“brook2bayou” – More Prep

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Wheel full 70pxOK, so the b2b Mississippi River ride- “brook2bayou” journal on crazyguyonabike is starting to take shape.  Today I’m uploading detailed scaled elevation profiles based on 25 mile (40 km) GPX tracks created online on an awesome site- GPSVisualizer.com [linkie]. The first 500 miles are up [linkie] and I hope to have the rest done by this evening. Next step, detailed cue sheets- I’m going to know the name of every stream I cross and lake I pass if it kills me.

They Just aren’t the Same

apples ≠ oranges

Wheel full 70pxI’m spending the day doing hand-built detailed elevation profiles for the Mississippi River ride on a website called GPS Visualizer.  Both RidewithGPS and the Google Maps API will automatically create profiles from a route, but for the reason I will explain here I find them about useless for anything other than quick general info.

Wheel full 70pxHere’s why.  The next two images are greatly reduced Google Maps of two of the 50 mile/80 km days I have broken the entire 2,250 mile/3,621 kilometer route into.

Wheel full 70pxIf you look to the last 25 miles/40 kilometers of each day’s elevation chart you will see a what appears to be a honkin’ big hill in about the same place each day.  Note that the x-axis “Distance” of each chart is exactly the same length- 50 miles/80 km.  If that’s as far as you look, though, you are left with a sense that each day there will be quite a challenge right after lunchtime.  A closer look, though, discloses that the y-axis “Elevation” of each chart, even though appearing to be divided into equal units, could not be much less comparable.  The elevation “window” of the day on the left is about 400 feet/122 meters.  The day on the right is about 40 feet/12 meters.

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Wheel full 70pxNow, I know that the folks at Google Maps and at RidewithGPS aren’t trying to mislead or confuse me.  I’m sure that there are considerations that cause the charts to be created the way that they appear, and that in fact most everyone takes away useful info when they look at them.  But here’s the two GPS Visualizer charts for the last 25 miles/40 kilometers of each day with the Elevation axis using the same measurement units.  First, the one that we know has the truly monster hill.

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That clearly is going to present a challenge.  The second chart…

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Not so much, eh?

A Couple of Figures

Wheel full 70pxI just realized while posting on facebook today that my Surly Disc Trucker as equipped including the racks and panniers cost just under a dollar per mile for each of the close to 3,600 miles (5,800 kilometers) that I rode it last fall.

 

Surly LHT 800px

At the Bike Gallery, the shop in Portland that put it all together.  The pedals
at this point were temporaries and that bottom water bottle clip came off and
was replaced by a frame pump, but that’s pretty much the way it looked (plus
an Ortlieb seat stem tool bag) when I rode down the Atlantic coast.

Wheel full 70pxI’ve also figured that the 80 or so pounds (36 kilograms) I lost in preparing for and during the trip cost me a little less than two hundred dollars apiece when you figure in the cost of the whole trip. You can do the math- it’s why I never want to gain any of that weight back.

It’s Just This Little Chromium Switch Here…

Wheel full 70pxTime to plug things back in.

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Wheel full 70pxWell hey there!  Nice to see you again.  And…

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Wheel full 70pxA little less than a year ago I made my first post on b2bbiketrip.com.  A lot of pavement has passed under my wheels since then.  But you all know that from previous posts here.

Wheel full 70pxI’m journaling my Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida at the website crazyguyonabike.com [linkie].  I’ve been working on my journal there since just before Christmas. There’s about 1,500 photos posted there so far and detailed accounts, again so far, of my days riding between Halifax and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Here’s a [linkie] to the day I arrived in Yarmouth, and you can work backwards east from there.  Pictures are up all the way through Acadia National Park, and I’m planning to put a bunch more up shortly.  I don’t plan, given this effort, to post anything else about last year’s trip here.  Rather, I will use this blog to document this year’s planned rides, which are:

  • Palmer, Alaska to Chena Hot Springs, Alaska, planned for June 22nd through June 30th

Palmer-Chena Hot Springs RwGPS 800px

This will be 390 miles/625 kilometers in six days with a good friend.  We’ll be self-supported and camping, with our wives driving up to pick us up at the hot springs campground at the end.  Grades are pretty gentle except for  a few places south of Denali National Park and between Nenana and Fairbanks.  Here’s a [linkie] to the RidewithGPS route.

  • Lake Itasca, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana, planned for August 24th through October 18th

Mississippi River Trip RwGPS 800px

This is the big deal ride for the year:  2,250 miles/3,620 kilometers in 52 days.  I’ll be riding unsupported by myself, except that I invite anyone and everyone who would like to ride any portion of the route to let me know.  The more the merrier.  I plan to camp with one or two motel stops each week, either of which would become WarmShowers [linkie] stays if one is available, and buy food along the way instead of cook- a plan that worked for me really well last fall.  As I’ve noted elsewhere the route is downhill (mostly) all the way.  Here’s the [linkie] to the route mapping I’ve done in a preliminary journal started on the crazyguyonabike siteA daily itinerary, which is a work in process and which I am updating every few days, is at this [linkie].

