate climb is about 45,000 feet/13,716 meters, a little over half again the elevation of Mt. Everest. The Down the Roller Coaster stage is exactly what it sounds like- five progressively lower in elevation summits and a final bump between Togwotee Pass and the Columbia River in Washington state as I lose almost all the elevation I gained- 9,225 feet/2,810 meters- in the second stage. The grades are sometimes steep in this third stage and the aggregate climb is 22,960 feet/7,000 meters, but there are full days that I can just put the bike on autopilot and coast downhill. The Road to the Sea, the fourth and last stage, is no day at the beach (I have to wait for the end of the ride for that) even though it is the shortest part of the ride by far. I will lose the last 375 feet/115 meters of elevation between the Columbia River and my destination at Pacific Beach on the coast, but that’s not near the whole story. Numerous hills on this final stretch, some approaching 400 feet/120 meters in elevation, add up to an aggregate climb of 15,900 feet/4,845 meters.
We’ll look at the elevation profiles and some other information about each of these stages in a post coming soon.