Go figure

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Finally a post with some numbers. I love numbers πŸ™‚ Aftermath, there is always math πŸ™‚ Plus some notes. A lot of notes really.

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I biked 7362 kms, which is just one ride around Paris more than twice the length of this year’s Tour de France. That translates to 4606 miles, and amazingly, that’s also a bit more than twice the Tour ! Going coast to coast directly from SF to Washington was 3800 miles – that’s what the OneWay team did.

Days. I did that over 110 days, 111 counting day 0 in SF, just like Bilbo’s birthday at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings (yes, that was planned). That includes 19 days of rest or visits. The longest stretch without rest was Kansas in 11 days, then Utah and California’s coast in 10 days. OneWay did the coast to coast in 61 days, with no rest – except when driving the car πŸ˜‰

States. The 92 days of riding are split among 15 days in California, 13 in Utah, 11 in Colorado, 9 in Kansas and Virginia, 8 in Kentucky and Arizona, 6 in Missouri, 3 in Illinois and 2 in Nevada and Tennessee. And then one day for each of the six states on the east coast πŸ™‚

Distance. Over 92 days of riding, I did an average just below 80 kms, or 50 miles.
17 days were over 100kms or 63 miles, with the longest being Leoti to Ness city, 130 kms/80 miles, when I caught up with the Chinese team. 5 out of these 17 days were in Kansas – not a lot of options but to go on :))
8 days were at or below 50kms or 30 miles, including one to accommodate for the world cup’s quarter final (the next day I compensated with the longest ride :). Three of these eight were in Utah, where another four days were below 60kms or 36 miles (out of a total of 10) Short, brutal rides in this state.
I was closest to the daily average during my detour from Kentucky to Virginia : all days but the first one were within 10% of 80kms.

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Speed. The average speed was 19kms/h, or 12mis/h. That includes quite a bit of walking up mean slopes at 5 or 6kms/h. Fastest speed was 60km/38mi/h, going down from Monarch pass.
The fastest day was Barstow to Baker with a speed of 27kms/h or 17mis/h, with a long great ride down, and a long great ride up the next day ! I had seven days over 23kms/h or 14mis/h – two of these days happened in Kansas (including the longest ride), none after that. Not enough slopes to go fast.
The slowest day was the ride up to Point Supreme in Utah, at 8kms/h or 5mis/h. I had ten days at or below 16kms/h or 10mis/h, half of them were in Utah, and the only one after the continental divide was the ride up the Blue Ridge. Not enough slopes to go slow πŸ™‚
Strangely enough, the ride down the Blue Ridge was not very fast : the slope was mean but short. All in all, after Kansas I stayed really close to the average speed, which didn’t change after California anyway.

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Time. That translates to more than 387 hours on the bike, or 16 full days, or 48 working days, almost 10 working weeks with week ends πŸ™‚ In total my trip spanned over 16 weeks, shy of four months. What have I done with these 6 extra weeks ?!
387 hours over 92 days means an average of a bit more than four hours a day. It’s a nice duration that I quickly felt comfortable with. I usually take a quarter more to stop or rest. That means by leaving at 7 or 8 am, I’m done by noon or 1pm.
The longest ride was, of course, the nightmare to reach Kanab, with seven hours. I tend to put this ride in Arizona but I was actually entering Utah πŸ™‚
The shortest ride was going down from Cedar breaks to Panguitch, four rides after Kanab, a little over two hours. I had to stop to find a doctor.
I guess I spent about 10%, or 40 hours, actually walking and pushing the bike, and not riding. That includes 3 hours for Cedar breaks, 2 1/2 for Monarch pass, 2 going up after Boulder, and a bit more than one for the Blue Ridge and Big Sur. I never walked in Kansas, and a negligeable amount after the Blue Ridge. That leaves 30 hours over the other 68 days, or about half an hour per day, which seem about right. That’s a lot more than that for Utah. The other days probably fall down to about 15-20 minutes, enough to walk up a mile or two kilometers.

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Weather. I had only three days of rain, with the meanest in Illinois right before entering Kentucky. Then one later on in Kentucky, and one in Virginia one day before Washington.
I had no really hot day, especially as I stopped early in the day. Hottest day was Kingman to Peach Spring, where I started late and ended around 38C/100F. I actually crossed Nevada and the Midwest during exceptional temperature drops.
I avoided tornadoes and flash floods (although had warnings for both). No earthquakes or fires either.
Strong headwinds ? Sure, on the two days before Kansas mostly. The road was flat, easy, but I was shouting at a 30kms/20mis/h headwind. There was another day later on in Kansas with headwind, but I wasn’t riding alone and that made it easier. And of course, during the whole Hite hellhole in Utah.
Tailwinds are not felt as strongly πŸ™‚ Though going to Morro Bay with Greg and Daryl, we were carried by an express wind going south all the way πŸ™‚ Overall, I had planned the trip to benefit from dominant winds but I didn’t really feel that. They usually change over the day anyway.