Wheel full 70pxSo thanks for your patience in waiting for me to resurface.  I look forward to keeping up whatever standards I had previously set in this blog, which was modestly successful due to your interest.  I also look forward to reading and responding to your comments, and thanks in advance for making them.

Wheel full 70pxHere’s a last photo, taken yesterday, which should give you an idea of what I’ve been doing away from the computer.

Bike at Shop in Palmer 650px

Weigh-in #19 and 3/7 – And the answer is…

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Wheel full 70px I took a couple of days off from blogging after reaching Key West, so we’ll resume by my keeping not one but two promises.  I said here [linkie] that I would do one final trip weigh-in on the 10th in KW to give me a close the record number.  I did that, stopping at a handy Publix on the way back to the hotel from Mallory Square.  Ready?

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I missed catching my feet, but you can see their reflection on the scale, to include the hole my right foot big toe wore in my bike sock.

Wheel full 70px Two eighty-five (~129 kilograms) on the nose!  As my first official weight of this whole undertaking, noted here [linkie], was 367 pounds and change/166 kg, I have lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pounds/~37 kg over the past four months.  Now, I’ve learned that scales along the trip have not been exactly measuring atomic weight to six digits after the decimal point, but hey, I’ll take “the mid-280s” as a solid start point from which to defend The Battle of the Bulge.  Maybe I can even stay on the offensive.  Stranger things- anyone up for a 3,500 mile/5,600 kilometer bike ride?- have been known to happen.  Oh, and I think my friend Fred won the “Guess My End Weight” contest.

Wheel full 70px The second promise is a little harder to keep.  OK, OK, it’s a lot harder to keep.  But I said I’d do it here, so here goes.

Wheel full 70px You’ll remember that this trip was originally going to start in Jacksonville, Florida.  On the first day just before leaving I walked myself into a bathroom and took a selfie of my stomach flab.  I cautioned folks then that it wasn’t pretty.  I said that I would take a comparable pic at the end of the ride, and we’d see what happened [linkie].  Once again, you’ve been warned.

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Wheel full 70px So, for the not-faint-of-heart, here’s what my abdominal area looked like in late July

before [linkie]

and what the same area looks like now

after [linkie].

Wheel full 70px Belly fat is not pretty.  I don’t know if what mine looks like will ever improve beyond this point, or if I’m just condemned to look like Jabba the Hutt’s third cousin down there for the rest of my life.  But my waist size in pants has gone from 56″/142 cm to 46″/117 cm.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll take that.

The last day – Key West!

Wheel full 70px I will always remember November 10, 2016.  It was the day I completed riding a bicycle from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida, but that’s not why.  It was the day Leonard Cohen died.

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“I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind”

Wheel full 70px My wife Heather told me when we talked by phone that evening.  I had ridden back from Mallory Square to the hotel where I would spend the first night in 84 days that I didn’t have to leave from in the morning and ride a bicycle 40 miles/65 kilometers or so.  I’ve felt pretty sad and subdued every since, but that is now changing into a sense of wonder and appreciation for the amazing body of music he left us.  I won’t dwell on this further, except to say how lucky I am to have lived during his time among us.

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Wheel full 70px I have now travelled by bike, more or less, the length of the line between the start and end point on this map.  The distance, which I will look at more closely once I am back to a desktop computer, is a little over 3,600 miles/5,800 kilometers, but that includes a number of ferry rides and the van ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  I plan to publish detailed information about the ride, to include what I believe to be the exact final mileage, in a couple of future blog posts.  It’s just too hard to do from an iPhone, even a 6 Plus, which is what I’ve carried with me.

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Wheel full 70px I rode through two Canadian provinces and 14 states along as much of their coastline as I felt I could reasonable do without having to backtrack  from places where there was no outlet except for the way I rode in.  I compromised in just a few places, mainly to avoid unpaved stretches or roads that looked “iffy” for some reason once I reached them.  I can pretty much say with confidence, though, that more than 98% of the time I was riding on the through road in each province and state that was the closest to the shore.

Wheel full 70px Here’s the ride across Florida- 600 miles/960 kilometers, which I did in 12 days.

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Wheel full 70px Here’s a close-up of the Florida Keys, which from Card Sound bridge to Key West was a 125 mile/200 kilometer stretch.  This took two and a half days to complete.

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Wheel full 70px When I reached Key West my sister Sue and her daughter Sarah were there to meet me.

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Wheel full 70px What a lift seeing them provided!  They had driven down from Sue’s home north of Tampa/St. Petersburg and will take me back up that way so that I can fly home to Alaska from Tampa next week.  When I passed them at the Key West sign, though, I still had a few more miles to go.

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Wheel full 70px I rode on through Key West past the “Southernmost Point” monument (it really isn’t, but I’ll post about that later),

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past the end of US Highway 1, which I first saw back in Maine shortly after crossing the border from Canada,

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and finally to the seawall at Mallory Square.

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Wheel full 70px My ride was finally over.

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Wheel full 70px The Surly is now reduced to parts and stuffed in the trunk of Sarah’s car.  I am headed north for the first time in three months.

Wheel full 70px I can do did this.

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