Tour Bonus Coverage – By The Numbers

September 19th, 2007

[Editor’s note: added a couple new numbers in response to comments. Let me know if there’s anything more I’m missing!]

20 – Number of days riding without a hot shower the night before. That means I took 9 showers during the trip. Seven were in motels, and two were in campgrounds. I think there were only two other campgrounds that even had showers, so there weren’t a lot of opportunities out there! I skipped those showers either because it was cold and rainy, or because sometimes taking a campground shower can be more disgusting than not taking one. Ten days was by far my longest showerless streak.

7 – Number of different beers sampled. Only one macrobrew, which is quite a good showing, due to the microbrew tradition of the Pacific Northwest, which has bled into Idaho and Colorado.

  • Miller Genuine Draft – Somewhere at a restaurant in South Dakota. Adequate
  • Fat Tire (New Belgium Brewery) – On tap at Applebee’s in Gillette, WY, and in a 22oz. bottle at Montour, ID. Good (the cold, tap one was better!)
  • Unknown craft-brewed Pale Ale – Bought in a single bottle in Canyon Village store and drank in camp. Excellent.
  • Mirror Pond Pale Ale (Deschutes Brewery) – On tap at Bear Bottom Inn, Mackay, ID. Unbelievably excellent.
  • Mt. Borah Brown Ale (Bertram’s Brewery) – On tap at Bear Bottom Inn, Mackay, ID. Good.
  • Black Butte Porter (Deschutes Brewery) – On tap at restaurant in John Day. I’ve bought this one in Chicago before, and it’s an excellent porter, and it was even better locally.
  • Hefewizen (Widmer Brewery) – 22 oz. bottle, cooled in the John Day River. Good, but a Hefeweizen isn’t really meant to be tasted out of the bottle.
  • 177.5 – My weight in pounds when arriving in Portland. That’s about 3 lbs. more than I weighed when I left, which seems to be my usual pattern for these trips. My body fat measurement is lower than normal, so there has apparently been some trading of fat for muscle. I’ve been following my normal post-tour pattern of continuing to eat enormous quantities of food, even though I’m not riding anymore. I’ve been weighing myself frequently just for fun, and my weight has fluctuated up to 6 lbs. in the last couple days. One night I lost 3 lbs. while doing nothing more than sleeping! I guess my body must be spending the energy doing all sorts of internal reconstruction work.

    39 – My resting heart rate in beats-per-minute. That’s the lowest rate I’ve ever measured. My pre-trip rate was around 50 bpm, and “normal” is around 70 bpm. That means my heart has gotten so darn efficient at sending oxygen around to my body that it can take a lot of time off between beats. Perhaps all the high-altitude training had something to do with it, but on the other hand, I never was able to detect any negative effects while riding at high altitudes. Then again, I don’t really have anything to compare to, because I’ve never really been able to try climbing a 9000 foot mountain while staying at sea-level.

    2 – Number of times I used my cell phone (a cheap used Nokia purchased and activated just for this trip). Once was to call ahead to a bike shop in Cody to see if they were open that day (the Sunday before Labor Day) so that I could buy tubes there (they weren’t). The second was to call Chika to let her know I would be arriving a day early.

    2503.34 – Distance that I rode in miles. How convenient that it’s extremely close to the nice round number of 2500 miles! For comparison, my Atlanta trip was 2132 miles in 30 days (27 days of riding, 3 days off), and my North Woods trip was 993 miles in 15 days (14 days of riding, 1 day off).

    83.4 – My daily average distance in miles. Slightly higher than my target goal of 80, but that means I was able to see a little more of the country (like the extra detour in Yellowstone) and still finish in 30 days. The 83.4 average compares to 71.1 for Atlanta and 62.2 for North Woods, but unlike this trip, I took some days off on those. If I ignore days off when computing the averages and count only the days when I rode, the numbers are 83.4 / 79.0 / 66.2. So this was my longest trip any way you measure it.

    10 – Number of 99+ mile days. I never expected that I would put in so many big-mileage days (the Atlanta trip only had four in this range). Most of them weren’t much of a struggle though, and just sort of “happened” naturally, due to good tailwinds, long downhills, or just a lot of time in the day without much reason to stop.

