Sunday, March 20, 2011

CO Springs to West Yellowstone in 9... er, 11 days

Last night, in response to an email from Ray, I purchased my second plane ticket to Colorado Springs for this summer's tour! Somehow or another, I thought the trip was going to be 9 days on the bike, so I bought non-refundable tickets for May 31. Well, Ray pointed out that the itinerary calls for 11, not 9, days on the road. In fact, reviewing the route, that was absolutely correct. After a couple of hours of research and talk with people at United Airways, the cheapest alternative turned out to be simply purchasing a second ticket, this time for May 29th. Jeez! To make matters worse, the lowest fare also means two plane changes and an extreme early morning departure. Hopefully my bike will make the plane changes along with me.

This experience convinced me that it is past-time that I start attending more closely to the details of the trip. This evening I carefully put the route into my GPS mapping software, exported to GPX, converted to Google Earth (KML) format, and displayed the elevation profile (below):

The tick-marks are our planned overnight stops. That high peak on the second day is Hoosier Pass, approximately 11,500 feet. Having ridden it from the other, steeper, side two summers ago, I know it is not quite as bad as it looks. Regardless, the first two days will, clearly, be the most challenging, especially lugging 20 pounds of gear, and with little opportunity to acclimate to the altitude. The next six days look great, though, and we should all be in fine shape by the time we tackle the long climb into the Jackson/Yellowstone region at the right end of the figure.

I have gotten a decent start on my training, having ridden frequently over the past few weeks. So far so good.