Always Finish on a High!

Reaching Astoria on the 27th was great but I still needed to get home to Seattle. Ever since we did our double metric century (200 km in one day), I’d been keeping an eye out for opportunities to beat this record. As it turns out, Seattle is about 210 miles (340 km) away from Astoria and it seemed like a potentially suitable candidate for my next challenge. I proposed that we try and cycle it in one day. Emily was cautiously optimistic while Colin declined my ridiculous offer outright. Since Lisa was with us in Astoria and she had a car, Emily and I decided that in order to give ourselves the best chance of success, we would attempt it as a supported ride.

If we managed to average 15 miles an hour (24 km/h) we would need to ride for 14 hours straight. We decided that averaging this speed would be feasible if we were unloaded but we would also need to find a way to resupply – food and water – without stopping. We wanted to keep our physical and mental momentum and not waste precious minutes in an already long day. On our rest day in Astoria on July 28, we practiced having Lisa hand us a sack of goodies (peanut butter and jam sandwiches, snickers bars, snacks, gatorade, soda) as we rode by. Emily would grab the sack while I handed Lisa our empty water bottles and shouted out what we would need at the next resupply point. Emily would then hand me my portion of the food and beverages as we kept on riding. Without spoiling too much, it worked like a charm!

Continue reading

Gallery

Coast to Coast

Reaching the Oregon coast and seeing the Pacific for the first time was the climax of my trip. Despite being elated to having reached the ocean, my exuberance was quite subdued. It could be that having cycled 7,000 km to reach this point tired me out enough to not have the energy to care more deeply. More likely, however, is that I simply got used to riding hard miles every day and the challenge of being on my bike for long hours at a time was diminished greatly since I started out in late May. As I chatted with a stranger next to the beach, I also realized that I didn’t really want the ride to be over. The tour had become something entirely different than I had expected – a journey of discovery much more than a physical challenge. My body was quite ready for a break, however, and I did look forward to reaching Astoria – the official endpoint of the TransAmerica Trail – the next day.

Continue reading

Gallery

Hidden Gem

As you might have guessed, Idaho was quite the pleasant surprise. Pristine pine forests covered the eastern part of the state. We followed the Lochsa River for over 100 miles as it winded and meandered its way through beautiful woods. We camped in national forests and bathed in hot springs and rivers. Coming down from Lolo Pass we were faced by what we thought might be some easy miles – a descent over 200 miles long. What we found instead were cyclists cruising uphill faster than we were going down. The head winds were quite strong indeed.

The pine forests soon turned to giant wheat fields. We observed the harvest in Kansas and now we got to see it in Idaho as well. The golden wheat then turned to rolling hills of sparse vegetation. The landscape soon changed again to pine forests before finally settling into the more familiar sagebrush countryside of eastern Washington and Oregon. The famous potatoes of Idaho, however, have eluded us. We think we might have seen one on the side of the road but, in retrospect, it might have been a rock.

Have a look at the gallery below for our progression through the wonderful state of Idaho. Beside Missouri, Idaho is the other state I look forward to exploring more – maybe on my bike.

Continue reading

Goodbye Bear Butts!

I had visited Montana on a couple of occasions prior to cycling through it for a few days. I remember liking it then as well. This time around, I got to soak it in and it’s been quite beautiful. Well, anyway, I’m pretty tired as I type this so just take a look at the photos…
Continue reading

Gallery

How to Cycle America – Part 3

Part 1 – Navigation
Part 2 – Willpower

Food

Steam engines need coal, fission reactors need uranium, TransAm cyclists need food. This post is about what we’ve been eating as we cycle across America. Since I am now an expert on everything cycling, the following is your bible for how to eat on long-distance tours.

The oatmeal – it does nothing! We eat a lot of oatmeal in the mornings. It provides absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. We eat it because it makes us not feel hungry immediately after… and because it’s cheap. During the first half of our tour, we would follow up on the oatmeal with a healthy dose of high-sugar gas station mass produced pastries. We have since moved to grocery store purchased snacks – cookies or pretzels. Granola bars are a staple of our diet throughout the day. For lunch, we eat peanut butter and nutella or cheese and turkey ham sandwiches. We tend to prefer the latter but often default on the prior due to cost. For dinner, we really like burritos – refried beans, grated cheese, bell peppers, salsa, and canned chicken wrapped in a tortilla. If we have access to a kitchen, we tend to make pasta. If no grocery store is around, we default to more peanut butter sandwiches. All in all, we’re hungry pretty much all the time. Based on various fitness device measurements, we estimate we burn between 3,000 and 5,000 calories while riding each day.

However, the more interesting aspect of eating is the locations where we do it. Enjoy the gallery below to see some of the exotic places we’ve had meals in.

Continue reading