Roadkill. I almost never mentioned it in my posts, but it was a constant experience in my trip. Not a day without a few of them on the road : there is a lot of wildlife in the US, especially in rural areas of course.
I mostly saw squirrels and rabbits, small birds, at least 20 of each. Then turtles, armadillos in the Midwest, snakes, polecats, deers (including half ones) all over, 10-12. Muskrats, rats, raccoons, badgers, carrion crows or equivalent, 7-8. Cats, foxes, 3. Cows, 2 (early on in Kansas). Dog, 1. Grasshoppers, that one day in Kansas : legion. Caterpillars : apart from one day on the Blue ridge, NONE. They are small but I was intrigued and focused after some time. This leads me to offer the hypothesis that caterpillars are prescient and know when to cross the road.

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Technical. I had a lot of technical issues. All in all 7 flat tires, 2 for the trailer wheel (in the first two days in Arizona), and 5 on the back wheel, including an explosion. 2 of the other four flats happened over three days, a week after said explosion, probably my lack of technical know-how πŸ™‚ And the first one of these five, two days before the trailer flats :p
Another regular issue was the trailer axle getting loose. It happened four times, generally after some riding and then some walking.
I saw five different mechanics over the ride, once every three weeks. Not bad for a brand new bike. Still, two of them were unable to tighten the axle well enough, and another one didn’t notice the back wheel totally worn off. Bicycle world in Kingman Arizona is the only one who did great.

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Body. Biking hours every day has some consequences πŸ™‚ I lost about 8-9 lbs or 4 kgs in the first month. Then I realized I should eat more to accommodate for the 2k or 3k calories the ride alone was gobbling. And I stopped losing weight :p
I trimmed my beard a bit but it grew almost 2 inches, or 4-5 cms over four months.
I was lucky in getting no serious condition overall. Still, stress got me coughing for more than a month, until the middle of the trip. No medication helped.
I had no serious cramp. I was very careful about that, as a serious injury would mean the end of the trip.
My butt started hurting a lot and got black right before Kansas, but applying Vaseline and equivalent before riding made the problem disappear.
I now have funny tan line, with the darkest tan I ever had on face, legs and arms, but with no tan on hands or above mid-thighs or mid arms. Would make it very practical for Dexter.
And finally I started breaking my back right at the final week when my seat post tilted 😦 Still hurting.

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Eats. I ate most often at Subway πŸ™‚ With the specials of pulled pork and avocado being my favorites. After that, I was in Sonic, Wendy, Taco Bell, McDonald or Burger King quite often. That meant a lot of French fries :p I also tried Denny’s or Ihop for more variety. But you can’t beat the subs for balance and low risk πŸ™‚
En route, I started eating granola bars after a month, and switched to milky ways and almond snickers the last month. That’s just better. I also had a lot of bananas after I discovered it’s the perfect treat to carry around.
I drank a lot of coke initially, then switched to Gatorade orange, and that helped a lot. On average I drank a liter per 20kms or per hour, which is the recommended amount. I ended up riding with a liter of water and one of Gatorade. That was when civilization was around to refill regularly. On one day in Kansas I had 5 liters of Gatorade, 2 of coke, and 2 of water !
By the way, the price I paid for Gatorade varied from less than one buck (walmart, dollar general), to 1,50 when getting a promotion for two bottles, and up to 2,29 or 2,39 in some gas stations. Plus tax, of course…

Entertainment. It seemed like I went to the movies a lot. I saw Budapest hotel, Railway man, Xmen future past 2x, Godzilla, Maleficent, Dragons 2, Edge of tomorrow 3x (can’t find it here in NY), Dawn of Apes, Gardians, Lucy 2x, Hercules, TMNT, Expendables 3, Sin city 2. 18 showings in 16 weeks, plus there was no theater from Montrose to Christiansburg (7 weeks). And I usually had too much popcorn covered with butter. But that’s America !
I also read a lot : Le pΓ¨re Goriot, Jane Eyre (up to the half of it where it becomes ridiculous “yes I love you even if I never said or did anything to hint at it !”), Drama by John Lithgow, All you need is kill (the novel behind Edge of tomorrow, great to see the adaptation), The road. I also read for the 5th or 6th time the 3 novels of Lyonesse and the 5 of the Demon princes by Jack Vance, and the 5 of the Hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy. I read all that on a Kindle, and the transition from books was really easy.
My music playlist was of course ready before leaving, with 2000 songs. Mostly best ofs, from Madonna and Michael Jackson to Brassens, Prodigy, Renaud, U2, Daft Punk, etc, although my iPod seemed to prefer Elton John. Most representative song was “Wherever I may roam” by Metallica, followed of course by “Going the distance” by Cake.
I started to get bored after Kansas though, and tried listening to some local radios from time to time.

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Seems like the end of the post !
A couple last figures though. I took close to 2700 pictures now, of which I posted probably 400 or 500 on the blog. The rest will be in Picasa albums later on. And I recorded 50 go of videos, around 7 hours, to be edited and trimmed down to an hour or so, whenever I can :p

Among these pictures, yesterday I was happy to replace my locked screen image with my own photo πŸ™‚

Image bank

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Photo πŸ™‚

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2 thoughts on “Go figure

  1. Joe Mariscal

    Thank you for being a numbers nerd! I love considering your feat through numbers. Reveals the true epic dimension of your accomplishment…especially growing facial hair πŸ™‚ 4606 miles…what a story. Thank you for sharing and for the regularity of your blog. Vaya con dios my friend. May we meet again. Joe

    Like

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