    6 – Number of flat tires. One was due to the valve stem coming out of the tube, so that doesn’t really count, and then I think two of them were caused by the same debris field (tiny bits of wire). Then I had one from a staple, one for an unknown reason, and one from something big and sharp that put a large gash in the tire. Given all the smashed beer bottles that litter the side of the road across America, I’d say that’s a pretty low number of flats. My 700Cx37 Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires are looking pretty thin in the tread department after 3000+ miles on them, but overall I’d have to say they were well worth the expense. They also did very well on plenty of nasty gravel roads.

    7 – Number of nights I wussed out and stayed in a motel. That means I did 22 nights of camping, which is three more nights than the Atlanta trip, so I guess that’s pretty good. I always say that if I’m lugging all the camping gear across the country, I might as well make good use out of it. The motel nights were pretty concentrated in South Dakota and Wyoming, with two sets of back-to-back motel nights, and once three out of four nights. That means I did one stretch of ten straight nights of camping, which is a new record for me. One interesting related fact is that I stayed in zero private campgrounds. Every place I stayed was a state park, county park, city park, National Forest, National Monument, National Park, or Wildlife Management or Bureau of Land Management site. On the other hand, although I camped for free a couple nights, I did no ‘guerrilla’ camping at non-designated campsites. It’s amazing how helpful a simple table can be when camping, which is one thing that stops me from just camping off the side of the road.

    2000 – A rough estimate of the number of dollars I spent on the trip. In addition to food and lodging, that includes the flight home, and equipment I bought on the road, but not stuff I bought in preparation for the trip. Some people I met would say “hey, it’s cheaper than flying!”, but that’s true only if you look at it in per-day expenses. If I was just to fly to Portland and back and stay for a week, I could do it for a lot less than $2000! But if you look at it as $65/day for 30 days, that’s probably a lot cheaper than most vacations.

    2 – Number of items I lost on the road. That includes my sunglasses, which I lost presumably somewhere in Apple River State Park on my first night out, and my sweatband, which I think I must have dropped when I took a photo of myself at the top of the Bighorn Mountains, at 9066 ft. At least I left the sweatband in a place of honor!

    3 – Number of non-consumable items I bought along the way. Two replacemnt items, which were new sunglasses, and a new sweat device. This one was a Headsweats cap that covered my whole head, which was nice to have in the cooler weather of Idaho. The only problem with it was that the elastic left some pretty goofy-looking creases in my forehead at the end of the day, and it seemed to really accentuate my forehead tanline. The completely new item was a pair of Smartwool socks. It’s the first wool product I’ve bought, and while they’re very nice socks, I don’t think I’m going to turn into a wool freak (especially since it was a $17 pair of socks!) But they made camp a lot more comfortable because I could wear them with my shorts and sandals in the cool evenings and still be comfortable (fashion be damned!)

    0 – Number of things thrown at me out of passing cars. In fact, I can’t even recall a single instance of someone even yelling something at me. Quite amazing for a 2500 mile trip! The most annoying things were dogs in passing cars that would bark right in my ear as they flew past, scaring the bejeesus out of me every time. And if that’s the worst thing to complain about, I think that means it was a pretty nice ride.

    5 Responses to “Tour Bonus Coverage – By The Numbers”

    1. Rob D Says:

      Congrats on the trip, making it is quite an accomplishment. It’s interesting that you gained weight, but understandable (low fat plus muscle building).

      Regarding wool, $17 is steep, but I view it as each pair replaces 3-4 cotton pairs (since they don’t hold much body odor, a few minutes of airing out they smell clean again) . That’s how I view all of my wool clothing (I am a wool freak).

    2. DP Says:

      I got three pairs of wool socks last year for Christmas, and they were the only socks I wore until I switched to flip-flops on April 28th, so I’m sold on wool socks. They will definitely be an integral part of my footwear manifesto.

    3. JP Says:

      You forgot one: number of days without a hot shower.

    4. Steve M Says:

      What about number of brands of beer sampled?

    5. Swati Says:

      I’d like to see how many people you think were tracking you – based on comments and emails you might’ve received.